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(Satire, R, 104 minutes, playing at the Darkside Cinema in Corvallis). In director Michael Winterbottom's thudding, one-note takedown of a fictional avaricious fashion mogul (Steve Coogan), we spend day after day with this cad, learning nothing new as everything he says and does merely reinforces what we already know. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
(Computer-animated urban fantasy, PG, 102 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 and Pix Theater in Albany and at the AMC 12 and Regal Ninth Street in Corvallis). Like any good adventure story, it’s clear in “Onward” that it’s never about the destination, but the journey itself. Coming from the Pixar poignancy factory, it’s no surprise that this entry plucks all the right heartstrings to produce many laughs and many tears too. Features the voices of Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer, Lena Waithe and Ali Wong. Directed by Dan Scanlon (“Monsters University”). (Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service)
PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE
(Historical drama/romance, R, 119 minutes, playing at Darkside Cinema in Corvallis). In 1770, the daughter of a French countess develops a mutual attraction to the female artist commissioned to paint her wedding portrait. Stars Noemi Merlant, Adele Haenel and Valeria Golino. Directed by Celine Sciamma (“Water Lilies,” “Tomboy” and “Girlhood”).
THE WAY BACK
(Sports drama, R, 108 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and at at the AMC Corvallis 12). There is nothing particularly extraordinary about director Gavin O’Connor’s “The Way Back,” except perhaps for Ben Affleck’s performance. This is a quiet drama about a lonely alcoholic who gets a lifeline when he’s asked to coach a high school basketball team. Affleck has it in him to use his personal experiences to make a great drama, whether writing, directing or acting, but this isn’t it. (Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press)
(War action, R, 119 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12 and Regal Ninth Street, both in Corvallis). With brilliant, claustrophobically effective directing choices by Sam Mendes and strong, raw performances from young leads Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay, this heart-stopping World War I drama is a unique viewing experience you won't soon shake off. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun Times)
BIRDS OF PREY (AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN)
(Comedy/action/superhero, R, 109 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and at the AMC Corvallis 12). “Prey” is a circus for the senses, an irreverent rollercoaster ride. But the performances give the film its heart and humor. Every performer knows what movie they’re in, with Margot Robbie’s winking, wild performance creating a safe space for experimentation. It’s a tribute to the cutest, kookiest clown in the comics, and a perfect distillation of the Harley Quinn character: sweet, sour and sassy in all the right ways. Director Cathy Yan has delivered a riotous rodeo, with a madcap script from Christina Hodson. (Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service)
THE CALL OF THE WILD
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(Adventure, PG, 100 minutes, opening at the Regal 7 in Albany and AMC Corvallis 12). Much like our furry friends, movies about man’s best friend come in all shapes and sizes: lost dog movies, talking dog movies, military dog movies, reincarnated dog movies. “The Call of the Wild,” directed by Chris Sanders and based on the classic novella by Jack London, is what one might call a literary dog movie, even if there is technically no actual dog in it. Luckily the CGI canine plays opposite several solid human actors who can hold up their end of the tale, like costar Harrison Ford, with his signature gravelly gravitas. Those performances save the film, proving that even the most realistic technology will never replace the real thing on screen. (Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service)
IMPRACTICAL JOKERS: THE MOVIE
(Reality/comedy, PG-13, 93 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12 and Regal Ninth Street, both in Corvallis). Four lifelong friends go on a quest to attend a Paula Abdul event in Miami. Along the way, they can't stop pranking one another — and occasionally whomever happens by. That's the movie, a totally made-up origin story of the improv comedy quartet (Joe Gatto, Sal Vulcano, Brian Quinn, James Murray) on the truTV prank show. Ultimately, any movie that essentially starts with Paula Abdul clotheslining a guy and promising, "One day I'm gonna find you and I will destroy you!" — can't be all bad. (Michael Ordona, Los Angeles Times)
THE INVISIBLE MAN
(Sci-fi/thriller/horror, R, 124 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and AMC Corvallis 12). Unraveling the dusted bandages of H.G. Wells’ classic 1897 science-fiction novel, writer-director Leigh Whannell has refashioned “The Invisible Man” as a bracingly modern #MeToo allegory that, despite its brutal craft, rings hollow. Its focus shifts from Wells’ optics scientist to a woman, Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss), running from him (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). Whannell has the talent and cunning to turn “The Invisible Man” into a chilling and well-crafted B-movie. But if you're looking for anything more than that, you'll probably come up empty. (Jake Coyle, Associated Press)
JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL
(Action/comedy, PG, 123 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and at the AMC Corvallis 12). Director Jake Kasdan returns to the ‘90s family adventure film series he rebooted in 2017, and amps up the jaw-dropping hijinks and more stars playing personas vastly different from theirs. It’s a one-joke movie, but the joke still has some mileage left. Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black return; Danny Glover, Danny DeVito and Akwafina hop aboard. (Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service)
(Legal drama, PG-13, 136 minutes, playing at the Darkside Cinema in Corvallis). Solid, meat-and-potatoes docudrama filmmaking, if you don’t mind a first-rate story of systemic injustice undercut by second-rate dialogue. Call it a split decision, or something like that. Stars Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson, Tim Blake Nelson, Rob Morgan and Rafe Spall. (Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune)
(Murder mystery/comedy, PG-13, 130 minutes, playing at the Darkside Cinema and AMC Corvallis 12). An all-star ensemble is under suspicion when a family patriarch (Christopher Plummer), who also happens to be a wealthy crime novelist, is found dead in the study of his remote mansion. With Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Craig and Lakeith Stanfield. Directed by Rian Johnson. It’s “Murder, She Wrote” with a side of political activism, two great tastes that taste great together.
MY HERO ACADEMIA: HEROES RISING
(Anime/superhero, NR, 104 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany). Young warriors face a new villain in this Kenji Nagasaki-directed tale. This is the second film based on the manga “My Hero Academia” and is set during the fourth season of the Japanese series “My Hero Academia.” In Japanese with English subtitles.
(Thriller, R, 132 minutes, playing at the Darkside Cinema and AMC Corvallis 12, both in Corvallis). Winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes, Bong Joon Ho's deviously entertaining thriller about two very different families is an ingenious weave of domestic dark comedy, class allegory and ultimately devastating tragedy. (The Darkside offers a black-and-white version as well.) (Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times)
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG
(Live action/computer-animated adventure comedy, PG, 100 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and AMC Corvallis 12 and Regal Ninth Street, both in Corvallis). Sega’s lovable speed-roller finally arrives in theaters (you’d think he would have been faster). The alternate dimension hedgehog (voiced by Ben Schwartz) leaves his realm for Earth to escape evil forces. Naturally, he encounters another, in the form of roboticist Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey). They’re joined onscreen by James Marsden, Tika Sumpter and Neal McDonough. Directed by Jeff Fowler.
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