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"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Mar 052019
 

March 5

 

  • The Favourite

    photo for The Favourite A bawdy, acerbic tale of royal intrigue, passion, envy and betrayal in the court of Queen Anne in early 18th century England. A frail Queen Anne (Oliva Colman) occupies the throne, and her closest friend, confidante, adviser and clandestine lover, Lady Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, (Rachel Weisz), governs the country while tending to Anne’s ill health and volatile temper. When the Duchess’s younger cousin Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives, Sarah takes Abigail under her wing as she cunningly schemes to return to her aristocratic roots, setting off an outrageous rivalry to become the Queen’s favourite. Vitals: Director: Yorgos Lanthimos. Stars: Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone. 2018, CC, MPAA rating: R, 119 min., Drama, Box office gross: $26.878 million, Fox. Extras: Deleted scenes, “The Favourite: Unstitching the Costume Drama.” 4 stars

  • Creed II

    photo for Creed II Life has become a balancing act for Adonis Creed. Between personal obligations and training for his next big fight, he is up against the challenge of his life. Facing an opponent with ties to his family’s past only intensifies his impending battle in the ring. Rocky Balboa is there by his side through it all and, together, Rocky and Adonis will confront their shared legacy, question what’s worth fighting for, and discover that nothing’s more important than family. Vitals: Director: Steven Caple Jr. Stars: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Wood Harris, Andre Ward, Florian Munteanu, Russell Hornsby, Dolph Lundgren. 2018, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 130 min., Drama, Box office gross: $115.570 million, Warner. Extras: “The Rocky Legacy.” Blu-ray adds “From Father to Son,” “Blood Runs Hot,” “Finding the Authentic,” “The Women of Creed II,” deleted scenes. 2 stars

  • Instant Family

    photo for Instant Family When Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) decide to start a family, they stumble into the world of foster care adoption. They hope to take in one small child but when they meet three siblings, including a rebellious 15 year old girl (Isabela Moner), they find themselves speeding from zero to three kids overnight. Now, Pete and Ellie must hilariously try to learn the ropes of instant parenthood in the hopes of becoming a family Vitals: Director: Sean Anders. Stars: Rose Byrne, Mark Wahlberg, Isabela Moner, Octavia Spencer, Eve Harlow, Iliza Shlesinger, Tom Segura, Julie Hagerty. 2018, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 118 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $67.309 million, Paramount. Blu-ray extras: Deleted & extended scenes; Gag Reel; commentary by director-writer Sean Anders and writer John Morris; “Mr. and Mrs. Fix-It” behind the scenes with Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne; “Kid Power” young cast; “I Need Some Support” Octavia Spencer and Tig Notaro guide a group of parents through the laughter and tears of foster care; “Order in the Court” inside one of the film’s most heartfelt moments; “The Families Behind the Fair” real foster families; “Crew Inspiration” in which crew members share their own foster care stories; The Anders Family” real-life inspiration for the film; Isabela Moner “I’ll Stay” promotional music video; “On Set Proposal” surprising wedding proposal from one crew member to another. 2 stars

  • Vox Lux

    photo for Vox Lux This 21st century portrait begins in 1999 when teenage Celeste (Raffey Cassidy) survives a violent tragedy. After singing at a memorial service, Celeste transforms into a burgeoning pop star with the help of her songwriter sister (Stacy Martin) and talent manager (Jude Law). Celeste’s meteoric rise to fame dovetails with a personal and national loss of innocence, consequently elevating the young powerhouse to a new kind of celebrity: American icon, secular deity, global superstar. By 2017, adult Celeste (Natalie Portman) is mounting a comeback after a scandalous incident almost derailed her career. Touring in support of her sixth album, a compendium of sci-fi anthems entitled “Vox Lux,” the indomitable, foul-mouthed pop savior must overcome her personal and familial struggles to navigate motherhood, madness and monolithic fame. Vitals: Director: Brady Corbet. Stars: Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Raffey Cassidy, Stacy Martin, Jennifer Ehle. 2018, CC, MPAA rating: R, 114 min., Drama, Box office gross: $.727 million, Universal. Extras: “Wrapped Up” music video, trailer. 2 stars

 

March 12

 

  • Green Book

    photo for Green Book Inspired by a true friendship that transcended race, class, and the 1962 Mason-Dixon line. When Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on The Green Book to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans. Confronted with racism, danger, as well as unexpected humanity and humor, they are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime. Vitals: Director: Peter Farrelly. Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini. 2018, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 130 min., Drama, Box office gross: $49.078 million, Universal. Extras: “Virtuoso Performances” behind the scenes with Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali; “An Unforgettable Friendship” featurette; “Going Beyond the Green Book” featurette. 3 stars

  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelward

    photo for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelward At the end of the first film (“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”), the powerful Dark Wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) was captured by MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), with the help of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escaped custody and has set about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings. In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists his former student Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world. Vitals: Director: David Yates. Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol,Ezra Miller, Zoe Kravitz, Carmen Ejogo. 2018, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 134 min., Fantasy Adventure, Box office gross: $159.165 million, Warner. Extras: “J.K. Rowling: A World Revealed,” “Wizards on Screen, Fans in Real Life,” “Distinctly Dumbledore,” “Unlocking Scene Secrets: The Return to Hogwarts,” “Unlocking Scene Secrets: Newt’s Menagerie,” “Unlocking Scene Secrets: Credence, Nagini and the Circus Arcanus,” “Unlocking Scene Secrets: Paris and Place Cachée,” “Unlocking Scene Secrets: Ministere des Affaires magiques,” “unlocking scene secrets: grindelwald’s escape and the ring of fire,” deleted scenes. 2 stars

  • Mortal Engines

    photo for Mortal Engines Thousands of years after civilization was destroyed by a cataclysmic event, humankind has adapted and a new way of living has evolved. Gigantic moving cities now roam the Earth, ruthlessly preying upon smaller traction towns. Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan) — who hails from a Lower Tier of the great traction city of London — finds himself fighting for his own survival after he encounters the dangerous fugitive Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar). Two opposites, whose paths should never have crossed, forge an unlikely alliance that is destined to change the course of the future. Vitals: Director: Christian Rivers. Stars: Hugo Weaving, Hera Hilmar, Stephen Lang, Robert Sheehan, Jihae, Joel Tobeck, Frankie Adams, Colin Salmon. 2018, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 128 min., Sci-Fi Fantasy, Box office gross: $15.951 million, Universal. Extras: “End of the Ancients,” “Character Series,” “Welcome to London,” “In the Air,” “Film New Zealand,” feature commentary with director Christian Rivers. 2 stars

 

March 19

 

  • Mary Poppins Returns

    photo for Mary Poppins Returns Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) — just a child when Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) first visited 17 Cherry Tree Lane — is now a grown man raising his children Annabel (Pixie Davies), John (Nathanael Saleh) and Georgie (Joel Dawson) with help from his sister Jane (Emily Mortimer). Times are tough in Depression-era London but the winds begin to change and the enigmatic governess, whose unique magical skills can turn any ordinary task into a fantastic adventure, enters the lives of the Banks family once again, having not aged a single day. Teaming up with an old friend, lamplighter Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda), they take the Banks children on a series of whimsical adventures, encountering colorful characters like Mary’s eccentric Cousin Topsy (Meryl Streep), Jack’s lovable band of leeries and bank executives William Weatherall Wilkins (Colin Firth) and Mr. Dawes Jr. (Dick Van Dyke) — bringing life, love and laughter back into the home. Vitals: Director: Rob Marshall. Stars: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, Dick Van Dyke. 2018, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 130 min., Musical, Box office gross: $171.224 million, Disney. Extras: Deleted song “The Anthropomorphic Zoo”; four-part featurette “The Practically Perfect Making of Mary Poppins Returns”; four-part “Seeing Things From a Different Point of View: The Musical Numbers of Mary Poppins Returns”; “Back to Cherry Tree Lane: Dick Van Dyke Returns”; “Practically Perfect Bloopers”; deleted scenes; play movie in sing-along mode. 3 stars

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    photo for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse After a bite from a radioactive spider grants him superpowers, Brooklyn teen Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) becomes the one and only Spider-Man. When a gateway into the multiverse opens up, Miles soon realizes he isn’t the only spider superhero out there, as he meets many different versions of himself pulled in from other universes, including the original Peter Parker (Jake Johnson) and Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld). Together they fight off the evil Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) and attempt to save the world. Vitals: Director: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman. Stars: Voices of Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld,, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Luna Lauren Velez, Zoë Kravitz, John Mulaney, Nicholas Cage, Kathryn Hahn, Liev Schreiber. 2018, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 117 min., Animated Adventure, Box office gross: $184.924 million, Sony. Extras: “We Are Spider-Man” takes a deep dive into the diversity of the characters in the film; “Spider-Verse: A New Dimension” featurette; “The Ultimate Comics Cast”; “A Tribute to Stan Lee & Steve Ditko”; “The Spider-Verse Super-Fan Easter Egg Challenge”; “Designing Cinematic Comics Characters”; “Heroes & Hams”: Meet the amazing Spider-people of the Spider-Verse; “Scorpions and Scoundrels” classic villains who wreak havoc on the Spider-Verse; “Alternate Universe Mode” offers alternate scenes, plotlines, characters, and more with the filmmakers as your guide; two lyric videos: “Sunflower” by Post Malone and Swae Lee and “Familia” by Nicki Minaj & Anuel AA (feat. Bantu); all-new original short “Spider-Ham: Caught In a Ham.” 3 stars

 

March 26

 

  • Aquaman

    photo for Aquaman The Atlantean child Orin, son to the Queen of Atlantis (Nicole Kidman), was abandoned as an infant and left to die; however, he was rescued and raised by a kindly lighthouse keeper. The keeper (Temuera Morrison) adopted the boy as his own son, renaming him Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa). Able to survive the harshest depths of the ocean and on the surface world above, the child of two worlds grows to be a hero to both eventually returning to Atlantis to become their King in addition to being a founding member of the Justice League as Aquaman. Now he must go on a quest to prevent a war between the worlds of ocean and land. Vitals: Director: James Wan. Stars: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Dolph Lundgren, Nicole Kidman, Patrick Wilson, Randall Park, Willem Dafoe, Graham McTavish, Djimon Hounsou, Temuera Morrison, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Leigh Whannell. 2018, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 139 min., Action Adventure, Box office gross: $328.547 million, Warner. Extras: “Becoming Aquaman,” “Going Deep Into the World of Aquaman,” “James Wan: World Builder,” “Dark Depths of Black Manta,” “The Heroines of Atlantis,” “Villainous Training,” “A Match Made in Atlantis,” “Atlantis Warfare,” “Creating Undersea Creatures,” “Aqua Tech,” “Scene Study Breakdown: The Submarine,” “Scene Study Breakdown: Sicily Showdown,” “Scene Study Breakdown: The Trench,” “Kingdoms of the Seven Seas.” 3 stars

  • Stan & Ollie

    photo for Stan & Ollie Laurel & Hardy, one of the world’s great comedy teams, set out on a variety hall tour of Britain in 1953. Diminished by age and with their golden era as the Kings of Hollywood Comedy now behind them, they face an uncertain future. As the charm and beauty of their performances shines through, they re-connect with their adoring fans. The tour becomes a hit, but Stan & Ollie can’t quite shake the specter of Laurel and Hardy’s past; the long-buried ghosts, coupled with Oliver’s failing health, start to threaten their precious partnership. A portrait of the most tender and poignant of creative marriages, they are aware that they may be approaching their swan song, trying to rediscover just how much they mean to each other. Vitals: Director: Jon S. Baird. Stars: John C. Reilly, Steve Coogan, Shirley Henderson, Stephanie Hyam, Danny Huston. 2018, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 97 min., Drama Comedy, Box office gross: $4.323 million, Sony. Extras: Four featurettes: “Making Stan & Ollie,” “Playful Prosthetics,” “The Dancing Duo” and “Q&A with Cast and Crew”; three deleted scenes. 3 stars

  • If Beale Street Could Talk

    photo for If Beale Street Could Talk From Academy Award-winner Barry Jenkins,* adapted from James Baldwin’s acclaimed novel, comes this timeless love story set in early 1970s Harlem. Newly engaged 19-year-old Tish (KiKi Layne) and her fiancé Fonny (Stephan James) have a beautiful future ahead. But their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit. Now the pair and their families must fight for justice in the name of love and the promise of the American dream. Vitals: Director: Barry Jenkins. Stars: KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King, Colman Domingo, Teyonah Parris, Michael Beach. 2018, CC, MPAA rating: R, 100 min., Drama, Box office gross: $14.643 million, Fox. Extras: Deleted scenes, “If Beale Street Could Talk: Poetry in Motion,” audio commentary by Barry Jenkins. 2 stars

  • Second Act

    photo for Second Act Maya (Jennifer Lopez) is a 40-year-old woman struggling with the frustrations of not having achieved more in life. As an experienced, quick-witted, perceptive employee, she is passed over for a promotion solely because she doesn’t have a college degree. Until, that is, she gets the chance to prove that street smarts are as valuable as book smarts, and that it is never too late for a Second Act. Vitals: Director: Peter Segal. Stars: Jennifer Lopez, Leah Remini, Vanessa Hudgens, Annaleigh Ashford, Charlyne Yi, Treat Williams, Milo Ventimiglia. 2018, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 103 min., Comedy Drama, Box office gross: $38.414 million, Universal. Extras: “Connecting with Milo Ventimiglia” behind-the-scenes piece; “The Empowering Women of Second Act” featurette; “Friendship On and Off Screen” with best friends Jennifer Lopez and Leah Remini; “Working with the Ones You Love.” 2 stars

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