Movie clips: Action, drama and fairy tales

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For Digital First Media

Here’s a brief look at movies making their way to theaters this week and beyond:

“ ‘71”

During a riot on the streets of Belfast during the titular year, a young Army recruit (Jack O’Connell) is accidentally abandoned by his unit. He finds himself surrounded by a hostile and violent civilian population. How can the soldier possibly make it through the night and make it back to his squad?

Anyone who witnessed O’Connell’s riveting performance in “Starred Up,” is looking forward to seeing him in this film.

R (for strong violence, disturbing images, and language throughout) 99 minutes


In this live action version of the beloved fairy tale, Lily James (“Downton Abbey”) plays the heroine and Richard Madden portrays her Prince. However, the more accomplished actors are found in supporting roles. Cate Blanchett plays the Evil Stepmother, Helena Bonham Carter is the Fairy Godmother, Derek Jacobi is the King, while Stellan Skarsgard is a scheming Prime Minister. The Shakespearean actor, Kenneth Branagh, helms the film.

With a running time of nearly two hours, this film seems unduly long for young viewers. Can it possibly capture the magic of Disney’s classic 1950 animated version?

PG (for mild thematic elements) 112 minutes

“Run All Night”

Liam Neeson found new life as an action hero in the “Taken” trilogy. Now, he’s back in another action driven vehicle.

Jimmy Conlan (Neeson) is a hitman for Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris), a Brooklyn-based crime lord. Over the decades, the two men have forged a close friendship. Now, haunted by the men he has killed, Jimmy has become a pathetic alcoholic. He’s estranged from his only son, Mike (Joel Kinnaman). Mike kills Shawn’s son, Danny (Boyd Holbrook), in self-defense. Aggrievedby his son’s death, Shawn demands vengeance. How will Jimmy sort out his conflicting loyalties?

R (for strong violence, language including sexual references, and some drug use) 114 minutes

In this image released by Warner Bros. Pictures, Joel Kinnaman and Liam Neeson, left, appear in a scene from "Run All Night." (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, Myles Aronowitz)

In this image released by Warner Bros. Pictures, Joel Kinnaman and Liam Neeson, left, appear in a scene from “Run All Night.” (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, Myles Aronowitz)

“The Salvation”

Set on the Western frontier during 1871, Jon (Mads Mikkelson) is a peaceful homesteader seeking a new life for his family. However, all that changes when he kills the man, who slayed his wife and son. This triggers a cascade of escalating violence. Jon’s victim is the brother of a notorious gang leader (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). What he fails to anticipate is that Jon is a veteran of the Danish-Prussian War of 1864, whose skill set makes him a formidable foe. Eva Green plays an abused mute woman, whose tongue was cut out by Indians when she was a  young girl.

R (for violence, sexuality) 92 minutes (In Danish with English subtitles and English)

“Treading Water”

“Treading Water” is a romantic comedy, set in Mexico City. Mica (Douglas Smith) is a conventionally attractive young man. His home is a museum, which is dedicated to the crooner, Guillermo Garibai.

Mica is encumbered with a mysterious medical condition. For reasons that no one can explain, he exudes a stench that makes him smell like rotten fish. It’s socially stigmatizing. Will salvation arrive in the form of a new woman, Laura (Zoe Kravitz)?

92 minutes No MPAA rating

A screen capture from a trailer to the movie "Cinderella" at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20DF6U1HcGQ

A screen capture from a trailer to the movie “Cinderella” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20DF6U1HcGQ

“Wild Tales”

This Argentine-Spanish collaboration is a black comedy, which consists of six free-standing vignettes. Each one explores the theme of violence and revenge.

“Wild Tales” was chosen to compete for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the 87th Academy Awards. The film was written and directed by Damian Szifron. In his native Argentina, Szifron is hailed as the creator of the television show, “Los Simuladores.” However, to American audiences, he remains largely unknown. “Wild Tales” may change all that.

The film was co-produced by the celebrated filmmaker, Pedro Almodovar, certainly an encouraging sign.

R (for violence, language and brief sexuality) 122 minutes (In Spanish with English subtitles)

Film critic Nathan Lerner sees more 200 feature films a year. He welcomes feedback at lernerprose@gmail.com.


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