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



kewlMilitary movies in America fall into one of two categories: portraits of trumpet-blaring heroism, or laments of institutional corruption. Fort Bliss wiggles its way in between that dichotomy, following Staff Sgt. Maggie Swann (Michelle Monaghan, in a career performance) as she endures the transition from a tour in Afghanistan to single-mother domesticity with her 5-year-old son Paul.

The film adeptly highlights the silent hurdles that female personnel face in service, eschewing patriotic fanfare for daily-life vignettes, but the ending wraps up a little too tidily to be satisfying. (NR)

Opened Nov. 14 at Consolidated Theatres Pearlridge West



kewlWhether Mockingjay needed to be split to tell a better story (no, it didn’t) is less important than wondering how it overcomes the typical two-part finale conundrum: the talk-heavy prelude to the over-explosive conclusion (sadly, it doesn’t, really). The star-studded cast led by Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen is fantastic but ends up fighting for screen time as Katniss is asked to become the figurehead of a revolution. It stays loyal to the book, but you can’t help but wish it had been just one movie, for a tighter, more focused adaptation. (PG-13)

Opens Nov. 21 in wide release



mehSince no other review on the Internet spoiled the weird twist at the center of this trying-really-hard-to-do-something-different romance, neither will we. But it’s a merry-go-round of mistaken identity for the dwindling romance of Ethan (Mark Duplass) and Sophie (Elisabeth Moss), who take a weekend retreat to try and rekindle old flames. Things get weird and confusing (and a little bit scary), and Duplass and Moss put in great performances — but honestly, the twist gets old fast, and the ending?

Well, you can see it coming a mile away. (R)

Plays 3:30, 5:15, 7 and 8:45 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Movie Museum