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



A semi-autobiographical showcase of director Mike Mills’ unconventional mother, Dorothea (Annette Bening), as well as the significant women in his adolescent life, Abbie (Greta Gerwig) and Julie (Elle Fanning), falls ignominiously flat because Mills didn’t bother to add a coherent plot into his series of charmingly filmed vignettes. What exactly the point of all this feminist enlightenment is — besides to illuminate how worldly the Mills stand-in character is — remains unclear. A whirlwind of anecdotes, ’70s nostalgia and artificially sharp dialogue is entertaining but ultimately leaves little impact Opens Jan. 20 at Kahala Theatre



Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) was not the founder of Mc-Donald’s, but without him, there would be no McDonald’s empire today. The Founder straddles an interesting point between praise and critique as it chronicles the rise of Kroc at the expense of the McDonald brothers, who watched the man franchise their brainchild away into something wholly unrecognizable. While Kroc more accurately can be called the villain of this parable, he’s also not vilified here — he’s simply presented as a cypher with a keen sense of greatness (and how to exploit it). But the film’s hesitance to sidle out of neutrality is ultimately what renders The Founder as forgettable, rather than poignant. Opens Jan. 20 in wide release



Martin Scorsese’s latest labor of love is the unlikely story of Jesuit missionaries in 17th-century Japan — at the height of anti-Christian prosecution. Two priests, Fathers Rodrigues and Garrpe (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) are sent to Japan to find the disgraced Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson), who renounced his faith and disappeared. What follows is, surprisingly, not quite the white savior story that the summary implies, but instead a nuanced examination of faith, as the devoted (yet paradoxically selfish) Rodrigues wrestles with his own doubts, self-martyrdom and fears. The film’s slow pace and occasional reliance on Other-flavored tropes does it no favors, but it is a worthy addition to Scorsese’s library. Opens Jan. 20 at Kahala Theatre