Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,
directed by Martin McDonagh
(R, 1 hour, 55 minutes)
Martin McDonagh must have anticipated the ferocity of the #MeToo movement when he wrote and directed this devastating drama that doesn't take sides. Instead, it spares no one in a story about vengeful, tormented Mildred Hayes (a stunning, rawboned performance by Frances McDormand), intent on confronting law enforcement and anyone else who haven't, in her opinion, done enough to apprehend the criminal who raped and murdered her teenage daughter.
She does so in a dramatic way -- by erecting three billboards on the road into her small Missouri town that accuse William Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), the town's respected and popular chief of police, of failing to do his job. That leads to pushback from many in the community, including violently inclined Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell). Escalation is inevitable, opening the door to further dividing the townspeople and escalating an already testy situation.
And, like so many confrontations, there's enough absurdity on both sides to allow for some laughs. One of the most compelling films of 2017. With Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges, John Hawkes, Caleb Landry Jones.
Coco (PG, 1 hour, 45 minutes) Not the best Pixar animated film ever, but it gets points for a unique plot and lively settings. The story concerns Miguel (voice of Anthony Gonzalez) who, despite his family's generations-old ban on music, dreams of becoming a famous musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt). In a convoluted journey to pursue his talent, he meets charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael Garcia Bernal), who joins Miguel in an effort to unlock the real story behind Miguel's family history. With the voices of Alanna Ubach, Renee Victor, Jaime Camil; directed by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina.
Murder on the Orient Express (PG-13, 1 hour, 54 minutes). Moody, evocative, handsome, and populated with an elegant and smartly selected cast, this often-told story gets a slightly too-long reboot by director Kenneth Branagh. Renowned detective Hercule Poirot (Branagh) is the obvious choice to investigate a murder that occurs while he's traveling on a train. With Penelope Cruz, Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Daisy Ridley, Derek Jacobi, Michelle Pfeiffer, Josh Gad, Willem Dafoe.
Let There Be Light (PG-13, 1 hour, 40 minutes) A preachy, melodramatic, but better-than-some Christian drama in which nonbeliever changes his mind when he undergoes a near-death experience in a car wreck. With Donielle Artese, Gary Grubbs, Kevin Sorbo; directed by Sorbo.
Just Getting Started (PG-13, 1 hour, 31 minutes) Lazy and lacking in energy or effort, this indifferent comedy wastes the talents of an impressive cast in the cliched story of a former mob lawyer and a former FBI agent who must learn how to get along when they find themselves together at an exclusive Palm Springs golf resort, where a hit man lurks nearby with a professional interest in both of them. With Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones; directed by Ron Shelton.
MovieStyle on 03/02/2018
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