by Kam Williams
BIG BUDGET FILMS
Almost Christmas (PG-13 for profanity, drug use and suggestive content) Holiday comedy about a dysfunctional family’s first Thanksgiving gathering since the passing of its beloved matriarch. Ensemble cast includes Gabrielle Union, Nicole Ari Parker, Danny Glover, Mo’Nique, Kimberly Elise, Omar Epps, J.B. Smoove and Romany Malco.
Arrival (PG-13 for brief profanity) Sci-fi thriller about a linguist (Amy Adams) recruited by the military to lead an elite team investigating why a dozen alien spacecraft have landed at different locations around the planet. With Forest Whitaker, Jeremy Renner and Michael Stuhlbarg.
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (R for violence, sexuality, pervasive profanity and brief drug use) Ang Lee directed this adaptation of the Ben Fountain best seller of the same name revolving around a 19 year-old, Iraq War vet (Joe Alwyn) who becomes disenchanted with being celebrated as a military hero while back in the States between tours of duty. With Kristen Stewart, Steve Martin, Vin Diesel and Chris Tucker.
Shut In (PG-13 for terror, violence, bloody images, nudity, mature themes and brief profanity) Suspense thriller revolving around a recently-widowed, child psychologist (Naomi Watts) who becomes convinced that the ghost of a former patient (Jacob Tremblay) has been haunting her and her bed-ridden son (Charlie Heaton). Support cast includes Oliver Platt, Clementine Poidatz and David Cubitt.
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS
The Anthropologist (Unrated) Climate change documentary assessing the prospects of the planet from the perspective of the 15 year-old daughter of an anthropology professor studying the impact of global warming on indigenous peoples.
Elle (R for violence, profanity, rape, brief graphic nudity, disturbing sexuality and grisly images) Cat-and-mouse revenge thriller revolving around a business executive’s (Isabelle Huppert) attempt to track down the stranger who raped her right in her own home. With Laurent Lafitte, Anne Consigny and Charles Berling. (In French with subtitles)
The Fiance (Unrated) Monster flick about a beautiful bride-to-be (Carrie Keagan) who is transformed into a brutal beast after being bitten by the legendary creature known as Bigfoot (Douglas Tait). Featuring Dallas Valdez, Curt Lambert and Danni Lang.
Lazy Eye (Unrated) Homoerotic romantic dramedy set in L.A. where a graphic designer (Lucas Near-Verbrugghe) makes the most of an opportunity to rekindle a relationship with an ex (Aaron Costa Ganis) he hasn’t seen in 15 years. Support cast features Michaela Watkins, Drew Barr and Harrison Givens.
The Love Witch (Unrated) Horror comedy about a witch (Samantha Robinson) who resorts to casting spells on potential suitors during her desperate quest to find Mr. Right. Cast includes Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Laura Waddell and Gian Keys.
National Bird (Unrated) Whistleblower documentary in which three veterans plagued by guilt express their misgivings about participating in the U.S. Air Force’s drone warfare program. (In English and Dari with subtitles)
No Pay, Nudity (R for pervasive profanity) Character-driven dramedy set in Manhattan and revolving around an aging actor making adjustments to diminished career expectations. With Nathan Lane, Frances Conroy, Jon Michael Hill and Ethan Sandler.
Seasons (PG for mature themes) Meteorological documentary observing assorted metamorphoses in nature during the changing of the seasons. (In French with subtitles)
The Similars (Unrated) Sci-fi horror flick, set in October of 1968, revolving around eight strangers headed to Mexico City who find themselves attacked by a mysterious virus while sitting in a bus station waiting room. Ensemble cast includes Gustavo Sánchez Parra, Cassandra Ciangherotti, Fernando Becerril and Humberto Busto. (In Spanish with subtitles)
USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage (R for violent images and brief profanity) Mario Van Peebles directed this World War II tale of survival recounting the Japanese submarine torpedo attack on a U.S. Navy ship claiming the lives of over 2/3 of the 1,197 American sailors aboard the vessel. Co-starring Nicolas Cage, Tom Sizemore and Thomas Jane.