See review this issue. Living Room Theaters.
The Big Short
There's nothing subtle about The Big Short. Director Adam McKay (Anchorman) uses every trick in the Martin Scorsese handbook—freeze-frame, montage, fourth-wall-breaking narration—to tell the true story of a few investors who predicted the catastrophic financial crisis of 2008. Christian Bale, not exactly a low-key performer to begin with, is given Asperger's, a stutter, and a glass eye; Steve Carell's grieving money manager can't help but speak his mind; and Ryan Gosling is apparently the biggest sleaze in finance—an industry already oozing sleaze out of its finely tailored seams. These guys, among others, foresaw the burst of the housing bubble and invested against it—hoping to profit on Wall Street's unrepentant greed. NED LANNAMANN Various Theaters.
A celebration of Alan Rickman in his star-making role, a performance you knew would place Hans Gruber in the pantheon of all-time best villains the instant he spat two simple syllables at the hapless Mr. Takagi: "Nice suit." Part of the Hollywood's tribute to both Rickman and David Bowie. Hollywood Theatre.
Fifty Shades of Black
And when the heat death of the universe moves from theory to unavoidable outcome, and you pleadingly gaze up at the darkened sky in hopeless despair, take comfort in the fact that no matter what fate might befall you, there will always be a Wayans brother out there, somewhere, making fucking ridiculous parody films for you to intermittently laugh at. Unless you're a critic. In which case you don't get those screened for you. Like this one. Various Theaters.
The Finest Hours
See review this issue. Various Theaters.
GTFO: The Movie
See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre.
Tony Scott's stylish-yet-nigh-fucking-incomprehensible vampire flick, wherein David Bowie's weird majesty is almost completely dwarfed by Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon as two of the sexiest people ever captured on film. Part of the Hollywood's tribute to both Bowie and Alan Rickman. Hollywood Theatre.
Ip Man 3
A legendary Wing Chun master (Donnie Yen) finds his 1950s' Hong Kong salad days threatened by both a family medical crisis and an upstart fighter looking to make his mark. While an improvement over 2010's dramatically inert second installment, this potentially final entry in the series is admittedly a bit pokey at times, with Yen struggling to keep the historical sereneness of his character interesting. (A cameo by a certain aspiring student named Bruce helps a bit.) When the throwdowns do occur, though, oh Holy Mother of God. Eschewing obvious wirework and CGI enhancements, director Wilson Yip and his team of maniacs concoct a delirious flurry of poles, axes, and a bunch of people matter-of-factly performing feats that they should not be able to do. And then a nattily dressed Mike Tyson shows up and picks a fight, and the roof is raised one more ludicrously awesome level. ANDREW WRIGHT Fox Tower 10
Kung Fu Panda 3
Jack Black (a panda) finally meets his biological father Bryan Cranston (also a panda), who takes him to a secret panda sanctuary just in time to be threatened by J.K. Simmons (an evil Kung Fu stealing spirit), which prompts Jack Black to train Al Roker (a panda) and Kate Hudson (a panda as well) to vanquish J.K. Simmons. Also starring Dustin Hoffman because bills must be paid. Various Theaters.
The Rooster Teeth crew, best known for their Red vs. Blue webseries, make their feature film (as opposed to YouTube) debut with this action comedy about four dipshits who find an awesome battle suit at an alien crash site and must protect the planet with it. Basically, it's The Greatest American Hero, but with dudes who play a lot of Halo, and without that amazing theme song. Kiggins Theater.
Oscar-Nominated Shorts—Live Action
This is your chance to get a leg up on the rest of the chumps in your Oscar betting pools, because you know they're just going eenie-meenie-miney-moe when it comes to this category. Then again... half the people actually voting are just gonna eenie-meenie-miney-moe it, too. Might as well just enjoy all this high-quality international filmmaking packed into 30 minutes or less. Hollywood Theatre.
Some of the most adventurous filmmaking at this years Oscars will definitely be found in this program, including World of Tomorrow, the new hotness from mind-bending stick-figure animator Don Hertzfeldt, and Pixar's much talked-about Sanjay's Super Team from director Sanjay Patel. Hollywood Theatre.
The latest from Birdman's Alejandro González Iñárritu is based on the book by Michael Punke (which, in turn, was inspired by the life of a particularly unlucky 19th century frontiersman). This is a movie in which Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) tries to make his way through the Montana wilderness to kill John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), the dickhead who left him to die in a shallow grave. After crawling from the frozen earth, Glass is reborn as a kind of unkillable ghost—determined to bleed, crawl, float, limp, and tumble his way to vengeance. And so the suffering commences, and continues, and continues, until The Revenant starts to feel less like a survival story and more like live-action Looney Tunes. ERIK HENRIKSEN Various Theaters.
See My, What a Busy Week! Hollywood Theatre.
At the screening I attended, a man beside me, horrified, kept shouting, "Oh my GOD!" whenever Amy Poehler or Tina Fey said anything remotely crude. If that's not a resounding endorsement, I don't know what is. MEGAN BURBANK Various Theaters.
Son of Saul
See review this issue. Cinema 21.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
David Lynch's batshit insane prequel to the batshit crazy series he and Mark Frost unleashed upon the landscape of '90s television. Best viewed with a nice cup of joe while demonically possessed. Laurelhurst Theater.
MEANS WE RECOMMEND IT. Theater locations are accurate Friday, January 29-Thursday, February 4, unless otherwise noted. Movie times are updated daily and are available here.