Film clips / Dec. 29-Jan. 4


Drama about the 1973 kidnapping of the grandson of billionaire oil tycoon John Paul Getty and the consequences of Getty's refusal to pay the $17 million ransom. With Michelle Williams, Mark Wahlberg, Christopher Plummer. 2 hours, 12 minutes. BM


In preparation for the Day of the Dead holiday, a 12-year-old named Miguel (newcomer Anthony Gonzalez), with the heart of a musician born into a family of shoemakers who've banned music for generations, defiantly takes off in pursuit of music, hoping to compete in a neighborhood showcase that would confirm his talents. But his attempts to procure a guitar accidentally lead him across the golden bridge into the realm of the dead where he uncovers a mystery, connects with a quirky guy named Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal), and meets generations of relatives he's known only through old photos. Like the multicolored, flying tiger-dragon that swoops through Miguel's adventure into the land of spirits, Disney-Pixar's "Coco" is a thrilling and joyous vision, a celebration of life and the loving tradition of the Day of the Dead. (Cohen, The Associated Press — 11/22). 1 hour, 49 minutes. NAM


Director Joe Wright's new film deals with Winston Churchill's first weeks as head of the British government in the late spring of 1940 with German forces invading Belgium and France, pushing most of the British army onto a beach in the French coastal town of Dunkirk. Wright's film is a serviceable enough historical drama. But like its companion film, "Dunkirk," "Darkest Hour" falls back on an idealized notion of the English character that feels, in present circumstances, less nostalgic than downright reactionary, and as empty as those ubiquitous "Keep Calm and Carry On" internet memes. Rather than invite the audience to think about the difficulties of democratic governance at a time of peril, the filmmakers promote passivity and hero-worship, offering not so much a Great Man Theory as a great man fetish. With Gary Oldman, Kirsten Scott-Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn, Lily James. (Scott, New York Times — 12/28). IC / TC


When scientists discover how to shrink humans to five inches tall as a solution to overpopulation, Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) make a life-changing decision to abandon their stressed lives in order to get small and move to a new downsized community. It's hard to say what's better about the first half of Alexander Payne's wonderfully weird — or is it weirdly wonderful? — new film: the audacity of its premise, or the delicious skill with which Payne executes that premise, detail by comically ingenious detail. The fact that the film shifts discernibly in the second half, going places and tackling ideas one wouldn't necessarily expect, will surely disappoint some and please others. But there's no doubt about one thing: the director's considerable talent is on full display here. With Christoph Waltz, Jason Sudeikis. (Noveck, The Associated Press — 12/28). 2 hours, 15 minutes. BM / NAM / TC


Upon learning that their mother has been lying to them for years about their allegedly deceased father, two fraternal twin brothers hit the road in order to find him. With Owen Wilson, Ed Helms, J.K. Simmons, Christopher Walken, Glenn Close, Ving Rhames, Terry Bradshaw. 1 hour, 53 minutes. BM / NAM


A first-rate animated tale adapted from the beloved 1936 children's book about a pacifist Spanish bull who just loves to sit around and sniff flowers. Often dark, sometimes wacky but true to the heart of the book and beautifully brought to life in modern Spain. (Kennedy, AP — 12/18). 1 hour, 47 minutes. BC / BM / NAM


More than two decades after Robin Williams conquered the pesky board game, "Jumanji" has been resurrected with more and glossier stars, a comedy director and a modern twist. The result is a very sweet, and generally entertaining, body swap lark with some nice messages about being, and believing in, yourself. With Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Nick Jonas, Jack Black, Karen Gillan. (Bahr, The Associated Press — 12/20). 1 hour, 59 minutes. BC / BM / NAM

PITCH PERFECT 3 (PG-13)     

After the highs of winning the world championships, the Bellas find themselves split apart and discovering there aren't job prospects for making music with your mouth, until opportunity comes knocking when they get the chance to reunite for an overseas USO tour. The cast may be delightful and the musical sequences shine, but after three go-rounds, the premise is played out. Many of the funny lines feel forced and the whole film seems like it's trying too hard. With Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson. (Cohen, The Associated Press — 12/27). 1 hour, 34 minutes. BC / BM / NAM


Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker while the Resistance prepares to do battle with the First Order. A welcome disturbance in The Force, this is, by wide measure, the trippiest, scrappiest and most rule-breaking "Star Wars" adventure yet. With Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Laura Dern, Adam Driver, Andy Serkis. (Coyle, The Associated Press — 12/15). 2 hours, 32 minutes. BC / BM / CT / NAM / TC


With ideally cast Hugh Jackman in the leading role, this original musical achieves an aggressively synthetic style through kinetic editing and tidy underdog stories but none of the true joy of pulling a fast one. It's a standard issue holiday biopic, one that tells a story about a populist entertainer hungry for high-brow respect, the joys of show biz and the price of ambition. An amusement park version of P.T. Barnum is fine, as far as that goes, but if you are going to aim for family-friendly fun, you need to get the fun part right. With Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya. (Zinoman, New York Times — 12/21). 1 hour, 45 minutes. BM / NAM


With shades of "Beauty and the Beast," ''The Shape of Water" is about a love between a mute cleaning lady, Eliza (Sally Hawkins), and a merman (Doug Jones) who has been captured from the Amazon and hauled back to 1962 Baltimore by a cattle prod-wielding military man named Stickland (Michael Shannon). At a secret government laboratory where Eliza and her talkative friend Zelda (Octavia Spencer) mop up blood, the amphibious man is studied and tortured but mostly kept chained in a murky pool so he can't be taken by the Russians. A warm, generous spirit of affection and insurrection washes over director Guillermo del Toro's lushly composed, vividly realized Cold War-era fairy tale that submerges you in the realm of the director's Technicolor imagination, only to swell into a watery allegory for today. It is, one suspects, the fairy tale del Toro was born to make. With Richard Jenkins. (Coyle, The Associated Press — 12/27). 2 hours, 3 minutes. TC


The theaters at which the movies listed in Film Clips are playing are:

BC: Beacon Cinema (57 North St.,Pittsfield)

BM: Berkshire Mall 10 (Route 8, Lanesborough)

CT: Crandell Theatre (48 Main St., Chatham, N.Y.)

IC: Images Cinema (50 Spring St.,Williamstown)

LC: Little Cinema (Berkshire Museum, 39 South St., Pittsfield)

NAM: North Adams Movieplex 8 (80 Main St., North Adams)

TC: Triplex Cinema (70 Railroad St., Great Barrington)


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