The big new release this week likely is "Adrift," the Shailene Woodley-Sam Claflin nautical adventure, but the violent (and somewhat thoughtful) sci-fi flick "Upgrade" has attracted some respectful reviews, and the Darkside is opening a pair of flicks worth noting: The new Claire Denis offering, "Let the Sunshine In," and "How to Talk to Girls at Parties," the aliens-meet-punk-rock opus from John Cameron Mitchell, the creator of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch."
As always, go online to find the complete version of the Movie Scene and reviews of new films, including "Upgrade," "How to Talk to Girls at Parties" and "Let the Sunshine In."
(Comedy, R, 85 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) Johnny Knoxville stars as the proprietor of a safety-challenged theme park threatened by the arrival of a nearby mega-amusement park. With Chris Pontius, Dan Bakkedahl, Matt Schulze, Eleanor Worthington-Cox. Written by John Altschuler & Dave Krinsky; story by Knoxville, Derek Freda, Altschuler, Krinsky, Mike Judge. Directed by Tim Kirkby.
(Drama, PG-13, 120 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12) Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin star as a pair of bohemian lovers whose sailing adventure leads into a catastrophic hurricane. Written by Aaron Kandell, Jordan Kandell, David Branson Smith; based on a book by Tami Oldham Ashcraft with Susea McGearhart. Directed by Baltasar Kormakur.
HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES
(Comedy-drama-musical, R, 102 minutes, playing at the Darkside in Corvallis) John Cameron Mitchell has whipped up “How to Talk to Girls at Parties,” a deeply weird gender-queer alien cult environmentalism punk movie. It’s about a pair of South London teenage punks in 1977 Croydon who stumble upon a party filled with alien babes, and Mitchell infuses it with the themes that have always permeated his work — sexuality, creation, connection, identity and tribe. Frequently a delight, but sometimes too flighty for its own good. (Katie Walsh, Tribune Media Service)
LET THE SUNSHINE IN
(Comedy-drama-romance, no MPAA rating, 94 minutes, no MPAA rating, playing at the Darkside in Corvallis) Juliette Binoche gives a marvelous performance as a middle-aged divorced woman looking for love in all the wrong places, and Claire Denis’ exquisite and soulful romantic comedy defies every easy expectation of that premise. (Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times)
(Action-adventure, horror, R, 95 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) An artificial intelligence implant called STEM gives a paralyzed man superhuman strength and agility — skills he uses to seek revenge against the thugs who killed his wife. Logan Marshall-Green stars in this new flick from director Leigh Whannell. It’s a brutish, efficient and well-executed slice of cyber-punk action horror with a silly streak. (Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service)
ZONTAR: THE THING FROM VENUS
(Sci-fi-horror, no MPAA rating, 80 minutes, showing Tuesday at the Darkside in Corvallis) The Darkside continues its every-other-week series of dreadful sci-fi movies with this 1966 outing, about an alien from Venus who wants to enslave mankind -- and the dopey scientist who helps the alien out.
(Documentary, PG, 87 minutes, playing at the Darkside in Corvallis) A clear-eyed and admiring documentary about the Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg emphasizes not just Ginsburg’s work on the court but how extraordinarily influential she was before she even got there. Completely absorbing. (Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times)
3 ½ stars
(Sci-fi adventure, PG-13, 143 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the Regal 4 in Corvallis) One of the "lighter" of the "Star Wars" adventures, with a number of massive, rapid-fire CGI action sequences and a terrific ensemble cast (Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson and a scene-stealing Donald Glover). A prequel as a space Western summer movie, entertaining as hell but not particularly deep. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
(Comedy, PG-13, 104 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12) Great as it is to see Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen and Candice Bergen on the big screen, too bad they're floundering about in this undercooked, silly and often downright inexplicable romantic comedy that plays like lesser Nora Ephron. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
(Drama, R, 114 minutes, playing at the Darkside in Corvallis) A London rabbinical scholar married to an English teacher (Rachel McAdams) invites a New York photographer (Rachel Weisz) to be their guest, knowing she once had an affair with his wife. The story of forbidden love comes across as a challenging but also deeply respectful and thoughtful meditation on traditions and mores that date back thousands of years. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
3 ½ stars
(Comic book/action-adventure, R, 111 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 and the Pix in Albany, the Regal 4 in Corvallis and the AMC Corvallis 12) Ryan Reynolds' second turn as the cynical, witty superhero is wicked, dark fun from start to finish, with some twisted and very funny special effects, cool production elements, terrific ensemble work -- and for dessert, perhaps the best end-credits "cookie" scene ever. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
(Comedy-action, PG, 92 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) A police dog teams up with an FBI agent in an effort to rescue a stolen baby panda; the trail leads to Las Vegas and an exclusive dog show in this new flick from the director of “Beverly Hills Chihuahua.” Will Arnett stars.
LIFE OF THE PARTY
(Comedy, PG-13, 105 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the Regal 4 in Corvallis) Absolutely zero new ground is broken in the story of a mom (Melissa McCarthy) joining her daughter at college, and the movie owes a big debt to Rodney Dangerfield’s "Back to School" (1986). And yet I give "Life of the Party" a solid B on the strength of at least a half-dozen laugh-out-loud moments, some truly sharp dialogue, a tremendously likable cast, and the sheer force of its cheerful goofiness. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
(Romantic comedy, PG-13, 112 minutes, playing at the Corvallis AMC 12) Anna Faris stars in this remake of the 1978 Goldie Hawn-Kurt Russell comedy; it’s about a spoiled rich playboy from Mexico (Eugenio Derbez) who fires Kate (Faris), a single mother he hired to clean his yacht. When the playboy falls off the yacht and wakes up on the Oregon coast with amnesia, the woman convinces the playboy he is her husband and puts him to work. The whole endeavor is an exercise in trying to do too many things, but it never actually manages to be a good movie. (Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service)
3 ½ stars
"Tully" (Comedy drama, R, 94 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12) Charlize Theron reteams with the director and writer of "Young Adult" to play a harried mom who gets a hand from a New Agey "night nanny." It's a crackling good domestic comedy/drama with smart, often hilariously spot-on dialogue, expertly crafted performances, and some unexpected detours. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR
3 ½ stars
(Sci-fi action, PG-13, 156 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12) This massively enjoyable and just plain massive candy-colored thrill ride adventure brings the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy together to help hold off a villain with a richly dramatic background and actual dialogue. It's the biggest and most ambitious Marvel movie yet, but it's not the best. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
A QUIET PLACE
(Horror, PG-13, 90 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12) John Krasinski is the director, co-writer and co-star (with his wife, Emily Blunt) of this neatly spun and well-crafted thriller about a family that must maintain complete silence to avoid stirring deadly monsters. That's a pretty nifty setup to keep the tension going from moment to moment. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
READY PLAYER ONE
3 ½ stars
(Sci-fi adventure, PG-13, 140 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) In a dystopian future, everyone spends as much time as they can in a virtual-reality universe where events can have lasting and serious real-world consequences. Adapting Ernest Cline's sci-fi novel, Steven Spielberg has created an eye-popping, mind-blowing, candy-colored, fantastically entertaining (albeit slightly exhausting) virtual-reality fantasy adventure. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)