I, Tonya Craig Gillespie’s darkly comedic biopic about disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding (Oscar nominee Margot Robbie, in a funny and heartbreaking performance) is one of the sharpest, best-crafted movies of 2017. Fellow Oscar nominee Allison Janney is excellent as Harding’s cruel, heartless mother, and Gillespie comes up with a sympathetic portrayal of the mistreated Harding without excusing any of her bad behavior. In theaters citywide.
Call Me by Your Name Nominated for four Oscars including Best Picture, this 1980s-set romantic drama is more than a just a story of burgeoning sexuality. Best Actor nominee Timothée Chalamet gives a breakout performance as teenager Elio, who engages in a languid and intoxicating romance with grad student Oliver (Armie Hammer). Director Luca Guadagnino captures the beauty of the setting and the lead actors with equal care, coasting on sensuous vibes. In select theaters.
Paddington 2 The lovable, marmalade-obsessed bear returns for a warm, visually inventive sequel, as he must clear his name after being framed for burglary by a sinister, narcissistic actor. Hugh Grant is delightfully hammy as the foppish villain, and returning director and co-writer Paul King effectively balances kid-friendly humor with a whimsical, almost Wes Anderson-esque visual style that sets the movie apart from typical family fare. In theaters citywide.
Mr. Roosevelt The directorial debut from actress Noël Wells was barely released in theaters, which is a shame, because the earthy 16mm film composition must look great on a big screen. It still looks great on TV, though, and while the story (in which Wells’ aspiring actress Emily returns to her hometown to reassess her life) is standard indie material, Wells is charming, and she brings a slightly skewed perspective to the familiar narrative. Streaming on Netflix.
A Ciambra Italy’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar is a bleak but engrossing coming-of-age story about a 14-year-old Romani boy in an Italian port town. Pio (Pio Amato) smokes, drinks and engages in petty crime, navigating the uneasy dynamic among his close-knit community, mainstream Italian society and the growing presence of African refugees. Even when the story meanders, the naturalistic depiction of poverty and hard choices remains fascinating. Available on VOD.