Fewer than a dozen films open this weekend, and next week is relatively thin because of the Thanksgiving blockbusters — so I get a little breathing space. That’s real nice.
Brooklyn: Saiorse Ronan’s performance as an Irish lass who emigrates to America in the early 1950s has been building some serious Oscar buzz since Sundance; I just wish the film around her was stronger. Glenn was a bit more forgiving.
Drone: Too many documentaries package their message in self-important urgency. Here’s one that simply lays its cards on the table, knowing that’s enough to scare the crap out of you.
Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World: The peninsula of islands off the coast of British Columbia, and the people who live there, are given a most admiring tribute by filmmaker Charles Wilkinson. And I can see why.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2: The final chapter! The last battle! About goddamn time! Seriously, Jennifer Lawrence is always a live-wire performer, but there’s no reason this movie needed to be two and a quarter hours long. Susan is similarly exasperated.
In Jackson Heights: At the age of 85, Frederick Wiseman’s latest demonstrates the stamina and an empathy of a filmmaker a third his age, capturing a Queens neighborhood in all of its messy, good-natured glory.
Man Up: As two random Londoners who find themselves enjoying a most convoluted date, Lake Bell and Simon Pegg are so great together that you’ll forgive an awful lot of the script’s sillier notions.
The Night Before: Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt reunite with 50/50 director Jonathan Levine — and bring Anthony Mackie along — for a goofy holiday romp in which ridiculous things collide with serious things, just like life. (Less likely to happen in life: General Zod being the weed guy for the Green Hornet, the Falcon and Robin.)
Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict: In which Susan appreciates Lisa Immordino Vreeland’s appreciation of her subject — but only to a point.
Secret in Their Eyes: Juan Jose Campanella’s Oscar-winning political thriller was so slick that a Hollywood remake was inevitable; Susan says Billy Ray does a decent job, but the result is still a pale imitation.
And that will carry us into the weekend. Stay warm, everyone!