Reel-View Ratings: The Bigger The Beard, The Better The Movie



Lee (Casey Affleck), a man caught in the long purgatory of depression, gets another unpleasant surprise when his older brother (Kyle Chandler) dies of heart disease, leaving Lee custody of his only son (Lucas Hedges). Now, the two men must negotiate their sorrow and learn to move on. What sounds like a typical narrative of White Man Angst is really a beautiful, subtle story about loss and endurance, about men pushed to their limits who keep on plodding onward, about the silent devastation of depression. Affleck gives the performance of his career, but the ensemble is no pushover. It’s an awards contender, but one that comes out swinging.

Opens Dec. 9 at Kahala Theatre



A smart-talking political thriller starring Jessica Chastain as a take-no-prisoners lobbyist working to advocate for gun control sounds, well, pretty damn perfect on paper. In execution, it’s less than that. Something about this flick is just a little off-center — the dialogue droning despite its rapid pace, a detailed, well-drawn character that’s somehow dull, a fatal lack of attention and interest to the hot-button issue at its core — and the film itself seems oddly out of sync with the brave new world of American politics that’s rooted in government backlash. Call it a case of wrong timing, but this Miss Sloane probably won’t have the staying power of someone like Olivia Pope. Opens Dec. 9 in wide release



He may well be the most iconic Japanese actor of all time — star of 16 films by director Akira Kurosawa, including Throne of Blood, Rashomon and Seven Samurai, a man whose filmography stretches past 180 titles. But in this documentary about the life of Toshiro Mifune, he is, oddly, only a supporting player. Director Steven Okazaki devotes considerable time to explaining samurai culture and film, and only does a cursory look at Mifune’s life outside the camera, preferring instead to highlight the actor through a handful of performance analyses. The result is interesting but strangely devoid of energy, an insult to a man who could breath ferocious life into every role he played.

Opens Dec. 9 at Kahala Theatre