Silver Screen: The Score Card, January 14, 2015 Edition

Silver Screen: The Score Card, January 14, 2015 Edition
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Silver Screen: Confidence Man: The Hugh DeNeal Story Is Stranger than Fiction
Silver Screen: 127 Hours ****
Silver Screen: 21 Jump Street ***
Silver Screen: A Good Day to Die Hard *
Silver Screen: A Million Ways to Die in the West *1/2
Silver Screen: A Most Wanted Man ***1/2
Silver Screen: A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas ***
Silver Screen: A Walk Among the Tombstones ***
Silver Screen: A Walk in the Woods ***
Silver Screen: About Last Night ***1/2
Silver Screen: Admission ***1/2
Silver Screen: After Earth *
Silver Screen: All Is Lost ****
Silver Screen: American Hustle ****1/2
Silver Screen: American Reunion **1/2
Silver Screen: American Sniper ***1/2
Silver Screen: American Ultra **1/2
Silver Screen: Annabelle ***1/2
Silver Screen: Ant-Man ***1/2
Silver Screen: Argo **1/2
Silver Screen: As Above, so Below ***1/2
Silver Screen: August: Osage County ****
Silver Screen: Bad Teacher ***
Silver Screen: Bad Words **
Silver Screen: Battle: Los Angeles **
Silver Screen: Battleship *
Silver Screen: Beautiful Creatures *1/2
Silver Screen: Before Midnight ****1/2
Silver Screen: Begin Again ***1/2
Silver Screen: Bernie ****
Silver Screen: Big Eyes ***
Silver Screen: Big Hero Six ***
Silver Screen: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) ***1/2
Silver Screen: Black Mass ****
Silver Screen: Black Swan ****
Silver Screen: Blended **1/2
Silver Screen: Blue Jasmine ****1/2
Silver Screen: Blue Valentine ****
Silver Screen: Boyhood ****1/2
Silver Screen: Brave ***
Silver Screen: Breaking Dawn Part I *1/2
Silver Screen: Brick Mansions **
Silver Screen: Bridesmaids ****
Silver Screen: Bridge of Spies ***
Silver Screen: Broken City ***
Silver Screen: Bully **
Silver Screen: Captain America **
Silver Screen: Captain America: The Winter Soldier ***1/2
Silver Screen: Captain Phillips ****
Silver Screen: Carrie **
Silver Screen: Cars II *1/2
Silver Screen: Case Thirty-nine *
Silver Screen: Cedar Rapids ****
Silver Screen: Chappie *
Silver Screen: Chappie *
Silver Screen: Charlie Saint Cloud **
Silver Screen: Chef ****
Silver Screen: Chernobyl Diaries *
Silver Screen: Child Forty-four *1/2
Silver Screen: Chronicle ****
Silver Screen: Cloud Atlas ***
Silver Screen: Contagion ****1/2
Silver Screen: Contraband *
Silver Screen: Cowboys & Aliens ***
Silver Screen: Crazy, Stupid, Love **
Silver Screen: Creed ****1/2
Silver Screen: Crimson Peak ****1/2
Silver Screen: Dallas Buyers Club ****
Silver Screen: Dark Shadows *1/2
Silver Screen: Dark Skies **1/2
Silver Screen: David Wong’s John Dies at the End: A Local Author Sees His Novel Hit the Big Screen
Silver Screen: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes ****1/2
Silver Screen: Dead Man Down 1/2*
Silver Screen: Deliver Us from Evil *
Silver Screen: Delivery Man ***
Silver Screen: Despicable Me **1/2
Silver Screen: Despicable Me II ***1/2
Silver Screen: Devil ***
Silver Screen: Dinner for Schmucks *1/2
Silver Screen: Director Rusty Nails Presents... Dead On: The Life and Cinema of George A. Romero
Silver Screen: Divergent *1/2
Silver Screen: Django Unchained ****1/2
Silver Screen: Don Jon *
Silver Screen: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark **
Silver Screen: Dope ****
Silver Screen: Dracula Untold **1/2
Silver Screen: Draft Day *
Silver Screen: Dream House *1/2
Silver Screen: Dredd 3D *1/2
Silver Screen: Drive ****1/2
Silver Screen: Drive Angry 3D **1/2
Silver Screen: Due Date ***1/2
Silver Screen: Dumb and Dumber To ***
Silver Screen: Easy A ***1/2
Silver Screen: Eat Pray Love ***
Silver Screen: Edge of Tomorrow ****
Silver Screen: Elysium **
Silver Screen: End of Watch ****
Silver Screen: Ender’s Game ***
Silver Screen: Entourage *
Silver Screen: Escape Plan ***
Silver Screen: Everest ***1/2
Silver Screen: Evil Dead ***
Silver Screen: Ex Machina ***1/2
Silver Screen: Exodus: Gods and Kings *1/2
Silver Screen: Fantastic Four 1/2*
Silver Screen: Fast and Furious VI **
Silver Screen: Fast Five **1/2
Silver Screen: Faster **1/2
Silver Screen: Fifty Shades of Grey 1/2*
Silver Screen: Fifty/Fifty ****
Silver Screen: Final Destination V **
Silver Screen: Flight ****
Silver Screen: Focus *
Silver Screen: Forty-two ***1/2
Silver Screen: Foxcatcher ***1/2
Silver Screen: Frances Ha ****1/2
Silver Screen: Friends with Benefits **
Silver Screen: Fright Night ***
Silver Screen: Fruitvale Station ****
Silver Screen: Furious Seven ****
Silver Screen: Fury ***
Silver Screen: G.I. Joe: Retaliation *
Silver Screen: Gangster Squad *1/2
Silver Screen: Get Hard *
Silver Screen: Get Him to the Greek ***
Silver Screen: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance 1/2*
Silver Screen: Godzilla **1/2
Silver Screen: Going the Distance ***
Silver Screen: Gone **1/2
Silver Screen: Gone Girl ****1/2
Silver Screen: Gravity ****1/2
Silver Screen: Gravity ****1/2
Silver Screen: Green Lantern *1/2
Silver Screen: Grown Ups *
Silver Screen: Grown Ups II zero stars
Silver Screen: Guardians of the Galaxy ***1/2
Silver Screen: Hall Pass *1/2
Silver Screen: Hanna ****
Silver Screen: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II ****
Silver Screen: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I ***
Silver Screen: Haywire ***1/2
Silver Screen: Her ***1/2
Silver Screen: Hereafter *
Silver Screen: Hit and Run ***
Silver Screen: Homefront *1/2
Silver Screen: Hope Springs ***1/2
Silver Screen: Horrible Bosses **1/2
Silver Screen: Horrible Bosses II **1/2
Silver Screen: Hot Pursuit *
Silver Screen: Hot Tub Time Machine II 1/2*
Silver Screen: House at the End of the Street *
Silver Screen: How Do You Know ***
Silver Screen: How to Train Your Dragon II ***
Silver Screen: I Am Number Four *
Silver Screen: Identity Thief ***
Silver Screen: In the Heart of the Sea **1/2
Silver Screen: In Time **1/2
Silver Screen: Inception ****1/2
Silver Screen: Inside Llewyn Davis *****
Silver Screen: Inside Out ****1/2
Silver Screen: Insidious ***1/2
Silver Screen: Insidious: Chapter Two ***
Silver Screen: Insurgent 1/2*
Silver Screen: Interstellar ****
Silver Screen: Iron Man III **1/2
Silver Screen: It Follows ***1/2
Silver Screen: J. Edgar **
Silver Screen: Jack and Jill 1/2*
Silver Screen: Jack Reacher ***
Silver Screen: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit ***
Silver Screen: Jackass 3D **1/2
Silver Screen: Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa *1/2
Silver Screen: Jeff, Who Lives at Home ***1/2
Silver Screen: Jersey Boys **1/2
Silver Screen: Jobs **
Silver Screen: John Wick ***
Silver Screen: Jonah Hex *
Silver Screen: Josh Hyde’s Postcards and Love Letters
Silver Screen: Jupiter Ascending 1/2*
Silver Screen: Jurassic World *1/2
Silver Screen: Just Go with It *
Silver Screen: Kick-Ass II zero stars
Silver Screen: Killer Elite **
Silver Screen: Killer Elite **
Silver Screen: Killing Them Softly **1/2
Silver Screen: Kingsman: The Secret Service **
Silver Screen: Knight and Day *1/2
Silver Screen: Krampus **1/2
Silver Screen: Kung Fu Panda II ***
Silver Screen: Larry Crowne *1/2
Silver Screen: Lawless ****
Silver Screen: Let Me In ***
Silver Screen: Let’s Be Cops ***1/2
Silver Screen: Life as We Know It *1/2
Silver Screen: Life of Pi **1/2
Silver Screen: Limitless ***
Silver Screen: Lincoln ****
Silver Screen: Lockout **
Silver Screen: Lone Survivor ***
Silver Screen: Looper ****
Silver Screen: Love and Mercy ****
Silver Screen: Love and Other Drugs *1/2
Silver Screen: Lucy ***
Silver Screen: Machete **
Silver Screen: Machete Kills **1/2
Silver Screen: Mad Max: Fury Road ****1/2
Silver Screen: Magic in the Moonlight **
Silver Screen: Mama **1/2
Silver Screen: Man of Steel *
Silver Screen: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials *1/2
Silver Screen: Megamind ***1/2
Silver Screen: Men in Black III *1/2
Silver Screen: Midnight in Paris ****
Silver Screen: Million Dollar Arm **1/2
Silver Screen: Minions **
Silver Screen: Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation ****
Silver Screen: Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol ****
Silver Screen: Moneyball ***1/2
Silver Screen: Monsters University ***
Silver Screen: Moonrise Kingdom ****1/2
Silver Screen: Movie Forty-three zero stars
Silver Screen: My Soul to Take 3D 1/2*
Silver Screen: Nebraska ****1/2
Silver Screen: Need for Speed *
Silver Screen: Neighbors ***1/2
Silver Screen: New Year’s Eve *
Silver Screen: Nightcrawler ****
Silver Screen: No Escape *
Silver Screen: No Good Deed *
Silver Screen: No Strings Attached ***
Silver Screen: Noah 1/2*
Silver Screen: Non-Stop ***1/2
Silver Screen: Now You See Me 1/2*
Silver Screen: Oblivion ***1/2
Silver Screen: Oculus ***1/2
Silver Screen: Olympus Has Fallen zero stars
Silver Screen: One Day **
Silver Screen: Ouija *
Silver Screen: Our Idiot Brother ***
Silver Screen: Out of the Furnace *
Silver Screen: Oz the Great and Powerful **
Silver Screen: Pacific Rim ****
Silver Screen: Pain and Gain ***
Silver Screen: Paranormal Activity II ***1/2
Silver Screen: Paranormal Activity III ***1/2
Silver Screen: Paranormal Activity IV *
Silver Screen: ParaNorman ***1/2
Silver Screen: Parker ***1/2
Silver Screen: Paul ***1/2
Silver Screen: Pawn Sacrifice ***
Silver Screen: Piranha 3D ***1/2
Silver Screen: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides *1/2
Silver Screen: Playing for Keeps 1/2*
Silver Screen: Poltergeist 1/2*
Silver Screen: Predators ***
Silver Screen: Premium Rush ***
Silver Screen: Priest 1/2*
Silver Screen: Prisoners ****
Silver Screen: Project Almanac **
Silver Screen: Project X 1/2*
Silver Screen: Prometheus ***1/2
Silver Screen: Real Steel *
Silver Screen: Red ***
Silver Screen: Red Dawn *
Silver Screen: Red Tails **
Silver Screen: Resident Evil: Retribution *
Silver Screen: Riddick ***
Silver Screen: Ride Along **1/2
Silver Screen: Ride Along **1/2
Silver Screen: Rise of the Planet of the Apes ****
Silver Screen: RoboCop ***
Silver Screen: Run All Night ***1/2
Silver Screen: Runner Runner *1/2
Silver Screen: Rush ****
Silver Screen: Sabotage **
Silver Screen: Safe ***
Silver Screen: Safe Haven *1/2
Silver Screen: Safe House ***
Silver Screen: Saint Vincent ***
Silver Screen: Salt ***
Silver Screen: San Andreas **1/2
Silver Screen: Savages ***1/2
Silver Screen: Saw VII 3D Zero Stars
Silver Screen: Scott Pilgrim versus the World ***1/2
Silver Screen: Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse *
Silver Screen: Scream IV *
Silver Screen: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World **1/2
Silver Screen: Self/less **
Silver Screen: Selma ****1/2
Silver Screen: Seven Psychopaths ***1/2
Silver Screen: Sex and the City II 1/2*
Silver Screen: Sex Tape *
Silver Screen: Shaft and Coffy: Novotny Lawrence Discusses the Blaxploitation Movement
Silver Screen: Shark Night 3D 1/2* -- Apollo 18 **
Silver Screen: Sicario ***1/2
Silver Screen: Side Effects ****1/2
Silver Screen: Silent House **1/2
Silver Screen: Silver Linings Playbook ***1/2
Silver Screen: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For 1/2*
Silver Screen: Sinister ***1/2
Silver Screen: Sinister II 1/2*
Silver Screen: Skyfall ****
Silver Screen: Skyline *
Silver Screen: Snitch ***
Silver Screen: Snow White and the Huntsman **1/2
Silver Screen: Soldiers Speak Out: Carbondale Oscar Winner Barb Trent’s Latest Film
Silver Screen: Something Borrowed *
Silver Screen: Source Code ****1/2
Silver Screen: Southpaw *1/2
Silver Screen: Spectre ***1/2
Silver Screen: Splice ****
Silver Screen: Spy ****
Silver Screen: Star Trek into Darkness ****
Silver Screen: Steve Jobs ***1/2
Silver Screen: Straight Outta Compton ****
Silver Screen: Straw Dogs *1/2
Silver Screen: Straw Dogs *1/2
Silver Screen: Super Eight ****
Silver Screen: Taken II **
Silver Screen: Taken III **
Silver Screen: Takers *1/2
Silver Screen: Tammy **1/2
Silver Screen: Ted ***1/2
Silver Screen: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles *
Silver Screen: Terminator: Genisys *1/2
Silver Screen: That Awkward Moment 1/2*
Silver Screen: That's My Boy *
Silver Screen: The A-Team **1/2
Silver Screen: The Academy Honors... The Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale
Silver Screen: The Adjustment Bureau *1/2
Silver Screen: The Amazing Spider-Man **1/2
Silver Screen: The Amazing Spider-Man II ***1/2
Silver Screen: The American ****
Silver Screen: The Artist ****
Silver Screen: The Audubon Trilogy: Fugitive Narratives and the Drama of the Natural World
Silver Screen: The Avengers ***
Silver Screen: The Avengers ****
Silver Screen: The Big Muddy Film Festival
Silver Screen: The Big Wedding *
Silver Screen: The Big Year *1/2
Silver Screen: The Book Thief **
Silver Screen: The Bourne Legacy ***
Silver Screen: The Boxtrolls ****
Silver Screen: The Boys and Girls Club Night at the Oscars
Silver Screen: The Butler ****
Silver Screen: The Call **1/2
Silver Screen: The Campaign ***
Silver Screen: The Company You Keep *1/2
Silver Screen: The Conjuring ***1/2
Silver Screen: The Counselor ****
Silver Screen: The D Train **1/2
Silver Screen: The Dark Knight Rises ***
Silver Screen: The Debt ***1/2
Silver Screen: The Descendants ****1/2
Silver Screen: The Dictator ***1/2
Silver Screen: The Dilemma *1/2
Silver Screen: The Drop ****1/2
Silver Screen: The DUFF ***1/2
Silver Screen: The Equalizer **
Silver Screen: The Expendables **1/2
Silver Screen: The Expendables II *1/2
Silver Screen: The Fault in Our Stars ****
Silver Screen: The Fifth Estate 1/2*
Silver Screen: The Fighter ****
Silver Screen: The Five-Year Engagement ***1/2
Silver Screen: The Gift
Silver Screen: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo *
Silver Screen: The Giver ***1/2
Silver Screen: The Grand Budapest Hotel ****
Silver Screen: The Great Gatsby ****
Silver Screen: The Green Hornet **1/2
Silver Screen: The Green Inferno **1/2
Silver Screen: The Guilt Trip ***
Silver Screen: The Gunman **1/2
Silver Screen: The Hangover Part II **1/2
Silver Screen: The Hangover Part III *1/2
Silver Screen: The Heat **1/2
Silver Screen: The Host 1/2*
Silver Screen: The Hunger Games ***
Silver Screen: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ***1/2
Silver Screen: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I ***
Silver Screen: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II *1/2
Silver Screen: The Ides of March ****
Silver Screen: The Imitation Game ****
Silver Screen: The Intern **1/2
Silver Screen: The Internship **1/2
Silver Screen: The Interview ****
Silver Screen: The Judge *1/2
Silver Screen: The Karate Kid ***
Silver Screen: The Karate Kid ***
Silver Screen: The King's Speech ****
Silver Screen: The Last Airbender *
Silver Screen: The Last Exorcism ***
Silver Screen: The Last Stand ***
Silver Screen: The Lego Movie ***
Silver Screen: The Lincoln Lawyer ***
Silver Screen: The Lone Ranger ***
Silver Screen: The Longest Ride **1/2
Silver Screen: The Lucky One *1/2
Silver Screen: The Man with the Iron Fists **1/2
Silver Screen: The Martian ****
Silver Screen: The Master ****1/2
Silver Screen: The Maze Runner ***
Silver Screen: The Mechanic **1/2
Silver Screen: The Monuments Men ***1/2
Silver Screen: The Next Three Days ***
Silver Screen: The Night Before ***
Silver Screen: The November Man **
Silver Screen: The Other Guys ***
Silver Screen: The Overnight ***1/2
Silver Screen: The Peanuts Movie ****1/2
Silver Screen: The Perks of Being a Wallflower ****
Silver Screen: The Place Beyond the Pines ****1/2
Silver Screen: The Possession *
Silver Screen: The Purge *
Silver Screen: The Purge: Anarchy **1/2
Silver Screen: The Pyramid **1/2
Silver Screen: The Quiet Ones *
Silver Screen: The Raid II ***1/2
Silver Screen: The Raven *
Silver Screen: The Rite *
Silver Screen: The Roommate *1/2
Silver Screen: The Rover **
Silver Screen: The Rum Diary ***
Silver Screen: The Score Card , February 24, 2011 Edition
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Silver Screen: The Score Card, September 26, 2013 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, September 27, 2012 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, September 29, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, September 3, 2015 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, September 4, 2014 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, September 5, 2013 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, September 6, 2012 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, September 8, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard July 01, 2020 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard July 15, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard July 22, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard July 29, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard June 10, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard June 17, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard June 24, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty ****
Silver Screen: The Sitter ***1/2
Silver Screen: The Social Network ****1/2
Silver Screen: The Sorcerer's Apprentice **
Silver Screen: The Spectacular Now ****
Silver Screen: The Theory of Everything ***1/2
Silver Screen: The Thing **1/2
Silver Screen: The Thirty-Three **1/2
Silver Screen: The Three Stooges ***
Silver Screen: The Tourist **
Silver Screen: The Town ***1/2
Silver Screen: The Tree of Life *****
Silver Screen: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse *1/2
Silver Screen: The Visit ***1/2
Silver Screen: The Vow **
Silver Screen: The Walk ***
Silver Screen: The Watch **
Silver Screen: The Way Way Back ****
Silver Screen: The Wolf of Wall Street ****
Silver Screen: The Wolverine *1/2
Silver Screen: The Woman in Black **
Silver Screen: The Words 1/2*
Silver Screen: The World’s End ****
Silver Screen: Thirty Minutes or Less ***1/2
Silver Screen: This Is Forty ****
Silver Screen: This Is The End ***1/2
Silver Screen: Thor ***
Silver Screen: Thor: The Dark World *
Silver Screen: Three Days to Kill **
Silver Screen: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy ***1/2
Silver Screen: To Rome with Love ***1/2
Silver Screen: Tomorrowland ****
Silver Screen: Total Recall **1/2
Silver Screen: Tower Heist ***
Silver Screen: Toy Story III ****
Silver Screen: Trainwreck **1/2
Silver Screen: Transcendence *1/2
Silver Screen: Transformers: Age of Extinction 1/2*
Silver Screen: Transformers: Dark of the Moon *1/2
Silver Screen: True Grit ****1/2
Silver Screen: Trumbo ****
Silver Screen: Twelve Years a Slave ****1/2
Silver Screen: Twenty-two Jump Street ***1/2
Silver Screen: Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part II *
Silver Screen: Two Guns ***
Silver Screen: Unbroken
Silver Screen: Unfriended ****
Silver Screen: Unknown ***
Silver Screen: Unstoppable **
Silver Screen: Veronica Mars ***1/2
Silver Screen: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps ****
Silver Screen: Wanderlust ***1/2
Silver Screen: War Horse **
Silver Screen: Water for Elephants ***
Silver Screen: We Bought a Zoo ****
Silver Screen: While We’re Young ****
Silver Screen: Whiplash *****
Silver Screen: White House Down ***
Silver Screen: Winter's Tale 1/2*
Silver Screen: World War Z **
Silver Screen: Wrath of the Titans 1/2*
Silver Screen: Wreck-it Ralph ***1/2
Silver Screen: X-Men: Days of Future Past ***
Silver Screen: X-Men: First Class ***
Silver Screen: Your Highness ***1/2
Silver Screen: You’re Next **1/2
Silver Screen: Zero Dark Thirty ****1/2
Silver Screen: Zookeeper *


Who:
What:
Where:
When:
Pictured: Hateful Eight.
Bryan Miller

> opening this week in Carbondale.

< leaving Carbondale this Friday.

by Bryan Miller unless otherwise credited.

< Creed (PG-13, ****1/2): Fruitvale Station’s Ryan Coogler writes and directs a franchise reboot that breathes new life into the Rocky series. This rousing reboot taps into the spirit of the 1976 original with a renewed focus on the characters’ relationships and gritty street life of Philadelphia, with stunning results. The premise is simple but elegant: Former heavyweight champ Apollo Creed had a son out of wedlock who was eventually raised by his widow (Phylicia Rashad). Adonis (Michael B. Jordan), the lost boy turned child of privilege, rejects a lucrative career path to follow in his father’s footsteps. For help he turns to his dad’s greatest friend and opponent, the Italian Stallion himself. An older, wiser, wearier Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) agrees to train his young charge for a big fight that turns into an even bigger one. It closely follows the formula of the original, but Coogler subtly innovates throughout and invigorates it with fresh ideas. Stallone might not have been this good since 1976; it’s a soulful, heartbreaking performance perfectly matched by his powerful protégé. Adonis has a plucky girl of his own (Tessa Thompson), but though she’s no wallflower, it’s the mentor-mentee relationship that dominates this heartfelt, truly inspiring film, which balances the character study of the original with thrilling fight choreography. You’ll cheer, you’ll hum the theme, and you will most certainly root for Adonis Creed in this, the best sports movie of the new millennium.

Hateful Eight (R, ****): Quentin Tarantino’s prankster spirit is alive and well. The writer/director is irascible as ever in this indulgent, provocative Western, which courts divisiveness with its dark racial comedy, gleeful misogyny, ambling pace, and inevitable but still stunning descent into brutal violence. The eight characters of the title converge in a snowy Wyoming outpost for a grim night of revelation. The only woman, Daisy Domergue (a never better Jennifer Jason Leigh) is to be hanged in nearby Red Rock, thanks in large part to white-hatted bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell). But the chance encounter with another bounty hunter (Samuel L. Jackson), a would-be sheriff (Walton Goggins), a silent cowboy (Michael Madsen), a Confederate military officer (Bruce Dern), and a pair of cagey immigrants (Tim Roth and Demián Bichir) leaves Ruth to suspect a conspiracy to kill him and free his prisoner. Tarantino reverts back to too-familiar tricks in the end, but the leadup to the inevitably bloody conclusion is chock full of crackerjack dialogue, gorgeous snowscapes, and grim slapstick. Jackson dominates the screen while Goggins sneakily steals the show. It’s a story about the power of storytelling, and even its digressions and faults are fascinating.

< The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II (PG-13, *1/2): The popular dystopian teen-lit adaptation lumbers to a conclusion in this halting, poorly paced, anticlimactic final installment. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) rejects her new role as the mouthpiece of the revolution and hitches a ride with a group of soldiers toward the front lines, where she plans to storm the Capitol and kill President Snow (a wonderful Donald Sutherland). The first two-thirds of the movie are bogged down by a lot of moping, and the ineffectual action— most of it just an inconsequential blur of computer effects— largely takes place in a dingy sewer. The actual climax is almost literally over before you know it, giving way to a tedious series of false endings that would make Peter Jackson twiddle his thumbs in frustration. Most of the interesting characters (and better actors) are shuffled to the side. There’s both too much and not nearly enough going on here, thanks in part to the screenwriters’ oppressive fidelity to author Suzanne Collins’s flawed text. The whole blockbuster franchise turns out to be something of a bust. It’s one-and-a-half good movies spread across eight-plus hours of running time. Its ultimate legacy will be as a starmaking platform for the excellent Lawrence, who elevated the material until it couldn’t keep up with her any longer.

Joy (PG-13, ***): Writer/director David O. Russell reteams with the fantastic Jennifer Lawrence for what’s supposed to be a darkly funny feminist biopic about real-life inventor Joy Mangano, who became a home-shopping mogul. Lawrence certainly has the chops to play the feisty Joy, a creative child whose creative aspirations are stifled by her mentally ill mother (Virginia Madsen) and her self-obsessed father (Robert De Niro). The title character is certainly a steely, impressive lady, but the movie is more aggravating than inspirational. Russell stacks the deck against his heroine to an almost obscene degree without providing the requisite catharsis. He curiously misuses all of his time focusing on one narrow, especially difficult period in Joy’s life, then speeds through a couple decades of vindication in a handful of minutes, as though showing her enjoy any kind of success would weaken the abundantly clear theme. No one, not the real Joy, the fictionalized Joy, nor the audience should be forced to spend so much time with her shrill, irredeemable family. Only Édgar Ramírez as her unfocused but well-meaning ex-husband manages to charm. Everyone else just stands in the way of Joy, and of joy.

Spotlight (R, ****1/2): Writer/director Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent, The Visitor) imbues this real-life journalism procedural drama with the momentum of a fast-paced thriller, and he does it without maudlin melodramatics or stylistic hysterics. The film follows a crew of investigative journalists at the Boston Globe— played by a murderer’s row of great actors including Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, Rachel McAdams, and John Slattery— as they uncover the sex-abuse scandals involving Catholic priests, and the Church’s conspiracy to cover them up. McCarthy takes a cool-headed approach in exploring how the Boston community at large was complicit in the silence, and his smart script and subdued, straightforward aesthetic simulate a kind of journalistic objectivity. Make no mistake, though, the film burns with righteous indignation, but McCarthy isn’t so fanatical about his finger-pointing that he loses sight of the confounding complexity in assigning blame. Case in point is a smooth-talking attorney, played by Billy Crudup, who becomes a kind of holy-war profiteer only after his earnest whistleblowing attempts were ignored by everyone, the Boston Globe included. Stanley Tucci is especially good as an eccentric lawyer embittered by his terrible understanding of the crimes. This is without a doubt one of 2015’s best films.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (PG-13, ***): Now that giddy anticipation has given way to capitalistic onanism over weekend grosses and box-office records, ask yourself: What about the new Star Wars was really memorable? Any lines of dialogue, eye-popping sci-fi visual effects, or thrillingly choreographed action? It goes down easy, like a macrobrewed lite beer, and packs just about as much punch. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, fear not, you’ve already seen it— J.J. Abrams’s sequel is more of a feel-good reboot, with a structure and storyline borrowed whole cloth from George Lucas’s flawed but still original original. The new characters do at least charm, especially Daisy Ridley as heroine Rey, along with John Boyega as a lapsed Stormtrooper and the excellent Oscar Isaac as the new generation cool-guy pilot. Adam Driver’s big bad villain, alas, is more of a sci-fi school shooter than an intergalactic tyrant. The old crew is back, some more than others, and Harrison Ford still thrills even though looks like he’s actively suppressing chagrin in every scene. It’s expertly rendered fan service, and a vast improvement over at least three and a half other Star Wars movies, but don’t delude yourself— George Lucas took more risks in the anodyne prequels than Disney is willing to allow here.

Also in or Coming to Local Theaters

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip (PG): The singing rodents with high-pitched voices head out on the highway to stop their manager, Dave, from getting married and leaving them.

The Big Short (R): A group of finance geeks predict the housing bubble and stock-market collapse of 2008 then set out to profit from it. The loaded cast includes Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, and Marisa Tomei.

>   Carol (R): Two women (played by Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett) meet and fall in love in New York during the 1950s. Based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt and directed by Todd Haynes. (Wissmann)

Daddy’s Home (PG-13): Will Ferrell costars with Mark Wahlberg as a stepdad trying to keep his family intact when his ex-wife’s felonious former husband comes back into the picture.

Forest (PG-13): This horror flick sends Game of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer into the charmingly named “Suicide Forest” to search for her missing twin sister.

<   The Good Dinosaur (PG): Pixar’s latest was a troubled production largely scrapped and reworked. It’s about a dinosaur who befriends a human boy, so perhaps it’s based on “research” from the Creation Museum in Kentucky. Featuring the voices of Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand, Steve Zahn, Anna Paquin, and Sam Elliott.

>   Lamb (R): Ross Partridge adapts Bonnie Nadzam’s novel about a man rebounding from a divorce and parental death. He meets a young, unpopular girl and the two go on a roadtrip to the Rocky Mountains. (Wissmann)

>   Norm of the North (PG): A displaced polar bear and his Arctic pals must find a home in New York City in this global-warming-themed animated family comedy starring the voice of Rob Schneider. Read that sentence again, aloud, and marvel.

The Revenant (R): Leonardo DiCaprio fights a bear, the men who killed his son, and the harsh on-set practices of Alejandro González Iñárritu. Featuring Tom Hardy.

Ride Along II (PG-13): Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam as a badass cop and his goofball brother-in-law, the latter of whom now has a real gun and badge to back up his motormouth.

Sisters (R): Comedy superfriends Tina Fey and Amy Poehler star as sibs who decide to throw one last bash before they sell their parents’ home. Featuring Maya Rudolph, John Cena, Kate McKinnon, and John Leguizamo.

 

>   Thirteen Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (R): Politico Michael Bay directs the movie adaptation of that thing your Republican friend won’t stop talking about. (The title may or may not refer to duration of said friend’s enraged monologue.)