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Film Review Live By Night (copy)

Ben Affleck stars in, produces and directs "Live by Night," adapted from a Dennis Lehane novel. The movie continues its run in mid-valley theaters this weekend.

Complete Movie Scene listings can be found online.

NEW

XXX: THE RETURN OF XANDER CAGE

(Action-thriller, PG-13, 107 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany) Vin Diesel returns for his third outing as a former extreme sports star turned government agent this time embroiled in a global conspiracy. With Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Kris Wu, Ruby Rose, Tony Jaa, Nina Dobrev, Rory McCann, Toni Collette, Samuel L. Jackson. Written by F. Scott Frazier, based on characters created by Rich Wilkes. Directed by D.J. Caruso. (1:47) PG-13.

SPLIT

3 ½ stars

(Thriller, PG-13, 117 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany) James McAvoy does wonders with the role of a man with 23 personalities who abducts three teenage girls. With this chilling, creepy, bold and sometimes bat-bleep absurd thriller, writer-director M. Night Shyamalan serves notice he's still got some nifty plot tricks up his sleeve. (Richard Roeper, Universal Press Syndicate)

20th CENTURY WOMEN

3 stars

(Drama, R, 118 minutes, playing at the Darkside in Corvallis) There's not a single false, "actor-y" note in Annette Bening's nuanced work as a middle-aged single mom who recruits her boarder (Greta Gerwig) and young neighbor (Elle Fanning) to help raise her teenage son. The authentic, bittersweet, sometimes lyrical screenplay feels like a slim but engrossing novel. (Richard Roeper, Universal Press Syndicate)

CONTINUING

ELLE

3 stars

(Drama, R, 130 minutes, playing at the Darkside Cinema in Corvallis) Isabelle Huppert won a Golden Globe for her performance in director Paul Verhoeven’s controversial drama. (The film won a Globe for best foreign-language film.) It’s about the CEO of a videogame company who is raped (at the very start of the movie) but who reacts to the attack with unnerving indifference. (Colin Calvert, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

LION

3 ½ stars

(Drama, PG-13, 120 minutes, playing at the Carmike 12) Half of "Lion" is about a boy in India separated from his family, and half is about his quest to find them as an adult (Dev Patel), and each is remarkable in its own way. It's a magical tale grounded in reality, sure to reduce most moviegoers to tears that are honestly and legitimately earned. (Richard Roeper, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

LIVE BY NIGHT

2 ½ stars

(Crime drama, R, 129 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany) Ben Affleck directs and stars in a curiously unfocused Prohibition-era gangster epic with some well-choreographed action scenes, a few provocative plot threads, but an increasingly meandering main story line that goes from intriguing to confounding to preachy to what exactly are we even watching here? (Richard Roeper, Universal Press Syndicate)

MONSTER TRUCKS

(Action-adventure, PG, 104 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany) A high school senior (Lucas Till) builds a truck from bits and pieces of scrapped cars, and then finds an unlikely ally: a subterranean creature with a talent for speed. This live-action film is from Chris Wedge, the director of “Ice Age.” Jane Levy co-stars.

A MONSTER CALLS

2 ½ stars

(Fantasy drama, PG-13, 108 minutes, playing at the Carmike 12 in Corvallis) A lonely boy with a dying mother is visited in the dead of night by a giant, sprawling tree with a humanlike face and a booming voice that sounds very much like Liam Neeson. This adaption of a children's book is mostly well-filmed and well-intentioned, but only occasionally involving. (Richard Roeper, Universal Press Syndicate)

PATRIOTS DAY

3 ½ stars

(Historical drama, R, 133 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the Regal 4 in Corvallis) Director Peter Berg and star Mark Wahlberg, the team behind "Lone Survivor" and "Deepwater Horizon," recount another real-life tragedy in exciting but reverent fashion. While Wahlberg, John Goodman and J.K. Simmons are superb as ever, Themo Melikidze and Alex Wolff also deserve praise for their excellent work in the challenging roles of the Boston Marathon bombers. (Richard Roeper, Universal Press Syndicate)

MOONLIGHT

4 stars

(Drama, R, 110 minutes, playing at the Darkside in Corvallis) Gorgeous and yet bleak, uplifting and yet sobering, writer-director Barry Jenkins' modern masterpiece chronicles pivotal periods in boyhood, adolescence and adulthood in the life and times of one person played by three skilled actors. This is a film brimming with memorable work. (Richard Roeper, Universal Press Syndicate)

THE EAGLE HUNTRESS

3 stars

(Documentary, G, 87 minutes, playing at the Darkside in Corvallis) Daisy Ridley narrates this documentary, about a 13-year-old Mongolian girl who becomes the first female to enter the national hawk-hunting competition. Director Otto Bell provides a visually dazzling guided tour of the region and its lifestyle, which looks exotic and hometown-familiar at the same time. (Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

HIDDEN FIGURES

3 ½ stars

(Historical drama, PG, 127 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the Regal 4 in Corvallis) You might just find yourself applauding during certain moments of dramatic triumph in the unabashedly sentimental and wonderfully inspirational story of three black female mathematicians (Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae) who worked for NASA in the 1960s. (Richard Roeper, Universal Press Syndicate)

LA LA LAND

4 stars

(Musical, PG-13, 128 minutes, playing at the Carmike 12 in Corvallis) Under the innovative and captivating direction of Damien Chazelle ("Whiplash"), Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone deliver genuine movie-star turns as two struggling, aspiring artists who fall in love, break into song and engage in delightfully choreographed dance numbers. The "real world" fades into the background and we are welcomed into a dreamlike fantasy. (Richard Roeper, Universal Press Syndicate)

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA

4 stars

(Drama, R, 137 minutes, playing at the Regal 4 in Corvallis) With this story of a bitter Boston custodian (Casey Affleck) returning to his hometown after his brother's death, writer-director Kenneth Lonergan has delivered a modern masterpiece reminiscent of the classic, gritty dramas of the 1970s. It's no easy journey, but my goodness is it brilliant. (Richard Roeper, Universal Press Syndicate)

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

3 stars

(Fantasy, PG-13, 123 minutes, playing at the Regal 4 in Corvallis and the Pix in Albany) There's a whole lot of movie going on in this expansion of the J.K. Rowling cinematic universe. The origin story of "magizoologist" Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne, bursting with absent-minded professor charm) is populated with critters ranging from the tiny and whimsical to the enormous and ferocious. The result is an effective if not everlasting magical spell. (Richard Roeper, Universal Press Syndicate)

PASSENGERS

2 stars

(Science fiction, PG-13, 113 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the Regal 4 in Corvallis) Two passengers (Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence) on a massive spaceship are awakened years before the ship is set to reach its destination. Sweet but inconsequential at its best, overly contrived at most other times, “Passengers” takes too long to get to its too-inevitable plot points to truly entertain. (Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times)

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

3 ½ stars

(Sci-fi action, PG-13, 133 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the Carmike 12 in Corvallis) This stand-alone "Star Wars" story about the rebels who stole the Death Star plans is teeming with exciting action sequences, peppered with laugh-out-loud one-liners and made all the more memorable for the darker turns of the plot. It's a bright light in the "Star Wars" canon. (Richard Roeper, Universal Press Syndicate)

MOANA

3 ½ stars

(Animated adventure, PG, 113 minutes, playing at the Carmike 12 in Corvallis) With help from a demigod (voice of Dwayne Johnson), an adventurous island princess sets out on the sea to save her homeland in an animated musical bursting with gorgeous visuals, filled with inspirational messages and chock full of gentle and quite clever humor. (Richard Roeper, Universal Press Syndicate)

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