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ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL
(Science fiction, PG-13, 122 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany, the Regal 4 in Corvallis and the AMC Corvallis 12) A cyborg fights to unlock the secrets of her past. With Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Michelle Rodriguez, Jeff Fahey, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley. Written by James Cameron, Laeta Kalogridis, Robert Rodriguez; based on a graphic novel by Yukito Kishiro. Directed by Robert Rodriguez.
(Foreign drama, R, 119 minutes, playing at the Darkside in Corvallis) Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki’s urgent saga set on the impoverished streets of Beirut tracks the lawsuit filed by a 12-year-old boy against his parents on grounds that he never should have been born. Labaki plea for the innocent is both unflinching and driven by sentiment, and that’s part of its considerable power. (Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times)
HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U
(Horror/sci-fi, PG-13, 100 minutes).There's a surprisingly sweet heart lurking beneath all the bloody rinse-and-repeat hijinks in this cheerfully twisted sequel, following up on the college student (Jessica Rothe) who relives her murder over and over. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
ISN’T IT ROMANTIC
(Comedy, PG-13, 98 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12) A Manhattan architect (Rebel Wilson) receives a blow to the head and suddenly she's the star of her own candy-coated rom-com, set in a fantasyland version of New York City. The movie should have been a musical: If it had gone that route, its contrivances and tired, vaguely patronizing messaging would've been easier to ignore. (Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune)
OSCAR NOMINATED DOCUMENTARY SHORTS
(Short films, playing at the Pix in Albany) Get an edge in your Oscar pool by soaking up the nominees in one of the tough categories, documentary shorts.
(Science fiction horror, R, 95 minutes, playing Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Darkside in Corvallis) The latest entry in the Darkside’s sci-fi extravaganza series is this 1985 low-budget flick about an alien stalking U.S. and German spaceships on one of Saturn’s moons. Heckling encouraged. Admission: $5.
3 ½ stars
(Romance, R, 88 minutes, playing at the Darkside in Corvallis) Set against the backdrop of the 1950s Cold War in Poland, two people of differing backgrounds and temperaments begin an almost impossible romance. Gorgeous and fatalistic, and aided by the easy charisma and chemistry between its stars, Tomasz Kot and Joanna Kulig. Director Pawel Pawlikowski is up for an Oscar. (Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune)
3 ½ stars
(Comedy action, R, 118 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12) Liam Neeson stars in what might look like another Liam Neesom thriller, but as the bodies pile up, it quickly becomes evident that this bat-bleep crazy story of a father seeking vengeance (with a snowplow) is an action comedy, with the emphasis on the comedy. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART
(Animated adventure, PG, 93 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany, the Regal 4 in Corvallis and the AMC Corvallis 12). A candy-colored sugar rush with a nonstop parade of pop culture references, famous cameos and inside jokes, "The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part" doesn't quite match the original's spark and creativity, but it's a worthy chapter in the ever-expanding Lego movie universe. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
(Horror, R, 100 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12) A woman fears her young son may be possessed by dark forces. With Taylor Schilling, Colm Feore. Written by Jeff Buhler. Directed by Nicholas McCarthy.
WHAT MEN WANT
(Comedy, R, 117 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 and the AMC Corvallis 12) Taraji P. Henson plays a sports agent who can hear men's thoughts in this gender-switched take on the Mel Gibson comedy. With Aldis Hodge, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Tracy Morgan, Max Greenfield, Kellan Lutz, Shaquille O'Neal, Richard Roundtree, Erykah Badu. Written by Tina Gordon Chism, Peter Huyck, Alex Gregory, based on the screenplay for "What Women Want" by Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa, Diane Drake. Directed by Adam Shankman.
(Drama, R, 135 minutes, playing at the Darkside in Corvallis). Writer-director Alfonso Cuaron gives us a deeply personal 1970s period piece inspired by his own childhood in Mexico, and yet there's a universality to the characters and their stories. You know that feeling when you're watching a particular scene in a movie and everything just clicks? "Roma" is an entire film of such scenes. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
(Thriller, PG-13, 129 minutes, playing at the Regal 4 in Corvallis and the AMC Corvallis 12) M. Night Shyamalan’s script for the third installment in the “Unbreakable” trilogy is both overwrought and undercooked. James McAvoy reprises his role from last year’s “Split,” and he’s spellbinding with his multiple personalities, but the rest of the film doesn’t measure up. Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis also star in this downbeat meditation on superheroes. (Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service)
(Drama, PG-13, 125 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12) An ex-con (Kevin Hart) lands a job as a “life auxiliary” for a wealthy investor who is quadriplegic (Bryan Cranston); the two strike up an unlikely relationship in this plodding remake of a French hit that never seems sure what to do with Hart. The cast includes Nicole Kidman and Julianna Margulies. (Katie Walsh, Tribune Media Service)
3 ½ stars
(Comedy biography, R, 121 minutes, playing at the Pix in Albany) During the 18th-century reign of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), her longtime friend (Rachel Weisz) and a new servant (Emma Stone) vie for the monarch's affections. The three stars bring out the best in each other in a bawdy, darkly funny, sharp-edged, foul-mouthed comedy of very BAD manners. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
3 ½ stars
(Comedy-drama, PG-13, 130 minutes, playing at the Darkside in Corvallis) Viggo Mortensen plays a thick-headed lunk from the Bronx and Mahershala Ali is the musician he's driving through the South in 1962, and both are nothing but believable. This is a friendship story, and one of the best times I've had at the movies this year. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE
(Animated adventure, PG, 117 minutes, playing at the Regal 4 in Corvallis) The best "Spider-Man" movie yet, and one of the best 2018 films of any kind, is peppered with clever visual touches and crackling good inside jokes. The story about a new Spidey meeting versions of the character in alternate universes is a brilliant, exuberant, soaring and original adventure. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)