Movies playing in mid-valley theaters as of Friday. Complete and updated Movie Scene listings can be found online.
3 ½ stars
(Comedy, R, 151 minutes, playing at the Darkside in Corvallis) Ruben Ostlund’s satire set in the world of contemporary art won the top prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The film follows the respected curator of a museum whose foolish response to the theft of his phone drags him into shameful situations. It’s a savage and relentless high-wire ensemble comedy, a vivid character study and a sustained volley of ideas. Claes Bang and Elisabeth Moss star. (Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times)
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
(Dark comedy, R, 115 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) The story of a grieving mother (Frances McDormand) trying to shame the police chief (Woody Harrelson) into solving her daughter's murder provides some of the strongest laughs and most poignant moments of heartbreak of any movie in recent memory. Somehow writer-director Martin McDonagh has taken the bleakest of subject matters and treated it seriously while also serving up one of the best dark comedies I've ever seen. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
(Animated, PG, 104 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12) A 12-year-old boy (Anthony Gonzalez) crosses over, while alive, from his village in Mexico to the Land of the Dead, an exciting metropolis populated by deceased humans. The visuals jump off the screen, but the movie’s flights of imaginative frenzy are too constrained by formula: “Coco” is a good, but not great, Pixar flick. (Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times)
(Comedy, R, 93 minutes, playing at the Darkside in Corvallis) Greta Gerwig already has made a fine career for herself as an actress, but with "Lady Bird" she has written and directed a film that's smart without being smug and insightful without being condescending. Saoirse Ronan delivers a pure and honest performance as the title character, a high school senior, and the work by Laurie Metcalf and Tracy Letts as her parents is what greatness looks like. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ.
(Crime thriller, PG-13, 129 minutes, playing at the Regal 4 in Corvallis) After a long career of working behind the scenes for L.A.'s downtrodden, a socially inept legal savant (Denzel Washington) goes to work at a law firm run by a slick shark (Colin Farrell) who represents everything he despises. The strong performances are ultimately lost in the fog of a strange and confusing and bumpy and sometimes implausible story line. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
1 ½ stars
(Action-adventure, PG-13, 121 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12) DC’s biggest heroes — Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg -- unite to battle a space monster intent on destroying the world. The film had a troubled production, and it shows: The final result is a chaotic, baffling, breathtakingly bad mess. Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot and Henry Cavill star. (Katie Walsh, Tribune Media Service)
(Animated, PG, 86 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) A small but brave donkey and his animal friends become the heroes of the first Christmas in this new animated flick.
(Drama, PG, 113 minutes, playing at the Pix and the Regal 7 in Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12) A young boy (Jacob Tremblay) with a facial deformity begins the fifth grade in a mainstream school with the help and support of his mother (Julia Roberts) and father (Owen Wilson). The movie never shies away from making serious points, but never turns preachy. (Rick Bentley, Tribune News Service)
DADDY’S HOME 2
(Comedy, PG-13, 95 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany, the Regal 4 in Corvallis and the AMC Corvallis 12) In this sour, cynical and profoundly unfunny sequel, touchy-feely Brad (Will Ferrell) and gruff Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) celebrate with their dads (John Lithgow and Mel Gibson), each an exaggerated version of his son. Much of the humor is of questionable taste at best, and hardly anybody talks or behaves in ways most of us can empathize with. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
3 ½ stars
(Animated, PG-13, 94 minutes, playing at the Darkside in Corvallis) To tell this story about a mystery surrounding the 1890 death of artist Vincent Van Gogh, filmmakers Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman assembled a cast, found costumes and sets, and shot the film. Then every frame — more than 65,000 of them — was hand-painted over in oil paint in the style of Van Gogh. The result is rapturously beautiful. (Moira MacDonald, The Seattle Times)
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS
(Mystery, PG-13, 114 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the Regal 4 in Corvallis and the AMC Corvallis 12) Kenneth Branagh stars as Agatha Christie’s famed detective Hercule Poirot, and runs away with this star-studded remake, with lavish production design and an intoxicating and dazzling display of cinematic style. But the movie’s sad ending seeps away much of its energy. (Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service)
(Biographical drama, PG-13, 118 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) Chadwick Boseman plays Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American attorney named to the U.S. Supreme Court. This well-made movie focuses on Marshall’s early career; as he works as a lawyer for the NAACP, he takes on the case of a black chauffeur who’s accused of sexual assault and attempted murder. Josh Gad and Sterling K. Brown co-star. (Gary Thompson, Philadelphia Inquirer)
A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS
1 ½ stars
(Comedy, R, 104 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) Three overstressed mothers (Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, and Kathryn Hahn) are alarmed when their own troublemaking moms (Cheryl Hines, Christine Baranski, and Susan Sarandon) visit during the Christmas holiday. Soon, the gal pals once again band together for drinking and general debauchery in order to blow off some steam. Female audiences deserve better than this shoddily made outing, which once again suggests that the enemy of women is other women. (Katie Walsh, Tribune Media Service)
2 ½ stars
(Sci-fi action-comedy, PG-13, 130 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 and the AMC Corvallis 12) After being defeated by his evil half-sister Hela (Cate Blanchett), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is imprisoned as a gladiator on a distant world run by Jeff Goldblum. Director Taikia Waititi brings a welcome comedic touch, so this is the most fun of the three “Thor” flicks, but it’s still a flawed effort with egregious tonal shifts. (Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press)
BLADE RUNNER 2049
(Sci-fi action, R, 164 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) The tight control of Ryan Gosling makes him the perfect choice to play a replicant cop that just might be human. This vibrant, gorgeous and occasionally incomprehensible hallucinatory epic stands with the likes of "The Godfather Part II" as a sequel worthy of the original classic. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
(Horror, R, 92 minutes, playing at the Regal 4 in Corvallis) Ten years after the “Saw” killer supposedly died, police are faced with either a copycat killer or a murderous ghost. With Matt Passmore, Callum Keith Rennie, Cle Bennett, Hannah Emily Anderson, Laura Vandervoort, Mandela Van Peebles. Written by Josh Stolberg & Peter Goldfinger. Directed by the Spierig brothers.