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


A street activist is accused of triggering another man’s suicide. The trial is a farce, the justice system skewed. This is India, and this is the reality of life. Court, to its credit, does not condemn without attempting to show the larger context of why and how it is that India’s judicial system is so flawed — director Chaitanya Tamhane spends as much time following the key players around in their private lives as in the courtroom: the rich public defender with a conscience, a working-class prosecutor who has no time for empathy. The result is a slightly-too-long but nuanced portrait of India, in all its contradictions.

Plays at 1 p.m. Jan. 5, 21, 29 and Feb. 4; and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at Doris Duke Theatre


Margarita seems like it hits all of a social justice warrior’s acceptable movie criteria from the synopsis alone: Laila, an Indian girl suffering from cerebral palsy, embarks on a relationship with another woman, Khanum, a blind activist — a story portrayed with loving respect and cultural sensitivity. But set all that aside: The film is simply very watchable and down-to-earth. It’s not Oscar bait, nor is it trying to make a great statement about disability or sexuality. It simply has a small story to tell about one girl’s life, and it tells it well and without fuss. This very nonchalance may make it ultimately forgettable, but that may be the real victory.

Plays at 4 p.m. Jan. 3, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 10 and Feb. 4, and 1 p.m. Jan. 22 at Doris Duke Theatre



There is little question that Quentin Tarantino is an auteur, a cinematic tour de force that has cemented his legacy through movies as iconic as Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill. That being said, The Hateful Eight seems strangely … derivative, as if Tarantino is now attempting to emulate the magic of his earlier work. A motley crew of bounty hunters and Old West archetypes meet one snowy night and talk (and talk and talk) before all hell breaks loose. Tarantino’s dialogue is still rich and a joy to listen to, but nothing here feels fresh and new anymore. It’s still good — but you’ve seen it all before.

Opens Dec. 31 in wide release