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Film Clips 12.22

Dec. 20, 2016
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Assassins Creed

Assassin’s Creed PG-13

Michael Fassbender portrays Callum Lynch, a criminal saved from execution by Alan Rikkin (Jeremy Irons), CEO of Abstergo Industries. Rikkin uses his proprietary technology, Animus, to help Lynch experience the memories of an assassin who is Lynch’s ancestor and lived during the Spanish Inquisition. The process feeds Lynch the knowledge and teaches him the skills needed to battle the Knights Templar. Meanwhile, Lynch falls for Rikkin’s daughter Sophia (Marion Cotillard), the company’s lead scientist. Based on a popular Canadian video game series, the film adaptation offers an original storyline and strives to launch a complementary film franchise. (Lisa Miller)

Elle R

Elle opens with painful sexual grunting as a masked intruder rapes Michèle (Isabelle Hupy) on the floor of her Paris home. Directed by Paul Verhoeven (RoboCop), Elle is an elegantly furnished exercise in emotional and sexual perversity with sideways glances at the coarsening of popular culture. The improbabilities pile up (so women enjoy being raped, sometimes?) and the effort by publicists and film critics to cast Elle as an abused female revenge story doesn’t square with the story on screen. However, Verhoeven is a master of cinematic construction and camera set-ups, and, in Elle, an errant disciple of Alfred Hitchcock. (David Luhrssen)

Fences PG-13

Award-winning playwright August Wilson penned this drama for the stage. Set in the 1950s, this version of Fences casts Denzel Washington as family man Troy, an aging garbage collector who, as a young man could not play major league baseball due to segregation and currently hasn’t been promoted due to racism. Although times are changing, Troy resents the obstacles he’s faced with as a “colored man.” Though capable of humor and affection, Troy is mean-spirited when trying to prevent his talented son from playing college football. Troy’s wife, Rose (Viola Davis), is the one person who truly understands her husband along with the ways in which he must change. The film’s themes remain relevant and moving. (L.M.)

Passengers PG-13

The 5,000 passengers on a 120-year journey to an Earthlike planet are kept in hibernation. But 30 years in, mechanical engineer Jim (Chris Pratt) mysteriously awakens. Unable to return to hibernation, Jim wakes beautiful Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) for companionship. He claims the ship accidentally awakened them both, but as the pair fall in love, will the truth remain Jim’s secret? Meanwhile, the ship begins malfunctioning in strange ways, and Jim must risk everything to save the mission. The romance and the film’s central mystery are unimpressive. (L.M.)

Sing PG

Matthew McConaughey provides the voice of a koala, Buster Moon, the financially strapped owner of an elegant theater. Buster’s problems multiply when he mistakenly advertises a grand prize of $100,000 for the amateur singing competition he hopes will stave off foreclosure. Talented wannabes include bunnies and snails that turn out to audition, but the lead contenders are a Sinatraesque mouse (Seth MacFarlane), a mother of 25 piglets (Reese Witherspoon), a gangsta gorilla (Taron Egerton), a punk-rock porcupine (Scarlett Johansson) and an elephant suffering from severe stage fright (Tori Kelly). Covering tunes by Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Frank Sinatra, this musical extravaganza is like an animated animal version of “American Idol.” (L.M.)

Why Him? R

Businessman Ned (Bryan Cranston) reluctantly agrees to accompany his wife and son to meet Laird (James Franco), the Silicon Valley billionaire boyfriend of his daughter Stephanie (Zoey Deutch). Stephanie loves Laird’s kind-hearted side, but he’s inappropriate in every possible way. Ned plans to write the moron off, until Laird confides he’s ready to pop the question and will stop at nothing to win Ned’s blessing. The harder Laird tries, the angrier Ned becomes, setting the stage for all-out war between these two titans of Stephanie’s heart. Owing what charm it possesses to Franco and Cranston’s committed portrayals, it’s the “Meet the Boyfriend” version of Meet the Parents. (L.M.)


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