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(War action, R, 119 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12). With brilliant, claustrophobically effective directing choices by Sam Mendes and strong, raw performances from young leads Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay, this heart-stopping World War I drama is a unique viewing experience you won't soon shake off. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun Times)
A HIDDEN LIFE
(Historical drama, PG-13, 180 minutes, playing at Darkside Cinema in Corvallis). In 1940s Austria, a farmer is jailed for refusing to sign a loyalty oath to Hitler, as his wife and children suffer without him. This is a Terrence Malick film, so you can count on feeling dazzled by spectacular shots of heaven on Earth, and impatient at the sheer overpowering deliberateness of it all. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
(Legal drama, PG-13, 136 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12). Solid, meat-and-potatoes docudrama filmmaking, if you don’t mind a first-rate story of systemic injustice undercut by second-rate dialogue. Call it a split decision, or something like that. Stars Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson, Tim Blake Nelson, Rob Morgan and Rafe Spall. (Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune)
LIKE A BOSS
(Comedy, R, 83 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12). Best friends Mel (Rose Byrne) and Mia (Tiffany Haddish) launch their own beauty company. When it runs into debt, more trouble — the comic kind, of course — ensues when famous cosmetic mogul Claire Luna (Salma Hayek) steps in to take over. Directed by Miguel Arteta.
(Science-fiction/horror, PG-13, 95 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and AMC Corvallis 12). Written by Brian Duffield and Adam Cozad, the specter of “Alien” haunts “Underwater,” a damp riff off and tribute to the 1979 extraterrestrial horror thriller. Director William Eubank distinguishes the formulaic film with a jittery artfulness rendered in shades of gray and green, but what elevates the B-movie is the presence of Kristen Stewart, who is both a movie star and a great actress. Vincent Cassel, T.J. Miller, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher, Jr., and Mamadou Athie costar. (Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service)
(Drama, R, 108 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) “Bombshell” is a savvy and flashy kind of docudrama that trades equally on recent headlines as it does the star power of its cast. Director Jay Roach has a light hand with topical political stories (“Recount,” “Game Change”), as does screenwriter Charles Randolph, who co-wrote “The Big Short.” Here they combine their breezy style with a powerhouse ensemble for a colorful TV-styled dramatization of the Fox News scandal that verges more on caricature than verisimilitude. With Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, John Lithgow, Kate McKinnon and Margot Robbie. (Jake Coyle, Associated Press)
(Musical fantasy/comedy/drama, PG, 110 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany) This digitally animated adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical (which itself was based on T.S. Eliot's 1939 poetry collection, "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats") follows a tribe of felines called the Jellicles. The ensemble cast includes the cat-bodied James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift and Francesca Hayward.
(Documentary, NR, 81 minutes, playing at Darkside Cinema in Corvallis) Brie Larson narrates this informative documentary on the magical world of fungi and their power to heal, sustain and contribute to the regeneration of life on Earth.
FORD V FERRARI
3 ½ stars
(Drama, PG-13, 152 minutes, playing at AMC Corvallis 12) Matt Damon is American car designer Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale is British racer Ken Miles in this fact-based drama about the duo's efforts to challenge Italian automotive legend Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France in 1966. It’s an infectious and engrossing high-octane ride that not just motorheads will enjoy. With Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe, Tracy Letts, Josh Lucas, Ray McKinnon. Directed by James Mangold. (Mark Kennedy, Associated Press)
(Animated, PG, 103 minutes, playing at the Regal Albany and AMC Corvallis 12) Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven join Elsa as she searches for the truth behind her powers in this sequel to the blockbuster 2013 animated musical. With the voices of Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad. Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee.
(Horror, R, 94 minutes, playing at the Regal Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12) This Nicolas Pesce-directed remake, or "reimagining," of Takashi Shimizu's 2004 American reboot of his own 2002 horror classic "Ju-On: The Grudge" hopes to revive its predecessors' scares, moving the horror from Japan to the United States. Cursed house? Check. Vengeful, long-haired ghosts? Most definitely. John Cho with one too many hands during a routine rinse? Uh-oh. Andrea Riseborough, Demian Bichir, Betty Gilpin and a positively frightening Lin Shaye join Cho on this hair-raising ride.
JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL
(Action/comedy, PG, 123 minutes, playing at the Regal Albany; and the AMC Corvallis 12 and Regal Ninth Street, both in Corvallis) Director Jake Kasdan returns to the ‘90s family adventure film series he rebooted in 2017, and amps up the jaw-dropping hijinks and more stars playing personas vastly different from theirs. It’s a one-joke movie, but the joke still has some mileage left. Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black return; Danny Glover, Danny DeVito and Akwafina hop aboard. (Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service)
(Murder mystery/comedy, PG-13, 130 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) An all-star ensemble is under suspicion when a family patriarch (Christopher Plummer), who also happens to be a wealthy crime novelist, is found dead in the study of his remote mansion. With Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Craig and Lakeith Stanfield. Directed by Rian Johnson. It’s “Murder, She Wrote” with a side of political activism, two great tastes that taste great together.
(Drama, PG, 134 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany; and the AMC Corvallis 12, Regal Ninth Street and Darkside Cinema, all in Corvallis) There is a wild urgency to Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women” that hardly seems possible for a film based on a 150-year-old book. But such is the magic of combining Louisa May Alcott’s enduring story of those four sisters with Gerwig’s deliciously feisty, evocative and clear-eyed storytelling that makes this “Little Women” a new classic. Stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh and Eliza Scanlen. (Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press)
(Thriller, R, 132 minutes, playing at the Darkside in Corvallis) Winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes, Bong Joon Ho's deviously entertaining thriller about two very different families is an ingenious weave of domestic dark comedy, class allegory and ultimately devastating tragedy. (Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times)
SPIES IN DISGUISE
(Animated, sci/fi, action, PG, 101 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and AMC Corvallis 12). The film takes its premise and inspiration from the 2009 animated short by Lucas Martell, “Pigeon: Impossible,” and therein lies all you need to know about “Spies in Disguise,” a strange tonal mashup that turns the hypermasculine and hyperviolent world of glamorous spies, in the vein of James Bond or “Mission: Impossible,” and turns it into kid-friendly family entertainment. (Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service)
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
(Sci-fi/action/drama, PG-13, 141 minutes, playing at The Regal 7 and Pix Theater, both in Albany; and the AMC Corvallis 12 and Regal Ninth Street, both in Corvallis) J.J. Abrams' "The Force Awakens" brought new life to the “Star Wars” franchise rinsing out the dour taste of “The Prequels.” After Rian Johnson’s second installment, “The Last Jedi,” Abrams returns, with co-writer Chris Terrio, to close out the series of nine films that started over four decades ago. What a shame then, that it all goes out with a fizzle rather than a bang. (Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service)
(Comedy/crime/drama, R, 135 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12, Regal Ninth Street and Darkside Cinema, all in Corvallis) By now, we shouldn't be too surprised by this cultural contradiction known as Adam Sandler. It's obvious that Sandler, the actor, is capable of extraordinary range — not in the traditional, Meryl Streep sense, but a range of incredibly good ("Punch-Drunk Love") to painfully bad (the horrendous "Jack and Jill") and incredibly good again, as in this frenetic, compulsively watchable, exhausting and exhilarating collaboration with Josh and Benny Safdie. He's backed by an excellent cast, including Idina Menzel, Julia Fox, Lakeith Stanfield and Kevin Garnett in a pivotal role: himself. (Jocelyn Noveck, Associated Press)