Currently playingJanuary 29, 2015
(Updated Thursday, Jan. 29)
American Sniper (Jasper 8 Theatres)
Clint Eastwood directs a powerful, intense portrayal of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, hardly the blueprint candidate to become the most prolific sniper in American military history. And yet that’s what happened. In maybe the best performance of his career, Bradley Cooper infuses Chris with humanity and dignity. And vulnerability. (War drama, R, 2 hrs. 12 min.)
The Boy Next Door (Jasper 8 Theatres)
For a while, this Jennifer Lopez stalker movie is laughably bad garbage. But as the predictable plot reaches its predictable conclusion, “The Boy Next Door” takes an ugly turn, with some nasty violence and a final confrontation that drags on too long. (Thriller, R, 1 hr. 31 min.)
The Imitation Game (Jasper 8 Theatres)
As mathematician, code-breaker and martyred gay icon Alan Turing, one of the most ill-served heroes of World War II, Benedict Cumberbatch goes to town — discreetly in the new film “The Imitation Game.” Director Morten Tyldum (“Headhunters”) adheres to the tradition of uncomplicated, well-acted biopics about complicated makers of history. The movie is entertaining and, at the same time, extremely nervous about going over the heads of the average moviegoer, to the point of boiling down its code-breaking technicalities to watery generalities. Yet Cumberbatch and his on-screen colleagues, including Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode and Mark Strong, transcend the script’s facile quality. Cumberbatch has researched Turing sufficiently to borrow such useful real-life traits as his sudden intakes of breath before speaking. Mainly, though, he commands the screen easily and has a winning way, at this fruitful, attention-getting stage of his own game, of dominating a scene while creating a dimensional character full of quirks, doubts and obsessions. It’s fine work. (PG-13, 1 hr. 54 min.)
Mortdecai (Jasper 8 Theatres)
Should the recent surge in male facial hair as a fashion accessory stall in 2015, barbers would be within their rights to blame “Mortdecai,” a perky but obstinately unfunny heist caper with a hero irksome enough to make any happily mustachioed man reconsider his life choices. The film shoots for the swinging insouciance of ‘60s farce, but this story of a caddish art dealer enlisted by MI5 to assist in a knotty theft case is longer on frippery than quippery. Only dedicated devotees of Johnny Depp’s latter-day strain of mugging — here channeling Austin Powers by way of P.G. Wodehouse — will delight in this expensive-looking oddity. (R, 1 hr. 46 min.)
Paddington (Jasper 8 Theatres)
Based on the beloved children’s book series, “Paddington” is witty and charming, with a considerable if sneaky emotional impact, and it offers more than enough to satisfy Paddington lovers and Paddington newbies alike. Graced with unusually delicate computer-generated animation mixed with live action, the film retains elements of the first book, ropes in bits of other books and invents a lot of its own. Raised in a tribe of highly advanced and surprisingly verbal bears in Peru, Paddington is shipped off to London, where he and his adoptive human family learn to negotiate life under the same roof. Nicole Kidman a villainous taxidermist intent on killing and stuffing our pal. (PG, 1 hr. 29 min.)
Taken 3 (Jasper 8 Theatres)
This tired, gratuitously violent, ridiculous and laughably stupid entry in a franchise that started out with at least an intriguing idea and a few solid moments now should be put out of its misery. Liam Neeson reprises and Forest Whitaker adds some panache as the obligatory top cop, but what got “Taken” was a hundred and twelve minutes of my life. (Action, PG-13, 1 hr. 52 min.)
Unbroken (Jasper 8 Theatres)
Angelina Jolie directs the well-known story of Louis Zamperini, a former Olympic track star who spent more than two years as a POW in World War II. It’s an ambitious, sometimes moving film that suffers from a little too much self-conscious nobility, and far too many scenes of sadistic brutality. (War biography, PG-13, 2 hrs. 17 min.)
The Wedding Ringer (Jasper 8 Theatres)
In this “Wedding Crashers Redux,” Kevin Hart plays a guy who hires himself out as a rent-a-best-man to rescue grooms who have failed to establish long-term friendships. He’s hired by a sad sack (Josh Gad) who needs not just a best man but a whole team of groomsmen. The film softens Hart and his manic funnyman persona into someone more sentimental than abrasive. A savvy, sassy script and genuine chemistry between Hart and Gad make this an R-rated bromance that will touch you as often as it tickles you. (R, 1 hr. 41 min.)
Also playing at Jasper 8 Theatres: "Strange Magic."
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