Six new films roll into town as the fall movie season kicks off.
Best of the lot likely are “Juliet, Naked,” with Ethan Hawke; “A Simple Favor,” with Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick; “White Boy Rick,” a true tale of 1980s drug dealing with Matthew McConaughey; and “The Wife,” with virtuoso turns from Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce.
But poor reviews won’t keep action fans away from Shane Black’s “The Predator.” And the fast-growing religious film niche has a new offering, “Unbroken: Path to Redemption,” a sequel of sorts to the Angelina Jolie film.
As always, go online to find the complete version of the Movie Scene and reviews of new films.
(Comedy, R, 105 minutes, playing at the Darkside Cinema in Corvallis) Playing a mostly forgotten '90s singer-songwriter in this light and breezy pop music confection, Ethan Hawke slips ever so comfortably into the persona of a charming but sometimes infuriatingly irresponsible free spirit. A chain of events leads to his befriending Annie (Rose Byrne), the ex of his biggest fan (the very funny Chris O'Dowd). (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
(Sci-fi action, R, 108 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany, the Regal 4 in Corvallis and the AMC Corvallis 12) Shane Black, who had a small role in the first “Predator” movie, returns as the director of this reboot, about soldiers tracking (and being tracked by) a ruthless and technologically advanced alien hunter. But Black bungles the job: Scenes are poorly knitted together and time and tempo break down, as if the film was snapping apart at the seams. (Mark Kennedy, Associated Press)
A SIMPLE FAVOR
3 ½ stars
(Comedy-thriller, R, 116 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the Regal 4 in Corvallis) When a seemingly sophisticated mom (Blake Lively) goes missing, her nerdy friend (Anna Kendrick) turns amateur sleuth, and secrets emerge about both. The crazier things get in this wickedly amusing comedy-thriller, the more fun we have. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
UNBROKEN: PATH TO REDEMPTION
(Drama, PG-13, 98 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) This sort-of sequel to Angelina Jolie’s flick picks up the story of Olympian and World War II hero Louis Zamperini after his return stateside and explores how faith and forgiveness helped him piece his life back together. The movie’s focus on just one moment in a life full of remarkable moments makes it feel unnecessarily prolonged. (Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service)
WHITE BOY RICK
(Drama, R, 110 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) Matthew McConaughey McConaghey and a remarkable nonprofessional actor, Richie Merritt, star in this based-on-fact story about a teen drug kingpin in Detroit in the 1980s. Director Yann Demange balances the details of the story, both outlandish and intimate, with real care, but where the movie really shines is in its familial moments. (Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service)
3 ½ stars
(Drama, R, 100 minutes, playing at the Darkside in Corvallis) As a famous author (Jonathan Pryce) accepts the Nobel Prize, his wife (Glenn Close) reassesses her longtime role as his assistant and chief parent to their children in a sharply written, character-driven, intense domestic drama. Both actors are transcendent. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
THE WASP WOMAN
(Horror, 63 minutes, no MPAA rating, playing Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Darkside in Corvallis) The Darkside continues its run of cheesy horror flicks with this 1959 Roger Corman flick, about a cosmetics queen who’s transformed into a murderous monster after she uses an insect chemical to preserve her beauty. Made for $50,000, but Corman got every dollar up on the screen. Admission is $5.
(Drama, PG, 113 minutes, PG, playing at the Darkside Cinema in Corvallis) A widow, Florence Green (Emily Mortimer), takes a major emotional and financial leap in 1959 to open a bookshop in a conservative coastal town in this well-meaning but lackluster drama. Mortimer and Bill Nighy are terrific, but can’t give the film the jolt of energy it needs. (Rick Bentley, Tribune News Service)
GOD BLESS THE BROKEN ROAD
1 ½ stars
(Drama, PG, 105 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) A young mother loses her husband in Afghanistan and struggles to raise their young daughter in his absence. Faith, country music, stock-car racing and tributes to the U.S. military mix in this new offering. It’s a strange Frankenstein’s monster of a film, the story trying to combine too many elements while reverse-engineered into incorporating the title of the popular Rascal Flatts song. (Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service)
(Horror, R, 96 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany, the Regal 4 in Corvallis and the AMC Corvallis 12) This new spinoff from the “Conjuring” series involves the same demonic nun featured in “The Conjuring 2.” When a young nun at Romanian abbey takes her own life, a priest and a novitate are sent by the Vatican to investigate. Then, other bad things happen. Taissa Farmiga, Demian Bichir and Bonnie Aarons star.
(Action thriller, R, 102 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the Regal 4 in Corvallis) In this stylishly directed but gratuitously nasty and cliche-riddled revenge movie, Jennifer Garner plays essentially two characters cut from the same person. At first she's a smart, caring mother and wife. But after thugs kill her family and evade prosecution, she becomes a skilled assassin akin to her "Alias" role. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
3 ½ stars (Thriller, PG-13, 102 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) A father (John Cho) searches for a missing daughter in this ingenious thriller, in which the action unfolds entirely on a series of computer and phone displays. The movie both captures and defamiliarizes an experience that most of us would consider mundane, even banal — but it’s consistently gripping, and powered by Cho’s considerable charisma. (Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times)
(Action-adventure, PG, 100 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) After a military experiment goes wrong, a top-secret robotic dog is found hiding in the desert by a kind-hearted outsider (Alex Neustaedter) and the two develop a special friendship. But can they defeat the scientists who created the dog, and who will stop at nothing to get him back? And if the movie is a hit, how much will the A.X.L. action toys set you back?
(Drama, PG-13, 96 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12) During the last Ice Age, a young man teams with a lone wolf in this epic tale of survival. With Kodi Smit-McPhee. The movie, often visually stunning, nails the idea our survival is dependent on the love and support of others, and the idea eventually emerges from a haze of faux fur and war paint that dominates the proceedings. (Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service)
CRAZY RICH ASIANS
3 ½ stars
(Romantic comedy, PG-13, 120 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 and the Pix in Albany, the Regal 4 in Corvallis and the AMC Corvallis 12) When the scion of a rich Singapore family (Henry Golding) brings his American love (Constance Wu) to his homeland, his mother (Michelle Yeoh) is not impressed. Bursting with energy and romance and sight gags and soapy melodrama, "Crazy Rich Asians" is pure escapist fun that gives us characters to root for. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
3 ½ stars
(Biographical comedy-drama, R, 135 minutes, playing at the Pix in Albany and the Darkside in Corvallis) Spike Lee’s best film in years recounts the true story of Ron Stallworth, an African-American police officer who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in 1979. It’s funny and tense and says something essential about the state of race relations, then and now. John David Washington leads a top-flight cast. (Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press)
(Action, PG-13, 113 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany) A 75-foot-long prehistoric shark attacks a deep-sea submersible, and leaves its crew stranded at the bottom of the ocean. Can a rescue diver (Jason Statham) save the day?
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT
(Action, PG-13, 147 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) Tom Cruise and his reactivated Impossible Missions Force battle international terrorists in this swift and efficient action thriller from writer-director Christopher McQuarrie. The stunts are spectacular, but for a movie about politically motivated violence, it’s strangely apolitical. (Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service)
(Animated action, PG, 118 minutes, playing at the Pix in Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12) Writer-director Brad Bird's second chapter in the story of America's favorite superhero family is a nifty blend of loudly chaotic amusement-ride-type action pieces and domestic comedy-drama. It's a solid double, but I'll admit to a feeling of mild disappointment that it wasn't a grand slam. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)