Film clips / May 24-30

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A DOG'S JOURNEY (PG)

In this sequel to "A Dog's Purpose," beloved dog Bailey finds his new destiny and forms an unbreakable bond that will lead him, and the people he loves, to places they never imagined. 1 hour, 48 minutes. BC / NAM

ALADDIN (PG)

The tale of the charming street rat Aladdin, the courageous and self-determined Princess Jasmine and the Genie who may be the key to their future. With Will Smith, Naomi Scott, Mena Massoud, Marwan Kenzari, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnussen. 2 hours, 9 minutes. BC / BM / CT / NAM / TM

AMAZING GRACE

After many dangers, toils and snares, the long-lost Aretha Franklin concert film "Amazing Grace" has finally seen the light, and good Lord is it good. Filmed over two sessions in January 1972 at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in the Watts section of Los Angeles, it captures Franklin at the absolute apex of her power. The colossal accompanying double LP, which didn't suffer the same fate as the footage, is already justly revered and remains the best-selling gospel record of all time. But to see it is to believe. This is gospel ecstasy. Franklin says virtually nothing throughout, appearing preternaturally calm in between songs. Is that simply out of respect for the setting? Was she somehow not at ease during the film's making, at least when the music wasn't playing? Or is it more like what John Updike said about Ted Williams not doffing his cap to fans after a home run? Just as gods do not answer letters, queens don't curtsy. (Coyle, The Associated Press— 4/19). 1 hour, 27 minutes. TM

AVENGERS: ENDGAME (PG-13)

Generous in humor, spirit and sentimentality, Anthony and Joe Russo's "Endgame" is a surprisingly full feast of blockbuster-making that, through some time-traveling magic, looks back nostalgically at Marvel's decade of world domination. This is the Marvel machine working at high gear, in full control of its myth-making powers and uncovering more emotion in its fictional cosmos than ever before. Providing even the most basic of plot points in "Endgame" is a fool's errand, but it's fair to say that it takes place some time after the rapture caused by the megalomaniac boulder Thanos (Josh Brolin). Having obtained all six of the "infinity stones," he wiped away 50 percent of Earth's creatures (and superheroes) at the end of "Infinity War" with the snap of his fingers. "Endgame," at its best moments, carries the thrill of classic comic-book twists and reversals. But the main difference is that a dose of finality has finally crept in to a universe where death is seldom visited on anyone but the bad guys. "Endgame" will likely be most remembered for its teary goodbyes. To say who would, of course, invite my own demise. But the send-offs, tender and sincere, capture something about the "Avengers" films. At their root, they are about family. Never has that been more apparent than in the daughters, fathers, sons, mothers, sisters, brothers and spouses that populate "Endgame," making up the connections that bind this fantasy realm — one that, for all its turmoil, is far more unified than ours. The conclusion of this chapter in the MCU, of course, won't last long; Marvel's assembly lines are already humming. And I suspect it will be some time before we understand just what Marvel has wrought with these movies. At their worst, they are colossal, inhuman products built for a supersized form of binge-watching. At their best, they are grand, mega-sized Hollywood spectacles. It's not a spoiler to say that "Endgame" verges more on the latter. At least I don't think so. (Coyle, The Associated Press — 4/25). 3 hours, 2 minutes. BC / BM / NAM

BOOKSMART (R)

On the eve of their high school graduation, two academic superstars and best friends realize they should have worked less and played more. Determined not to fall short of their peers, the girls try to cram four years of fun into one night. With Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Jessica Williams. 1 hour, 45 minutes. BM

BRIGHTBURN (R)

A child from another world crash-lands on Earth, but instead of becoming a hero to mankind, he proves to be something far more sinister. With Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Jackson A. Dunn. 1 hour, 31 minutes. BM

HAIL SATAN? (R)

When media-savvy members of the Satanic Temple organize a series of public actions designed to advocate for religious freedom and challenge corrupt authority, they prove that with little more than a clever idea, a mischievous sense of humor, and a few rebellious friends, you can speak truth to power in some truly profound ways. This documentary offers a timely look at a group of often misunderstood outsiders whose unwavering commitment to social and political justice has empowered thousands of people around the world. 1 hour 35 minutes. LC

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 — PARABELLUM (R)

In this third installment of the adrenaline-fueled action franchise, super-assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) returns with a $14 million price tag on his head and an army of bounty-hunting killers on his trail. After killing a member of the shadowy international assassin's guild, the High Table, John Wick is excommunicado, but the world's most ruthless hit men and women await his every turn. For every other bounty hunter, it's open-season on John Wick. And in these films, one lurks down every alley; the ratio of regular person to hitman is, like, 2 to 1. What was once a taut, minimalist action movie with an appeal predicated on low-expectations and leanness has grown into a franchise with a typically overcooked subtitle and de-rigueur world-building (the film's press notes reference "the Wickian universe"). With Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Anjelica Huston, Mark Dacascos, Jason Mantzoukas, Laurence Fishburne, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, Said Taghmaoui. (Coyle, The Associated Press — 5/20). 2 hours, 11 minutes. BC / BM / NAM / TM

LONG SHOT (R)

Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen make a sparkling comedic duo in the unconventional romantic comedy about a sleek politician and a schlubby journalist that is more than its superficial premise. Fred Flarsky (Rogen) is a gifted and free-spirited journalist with an affinity for trouble. Charlotte Field (Theron) is one of the most influential women in the world. Smart, sophisticated, and accomplished, she's a powerhouse diplomat with a talent for — well, mostly everything. The two have nothing in common, except that she was his babysitter and childhood crush. When Fred unexpectedly reconnects with Charlotte, he charms her with his self-deprecating humor and his memories of her youthful idealism. As she prepares to make a run for the Presidency, Charlotte impulsively hires Fred as her speechwriter, much to the dismay of her trusted advisors. The film from director Jonathan Levine, which does its fair share of over-the-top gross-out humor and jarringly violent physical gags that in real life would have left Rogen's character hospitalized or dead, is, even in spite of those overdone R-rated tropes, full of surprising heart, wit and insight about relationships, compromise and (gasp) even politics. (Bahr, The Associated Press — 4/5). 2 hours, 5 minutes. NAM / TC

MEETING GORBACHEV

Werner Herzog and Andre Singer's riveting documentary, filled with unforgettable archive materials and based on three long interviews, provides incredible access to, arguably, the world's greatest living politician. Now 87 and battling illness, the visionary Mikhail Gorbachev, former General Secretary of the U.S.S.R, has mellowed and slowed down. Still, gently but resolutely, he is pushing towards his goals. Herzog, as on-screen interviewer, does not disguise his affection, celebrating Gorbachev's three remarkable accomplishments: negotiations with the U.S. to reduce nuclear weapons; cessation of Soviet control of Eastern Europe and the reunification of Germany; and the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc. In English; and in Russian, German, and Polish with English subtitles. 1 hour, 32 minutes. TM

POKEMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU (PG)

"Pokemon Detective Pikachu " borrows lightly from film noir crime dramas to create a mystery in a world where humans and Pokemon co-exist. A young man called Tim Goodman (the terrific Justice Smith) joins with Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds' voice) to search for what happened to the man's father, a missing detective. It's got an adorable hero from an iconic media brand who is voiced by a proven box office master at snark. But, somehow, "Pok mon Detective Pikachu" never really gets arresting. A neutered Reynolds tries hard but can't make this live action-meets-animated movie gel. It's plodding and listless and really not funny or smart enough. Turns out, you can't copy "Deadpool" tricks for the PG set. With Kathryn Newton, Ken Watanabe, Bill Nighy. (Kennedy, The Associated Press — 5/10). 1 hour, 44 minutes. BC / BM / NAM

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THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM (PG)

This documentary follows a couple through their successes and failures as they work to develop a sustainable farm on 200 acres outside of Los Angeles. 1 hour, 32 minutes. TC

THE HUSTLE (PG-13)

Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson star as female scam artists, one low rent and the other high class, who team up to take down the dirty rotten men who have wronged them. 1 hour, 34 minutes. BM

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR (PG-13)

College-bound romantic Daniel Bae and Jamaica-born pragmatist Natasha Kingsley meet — and fall for each other — over one magical day amidst the fervor and flurry of New York City. Sparks immediately fly between these two strangers, who might never have met had fate not given them a little push. The TV stars Yara Shahidi of "grown-ish" and Charles Melton of "Riverdale" are beautiful. New York City is beautiful. Director Ry Russo-Young's film is shot by cinematographer Autumn Durald with such precision it's impossible not to get a little swoony over the fact that the filmmaker clearly did not phone it in for this adaptation of a popular young adult book. That makes it all the more frustrating, then, that the driving engine behind the film — a whirlwind 24-hour romance — is contrived, underwhelming and perhaps worst of all, unconvincing. (Bahr, The Associated Press — 5/20). 2 hours. BM

THE WHITE CROW (R)

The great Soviet ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev does not come across as particularly likable in director Ralph Fiennes' elegant biopic of his early years. Nureyev is arrogant, cruel, entitled, irritable and deeply resentful of his modest, peasant upbringing. Yet this prodigy of dance and voracious consumer of the arts is undeniably compelling to watch for a few hours. Just be prepared to wince at many of his choices, some of which helped him reach the top of the dance world and others which will make you want to refer Rudi to a good therapist. The film skips back and forth in time, from Rudi's sepia-toned and poverty-stricken childhood in frozen Ufa with his mother and sisters, to his time with the Kirov Ballet and the company's pivotal trip to Paris in 1961. Paris is where the film, and Rudi, comes alive. Rudi is played by Ukrainian dancer Oleg Ivenko in his acting debut. In addition to being a gorgeous dancer, he does a fine job holding his own against Fiennes, who also plays the part of an influential ballet instructor in Rudi's life, and Adele Exarchopoulos, who plays Clara Saint, a Parisian woman who helps show Rudi the nightlife in her city. This is a patient film that requires focus. But it's also a rewarding experience, and a true celebration of the arts and the sometimes boorish personalities behind their beauty. (Bahr, The Associated Press — 5/22). 2 hours, 7 minutes. IC / TC / TM

TRANSIT (no rating)

As fascism spreads, German refugee Georg (Franz Rogowski) flees to Marseille and assumes the identity of the dead writer whose transit papers he is carrying. Living among refugees from around the world, Georg falls for Marie (Paula Beer), a mysterious woman searching for her husband — the man whose identity he has stolen. Adapted from Anna Segher's 1942 novel. 1 hour, 42 minutes. NAM

WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY (PG-13)

The poet Emily Dickinson's persona, popularized since her death, has been that of a reclusive spinster — a delicate wallflower, too sensitive for this world. In this humorous drama, Molly Shannon captures the vivacious, irreverent side of Emily Dickinson that was covered up for years — most notably Emily's lifelong romantic relationship with another woman (Susan Ziegler). After Emily's death, a rivalry emerges when her brother's mistress (Amy Seimetz) along with editor T.W. Higginson (Brett Gelman) published a book of Emily's poems. 1 hour, 24 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 (86 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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