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



Advanced theoretical mathematics doesn’t really make for the most compelling screen fare, so director Matt Brown makes it work in The Man Who Knew Infinity by, well, taking out most of that fancy math stuff and focusing on the people involved. This standard-fare biopic of Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan (Dev Patel) centers on the time he spent at Cambridge with his mentor G.H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons) just before the dawn of World War I, dealing with the usual racial, political and social wrinkles of the age. There is a sense that the “dumbing down” of Ramanujan’s great achievements makes things rather more generic, but there is still solace to be had in the smartly acted rapport between Patel and Irons. Opens May 13 at Kahala Theatre



In this Chinese odyssey of success, wealth and grief, young teacher Tao is confronted with a choice between sincere, poor coal miner Liangzi or the flashy, very wealthy Zhang. She marries the rich boy, and the film follows the tragic consequences of that choice through the next 30 years. The first two sections of the movie (set in 1999 and 2014) are thoughtful and sharp examinations of Chinese capitalist industry and its casualties, but the third (in 2025) is a limp, painfully awkward look at Tao and Zhang’s spoiled, English-speaking son, Dollar — a symbol of an entire generation lost to wealth and excess. Still, the film is incisive and emotional, bittersweet like Liangzi and Tao’s eventual, doomed reunion. It’s a slow-burning tragedy with only hints of succor. Opens May 13 at Kahala Theatre


Eager to woo aspiring model Raphina, down-on-his-luck Conor promises her a starring role in his band’s next music video — and, as soon as she says yes, he’s just got to actually get a band together. It’s a charming coming-of-age flick with a vested interest in its music-building vibe, and honestly the musical bits might be the best part of the whole thing, even if the band members themselves kind of blur in the background without much personality. Director John Carney is no stranger to the joy of improvement, as he lovingly tracks the band’s progress from amateurs to polished pros, though he falters a little in the rather bland relationship between Conor and his new gal. Opens May 13 at Kahala Theatre