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



The renaissance of Matthew McConaughey takes a detour into the dark ages in Gold, a movie about greed, power and pride (familiar turf for the star) as Kenny Wells (Mc-Conaughey) strikes it rich mining for gold in Indonesia, and proves himself entirely unready for what happens next. The movie very clearly wants to utilize its star’s talent for imbuing intellectual, self-aware musings on life with layers of implied meaning, but the script and story is woefully inadequate for the task. Vague dialogue does not equate poignant. The film’s life lessons are elementary. Characters barely articulate more than the implication of personalities. There’s even a twist ending that barely feels deserving at all. In short, it’s a dumb film that wants, really hard, to be smart.

Opens Jan. 27 in wide release



Auteur director Pedro Almodovar tries to suppress his more colorful impulses in this unusual adaptation of three Alice Munro short stories (condensed, a tad awkwardly, into one movie). He doesn’t always succeed, but that’s somehow OK. He follows Julieta through different periods in her life as she finds love, bitterness, disappointment and, through it all, seeks her long-missing daughter, Antia. The story isn’t told from A-to-Z, but instead backwards and forwards in time, the story coming out in drips and drabs, painting in the picture by pieces. Sometimes this approach backfires and Almodovar doesn’t reveal enough about his characters to make an impact. But he truly loves Munro’s work, and viewers can feel it too, bursting out of every scene like the colors he so loves.

Opens Jan. 27 at Kahala Theatre



This is the heartwarming story of Saroo Brierley, an Indian boy who got lost, accidentally shipped across the country, put up for adoption and moved to Australia — only to find his way back to the home he had long forgotten two decades later, thanks to Google Earth. Well, the premise, at least, is heartwarming. The finished product trips itself up with three-act storytelling that glosses right over the more complicated aspects of Brierley’s journey in favor of that oh-so-happy ending. The result is a drama-less romp through the wonders of Google Earth, while Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara hover around the periphery of Dev Patel’s Greater Mission To Find Himself.

Playing now at Kahala Theatre