Reel-View Ratings: The Bigger The Beard, The Better The Movie
Director David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle) continues his fruitful partnership with actors Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in Joy, though it falls far short of the heights the trio has been accustomed to. Inspired by the life of Joy Mangano, inventor of the Miracle Mop, Joy follows Lawrence as the overworked matriarch of an extended family of unemployed free-loaders who hits it big with an inspired invention. Sure, Russell employs his usual art of barely controlled, hypnotizing chaos, but the characters feel like caricatures too much of the time, whereas Joy is too much of a cipher — the result is that the movie lacks heart and is surprisingly short on its titular emotion. It’s entertaining, but it’s no hallelujah.
Plays at 11:30 a.m., 3:15, 5:30 and 9:15 p.m. May 6; and 2, 6:15 and 8:30 p.m. May 8 at the Movie Museum
Two West African men undertake an arduous journey to Italy in hopes of finding work and steady funds to send back home … and walk right into the 2010 Rosarno race riots. The film does not flinch away from the difficulties of the journey, the unrelenting obstacles, and fear and suffering through the labor exploitation of immigrants. But it also does not hesitate to share lighter moments — a spectrum of human experience that adds poignancy to the good and ill. There are blind spots in its portrayal of immigrant life, but it paints a compelling, empathetic portrait of men trying to survive and thrive in a country that doesn’t want them.
Plays at 11 a.m., 3, 5 and 9 p.m. May 9 at the Movie Museum
VAXXED: FROM COVER-UP TO CATASTROPHE
This controversial documentary uses shaky science from a discredited doctor to make its case that the MMR vaccine can cause autism in toddlers, heartbreakingly put forth by a legion of tearful parents with anecdotal evidence that after getting vaccinated, their babies were never the same. Is there something useful to be learned from this film? There are nuggets of genuine, unaddressed concerns, yes — the timing of vaccinations, pharmaceutical companies being immune to most lawsuits, etc. But because Andrew Wakefield (the doctor in question) fails to address the very valid criticisms against his position in any meaningful way, Vaxxed comes off as little better than blind, already debunked propaganda.
Opens May 6 at Kahala Theatre