This Week, Part 2 (Dec. 4-6, 2015)

Because of embargoes, a lot of our critics aren’t able to share links with you until release day. Here are some last-minute reviews for this weekend’s upcoming films. We’ve kept in all the reviews posted yesterday as well so you can have more help in deciding what to see (if you haven’t already).

Our critics have been hard at work reviewing the latest films. Here is a look at what’s coming out this weekend (in select cities, check your local listings) and what else may be in theaters right now.

Opening: Dec. 4-6, 2015

Wide (United States)

Krampus

[New Today] Jeremy Kibler @ The Artful Critic

  • Excerpt: Devilish fun. Where else are you going find heartwarming Christmas fare with spiked hot chocolate, children getting pulled up the chimney, and adorably evil gingerbread men?

[New Today] Brent McKnight @ Cinema Blend

  • Excerpt: “Krampus” could have been a new, left-of-center holiday classic in the vein of “Gremlins”—the potential is there—but with the pat, we-need-to-remember-how-much-we-really-love-each-other platitudes, the tacked on postscript ending, and insipid set up, there’s little more to cling to than a few brilliantly insane moments.

[New Today] Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys
[New Today] Kristy Puchko @ Pajiba, Comic Book Resources

  • Excerpt: Playing like a frothy, messed-up mix of “Christmas Vacation” and “Gremlins,” this holiday horror show is wickedly funny, deliciously scary, and totally worth the wait.

Limited (United States)

Chi-Raq

Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews

  • Excerpt: …with “Chi-Raq,” the old Spike is back…The script is entirely in rhyme, part classical couplet, part echo of Chicago’s South Side rap.

Mark Dujsik @ Mark Reviews Movies

  • Excerpt: It’s a film of pain and rage, equally bolstered and undermined by its humor and sermonizing.

[New Today] Kristy Puchko @ Pajiba, Comic Book Resources

  • Excerpt: Chi-Raq is strange, mesmerizing, uneven and emotional. Its satire is silly, smart and thought provoking, its humor as vibrant as its music.

Hitchcock/Truffaut

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Letters

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A tender and touching biopicture on the life and spiritual work of Mother Teresa who viewed herself as an instrument of God’s love.

MaryAnn Johanson @ FlickFilosopher.com

  • Excerpt: A fatuous argument for Mother Teresa’s sainthood; credulous and willfully ignorant, and disregards everything about her beliefs that was nasty or skeptical.

Frank Swietek @ One Guys Opinion

  • Excerpt: A piece of chintzy hagiography that ends up diminishing rather than celebrating its subject. Perhaps Mother Teresa was a saint, but in Riead’s hands she’s become a plaster one.

Macbeth

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

A Royal Night Out

[New Today] Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A mildly entertaining comedy about the adventures of two English princesses on the evening of V-E Day.

The World of Kanako

Kenji Fujishima @ Paste

Youth

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

2015 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas

Amy

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Ayanda and the Mechanic

Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire

  • Excerpt: A vibrant, energetic, colorful story of a young woman who restores furniture in her late father’s garage, only to find herself taking over the business to keep it in the family. It’s an uncommonly rich picture, constantly spinning off in unexpected directions: hopscotching gingerly between coming of age story, romance (Ayanda and one of the mechanics have a hinted-at past, an uncertain future, and plenty of heat right now), character study (Fulu Moguvhani is heart-wrenching in the title role), and the complications of familial dynamics.

Beasts of No Nation

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Bikes vs Cars

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: Reports from cities around the world about the need for bikes and the problems faced by bikers.

Blind

Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews

  • Excerpt: Joachim Trier’s (“Oslo, August 31st”) cowriter Eskil Vogt makes his directorial debut with a story that calls back to the structure of “Reprise” as if crossed with Jeremy Podeswa’s “The Five Senses.”

Brooklyn

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

By the Sea

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Carol

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

A Christmas Horror Story

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Creed

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Danish Girl

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Democrats

Josh Brunsting @ The CriterionCast
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A hard-hitting documentary on the complexities of creating a workable democracy in Africa.

The End of the Tour

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Frame by Frame

Josh Brunsting @ The CriterionCast
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A documentary about the photo revolution that has taken place in Afghanistan in the past decade.

Girlhood

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Good Dinosaur

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Goodnight Mommy

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Heart of a Dog

James Jay Edwards @ FilmFracture

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

In Jackson Heights

Josh Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

In the Heart of the Sea

[New Today] James Marsh @ TwitchFilm

  • Excerpt: Billed as the story that inspired Moby Dick, Ron Howard’s adaptation of Nathaniel Philbrick’s National Book Award winner is a shamelessly old-fashioned sea-faring yarn recounting the true story of the Essex, a Nantucket whaleship that sank after being attacked by a giant sperm whale.

Jason Pirodsky @ Expats.cz

  • Excerpt: We don’t get many great historical seafaring movies these days – 2003’s Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World might have been Hollywood’s last one – but while on the waters In the Heart of the Sea comes pretty close. It could have been even better had it stuck to the story of the Essex.

James White

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Janis: Little Girl Blue

James Jay Edwards @ FilmFracture
MaryAnn Johanson @ FlickFilosopher.com

  • Excerpt: A compassionate, intimate unpacking of the legend of Janis Joplin that reveals the trouble influences on the force-of-nature singer she willed into being.

Legend

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Love the Coopers

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Making Rounds

Josh Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

Mediterranea

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: Sad story about the struggles of two brothers from Burkina Faso who journey to Italy in hopes of finding a better life.

Meru

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Minions

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Mr. Holmes

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Mustang

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Night Before

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Out of My Hand

Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire

  • Excerpt: In the opening, Cisco (Bishop Blay) is tapping a tree in a Liberian rubber plantation, and in the closing, he’s changing the tire of his New York cab. In the 80-ish minutes that separates those scenes, Fukunaga details how he went from one place to the other, a portrait of a life that plays as much like documentary as drama.

Pan

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

The Pearl Button

Matthew Lucas @ From the Front Row

  • Excerpt: An elegy for a forgotten genocide that is arguably one of the most ghastly in the history of the world.

Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict

Josh Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

Phoenix

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Point Break

[New Today] James Marsh @ Screen International

  • Excerpt: 24 years after Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze took to the waves in Kathryn Bigelow’s adrenaline-fuelled action thriller, Ericson Core revisits the story of a young FBI agent working undercover in a gang of extreme sports criminals. Thanks to co-financing from DMG Entertainment, Point Break opens in China and Hong Kong this weekend, three weeks ahead of its US debut. Featuring a number of impressive action set pieces, it could pull big numbers in the world’s second biggest film market, where the similarly-themed Fast & Furious 7 scored an unprecedented US$390 million earlier this year. However, fans of the original will mourn the lack of memorable characters, quotable dialogue and the now-legendary central bromance.

The Revenant

[New Today] Brent McKnight @ The Last Thing I See

  • Excerpt: The Revenant is a grueling, demanding, frontier “Apocalypse Now.”

Room

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Secret in Their Eyes

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Sembene!

Josh Brunsting @ The CriterionCast

Shaun the Sheep Movie

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Sicario

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Spectre

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Spotlight

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Spy

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Steve Jobs

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Taxi

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

Theeb

Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews

  • Excerpt: Much is foretold by Thaler’s use of light and space, Salameh Al-Sweilhiyeen disappearing into the landscape not once, but twice, rock formations forming passages into the unknown.

Victor Frankenstein

[New Reviews Today] For member reviews of this film, follow this link

War Room

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Cafe Texan

  • Excerpt: This is the Kendrick Brothers’ most polished, most accomplished, most competent film, a massive leap in terms of both their own work and Christian independent filmmaking. It’s a testament to what can happen when writers/director get out of their own way, not make themselves the center of attention, move minorities up-front and center, and acknowledge(albeit in a small way) that there is such a thing as sin.

The Wonders

For member reviews of this film, follow this link

2015 Films (Coming Soon)

Ah Humanity!

Mathieu Li-Goyette @ Panorama-cinéma [French]

Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A charming documentary about a long-married Hollywood couple who made many important contributions to American movies.

Margarita, with a Straw

[New Today] Kathy Gibson @ Access Bollywood

The Messenger

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat @ Spirituality & Practice

  • Excerpt: A Canadian documentary about songbirds as another species at risk.

Sunset Song

[New Today] Stefan Pape @ HeyUGuys

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