WORTH SEEING IN THEATERS
Jackie – First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (Natalie Portman) struggles through the days after her husband’s assassination. Directed by Pablo Larraín. trailer
La La Land – Aspiring actress (Emma Stone) and jazz pianist (Ryan Gosling) chase their Hollywood dreams in refreshingly retro movie musical. Directed by Damien Chazelle. trailer
Arrival [PG-13] – Amy Adams plays a college professor drafted by homeland security to communicate with alien visitors. With Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker. trailer
Elle [R] – Black comedy-thriller of a successful businesswoman (Isabelle Huppert) who tries to track down the man who raped her. Directed by Paul Verhoeven. In French. trailer
Hell or High Water [R] – “Neo-western” about two brothers (Ben Foster and Chris Pine) who rob sleepy banks in West Texas to settle a personal score, with Texas Rangers (Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham) in slow-motion pursuit. Screenplay by Taylor Sheridan. trailer
Manchester by the Sea [R] – Casey Affleck plays a young father haunted by family tragedy. Written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan. trailer
Moana [PG] – Animated musical adventures of a new Disney princess, Moana, who sails the South Pacific in search of a fabled island. trailerMoonlight [NR] – Spell-binding love story of gay African-American coming of age in inner-city Miami. Directed by Barry Jenkins. “Like Brokeback Mountain a decade ago, Moonlight is a piece of art that will transform lives long after it leaves theaters” — Gregory Ellwood trailer
Sully [PG-13] – Tom Hanks portrays Chesley Sullenberger, the unassuming pilot who landed a stricken jetliner on the Hudson River, as he endures a post-crash NTSB investigation. Directed by Clint Eastwood from a script by Todd Komarnicki, adapting Sullenberger’s own book. trailer
1. Moana [PG] – Animated Disney musical about a princess searching for a fabled island in the South Pacific.
2. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them [PG-13] – Harry Potter spin-off about Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne)in a secret community of witches and wizards.
3. Arrival [PG-13] – Lonely linguistics professor (Amy Adams) is called to communicate with aliens. Directed by Denis Villeneuve.
4. Allied [R] – Intelligence officer (Brad Pitt) meets French Resistance fighter (Marion Cotillard) in 1942 behind enemy lines in North Africa.
5. Doctor Strange [PG-13] – Benedict Cumberbatch as former neurosurgeon drawn into the mystic arts.
December 16 – Collateral Beauty – Will Smith plays ad executive who retreats from life after personal tragedy. Fine cast: Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley.
December 16 – Fences – Denzel Washington and Viola Davis in adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play.
December 16 – Neruda – Chilean poet/senator Pablo Neruda (Luis Gnecco) delights his public and taunts a policeman who pursues him in political exile. Directed by Pablo Larraín.
December 16 – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – New installment in the Star Wars saga.
December 28 – Paterson – Poetry and dreams fill the life of a New Jersey bus driver (Adam Driver). From director Jim Jarmusch.
December 28 – Toni Erdmann – Eccentric father wins his way back into his daughter’s life (in German).
January 20 – The Founder – Michael Keaton plays Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s.
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FILM FESTIVAL RECAPS
Opening night: The 13th, searing documentary by Ava DuVernay (director of Selma in 2014) about America’s sky-high prison incarceration rate. Featured: 20th Century Women, directed by Mark Mills. Closing night: The Lost City of Z, a period drama by James Gray set in the Amazon.
Writer-director Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, the retro musical with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, dominated the festival chatter. Arrival and Moonlight built momentum, and Pablo Larrain’s Jackie, starring Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy, made a high-profile debut.
Patron preview: La La Land – “Writer-director Damien Chazelle revives the all-singing, all-dancing MGM musical” (Larry Gross) with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone and composer Justin Hurwitz.
Premieres: Clint Eastwood’s Sully with Tom Hanks and Laura Linney, and Moonlight from writer-director Barry Jenkins.
Tributes: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), Amy Adams (Arrival) and Pablo Larrain (director, Neruda).
Palme d’Or: I, Daniel Blake, from British director Ken Loach, about a British carpenter struggling to keep his benefits after a heart attack. Notable screenings out of competition: Woody Allen’s Cafe Society, set in 1930s Hollywood, Steven Spielberg’s The BFG starring Mark Rylance, and Jim Jarmusch documentary about Iggy Pop, Gimme Danger.
Last year’s Palme d’Or winner was Dheepan, French crime drama about three refugees who flee to France from war-ravaged Sri Lanka.
Opening night: The First Monday in May, Andrew Rossi documentary goes behind the scenes as fashion mogul Anna Wintour mounts a benefit show at the Met Museum in New York.
Best Narrative Feature: Dean, directed by Dimetri Martin.
Best International Narrative Feature: Junction 28, written and directed by Udi Aloni. Best Documentary Feature: Do Not Resist, directed by Craig Atkinson. The feature slate included an anniversary celebration of Taxi Driver. The new TV track included screenings of The Good Wife, Six Feet Under, Roots and Broad City.
Richard Linklater’s poignant college drama Everybody Wants Some!! opened the film portion of the festival. Adam Pinney’s quirky film about eccentricity and obsession, The Arbalest, won the narrative grand jury prize. Keith Maitland’s Tower, which reconstructs the 1966 sniper shootings at the University of Texas at Austin, won the top documentary prize.
U.S. Grand Jury Prizes – Weiner (documentary) – A behind-the-scenes look at scandal in Anthony Weiner’s New York City mayoral campaign. The Birth of a Nation (drama) – Historical drama of Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher in the antebellum South, and the brutal slave rebellion he led.
U.S. Audience Awards – Jim: The James Foley Story (documentary) – Examines the public execution by ISIS of American journalist James Foley. The Birth of a Nation (drama).
Last year’s winners –Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, The Wolfpack, Meru