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Capsule reviews of feature films

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Published in Entertainment News

AMERICAN MADE. 3 stars. Tom Cruise stars in this fun but heavily fictionalized portrait of Barry Seal, a drug smuggler who found himself at the intersection of drug cartels and CIA adventurism in Central and South America in the 1970s and '80s. Directed by Doug Liman. 1 hr. 55 R (violence) -- Gary Thompson

A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS. 2 stars. The three R-rated moms (Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis and Kathryn Hahn) must put up with their own mothers (Cheryl Hines, Christine Baranski and Susan Sarandon) over the fraught holidays. What once was transgressive has become reflexive. With Peter Gallagher. 1 hr. 44 R (language) -- Gary Thompson

BATTLE OF THE SEXES. 2.5 stars. Women's tennis champ Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and aging male star Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) square off in a publicity stunt tennis match that ends up proving King's point about the value of female athletes. Some fun moments, but aside from the two leads, is given to caricature and some on-the-nose dialogue. With Andrea Riseborough, Sarah Silverman, and Bill Pullman. 2 hrs. 1 PG-13 (nudity) -- Gary Thompson

BLADE RUNNER 2049. 3.5 stars. An imaginative, visually stunning if overlong sequel from Denis Villeneuve that embraces and embellishes Ridley Scott's original 1982 dark vision of a future Los Angeles where police (Ryan Gosling) hunt down synthetic humans, even as the latter grow more like us. With Harrison Ford, Jared Leto, Ana de Armas and MacKenzie Davis. 2 hrs. 44 R (violence) -- Gary Thompson

THE FLORIDA PROJECT. 3 stars. Engaging slice-of-life look at residents of an Orlando motel, the adults living paycheck-to-paycheck, their free-range kids having an improbably wonderful time on the ragged fringe of the Magic Kingdom. Written and directed by Sean Baker. With Willem Dafoe, Brooklyn Prince. 1 hr. 45. R (language) -- Gary Thompson

JUSTICE LEAGUE. 2 stars. This dour, downbeat corner of the DC Universe finds Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gail Gadot) recruiting superheroes Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) to combat an invading alien army and an interstellar bad guy (Ciaran Hinds). Directed with a heavy hand by Zack Snyder. With Amy Adams, Diane Lane. 1 hr. 59 PG-13 (violence) -- Gary Thompson

THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER. 2 stars. Yorgos Lanthimos provocation about a prosperous surgeon (Colin Farrell) with a young fan who turns out to be a stalker and a sociopath, forcing the physician into a sick game of gruesome choices. The movie's icy affections and snarky asides get in the way of whatever humanity it's intended to have. With Nicole Kidman. 1 hr. 59 R (violence) -- Gary Thompson

LADY BIRD. 4 stars. Funny, touching coming-of-age story about a Sacramento high school senior (Saoirse Ronan) who quarrels with her mother (Laurie Metcalf) about her determination to leave California for a more sophisticated life at an Eastern college. Written and directed with great affection, wisdom and skill by Greta Gerwig. With Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Beanie Feldstein. 1 hr. 33 R (language, sexuality) -- Gary Thompson

LAST FLAG FLYING. 2.5 stars. Three Vietnam war buddies (Steve Carell, Laurence Fishburne and Bryan Cranston) reunite to bury one man's son, killed in the line of duty in Iraq. The performances of the leads are uneven, but supporting players, including Cicely Tyson, help the movie build to a strong conclusion. Directed by Richard Linklater. 2 hrs. 5 R (language) -- Gary Thompson

MUDBOUND. 2 stars. The harsh realities and race/class complexities of post-WWII Jim Crow South play out in the lives of white and black families farming the same parcel of Mississippi land in Dee Rees' thoughtful adaptation of the Hillary Jordan book. With Carey Mulligan, Mary J. Blige, Garrett Hedlund and Jason Clarke. 2 hrs. 15 R (violence) -- -- Gary Thompson

 

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS. 3 stars. Kenneth Branagh's appropriately hammy adaptation of the classic 1930s Agatha Christie mystery about a murder aboard a snowbound train in Yugoslavia, under the nose of master detective Hercule Poirot (Branagh) who finds himself inundated with likely suspects -- the all-star cast includes Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Willem Dafoe and Michelle Pfeiffer. 1 hr. 54 PG-13 (violence) -- Gary Thompson

SUBURBICON. 1.5 stars. Misfired black comedy from director George Clooney, adapting a Coen brothers script, about a post-war suburban father (Matt Damon) reacting brutally to a home invasion. Related storylines about racism are poorly handled, and the movie's garish tonal shifts are jarring. With Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac. 1 hr. 45 R (violence) -- Gary Thompson

THOR: RAGNAROK. 3 stars. Mercifully funny diversion into a quirky corner of the Marvel universe, with Cate Blanchett has the vengeful and power mad sister of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) ascending the throne, banishing her brother to a prison planet, where he recruits the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) to his cause. With Jeff Goldblum, Tom Hiddleston. 2 hrs. 10 PG-13 (violence) -- Gary Thompson

VICTORIA & ABDUL. 3 stars. Judi Dench stars as Queen Victoria, who late in life develops a rejuvenating friendship with an Indian servant (Ali Fazal) who teaches her about the customs of his native land, to her delight and to the consternation of her scandalized staff. With Eddie Izzard, Olivia Williams. Directed by Stephen Frears. 1 hr. 52 PG-13 (language) -- Gary Thompson

WONDER. 2.5 stars. Sturdy if sometimes sappy adaptation of the R.J. Palacio YA novel about a boy (Jacom Tremblay) with facial deformities enduring his first days at middle school. Cast includes Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Mandy Patinkin. 1 hr. 43 PG -- Gary Thompson

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