5 totally OK films to see this weekend
By Bob Strauss
Everything I’ve seen that’s opening theatrically in the L.A. area this weekend is . . . OK. Nothing’s great, but none of them are total losses either. Some have more worthwhile attributes than others, and I rank the movies listed below in order of how much to how little of that I feel they can claim.
If you’re attracted any of them, though, don’t hesitate to go see ’em. You’ll at least have an adequate time.
1. Roman J. Israel, Esq: Dan Gilroy’s follow-up to his debut feature “Nightcrawler” is another flavorful L.A. underbelly thing. Denzel Washington adds to his impressive list of astonishing performances with the title role, an on-the-spectrum social justice attorney who isn’t good with people but formidable with facts. Washington’s isn’t just a technical transformation, despite the emphasis on Roman’s outdated style. This is a morality tale about a man who takes his beliefs super seriously yet can betray them with a cunning ease surprising to even himself. The film would be nothing without Washington, and Gilroy’s narrative meanders at times. But part of why “Roman Israel” is stumping some critics lies in how it so completely subverts liberal good guy movie conventions, and by destroying them makes that kind of hero feel human for a change.
2. The Breadwinner: Lovely animated adaptation of Deborah Ellis’ childrens’ novel. Directed by “The Secret of Kells’” Nora Twomey, this Irish-Canadian production incorporates traditional Afghan art, music and mythological elements to tell the story of young Parvana, who must disguise herself as a boy to make money for her family when the Taliban was in power. The politically charged main story is drawn in a simple but effective, realist style, while an interwoven ancient fairy tale appears in a riot of fantastic […]