Capsule reviews from New York Times film reviewers
★ ‘THE BEATLES: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK’ (No rating, 1:39) Sure, you’ve seen endless clips of the Beatles in the early years, the Fab Four being cheeky, the fans screaming their lungs out. But this documentary by Ron Howard will make you smile at Beatlemania all over again, despite being a bit hagiographic. The focus is on the years when the band was playing live concerts and riding the fame monster with aplomb. That the group not only survived the hysteria but also went on to make even better music is worth savoring all over again. (Neil Genzlinger)
‘THE BIRTH OF A NATION’ (R, 2:00) The director Nate Parker’s film about Nat Turner, who led a bloody slave rebellion in Virginia in 1831, is an ambitious attempt to bring history to the screen. Mr. Parker, who also stars, relies a little too heavily on genre conventions and Hollywood revenge clichés, muddying the film’s political impact. But the movie also has a blunt emotional force, and glimmers of insight into the awful realities of 19th-century American slavery. (Scott)
‘SNOWDEN’ (R, 2:14) This solid, careful account of the career of Edward Snowden, up to and including his decision to leak information about government surveillance activities, lacks some of the wildness of Oliver Stone’s other movies. Nonetheless, it’s a thought-provoking movie, anchored in an astute performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who captures both Snowden’s arrogance and his ethical seriousness. (Scott)
‘SUICIDE SQUAD’ (PG-13, 2:02) A loud and tedious introduction to a band of misfit superheroes, somewhat redeemed by the performances of Will Smith and Viola Davis. (Scott)
★ ‘SULLY’ (PG-13, 1:35) Clint Eastwood’s latest is about a man who is excellent at his job. Specifically, it is about Capt. Chesley Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) and how in 2009 he came to land a plane on the Hudson River. The movie is economical and solid, and generally low-key when it’s not freaking you out. (Dargis)
Florence Foster Jenkins
Meryl Streep stars as a New York socialite who ,although she loves music, sings off key.Surrounded by sychophants and long time friends ,she financed her own concerts. Her devoted husband, played by Hugh Grant,helped to enforce her delusion and kept her spirit and determination alive. Streep is marvelous at being awful, and very funny, although there is a somewhat sad side to her quest to perform.For me, her accompanist, Simon Helberg, from TV's "Big Bang Theory",steals the show with his reaction to her singing. Chalk up another over the top performance from Streep.
Hell or High Water
A pair of Texan brothers become bank robbers in an effort to save their family farm. Ben Foster plays the older brother,an ex-con and loose cannon who masterminds the robberies and his brother(Chris Pine) a divorced dad who just wants to get a better life for his two kids.Jeff Bridges is the crusty old coot of a Texas lawman who is on the case and eventual shoot out.Hell or High Water has shootouts and car chases -- the slickest you'll see this year -- but it's in diner conversations and pick-up truck small talk where Mackenzie finds a beating heart, economic depression as the greatest equalizer. The material turns villains into heroes, heroes into villains, and simple characters into some of the actors' best performances to date. Directed by British director David Mackensie the film manages to depict the anxiety and frustration of our current era. It's a modern western that digs deep into the character of the cast and is one of the best of its genre.