Weekend Movie Guide

La La Land—4 Stars—Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling fall in love with each other and Los Angeles in a optimistic fantasy musical.

Manchester by the Sea—4 Stars—Casey Affleck gives one of the best performances in years as a janitor forced to return where to the town where he suffered a profound loss.  The story never does what you expect as it delivers stark painful truth

Jackie—4 Stars—Natalie Portman gives the performance of the year as Jackie Kennedy in the days following John Kennedy’s assassination crafting the Kennedy myth.  History behind the scenes.

Lion—4 Stars—A young boy accidentally falls asleep on a train and is carried to another continent.  As he grows up, his instinct pull him back because “There’s no place like home.”  One of the year’s best.

Paterson—4 Stars—Delightful musing on love and work and art and beauty through the eyes of Paterson, New Jersey bus driver Adam Driver.

Get Out—3 1/2 Stars—Comic Jordan Peele directs this breakthrough comedy/horror/satire about a Black kid’s visit to his white girlfriend’s secluded home.

Moonlight—3 1/2 Stars—One of the year’s most artistic films—three scenes in the life of a poor kid growing up with an addicted single mother.  Love and emotion overcome challenges in this sometimes difficult to watch but deeply affecting story.

Lego Batman Movie—3 1/2 Stars—Animated comedy based on the Batman character—hilarious from the first frame onward.

A United Kingdom—3 Stars—David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike spotlight the true story of an interracial couple whose marriage caused an international fury.

I am not your Negro—3 Stars—James Baldwin’s haunting writings brought to life with the voice of Samuel Jackson.

Fantastic Beasts—3 Stars—J.K. Rowling recaptures that old Potter magic.

Fences—3 Stars—Denzel Washington transfers August Wilson’s play to the screen.  The production feels like a play but Denzel, at the top of his game, keeps it interesting.

Hidden Figures—3 Stars—Great story of three brilliant black women in the space program fighting racial and gender discrimination while keeping John Glenn aloft.

20th Century Women—3 Stars—Teenager comes of age in 1979 with help from his free spirit mother Annette Benning and her friends.

Julieta—3 Stars—Pedro Almodovar sweeping drama of death, motherhood, and reconciliation.

Rogue One—2 1/2 Stars—“Star Wars” sidebar.  Fans will love if though it lacks anything new.

The Founder—2 1/2 Stars—Michael Keeton as McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc in  highlights of the life of the reptilian businessman who brought fast food to the masses.  A great performance of a not very nice guy.

Arrival—2 Stars—Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner communicate with space aliens who have a message for us.  The lack of the usual open, middle, and end make this a slog to watch.

The Great Wall—1 Star—Matt Damon fights monsters with the Chinese in a Chinese financed English production that gets lost in translation.

Fifty Shades Darker—1 Star—Second installment of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” S & M  saga.  This time the lovers reunite and renegoiate.  More soapy than sexy.

Elle—1 Star—Getting a lot of attention thanks to the Golden Globes.  Rape, violence, and a “so what” attitude.  I pass.

Split—Zero—I wish I had split instead of watching this “Psycho” rip off.

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