As always, go online to find the complete version of the Movie Scene and reviews of new films.
2 ½ stars
(Sports drama, PG-13, 128 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany, the Regal 4 in Corvallis and the AMC Corvallis 12) The sequel to 2015’s “Creed” isn’t as good, but it has its pleasures, including Michael B. Jordan returning as the son of boxer Apollo Creed, and Dolph Lundgren, who’s surprisingly effective. The movie essentially is a sequel to 1985’s “Rocky IV,” in which Russian brute Lundgren killed Apollo Creed in the ring; now, decades later, Creed’s son (Jordan) takes on the son of the Russian boxer. (Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune)
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET
"Ralph Breaks the Internet" (Animated adventure, PG, 112 minutes). The hapless video game "villain" (John C. Reilly) from "Wreck-It Ralph" and his sharp-witted friend Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) venture out of the arcade into the World Wide Web in search of a replacement part. There were times when the sweet-natured animated adventure was brimming with so much stimuli, I had to remind myself to laugh. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
2 ½ stars (Action-adventure, PG-13, 116 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12) Taron Egerton of the “Kingsmen” films takes on the title role in the latest cinematic interpretation of the legend; this Robin Hood is a war-hardened Crusader who teams up with his Moorish commander to battle the corrupt English crown. Jamie Foxx and Ben Mendelsohn co-star. The movie is sleek, modern and retrofitted for a radical political landscape, even if it loses steam in its second half. (Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service)
3 ½ stars
(Drama, R, 114 minutes, playing at the Darkside in Corvallis) In yet another effective and authentic performance, Lucas Hedges plays a teenager sent by his parents to a "conversion camp" designed to reprogram people who "think" they're gay. Cast as his parents are Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman, and it's something special to see the Oscar winners disappearing into their characters in this understated but impactful film. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD
2 ½ stars
(Fantasy adventure, PG-13, 134 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 and Pix in Albany, the Regal 4 in Corvallis and the AMC Corvalli 12) While the performances are solid, the sequel to J.K. Rowling's "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" sinks under the weight of too many intersecting storylines and not enough focus on the fascinating, fractured relationship of wizards Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) and Dumbledore (Jude Law). (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
(Comedy drama, PG-13, 118 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12) Without thinking it through, a married couple (Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne) decide to foster three troubled siblings. The well-intentioned but disappointing result is an uneven mix of broad comedy and sometimes heavy-handed melodrama. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
(Crime thriller, R, 128 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) Viola Davis deserves a best actress nomination for her performance as a criminal's wife plotting a heist of her own. Even the relatively peripheral characters are unforgettable in this film — part political thriller, part family drama, part race and class commentary. This is one of the best movies of 2018. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?
(Biography, R, 107 minutes, playing at the Darkside in Corvallis) In the performance of her career, Melissa McCarthy plays a washed-up, desperate celebrity biographer who resorts to forging letters "written" by famous authors and selling them to collectors for cash. She's aided by a nomination-worthy script, vibrant cinematography and memorable supporting performances. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
DR. SEUSS’ THE GRINCH
(Animated, PG, 90 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany, the Regal 4 in Corvallis and the AMC Corvallis 12) Benedict Cumberbatch voices the green meanie who threatens Christmas in Who-ville in this computer-animated retelling of the Dr. Seuss classic. Voices by Angela Lansbury, Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson, Pharrell Williams. You’ll laugh a bit; you’ll cry a bit. But you won’t want to see this one every holiday season. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
(Horror, R, 107 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) U.S. paratroopers landing in France in advance of D-Day face an unexpected enemy in this action-horror mashup. With Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Pilou Asbæk, Mathilde Ollivier, John Magaro, Iain de Caestecker. Written by Billy Ray and Mark L. Smith, story by Ray. Directed by Julius Avery.
(Music biography, PG-13, 135 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany, the Regal 4 in Corvallis and the AMC Corvallis 12). The greatly gifted Rami Malek is given zero chance to create a believable, in-depth portrayal of Queen leader Freddie Mercury in this shamelessly scripted biopic. What a crushing, unmitigated, stunningly inept and astonishingly tone-deaf disaster. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
(Documentary, 100 minutes, PG-13, playing at the Darkside in Corvallis) An intense and highly personal look at professional climber Alex Honnold’s rope-less conquest of a route on El Capitan, a legendary rock face in Yosemite National Park. Directors Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi capture both the athletic genius and emotional anguish of the historic climb. (Evan Bush, The Seattle Times)
A STAR IS BORN
(Drama, R, 136 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12). In his directorial debut, Bradley Cooper (also the leading man) strikes the perfect balance between a showbiz fable and an intimate story with universal truths. As the protege who rockets to fame, Lady Gaga is a winning, natural presence, even in the scenes where she's nowhere near a piano or a microphone. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
(Animated adventure, PG, 96 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12). It's not often an animated children's movie features lessons about critical thinking. But in this zippy, silly, zany, cheery little tale, a skeptical Yeti (voice of Channing Tatum) in a land of Yetis learns the value of questioning the status quo. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)