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Short Takes: Movie listings and reviews for November 23

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Coco
Courtesy
Josh Bell, Mike D'Angelo, Jeffrey M. Anderson

Special screenings

CineFemmes Short Film Showcase

11/29, student short films, 6 p.m., $10. Eclipse Theaters.

Cinemark Classic Series

Sun 2 p.m., Wed 2 & 7 p.m., $5-$11. 11/26, 11/29, Elf. Theaters: ORL, SF, SP, ST

Home Alone

11/26, 11/29, 2 & 7 p.m., $9-$12. Galaxy Cannery.

The Metropolitan Opera HD Live

11/29, Thomas Adès’s The Exterminating Angel encore, 1 & 6:30 p.m., $16-$23. Theaters: COL, ST, VS. Info: fathomevents.com.

Millennium Fandom Bar

11/27, Inside the Director’s Cut featuring local short film The Trap plus discussion with filmmakers, 8 p.m., free. 900 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702-405-0816.

Sci Fi Center

Mon, Cinemondays, 8 p.m., free. 5077 Arville St., 855-501-4335, thescificenter.com.

Studio Ghibli Fest

11/26, 11/27, 11/29, Howl’s Moving Castle plus animated short films, Sun 12:55 p.m. dubbed, Mon 7 p.m. subtitled, Wed 7 p.m. dubbed, $10-$12.50. Theaters: COL, ORL, RR, SF, SP, ST, VS. Info: fathomevents.com.

Tuesday Afternoon at the Bijou

Tue, 1 p.m., free. 11/28, Operation Petticoat. Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, 702-507-3400.

New this week

Coco Three and a half stars

Voices of Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt. Directed by Lee Unkrich. 109 minutes. Rated PG. Young Miguel gets trapped in the land of the dead during the Mexican Dia de los Muertos holiday in Pixar’s bright, family-friendly animated movie. Miguel’s quest is a mostly simple story about family bonds, but the journey is still well worth taking, thanks to the gorgeously realized world. —JB

Theaters: AL, CAN, CH, COL, DI, FH, GVL, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SF, SHO, SP, SS, ST, TS, TX, VS

The Man Who Invented Christmas Two stars

Dan Stevens, Christoper Plummer, Jonathan Pryce. Directed by Bharat Nalluri. 104 minutes. Rated PG. This cloying pseudo-biopic purports to tell the story of how Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol, contorting itself to make one-to-one connections between the author’s life and the fictional story. Stevens is overly manic as Dickens, the supposed real-life details ring false, and the uplifting message is completely unearned. —JB

Theaters: COL, DI, SC

Novitiate Two and a half stars

Margaret Qualley, Melissa Leo, Julianne Nicholson. Directed by Maggie Betts. 123 minutes. Rated R. A young woman enters the nunnery during a turbulent period, as Vatican II rocks the Catholic church, and she and her fellow nuns must examine their relationships with God and faith. It’s rich material that writer-director Betts has trouble bringing together, never focusing successfully on a central character or theme. —JB

Theaters: SC

Roman J. Israel, Esq. Three stars

Denzel Washington, Colin Farrell, Carmen Ejogo. Directed by Dan Gilroy. 129 minutes. Rated PG-13. Washington does some of the most strenuous acting of his lengthy career as the title character in this portrait of a socially awkward lawyer whose strict code of ethics gets challenged by a morally ambiguous slickster (Farrell). The film itself is nearly as labored as Washington’s performance. —MD

Theaters: AL, CAN, FH, GVR, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SF, SP, SS, ST, TX, VS

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Two and a half stars

Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson. Directed by Martin McDonagh. 115 minutes. Rated R. McDonagh’s third film, starring McDormand as the outraged mother of a murdered teen, is quite taken with its own cleverness, to the detriment of storytelling and characterization. The strong performances smooth over some of the rough spots, but not enough to make up for the shifts in motivation and tone. —JB

Theaters: CAN, DTS, GVL, GVR, SC

Now playing

American Assassin Two stars

Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan. Directed by Michael Cuesta. 111 minutes. Rated R. Superspy Mitch Rapp (played here by O’Brien) has a dedicated fan following as the star of a series of novels, but whatever drew fans to Rapp doesn’t seem to have made the transition to the movies, as Assassin is a generic, outdated action thriller with clunky dialogue, one-dimensional characters and mediocre action. —JB

Theaters: TC

American Made Three stars

Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright. Directed by Doug Liman. 117 minutes. Rated R. Cruise gives one of his most purely enjoyable performances in a while as pilot Barry Seal, who smuggled drugs, guns and intelligence for both cartels and the U.S. government in the 1980s. It’s a glib but relatively entertaining take on some serious real-life material. —JB

Theaters: COL, VS

A Bad Moms Christmas Two stars

Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn. Directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. 104 minutes. Rated R. It’s barely November, but last year’s trio of bad moms (Kunis, Bell and Hahn) are already coping with the holidays—and with their own respective bad moms (Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines and Susan Sarandon). Just like the original, but louder and cruder. It’s a comedy sequel. —MD

Theaters: AL, BS, CAN, CH, FH, GVR, ORL, PAL, RR, SC, SF, SHO, SP, SS, TS, TX, VS

Blade Runner 2049 Three and a half stars

Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks. Directed by Denis Villeneuve. 163 minutes. Rated R. The long-awaited sci-fi sequel, starring Gosling as an android cop investigating a case that eventually (after many detours) leads to original blade runner Deckard (Harrison Ford), is moody, methodical and meticulous, with stunning visuals, strong performances and an overlong sci-fi story that’s more ponderous than thrilling. —JB

Theaters: COL, SHO, VS

Boo 2! A Madea Halloween (Not reviewed)

Tyler Perry, Patrice Lovely, Cassi Davis. Directed by Tyler Perry. 101 minutes. Rated PG-13. Tough grandma Madea follows her granddaughter to a party at a supposedly haunted campground.

Theaters: TX

Daddy’s Home 2 (Not reviewed)

Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini. Directed by Sean Anders. 100 minutes. Rated PG-13. The shared parenthood of former rivals Brad (Ferrell) and Dusty (Wahlberg) is challenged when their own dads (played by John Lithgow and Mel Gibson) come to visit.

Theaters: AL, BS, CAN, CH, COL, DI, ET, FH, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SC, SF, SHO, SP, SS, TS, TX, VS

Despicable Me 3 Two stars

Voices of Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker. Directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda. 90 minutes. Rated PG. There’s a sense of tired obligation to the third movie in the animated series about reformed supervillain Gru (Carell), which runs barely 90 minutes and throws together a handful of haphazard storylines. Nothing in the plot carries much of an impact, despite the series of apparently momentous developments. —JB

Theaters: TC, VS

The Emoji Movie One star

Voices of T.J. Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris. Directed by Tony Leondis. 86 minutes. Rated PG. The epitome of a cynical Hollywood brand extension, this animated movie based on smartphone icons borrows elements from superior movies like Inside Out and The Lego Movie, lazily going through the motions of an animated family adventure, with maximum product placement along the way. —JB

Theaters: TC

Flatliners (Not reviewed)

Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev. Directed by Niels Arden Oplev. 108 minutes. Rated PG-13. A group of medical students experiment with near-death experiences.

Theaters: TC

The Florida Project Three and a half stars

Brooklynn Prince, Bria Vinaite, Willem Dafoe. Directed by Sean Baker. 115 minutes. Rated R. Baker (Tangerine) chronicles the lives of marginally employed parents and unsupervised kids living in the garishly colored budget motels near Disney World outside Orlando. It’s a celebration of the camaraderie and optimism of people whose lives could be seen from the outside as desperate or sad. —JB

Theaters: SC

The Foreigner Two and a half stars

Pierce Brosnan, Jackie Chan, Charlie Murphy. Directed by Martin Campbell. 114 minutes. Rated R. Chan gets a refreshingly serious role as a London father who loses his daughter in a suspected IRA bombing and tries to find the killers, but the movie simply leaves him behind to focus on Brosnan in a showier role as a cabinet minister, as well as frequent, pathetic explanations of the plot. —JMA

Theaters: COL, VS

Geostorm (Not reviewed)

Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish. Directed by Dean Devlin. 109 minutes. Rated PG-13. A network of weather-controlling satellites is hijacked, causing worldwide disaster.

Theaters: DI

The Ghost Bride (Not reviewed)

Kim Chiu, Matteo Guidicelli, Christian Bables. Directed by Chito S. Roño. 111 minutes. Not rated. In Filipino with English subtitles. A struggling woman accepts a mysterious offer from a wealthy businessman.

Theaters: ORL

Goodbye Christopher Robin Two stars

Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, Kelly Macdonald. Directed by Simon Curtis. 107 minutes. Rated PG. This treacly biopic about Winnie-the-Pooh creator A.A. Milne (Gleeson) focuses on his troubled relationship with his son, the real-life inspiration for Pooh’s human best friend. It’s sentimental and heavy-handed, oversimplifying the complex family dynamic and giving a superficial take to darker subjects of PTSD and the perils of childhood fame. —JB

Theaters: VS

Happy Death Day Three stars

Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine. Directed by Christopher Landon. 96 minutes. Rated PG-13. A spoiled sorority girl (Rothe) relives the day of her murder over and over again in this surprisingly entertaining (if completely silly) horror movie. The filmmakers have fun with the goofy premise, and Rothe gives a winning performance as the seemingly vapid hero who embraces her supernatural fate. —JB

Theaters: TX

It Three and a half stars

Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard. Directed by Andy Muschietti. 135 minutes. Rated R. This new adaptation of Stephen King’s classic horror novel takes on just half the story of seven friends who combat an ancient evil, focusing on the characters as children in the late 1980s. It’s a slick modern horror movie that loses a bit of personality but boasts effective scares and consistently strong performances. —JB

Theaters: TC, TX

Jigsaw One and a half stars

Matt Passmore, Callum Keith Rennie, Hannah Emily Anderson. Directed by Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig. 92 minutes. Rated R. The Saw horror series returns after a long hiatus with no new ideas, merely rehashing the same elaborate death traps and moralistic lessons, and further convoluting the back story of serial killer Jigsaw. The performances are especially bad, and even the gore is uninspired. —JB

Theaters: BS, COL, PAL, TX

Justice League Two and a half stars

Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller. Directed by Zack Snyder. 121 minutes. Rated PG-13. This team-up of DC’s biggest superheroes is a simple, streamlined superhero story, with one hero (Affleck’s Batman) gathering others (including Wonder Woman and Aquaman) to take on a world-ending threat. The action is rote, the special effects are surprisingly poor, and the character interactions are only occasionally entertaining. —JB

Theaters: AL, BS, CAN, CH, DI, DTS, ET, FH, GVL, GVR, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SC, SF, SHO, SP, SS, TS, TX

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Two stars

Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore. Directed by Matthew Vaughn. 141 minutes. Rated R. Egerton returns as an agent of ultra-secret spy agency Kingsman in the sequel to 2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service, with Moore as his latest adversary. For fans of the first movie’s cacophonous, CGI-filled assault on the senses, Circle offers a louder, brighter version that’s just as empty and even more exhausting. —JB

Theaters: COL

Lady Bird Three and a half stars

Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Beanie Feldstein. Directed by Greta Gerwig. 93 minutes. Rated R. Gerwig’s solo writing and directing debut follows many of the familiar beats of the teenage coming-of-age story, but Gerwig gives it a personal specificity that sets it apart, depicting the sullen, sensitive title character (Ronan) with a low-key authenticity and a sharp (but not unrealistic) wit. —JB

Theaters: DTS, GVR, TS, VS

Last Flag Flying Three stars

Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, Laurence Fishburne. Directed by Richard Linklater. 124 minutes. Rated R. Cranston, Fishburne and Carell play Vietnam vets who reunite, decades later, to bury one of their sons, killed in Iraq. The film is adapted from a novel that was a sequel to The Last Detail; director Linklater has severed the connection, changing names and details, but that robs the story of much of its poignancy. —MD

Theaters: VS

LBJ (Not reviewed)

Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bill Pullman. Directed by Rob Reiner. 98 minutes. Rated R. Biopic chronicling the life of U.S. president Lyndon Johnson.

Theaters: VS

Leap! Two and a half stars

Voices of Elle Fanning, Nat Wolff, Carly Rae Jepsen. Directed by Éric Summer and Éric Warin. 89 minutes. Rated PG. Set in 19th-century France, Leap! follows plucky orphan girl Félicie (Fanning) as she travels to Paris to pursue her dream of becoming a ballet dancer. The animation is serviceable, the voice work is adequate, and the story wraps up exactly as expected in under 90 minutes. —JB

Theaters: TC

The Lego Ninjago Movie Two and a half stars

Voices of Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Jackie Chan. Directed by Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher and Bob Logan. 90 minutes. Rated PG. The formula has worn a little thin by the third movie in the animated Lego franchise, which adapts a long-established toy line that’s already had its own TV series, necessitating a combination of serious, mythology-laden existing storylines with the new movies’ joke-heavy, self-aware style. It’s a well-made feature-length toy commercial. —JB

Theaters: TC, VS

Let There Be Light (Not reviewed)

Kevin Sorbo, Sam Sorbo, Daniel Roebuck. Directed by Kevin Sorbo. 100 minutes. Rated PG-13. A famous atheist activist converts to Christianity after surviving a car accident.

Theaters: SC

Loving Vincent Two and a half stars

Voices of Douglas Booth, Eleanor Tomlinson, Saoirse Ronan. Directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman. 94 minutes. Rated PG-13. Animated from hundreds of actual oil paintings, this biopic about artist Vincent Van Gogh is a visual achievement that stifles its own dull, contrived storytelling. A series of talking heads describe Van Gogh’s last days in a stilted investigation awkwardly incorporating the painter’s most famous images. —JB

Theaters: GVR, VS

Murder on the Orient Express Two and a half stars

Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley. Directed by Kenneth Branagh. 114 minutes. Rated PG-13. Director and star Branagh never quite finds a good reason for yet another screen version of Agatha Christie’s famous 1934 mystery novel starring snooty Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. He packs the cast with stars and adds distracting visual flair, but it’s all just window dressing for a musty, exposition-filled plot. —JB

Theaters: AL, BS, CAN, CH, DTS, ET, FH, GVL, GVR, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SC, SF, SHO, SP, SS, TS, TX, VS

My Friend Dahmer (Not reviewed)

Ross Lynch, Anne Heche, Dallas Roberts. Directed by Marc Meyers. 107 minutes. Rated R. A dramatization of the life of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer during his teenage years, as seen through the eyes of his friends and family.

Theaters: GVR, VS

My Little Pony: The Movie Two and a half stars

Voices of Tara Strong, Ashleigh Ball, Andrea Libman. Directed by Jayson Thiessen. 99 minutes. Rated PG. This feature-length expansion of the long-running animated TV series doesn’t really qualify as more than a long episode, with its piecemeal story about the magical ponies of Equestria on a mission to save their home. The animation and storytelling remain simple and straightforward, which will please dedicated fans but offers little beyond that. —JB

Theaters: COL, TX

The Star (Not reviewed)

Voices of Steven Yeun, Aidy Bryant, Keegan-Michael Key. Directed by Timothy Reckart. 86 minutes. Rated PG. A group of animals led by an intrepid donkey play an important part in the birth of Jesus Christ.

Theaters: AL, BS, CAN, CH, COL, DI, FH, GVL, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SC, SF, SHO, SP, SS, TS, TX

Thor: Ragnarok Three stars

Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett. Directed by Taika Waititi. 130 minutes. Rated PG-13. The third movie starring Marvel superhero and Norse god of thunder Thor (Hemsworth) is an improvement over the previous two, adding a colorful ensemble and a strong dose of humor (maybe a little too much) to the typical Marvel story of stopping a world-ending (but underused) villain. —JB

Theaters: AL, BS, CAN, CH, COL, DI, DTS, ET, FH, GVL, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SC, SF, SHO, SP, SS, TS, TX

Victoria and Abdul Two stars

Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Eddie Izzard. Directed by Stephen Frears. 112 minutes. Rated PG-13. The relationship between England’s Queen Victoria (Dench) and Indian Muslim servant Abdul Karim (Fazal) was undoubtedly complex, but Frears’ film turns it into a dopey sitcom. Dench gives a commanding performance, but she’s the only actor given a fully realized character, with everyone else reduced to comical stereotypes. —JB

Theaters: COL, SC

Wonder Three stars

Jacob Tremblay, Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson. Directed by Stephen Chbosky. 113 minutes. Rated PG. Adapted from R.J. Palacio’s 2012 children’s book about a 10-year- old boy (Room’s Tremblay) born with facial disfigurements, Wonder observes the fallout when his parents (Roberts and Wilson) finally decide it’s time for him to attend school with his peers. It’s partly a complex drama, partly an earnest anti-bullying PSA. —MD

Theaters: AL, CAN, CH, COL, FH, GVL, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SF, SP, SS, ST, TS, TX, VS

JMA Jeffrey M. Anderson; JB Josh Bell; MD Mike D’Angelo

Theaters

(AL) Regal Aliante

7300 Aliante Parkway, North Las Vegas, 844-462-7342 ext. 4011

(BS) Regal Boulder Station

4111 Boulder Highway, 844-462-7342 ext. 269

(CAN) Galaxy Cannery

2121 E. Craig Road, North Las Vegas, 702-639-9779

(CH) Cinedome Henderson

851 S. Boulder Highway, Henderson, 702-566-1570

(COL) Regal Colonnade

8880 S. Eastern Ave., 844-462-7342 ext. 270

(DI) Las Vegas Drive-In

4150 W. Carey Ave., North Las Vegas, 702-646-3565

(DTS) Regal Downtown Summerlin

2070 Park Center Drive, 844-462-7342 ext. 4063

(ET) Eclipse Theaters

814 S. Third St., 702-816-4300

(FH) Regal Fiesta Henderson

777 W. Lake Mead Parkway, Henderson, 844-462-7342 ext. 1772

(GVR) Regal Green Valley Ranch

2300 Paseo Verde Parkway, Henderson, 844-462-7342 ext. 267

(GVL) Galaxy Green Valley Luxury+

4500 E. Sunset Road, Henderson, 702-442-0244

(ORL) Century Orleans

4500 W. Tropicana Ave., 702-889-1220

(PAL) Brenden Theatres at the Palms

4321 W. Flamingo Road, 702-507-4849

(RP) AMC Rainbow Promenade

2321 N. Rainbow Blvd., 888-262-4386

(RR) Regal Red Rock

11011 W. Charleston Blvd., 844-462-7342 ext. 1756

(ST) Century Sam’s Town

5111 Boulder Highway, 702-547-1732

(SF) Century Santa Fe Station

4949 N. Rancho Drive, 702-655-8178

(SHO) United Artists Showcase

3769 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 844-462-7342 ext. 522

(SP) Century South Point

9777 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702-260-4061

(SC) Century Suncoast

9090 Alta Drive, 702-869-1880

(SS) Regal Sunset Station

1301-A W. Sunset Road, Henderson, 844-462-7342 ext. 268

(TX) Regal Texas Station

2101 Texas Star Lane, North Las Vegas, 844-462-7342 ext. 271

(TS) AMC Town Square

6587 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702-362-7283

(TC) Regency Tropicana Cinemas

3330 E. Tropicana Ave., 702-438-3456

(VS) Regal Village Square

9400 W. Sahara Ave., 844-462-7342 ext. 272

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  • From Avengers: Endgame to Toy Story 4 to Tarantino and beyond.

  • The event’s 12th edition runs April 28 through May 4 at the Palms and Downtown’s Inspire Theater.

  • This year’s event features another packed lineup of short films, with more than 120 selections spread over 20-plus thematic programs and four days.

  • Get More Film Stories
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