Bad Times at the El Royale,
directed by Drew Goddard
(R, 2 hours, 21 minutes)
A well-chosen and expertly meshing ensemble cast takes on this promising puzzle of a noir plot with enthusiasm based on gradual revelations, twists/turns, violence, stylish camera work, and a mind-bending soundtrack from the mid- to late-1960s.
Seven strangers -- among them a shabby and shifty priest, a Motown singer, a vacuum cleaner salesman, and the requisite hippie -- meet in 1960s-era California at a shady hotel in Lake Tahoe, where over the hours of one night they get acquainted, get in trouble, solve some mysteries, and discover assorted paths leading to redemption.
With Chris Hemsworth, Jeff Bridges, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Lewis Pullman.
Night School (PG-13, 1 hour, 51 minutes) A good-natured if not entirely successful comedy in which a bunch of troublemakers are forced to attend night school in hopes of passing the GED exam. With Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Rob Riggle, Ben Schwartz; directed by Malcolm D. Lee.
Bluefin (not rated, 53 minutes) This focused, passionate and concerned documentary -- set in North Lake, Prince Edward Island, Canada ("the tuna capital of the world") -- explores the mystery of why normally wary bluefin tuna are so plentiful and so hungry that they no longer fear humans who feed them, which defies scientific assessments claiming endangered stocks are down by 90 percent. Directed by John Hopkins.
Trouble (R, 1 hour, 40 minutes) A skilled and over-qualified cast doesn't get much to work with in this indifferent comedy in which middle-aged siblings with no love for each other feud over possession of their father's estate. With Anjelica Huston, Bill Pullman, David Morse, Julia Stiles; directed by Theresa Rebeck.
Scaffolding (not rated, 1 hour, 30 minutes) An intriguing low-key drama about the value of education concerns a charming yet nearly out-of-control teenager Asher (Asher Lax) who rebels against his father's plan to see the kid take on the family's scaffolding business when he finds an appealing role model in a literature teacher (Ami Smolartchik). With Yaacov Cohen, Keren Berger; directed by Matan Yair. In Hebrew with English subtitles.
Venom (PG-13, 1 hour, 52 minutes) Movies that star Tom Hardy are usually watchable. Not this one, a disorganized and disappointing mess in which an investigative journalist's body becomes the host of an alien who reveals a violent super-power personality. With Riz Ahmed, Reid Scott, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Williams; directed by Ruben Fleischer.
The Super (R, 1 hour, 30 minutes) If you've been wondering what's become of Val Kilmer, here he is, adding a much-needed spark to an occasionally surprising violent horror/suspense effort as a weird maintenance guy laboring in an elegant New York high-rise where some of the tenants are curiously disappearing. Building superintendent Phil Lodge (Patrick John Flueger) suspects bad behavior and sets out to investigate. With Louisa Krause, Mattea Conforti; directed by Stephan Rick.
MovieStyle on 01/04/2019
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