Film clips / Jan. 25-31

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A DOG'S WAY HOME (PG)

W. Bruce Cameron's adaptation of his book about a dog who finds her way back to her owner across 400 miles of Colorado terrain is one sugary concoction. Not that it's ineffective — I dare even non dog-lovers not to get a little misty eyed at the inevitable conclusion — it's just very, very, VERY earnest, like a PBS Kids morning show meets a cute puppy pics slideshow with much higher production value. With Bryce Dallas Howard, Ashley Judd, Alexandra Shipp.(Bahr, The Associated Press — 1/15). 1 hour, 35 minutes. BM / NAM

AN ACCEPTABLE LOSS (R)

Libby Lamm (Tika Sumpter) is a former top national security adviser who, while working with a ruthless, steely-willed political veteran (Jamie Lee Curtis), signed off on a controversial military action that was supposed to end the war on terror. The problem: Thousands died under false pretenses. Haunted by what she knows, Libby sets out to tell the truth, risking treason — and her own life — to expose a cover-up that stretches all the way to the top. 1 hour, 42 minutes. LC

A STAR IS BORN (R)

Simply terrific — a big-scale cinematic delight that will have the masses singing, swooning and sobbing along with it. It's quite a feat from Bradley Cooper, who directed, co-wrote, produced and stars in the film. Cooper plays Jackson Maine, a massively popular singer-songwriter whose path intersects with an unknown and overlooked talent named Ally (a magnificent Lady Gaga) and the two become entangled as his star fades and hers rises. The first hour of "A Star Is Born" is downright electrifying — funny, exciting, sexy and wholly lived-in. But like all good things, the engine of that first hour gets the film only so far, and the second half has its shortcomings. But the actors and the filmmaking hold up "A Star Is Born" where the story cannot. Gaga is a gifted actress, natural, vulnerable and strong as she goes toe-to-toe with Cooper in what might be his best performance — the man truly disappears into Jackson Maine. And as a director, well, he is the real deal and, with this sort of introduction, definitely far from the shallow now. (Bahr, The Associated Press — 10/4). 2 hours, 15 minutes. TC

AQUAMAN (PG-13)

As an adult, Arthur (our Aquaman to be, played by Jason Momoa) moonlights as a hero in between happy-hour trips to the bar. But he's reluctantly drawn into a struggle for the throne of the seven seas with his younger brother Orm, who's plotting a battle with "surface dwellers." "Aquaman" weighs in somewhere between the lugubrious "Justice League" and the less leaden Wonder Woman" on the uneven scales of recent DC films. To both the movie's benefit and detriment, the seas here are choppier than in the predictably (and sometimes boringly) smooth sailing of a Marvel movie. But the bright spots (Momoa, that octopus) can be difficult to really relish amid the oceans of exposition and a typically pulverizing overelaborate screenplay. With Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson. (Coyle, The Associated Press — 12/20). 2 hours, 22 minutes. BM

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (R)

The film traces the meteoric rise of the band Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek), who defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet, through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound, their near-implosion as Mercury's lifestyle spirals out of control, and their triumphant reunion on the eve of Live Aid, where Mercury, facing a life-threatening illness, leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. 2 hours, 15 minutes. BC / NAM

CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? (R)

Celebrity biographer Lee Israel makes her living profiling the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Estee Lauder and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen. When Lee is no longer able to get published because she has fallen out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception, abetted by her loyal friend Jack. With Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant. 1 hour, 47 minutes. TC

COLD WAR (R)

Set against the backdrop of the 1950s Cold War in Poland, two people of differing backgrounds and temperaments begin an almost impossible romance. With Joanna Kulig, Tomasz Kot, Agata Kulesza, Jeanne Balibar, Borys Szyc

Director: Pawe Pawlikowski. 1 hour, 28 minutes. TM

ESCAPE ROOM (PG-13)

This horror-thriller isn't actually all that bad, just kind of silly, but it takes a moment to readjust your expectations after a condescending beginning and a very phoned-in introduction to the unlucky six Chicago strangers who all receive a mysterious box and decide, what the heck, let's check out this escape room. They have to brave extreme heat, extreme cold, poison, drugs, rising tensions and body counts while trying to figure out how to get out of each puzzle room, a few of which are pretty interesting. Mercifully, all the carnage is kept to tolerable PG-13 levels. You could do worse in January. And anyone already interested in the idea of an escape room that tries to kill you probably isn't expecting all that much out of this anyway. With Adam Robitel, Taylor Russell, Deborah Ann Wall, Jay Ellis, Nik Dodani. (Bahr, The Associated Press — 1/7). 1 hour, 40 minutes. BM

GLASS (PG-13)

M. Night Shyamalan brings together the narratives of two of his standout originals—2000's "Unbreakable" and 2016's "Split" — in one explosive, all-new comic-book thriller. From "Unbreakable," Bruce Willis returns as David Dunn as does Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price, known also by his pseudonym Mr. Glass. Joining from "Split" are James McAvoy, reprising his role as Kevin Wendell Crumb and the multiple identities who reside within, and Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke, the only captive to survive an encounter with The Beast. Following the conclusion of "Split," "Glass" finds Dunn pursuing Crumb's superhuman figure of The Beast in a series of escalating encounters, while the shadowy presence of Price emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men. "Glass" seems to delight in building up anticipation only to pull the rug out from under you, managing to both frustrate and underwhelm. In the end, it's a tub full of half-baked ideas that never really coalesce into something exciting, meaningful or all that memorable. (Bahr, The Associated Press — 1/ ). 2 hours, 9 minutes. BC / BM / NAM

GREEN BOOK (PG-13)

Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) is a world-class African-American pianist who's about to embark on a concert tour in the Deep South in 1962. In need of a driver and protection, Shirley recruits Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), a tough-talking bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx. Despite their differences, the two men soon develop an unexpected bond while confronting racism and danger in an era of segregation. 2 hours, 10 minutes. BC / CT / NAM / TC / TM

IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK (R)

Based on the novel by James Baldwin, "If Beale Street Could Talk" is the story of Tish, a newly engaged Harlem woman who races against the clock to prove her lover's innocence while carrying their first born child to term. With Stephen James, KiKi Layne, Regina King, Diego Luna, Dave Franco, Finn Wittrock, Ed Skrein, Pedro Pascal, Brian Tyree Henry. 2 hours. TC

MARY POPPINS RETURNS (PG)

The mysterious Mary Poppins returns to Depression-era London to visit Jane and her brother Michael, now a father of three, and helps them rediscover the joy they knew as children. With Emily Blunt, Dick Van Dyke, Lin-Manuel Miranda. 2 hours, 11 minutes. BM / NAM

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ON THE BASIS OF SEX (PG-13)

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Felicity Jones) is a struggling attorney and new mother who faces adversity and numerous obstacles in her fight for equal rights. When Ruth takes on a groundbreaking tax case with her husband, attorney Martin Ginsburg (Armie Hammer), she knows it could change the direction of her career and the way the courts view gender discrimination. Jones' only stumble is occasionally mangling Ginsburg's New York accent. It's not a perfect film, though: There are some odd transitions, unexplained legal decisions and a reliance on cliches, like montages of legal briefs being written on typewriters as music swells. Director Mimi Leder somehow makes a wonky court case about Section 214 of the tax code, which deals with dependent care expenses, into a nail-biting thriller. With Justin Theroux, Sam Waterston. (Kennedy, The Associated Press — 1/12). 2 hours. BC / BM / TC / TM

SERENITY (R)

Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey) is a fishing boat captain leading tours off a tranquil, tropical enclave called Plymouth Island. His quiet life is shattered, however, when his ex-wife Karen (Anne Hathaway) tracks him down with a desperate plea for help. She begs Dill to save her - and their young son - from her new, violent husband (Jason Clarke) by taking him out to sea on a fishing excursion, only to throw him to the sharks and leave him for dead. Karen's appearance thrusts Dill back into a life he'd tried to forget, and as he struggles between right and wrong, his world is plunged into a new reality that may not be all that it seems. 1 hour, 46 minutes. BC / BM

SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE (PG)

Bitten by a radioactive spider in the subway, Brooklyn teenager Miles Morales suddenly develops mysterious powers that transform him into the one and only Spider-Man. When he meets Peter Parker, he soon realizes that there are many others who share his special, high-flying talents. Miles must now use his newfound skills to battle the evil Kingpin, a hulking madman who can open portals to other universes and pull different versions of Spider-Man into our world. With Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld. 1 hour, 56 minutes. BM / NAM

STAN & OLLIE (PG)

Laurel and Hardy — the world's greatest comedy team — face an uncertain future as their golden era of Hollywood films remain long behind them. Diminished by age, the duo set out to reconnect with their adoring fans by touring variety halls in Britain in 1953. The shows become an instant hit, but Stan and Ollie can't quite shake the past as long-buried tension and Hardy's failing health start to threaten their precious partnership. With John C. Reilly, Steve Coogan, Shirley Henderson, Nina Arianda, Danny Huston. 1 hour, 37 minutes. IC / TM

THE FAVOURITE (R)

In the early 18th century, England is at war with the French. A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) occupies the throne, and her close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne's ill health and mercurial temper. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail (Emma Stone) under her wing, and Abigail sees a chance to return to her aristocratic roots. 1 hour, 59 minutes. BC / IC / TC

THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING (PG)

Alex (Ashbourne Serkis) thinks he's just another nobody, until he stumbles upon the mythical Sword in the Stone, Excalibur. Now, he must unite his friends and enemies into a band of knights and, together with the legendary wizard Merlin (Stewart), take on the wicked enchantress Morgana (Ferguson). With the future at stake, Alex must become the great leader he never dreamed he could be. 2 hours. BC / BM / NAM

THE UPSIDE (PG-13)

The film stars Kevin Hart as a lazy, skirt-chasing ex-con hoping to reconnect with his estranged wife and son. He accidentally gets a job taking care of an obscenely wealthy New York businessman who became a paraplegic while hang gliding, played by Bryan Cranston. ("You as rich as Jay-Z?" Hart's character asks. "No, richer," comes the reply.) You can virtually write the rest as "The Upside " unspools. Few films in memory have squandered so much acting talent in such a cliche-ridden, exploitative and dishonest way. It deserves its frozen grave. With Nicole Kidman. (Bahr, The Associated Press — 1/15). 2 hours, 6 minutes. BC / BM / NAM

VICE (R)

Adam McKay's exhaustingly entertaining (and entertainingly exhausting) Dick Cheney movie. We first meet Cheney in 1963, staggering blind drunk from a car during a traffic stop. Fast forward to 9/11, and he's the guy taking charge of the nation's response, with Bush nowhere in sight. How did we get from A to B, McKay is asking? "Vice" is frenetic and fun, flippant and frustrating (to stick with one letter of the alphabet). Is it, um, factual? Well, McKay has based his research on some important books by journalists like Ron Suskind, Barton Gellman and Jane Mayer. But he also surely injects plenty of his own analysis, and unless you're an expert, you may not know where the hypothesizing begins.With Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Steve Carell. (Noveck, The Associated Press — 12/28) 2 hours, 12 minutes. TC

Legend

The theaters at which the movies listed in Film Clips are playing are:

BC: Beacon Cinema (57 North St., Pittsfield)

BM: Berkshire Mall 10 (Route 8, Lanesborough)

CT: Crandell Theatre (48 Main St., Chatham, N.Y.)

IC: Images Cinema (50 Spring St.,Williamstown)

LC: Little Cinema (Berkshire Museum, 39 South St., Pittsfield)

NAM: North Adams Movieplex 8 (80 Main St., North Adams)

TC: Triplex Cinema (70 Railroad St., Great Barrington)

TM: The Moviehouse, 48 Main St., Millerton, N.Y.


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