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



Some actors know how to continually reinvent themselves as they age, keeping long careers fresh. As the years march ever onward, Robert De Niro increasingly is showing that he does not have that talent. Here, he plays a thoroughly unfunny TV comedian trying to make a comeback through unfunny standup routines in a movie where no one is funny, ever. That alone would be enough to damn a film that also fails to tie its half-baked collection of characters into any cohesive plot, or even provide its hero with any significant stakes to overcome. When even the onscreen audiences fail to laugh, you know you’ve got a problem. Even Dirty Grandpa had more life than this. Opens Feb. 3 at Kahala Theatre



The topic is plainly stated: “What does it mean to be black in America today?” The answer is complex and vast, but this wonderful blend of documentary and poem, dance and violence is a triumph, as people struggle to explain what the terrain looks like for African Americans in a post-“I have a dream” world. Director Arthur Jafa has taken care to gather voices uninterested in canned takes and clich s, instead choosing a confessional, intimate chorus to weigh in on the tragedies of blackness in America. Things are not as bright as they were in Martin Luther King Jr.’s envisioned utopia, but it is important these struggles are not forgotten — or taken for granted — in this turbulent world.

Plays 1 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at Doris Duke Theatre



Bus driver Paterson (Adam Driver), who lives in New Jersey (in a town also called Paterson, of course) with his girlfriend, is content doing the same thing every day: going to work, walking the dog, chatting with his friends at the local bar. But he’s also a poet, a keen observer of what he sees while on his relentless routine. And that’s the movie: an ode to the banal routines of life and the unglamorous side of art. This does not make for very exciting cinema (there is exactly one moment of drama, and needless to say, nobody dies) but it is nevertheless a contemplative thesis on what it means to be a poet, and what it means to produce art (however ephemeral).

Opens Feb. 3 at Kahala Theatre