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Film Clips: April 20, 2017

Apr. 18, 2017
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Born in China (Rated G)

Incredible landscapes, irresistible creatures and jaw-dropping photography, all come together in Disney’s latest nature film—despite the occasionally saccharine narration (courtesy John Krasinski). The documentary follows a panda mother as she raises her female cub, a snow leopard struggling to feed and teach her two offspring, and a young male golden monkey who joins a band of outcasts following the birth of his baby sister. The film depicts dozens of touching and comic moments, although the cruel reality of the natural world is also on display. China’s stark mountains and lush woodlands comprise beautiful backdrops while a host of cameras, many motion-activated, some manned by humans, deliver surprisingly intimate portrayals. (Lisa Miller)

Free Fire (Rated R)

Criminals from several nations converge at an abandoned warehouse to do a deal: a sale of automatic rifles. But the dealer brings AR70s instead of the agreed M16s, and since no one trusts anyone else anyway, tempers quickly escalate and guns are drawn. The intrigue of who’s doing what to whom, the ’70s retro flair and the tart and sometimes funny dialogue can’t entirely ameliorate the monotony of the endless gunfight that follows as wounded crooks duck, groan, lose blood, reload and shoot again. The highly stylized action picture is perhaps intended as a parody of ultra-violent flicks. Brie Larson and Armie Hammer star. (David Luhrssen)

The Promise (Rated PG-13)

Set during and after World War I, Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale square off as romantic rivals in this depiction of an under-recognized passage of history. Isaac portrays Armenian medical student Mikael Boghosian. He meets and falls in love with Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), already romantically involved with American reporter Chris Myers (Bale). Ana is drawn to Mikael, however, she has bigger problems because nearly 2 million Armenians are being forced to leave their villages and sent on death marches by the Turkish government. Late Armenian investor-philanthropist Kirk Kerkorian hired screenwriters and established Survivor Pictures to finance this project. Casting Bale and Isaac may stir viewer interest and finally bring attention to these tragic events. (L.M.)

Unforgettable (Rated R)

Katherine Heigl tries her hand at portraying the pathologically jealous Tessa Connover. Still smarting over the breakup of her marriage to handsome David Connover (Geoff Stults), Tessa schemes to end his engagement to Julia (Rosario Dawson). In phase one, Tessa attempts to make Julia appear irresponsible with David and Tessa’s young daughter. Phase two finds Tessa setting up Julia to appear to be dating other men, and in phase three, things will become even uglier. Kate Hudson and Kerry Washington were originally cast in this flip-flop on the Fatal Attraction formula, but cat-fight-wise, the Heigl-Dawson matchup is significantly more promising. (L.M.)


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