Kam's Kapsules: Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
For movies opening December 23, 2016
Kam Williams | 12/22/2016, 6 a.m.
BIG BUDGET FILMS
Assassin's Creed (PG-13 for intense action and violence, mature themes and brief profanity) Sci-fi adventure about a career criminal (Michael Fassbender) who discovers he's descended from a long line of assassins before taking on his ancestors' ancient adversaries. With Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, Michael Kenneth Williams and Charlotte Rampling.
A Monster Calls (PG-13 for mature themes and scary images) Escapist fantasy about a 12 year-old boy (Lewis MacDougall), teased by bullies and mistreated by his grandmother (Sigourney Weaver), who copes with his single-mom's (Felicity Jones) terminal illness with the help of an ancient tree monster (Liam Neeson). Featuring Geraldine Chaplin, Toby Kebbell and Ben Moor.
Passengers (PG-13 for sexuality, nudity, action and peril) Outer space adventure revolving around two astronauts' (Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt) struggle to survive aboard a rocket ship headed to a distant planet after their hibernation pods open 90 years prematurely. With Laurence Fishburne, Andy Garcia, Fred Melamed and Michael Sheen.
Sing (PG for rude humor and mild peril) Animated musical revolving around an optimistic koala bear's (Matthew McConaughey) attempt to save his struggling theater by staging a singing competition for a menagerie of anthropomorphic animals. Voice cast includes Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, Jay Pharoah and John C. Reilly.
Why Him? (R for profanity and pervasive sexuality) Dysfunctional family comedy about an overprotective father (Bryan Cranston) who schemes to sabotage his Stanford student daughter's (Zooey Deutch) relationship with a Silicon Valley billionaire (James Franco) during a campus visit when the boorish boyfriend plans to propose. With Megan Mullally, Keegan-Michael Key, Cedric the Entertainer and Adam Devine, with cameos by hi-tech visionary Elon Musk and Kiss' Gene Simmons and Peter Criss.
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS
20th Century Women (R for sexuality, nudity, profanity and brief drug use) Tale of female empowerment, set in Santa Barbara during the summer of '79, revolving around the exploration of love and freedom by a landlady (Annette Bening), one of her tenants (Greta Gerwig) and her teenage son's (Lucas Jade Zumann) BFF (Elle Fanning). With Billy Crudup, Alia Shawkat and Alison Elliott.
The Ataxian (Unrated) Against-the-odds documentary recounting Kyle Bryant's participation in a grueling bicycle race across America, despite being diagnosed with a terminal neuromuscular disorder.
The Bad Kids (Unrated) Education documentary chronicling a group of Mojave Desert teachers' unorthodox approach to helping at-risk high school's students.
Boy 23: The Forgotten Boys of Brazil (Unrated) Harrowing ordeal recounted by the last survivor among the 50 black orphans taken by Nazis from an institution in Rio de Janeiro and enslaved on a ranch in Sao Paulo. (In Portuguese with subtitles)
I, Daniel Blake (Unrated) Ken Loach directed this unlikely-buddies drama about an unsophisticated, 59 year-old, heart attack victim (Dave Johns) who joins forces with a struggling single-mom (Hayley Squires) to battle Britain's welfare and healthcare bureaucracies. Cast includes Briana Shann, Sharon Percy and Dylan McKiernan.
Julieta (R for sexuality and nudity) Pedro Almodovar directed this flashback flick about a brokenhearted woman (Emma Suarez) who reflects on her life while pining for a reconciliation with her long-estranged daughter (Blanca Pares). With Daniel Grao, Inma Cuesta and Pilar Castro. (In Spanish with subtitles)
Silence (R for disturbing violence) Adaptation of the Shusaku Endo novel of the same name, set in the 17th Century, revolving around two Portuguese priests (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who travel to Japan to search for their missing mentor (Liam Neeson). With Ciaran Hinds, Issei Ogata and Nana Komatsu. (In English and Japanese with subtitles)
Toni Erdmann (R for profanity, graphic sexuality, frontal nudity and brief drug use) Father-daughter dramedy about a workaholic (Sandra Huller) whose dad's (Peter Simonischek) idea of sharing quality time involves playing practical jokes on her. Featuring Michael Wittenborn, Thomas Loibl and Trystan Putter. (In German, English and Romanian with subtitles)