Reel-View Ratings: The Bigger The Beard, The Better The Movie
Part of the success of this sequel to the seminal Trainspotting is that it feels like a failure. The whole gang of (mostly) former heroin addicts is back together — Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, Ewan Bremner and Robert Carlyle have all returned for this sequel by original director Danny Boyle — but time hasn’t changed them much. They once were aimless boys, and now they are aimless men, trying to find their way with new drugs, new vices and the same old ennui about trying to change. It would be tiresome, but the vacuum is kind of the point. They haven’t changed. They are still playing the same old game. Nostalgia can be deadly. To borrow a famous phrase from the first film, they chose life — and it’s a circle.
Opens March 31 at Kahala Theatre
THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE
Continuing the cinematic trend of “little-known World War II stories” comes this tale of a Polish zookeeper and his wife smuggling Jews out of the ghettos and to freedom right under Nazi noses. It’s an overtly feel-good film, where the bright eyes of animals elicit as much sympathy as suffering Jewish children, at the price of any kind of critical or deeper analysis of anything or anyone at all. Good people do good things just because — a nice but dull and listless message to drive a movie. Jessica Chastain stars as the titular wife, but this time she’s held back by probably the worst accent ever. Daniel Bruhl plays a Nazi (of course), and nobody else is particularly memorable.
Opens March 31 in wide release
Don’t let the simple title fool you. Your Name, or Kimi no Na wa, is the highest-grossing anime film of all time — yes, it’s made more than even Spirited Away. Country girl Mitsuha and city boy Taki go to bed one night and wake up in one another’s bodies. They learn to communicate and adapt to this recurrent body swapping, only to realize that more than distance separates them (there’s a meteor involved, too). By turns tearful and hilarious, this beautifully animated film hits you like a train straight in the feels. It may not defy its genre, but it exemplifies it, raises it to new heights and executes it perfectly. (Did I mention that you will cry? Because you will cry, a lot.)
Opens April 7 in select Consolidated Theatres