OPENING THIS WEEK
Rocky is almost entirely a good movie. Most of the sequels are mostly good, while some of them are almost not bad. Creed—the seventh movie in the Rocky franchise—is more like the original Rocky than its sequels because it's mostly good, but also because it's almost entirely the same movie as Rocky. Read the full review.
The Good Dinosaur
Delving again into the never-ending gold mine of stories about adorable, lost children, Pixar tells the story of little dino Arlo. In this world, dinosaurs weren't wiped out, but when a big rainstorm sweeps Arlo away from his parents (voiced by Jeffrey Wright and Frances McDormand), he must team up with a Neanderthal named Spot (Jack Bright) to find his way home. AP Kryza, professor-author of WW's AP Film Studies column, anticipates "Pixar's war on the tear ducts" at the screening, which happened too late for this week's issue. PG. Cedar Hills, Eastport, Clackamas, Mill Plain, Cornelius, Edgefield, Lake Theater, Milwaukie, Oak Grove, Cinema 99, Bridgeport, City Center, Division, Evergreen, Hilltop, Lloyd Center, Movies on TV, Pioneer Place, Sherwood, Tigard, Wilsonville, Roseway Theatre, Sandy, St. Johns Theater.
Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict
In the tradition of Grey Gardens, filmmaker and fashion addict Lisa Immordino Vreeland throws viewers into the closeted, batshit world of the woman who imagined London's first modern art museum, slept with Samuel Beckett, commissioned Jackson Pollock's largest-ever work for her front entry, and once had an original Dalí delivered to her in bed. Read the full review.
The True Cost
B+ In the past decade, mainstream America became almost obsessed with analyzing food safety and sustainability. So why is the global clothing trade—which abuses and kills humans rather than animals—still so rarely discussed? It even comes with an equally dire environmental toll. Director Andrew Morgan found himself asking that same question after the disastrous Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in 2013. His journey to find answers took him to countries like Uganda, Bangladesh and China, and the resulting film is a stunning mix of real-life dystopian imagery and harsh interrogation of the "fast fashion" world. We meet inspiring people, mostly women, fighting for living wages and environmental reforms, but the only solution offered is a bit reductive: eliminating global capitalism altogether. Still, a few bumper-sticker sentiments can't detract from this compelling film, which is, above all else, a badly needed conversation-starter. PG. CASEY JARMAN. Hollywood.
B- They used to say a cup of tea could fix anything in England back in the 1960s, which is when racketeering brothers Ronnie and Reggie Kray (both played by Tom Hardy, who is hard not to enjoy) started ruling London's criminal underworld. Unfortunately, Earl Grey can't fix the scattered scenes and haphazard plot of the new feature written and directed by Academy Award-winner Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, A Knight's Tale). Hardy is it's saving grace, valiantly dual acting in the roles of the very different twin brothers. He's perfectly conflicted as Ronnie and charming as Reggie. Helgeland might be known for building suspense, sure, but the two-hour wait for something climactic turns this movie into a ramble of thick East End accents and too many unrealized plotlines. We get Reggie's wife, Frances (Emily Browning), pushing him to drop the gangster act, the drama of Ronnie Kray being gay, the twins fighting to rule the London underworld while struggling to run multiple booze-filled nightclubs—it all offers some vibrant action, like when Reggie stabs a gangster repeatedly with a butter knife. But it's mainly loose ends the movie tries to tie up with some good old gangster violence. Sorry, Hardy. R. AMY WOLFE. Fox Tower.
C- Any time you watch a "reimagining" of a story in the public domain, you do so at your own peril. This retelling of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein answers the question, what if the main character was Igor, but with a straightened back, pretty hair and a girlfriend, and played by Daniel Radcliff? Harry Potter does a herculean job of making Igor interesting, and the steampunk world is fun to look at, but neither of these can overcome the absolutely bonkers plot. There are too many villains and conflicting themes, and the finale takes place over a five-story fire pit, for no apparent reason. It's almost as if (I'm sorry, I can't help it) the movie were a bunch of bad ideas sewn together so it can walk and talk but is never truly alive. Just remember, Frankenstein isn't the monster; 20th Century Fox making another movie about Frankenstein is the monster. PG-13. ALEX FALCONE. Cedar Hills, Eastport, Clackamas, Mill Plain, Cornelius, Living Room Theaters, Oak Grove, Cinema 99, Bridgeport, City Center, Division, Evergreen, Hilltop, Lloyd Center, Movies on TV, Sherwood, Tigard, Wilsonville, Sandy.
B+ Ant-Man is a largely self-contained, breezy, hilarious and gorgeous heist film that manages a feat few recent superhero films do: It stands up well on its own. Ex-con Scott Lang (a beefed-up Paul Rudd) invades the home of Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and finds a weird-looking suit that can shrink its wearer to insect size while granting super strength and the ability to control ants telepathically. He's nobody's favorite superhero, but director Peyton Reed is fully aware of this dopiness, and just runs with it. If it were a comic book, it wouldn't be the kind you put in a Mylar bag. It'd be one that you read with greasy fingers and childlike relish. PG-13. AP KRYZA. Vancouver, Valley.
A- Much like the city's other exports, Boston's gangster flicks vary in quality from genre-shattering genius (The Departed, most '90s bands, the people who invented America) to mind-numbing pantomimes of misogyny (The Boondock Saints, Boston sports fans, Mark Wahlberg). Scott Cooper's Black Mass is the latest cinematic try. It tells the story of Boston's most notorious criminal, James "Whitey" Bulger (Johnny Depp) and the deal he made with the FBI's John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) that ensured he could do whatever he wanted for decades. Read the full review. R. JAMES HELMSWORTH. Academy, Laurelhurst, Vancouver, Valley.
Bridge of Spies
B- Steven Spielberg was born to convey viewers through weird and wonderful alternate realities. Even though history is nearly as illusory as a dinosaur theme park, the director's gift just doesn't shine as brightly when he contends with humanity's past. Bridge of Spies, starring Tom Hanks as an insurance lawyer recruited by the U.S. government to negotiate a spy-for-spy trade with the Soviet Union, benefits from a caustic screenplay by the Coen brothers. While Spielberg is pretty good even when he's on auto-pilot, there is little here that doesn't feel perfunctory. PG-13. CHRIS STAMM. Cedar Hills, Clackamas, Forest Theatre, Hollywood Theatre, Living Room Theaters, Movies on TV, Tigard.
A Brilliant Young Mind
C+ The formula for genius moviemaking is "underdog – loving parent + conflicted mentor = successful public performance." Exhibit A: Step Up. The math in A Brilliant Young Mind may be more cerebral, but the movie isn't. Autistic genius Nathan (Asa Butterfield) struggles with expressing emotions. After losing his father, Nathan pairs up with his pot-smoking tutor, Mr. Humphreys (Rafe Spall), who's experiencing setbacks of his own—especially sexual—from living with multiple sclerosis. Humphreys coaches Nathan to qualify for an International Mathematical Olympiad in Taiwan, where Nathan dreams of joining a team of painfully annoying, young intellectuals. This fiction version of director Morgan Matthews' 2007 documentary is a coming-of-age film that goes nowhere for all its globe-trotting. What the film does offer is an intimate look at living with autism. The quality acting comes from Sally Hawkins as Julie, perfectly frustrated as she struggles to get Nathan's lunch perfect—every item must be a prime number. Witnessing Nathan's "special powers," as his dad called them, may give the film its spectacle, but its soul is in the relationships Nathan struggles to build. When Mind drops the whiz act and focuses on Nathan's fear of holding his mother's hand—that's when the figures check. Read the full review. NR. AMY WOLFE. Living Room Theaters.
A- Based on the title alone, you'd assume that Brooklyn is about a group of artists opening a boutique that sells only dog hoodies. It's not—Brooklyn is a lovely period romance about a young Irish woman trying to make her way in 1950s New York—but since it's set in the '50s, everybody's dressed exactly like they are now and listens to music the same way. Based on the novel by Irish author Colm Tóibín and adapted by Nick Hornby (High Fidelty, About a Boy), Brooklyn is just the sweetest thing. Saoirse Ronan (Atonement) makes an adorable couple with Emory Cohen (Smash), and I could watch them court for hours, especially their awkward dinners with Cohen's Italian family. Portlanders will especially love the more subtle message: Untold wonders await you if you leave your shitty small town and move to New York's coolest borough. PG-13. ALEX FALCONE. Cedar Hills, Eastport, Clackamas, CineMagic Theatre, Cinema 21, Bridgeport, Movies on TV, St. Johns Cinemas.
By the Sea
D The latest film from the pen and camera of Angelina Jolie-Pitt is a painfully slow drama about the dark subtleties of married life, but it's also a two-hour reminder that watching beautiful people be beautifully bored in beautiful southern France does not equal a real story. Set in the 1970s, Roland (Brad Pitt) is a writer who has run out of words, and his glamorous wife, Vanessa (Jolie), is a pill-popping parade of chiffon nightgowns and silent tears that rarely affect her makeup. Their dysfunctional relationship becomes slightly more interesting when they make a habit of peeping on the neighboring honeymooners through a hole in the wall, but that minor plot progression is eclipsed by the numerous scenes of Vanessa's trembling hands attempting to steady her cigarette. Jolie ultimately fails to create tension, relying on the breathtaking cinematography of Christian Berger to legitimize this artistic presentation of upper-class woes. R. LAUREN TERRY. Clackamas, Fox Tower.
B+ There are all manner of ghosts in this gorgeous, tragic tale, but to call it a horror film is to completely mislabel Guillermo del Toro's meticulously crafted, old-fashioned tale of twisted souls and timeless longing. Scary isn't really the point. The things that go bump in the night are not nearly so terrifying as the people who walk the earth, and the film is so immersive and gorgeous that the plot is secondary. The film is a little too slow-moving for those expecting something more jolty and probably a little too obvious for those looking for a deep mystery. While it's not del Toro's most compelling work, it's very surely his most beautiful. R. AP KRYZA. Eastport.
B+ In 1996, a stranded group of climbers, including New Zealand mountaineer Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) and writer Jon Krakauer (Michael Kelly), met a massive storm at the top of the world. Today's CGI and 3-D technology puts the viewer on the mountain in a visceral way. PG-13. LAUREN TERRY. Academy, Empirical, Laurelhurst, Vancouver, Valley
B+ There's a twist at the cold heart of German directors Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz's Goodnight Mommy that most viewers will probably see coming, but that doesn't kill any of the tension in this deeply troubling horror show. Set in an isolated lake house, the film centers on twin brothers Lukas and Elias, whose mother (Susanne Wuest) comes home from facial reconstruction surgery with a head wrapped in bandages and a newfound malevolence toward her sons. R. AP KRYZA. Laurelhurst.
A- It's easy to be skeptical about a 2015 Goosebumps film in 3-D. Jack Black plays R.L. Stine, who joins forces with a couple of cute kids to fight every monster he's ever written about and save the town. PG. ALEX FALCONE. Academy, Avalon Theatre & Wunderland, Kennedy School, Laurelhurst, Division, Movies on TV.
C+ Like a feminist companion piece to last year's Bill Murray feature St. Vincent, Paul Weitz's Grandma tells the tale of Elle (Lily Tomlin), who takes her neglected granddaughter (Julia Garner) under her wing when the teenager comes asking for money for an abortion. An out-of-work poet and widow who just broke up with her young girlfriend (Judy Greer), Elle sees the situation as a chance to bond with her entitled granddaughter. So she takes the girl on a journey through L.A., visiting people from her past to raise funds for the procedure. Tomlin is great as the wise but stubborn Elle, doling out f-bombs and sagelike lessons in equal measure, but despite flashes of genuine emotion, Grandma eventually buckles under its heavy-handedness. It would have made a great play. Instead, it's an all right movie with a fantastic central performance. R. AP KRYZA. Academy, Laurelhurst.
Hotel Transylvania 2
Adam Sandler's hotel is flourishing. PG. Eastport, Cinema 99, Valley.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2
B Mockingjay Part 2, the conclusion of the Hunger Games series, looks spectacular. The burned-out shells of future mega-city the Capitol set a perfect mood, the costumes are inventive and cool, and the acting is almost too good since it results in many great actors having only a couple lines. AND YET all that solid artistic work almost, but not entirely, distracts from the fact that MJP2 is a supremely goofy movie. Set during the conclusion of the revolution started in Catching Fire, Katniss Everdeen leads a group of rebels against the Capitol, which has been booby trapped with hot oil, lasers, and an army of lizard people. It's… silly. If you're on the fence about seeing Mockingjay 2, you'll just need to decide if you like great acting more than you hate lizard people. Read the full review. Or a primer, if you're late to the Games. PG-13. ALEX FALCONE. Bagdad, Cedar Hills, Eastport, Clackamas, Mill Plain, Cornelius, Milwaukie, Moreland, Oak Grove, Cinema 99, Bridgeport, City Center, Division, Evergreen, Hilltop, Lloyd Center, Movies on TV, Pioneer Place, Sherwood, Tigard, Wilsonville, Sandy, St. Johns Cinemas
A- Pretty much everybody in the theater was sobbing at some point during Inside Out. It's sad. Crushingly, relentlessly sad. And absolutely brilliant from writer-director Pete Docter (Up). It's not about depression per se. It's about young Riley, who has to move across the country for her dad's job, and the tiny people in her head who represent her emotions. The main story seems aimed more at parents and, to a lesser extent, older kids. There's a talking elephant made of cotton candy to help occupy the littles, but you will love it, because it's great. And since you're paying for it, screw them. PG. ALEX FALCONE. Academy, Avalon Theatre & Wunderland, Empirical, Kennedy School, Laurelhurst, Vancouver, Valley.
B+ Nancy Meyers' latest film successfully tells a funny, intergenerational story without relying on health scare or a youthful makeover for Ben (Robert De Niro). As an active widower and retiree in need of something to keep himself busy, Ben applies to a senior internship program at "About the Fit," a Topshop-like online clothing site founded by the dedicated Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway). Besides taking place in a squeaky-clean, caucasian version of Brooklyn, this movie doesn't shy away from the less-glamorous details of being a female CEO in a society that is still playing catch-up, at one point showing condescending glances from Jules' fellow mothers at her daughter's school. De Niro does a terrific job embodying the amused patience his generation must adopt to survive in a millennial's world. He wears a suit every day out of habit, but his unquestioning admiration of Jules' tenacity is a refreshingly modern concept, serving as a reminder that the timeless art of being a gentleman begins with respect. PG-13. LAUREN TERRY. Lake Theater, Living Room Theaters.
The Last Witch Hunter
D- The Last Witch Hunter attempts a lot of twists and turns, and it all ends up rating lower than Vin Diesel's voice. Diesel grunts and groans as Kaulder, an immortal witch hunter fighting to save civilization. The rare sparks of talent here are Michael Caine as an elderly priest and Elijah Wood, who stays wide-eyed, airy and Frodo Baggins-like for the entire movie. The greatest disappointment of all is that the ending promises an unfortunate sequel. That comes off like a threat. PG-13. AMY WOLFE. Movies on TV.
B- Take the buzz surrounding The Martian with a boulder of salt. It's just a pretty good sci-fi yarn based on Andy Weir's book that stumbles on its own ambition. When a massive storm hits the Martian exploration project and Watney's team leaves him for dead, the skilled botanist realizes that the only way to escape starvation and space madness is to "science the shit" out of his situation. As always, Scott's direction is spot-on. PG-13. AP KRYZA. Cedar Hills, Eastport, Clackamas, Forest Theatre, Bridgeport, City Center, Division, Evergreen, Lloyd Center, Movies on TV, Pioneer Place, Sherwood.
Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation
A The newest installment in the Tom Cruise-led series is top-of-class for the genre. Sure, James Bond had his Walther P99 pistol-equipped surfboard, but Rogue Nation uses cool spy gadgets to perfection, like the sniper rifle built into a bassoon for all your opera-hall assassination needs. And Tom's aging actually plays well in the movie without becoming a huge deal. The only thing missing is the mushy, romancy stuff. But that's another appeal of the franchise. It's not sappy. It's a tight action movie focused on talented people working together for the good (or harm? You have no idea!) of the world. PG-13. ALEX FALCONE. Vancouver.
C- There's a reason we don't often follow our heroes into the sunset: Retirement is pretty boring and aging is depressing. In Mr. Holmes, the great Sherlock (Ian McKellen), a celebrity thanks to Dr. Watson's embellished accounts, spends his days at a rustic estate struggling to remember his last case, allowing his health to deteriorate and tending to his beehives. Without Ian McKellen, this would be the story of a boring old man doing boring, old-man things. PG. ANDY KRYZA. Academy, Laurelhurst.
Director Joe Wright (Atonement, Hanna) remakes the iconic children's story as a modern-day action flick with Hugh Jackman and Rooney Mara. Screened after deadline. PG. Academy, Avalon Theatre & Wunderland, Kennedy School, Mt. Hood, Vancouver, Valley.
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension
B+ Eight years ago, Jason Blum's cheapo horror empire began with a $15,000 festival filler. The sixth and final installment of his "found footage"-fueled franchise, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, arrives bearing the same tricks as its predecessors. Alas, the effects may suffer from first-run showings at Living Room Theaters and the Avalon Theatre since Regal Cinemas—like many chains—was frightened off by the producer's unholy alliance with an all-too-apropos threat: video on demand. R. JAY HORTON. Avalon.
The Peanuts Movie
A bald child named Charlie battles questionable fashion choices, impossible odds and burgeoning hormones. G. Bagdad, Cedar Hills, Eastport, Clackamas, Mill Plain, Cornelius, Lake Theater, Milwaukie, Oak Grove, Cinema 99, Bridgeport, City Center, Division, Evergreen, Hilltop, Lloyd Center, Movies on TV, Pioneer Place, Sherwood, Tigard, Wilsonville, Sandy, St. Johns Theater.
A Since its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival last summer, the nominations keep coming for this concise, moving neo-noir set in postwar Germany. Nelly (Nina Hoss) has just returned from a concentration camp, her face disfigured beyond recognition. After recovering from reconstructive surgery, she learns of her massive inheritance, but is only concerned about finding her husband, Johnny (Ronald Zehrfeld). "I no longer exist," she says after seeing her unfamiliar reflection, but her search for Johnny spirals into a far more twisted tale of what remains of her sense of self. Director Christian Petzold crafts this stylish period piece without relying on dramatic lighting or odd angles, instead thickening the mystery with jarring cuts that keep the audience guessing. PG-13. LAUREN TERRY. Laurelhurst.
B+ In this riveting adaptation of Emma Donoghue's novel, an abducted woman must raise her son in a confined space, To maintain a stimulating setting, Ma (Brie Larson) creates a social environment with anthropomorphized characters named Bed and Lamp. R. LAUREN TERRY. Fox Tower, Hollywood.
B- Director Aviva Kempner dives right into the humanitarian work of Julius Rosenwald, who became known for creating Rosenwald schools. You can't help wishing this documentary was in Drunk History format for its East Coast accents and lively, detailed storytellers. It's jam-packed with all the philanthropy that the Jewish entrepreneur did for the African-American race he felt so much in common with. An inspiring film, it offers an ounce of hope for our selfish society rather than aiming for a reaction. Rosenwald chose to give rather than bathe in his wealth, and that's a little-known piece of history we should toast our Manischewitz to. NR. AMY WOLFE. Cinema 21.
Secret in Their Eyes
C Ray (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is an earnest FBI investigator determined to convict the man who murdered the daughter of his colleague Jess (Julia Roberts). After initially failing to arrest the killer, Ray has spent the past 13 years poring through hundreds of mug shots in hopes of building a case, and he may have just found the killer. Flashbacks from the tense days following the murder reveal the suspect was an FBI informant from a supposed terrorist cell. Unfortunately, any thoughtful commentary on the paranoid state of post-9/11 America is lost in the film's confusing timeline. Scenes from the past and present blend into one big chase, but this one is at times even less believable than the one in Taken. Ejiofor's dedication is intense enough to make us follow along, even when the loose ends tie up just a little too neatly to be realistic. PG-13. LAUREN TERRY. Cedar Hills, Eastport, Clackamas, Mill Plain, Cornelius, Oak Grove, Cinema 99, Bridgeport, City Center, Division, Evergreen, Fox Tower, Hilltop, Lloyd Center, Movies on TV, Sherwood, Tigard, Wilsonville, Sandy.
Shaun the Sheep Movie
A- In a vibrant return to traditional clay animation, Shaun the Sheep Movie tells a fresh story with the familiar painstaking imagery that makes Aardman Studios the "English Pixar." Steeped in the tongue-in-cheek charm of the original Wallace & Gromit, parents will find as much in store for them as their children. PG. LAUREN TERRY. Laurelhurst.
A Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada) is a talented FBI agent specially recruited into a task force fighting a brutal war against Mexican drug cartels. She spends the whole movie confused and on edge while taking orders from the mysterious Benicio Del Toro (Snatch), who manages to act without ever fully opening his eyes or mouth. As the real mission of the task force slowly takes shape, so do beautiful sweeping helicopter shots of the border zone and heartbreaking vignettes of all the people affected by drug war. R. ALEX FALCONE. Academy, Hollywood Theatre, Laurelhurst, Fox Tower.
C+ How do you like your James Bond? Brooding and brutal, or breezily throwing out quips? Should he drink craft cocktails or Heineken? Spectre—the 26th Bond film—has it all, and more. The one thing it doesn't have is the ability to leave a lasting impression. We walk out of the theater neither shaken nor stirred. Following the impressive Skyfall, director Sam Mendes returns to the director's chair. Buildings crumble, helicopters do barrel rolls, and Daniel Craig nonchalantly causes millions in property damage. But from the minute Sam Smith's grating theme music starts, the movie slides downhill. Most disappointing is Christoph Waltz—so perfect in Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained—who just sneers, cackles and hunches. Sure, there's fun to be had—Bond drives a tricked-out ride through Rome's narrow streets and engages in an Alpine plane chase before the anticlimactic conclusion (extremely uncommon for the series) lands with a dull thud. Considering everybody who's involved in Spectre, the very last reaction anybody expected was "meh." PG-13. AP KRYZA. Cedar Hills, Eastport, Clackamas, Mill Plain, Cornelius, Oak Grove, Cinema 99, Bridgeport, City Center, Division, Evergreen, Hilltop, Lloyd Center, Movies on TV, Pioneer Place, Sherwood, Tigard, Wilsonville, Sandy.
A- Spotlight inverts the usual comparison: It's a movie that feels like prestige television. Specifically, it feels like The Wire. (Director Tom McCarthy played the fabricating reporter Scott Templeton in season 5 of the HBO series.) An Oscar favorite recounting how a Boston Globe investigative team uncovered an epidemic of pederast priests abetted by the Archdiocese, Spotlight borrows the rhythms of a propulsive TV procedural. It resists the temptation for self-congratulation. Instead, there's a pall of communal guilt (much of it Catholic), an acknowledgement that a Pulitzer Prize won't erase decades of conniving at rape. Spotlight is endurable because the actors, a White Guys in Khakis hall of fame including Liev Schreiber, Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo, decline to grandstand. They convey through small gestures—a twitch, a sigh, a pause in scribbling notes—how each revelation presents both a horror and another puzzle to solve. The highest compliment I can pay Spotlight: I would watch this on TV. R. AARON MESH. Cedar Hills, Clackamas, Bridgeport, Evergreen, Fox Tower.
B This is the more high-profile and undoubtedly better of the two movies, with Danny Boyle at the helm and Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave) in the lead role instead of Ashton Kutcher (Dude, Where's My Car?). Never seeming quite human, Fassbender's Jobs oscillates between enthusiasm for his own ideas and outrage that the world can't keep up with him, in exactly the way that people close to the genius described him. R. ALEX FALCONE. Fox Tower.
Straight Outta Compton
C Telling the greatest story in the history of popular music—full of actual violence and sex and death and betrayal and redemption and brotherhood—wasn't going to be easy. Especially since it attempts to follow three main story lines, as Dre, Cube and Eazy-E all get major play, with DJ Yella and MC Ren rightly relegated to bit-player status.As best I know, it's a fairly faithful telling of the story, but it's not the movie N.W.A. deserved. R. MARTIN CIZMAR. Academy, Laurelhurst, Vancouver.
A- In the desert of the Ottoman Empire circa 1916, the young Theeb lives in a man's world—shooting guns, gambling and watching for enemy attacks. When a British guest comes to his village searching for a local guide and decides on Theeb's brother, the tiny, sad-eyed waif follows their perilous journey. The plot may be unsurprising—the travelers' lives are endangered, and Theeb fearlessly acts with wisdom beyond his years and saves the day—but this Bedouin Western is anything but boring beige, for all its sand-dune scenery. The desert is a stunning backdrop for the cast of unknowns, including Jacir Eid Al-Hwietat as Theeb. And with one look from his bottomless eyes, we believe that greatness can come in all shapes and sizes. NR. Living Room Theaters.
C Amy Schumer stars as Amy, a version of herself as a magazine writer instead of a comedy writer. R. ALEX FALCONE. Academy, Kennedy School, Laurelhurst.
C+ Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) is cooking up something other than meth in Trumbo. Cranston delivers a stellar performance as Dalton Trumbo, a rebellious screenwriter who despite being the highest-paid in the business in 1947, can't stay out of trouble. He and nine other artists are blacklisted and jailed for refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee while conniving gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) fuels the media fire. With the glowing Diane Lane looking better than ever as Trumbo's wife, Cleo, and John Goodman adding comedy to the role of a questionable film producer, the pronounced cast tries their best through the sometimes vague, sometimes triumphant events that played out in big-screen history. The majority of the movie is spent wanting to like the film, the acting far surpassing the storyline that fails to deliver a memorable message. This may just be all the right ingredients, but a bad batch. R. AMY WOLFE. Clackamas, Hollywood Theatre, Bridgeport, City Center, Fox Tower, Movies on TV.
B- M. Night Shyamalamadingdong has lost the luster of his early career, so it's no surprise he's making little $5 million found-footage horror movies. But this entry into cheap-shaky horror movies doesn't add much to the genre. The Visit is told from the points of view of an unbelievably precocious 15-year-old who's making a documentary about her first trip to meet her estranged grandparents, and her 12-year-old brother, whose rapping is so bad it makes me want bad things to happen to him much faster than they do. The movie is packed full of jump scares and gross-outs (vomit, poop, old people naked) and a cast of people you've probably never heard of. The film's got some tense scenes, but the humor, even though it's unintentional, makes it hard to stay in the moment. "Little kid, will you climb into the oven please?" We'll give it to M. Night, he does make us feel trapped in an uncomfortable spot. PG-13. ALEX FALCONE. Vancouver.