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


It’s both strange and expected that this dramatization of Nat Turner’s slave rebellion of 1831 brings to mind Mel Gibson by way of Braveheart or even The Passion of the Christ — both in strengths and weaknesses. Heavily influenced by religious visions, Turner led a brutal uprising that killed more than 60 whites (and, in retaliation, more than 200 slaves). Beleaguered director Nate Parker produces a bloody, unflinching take on the struggle, emphasizing daily cruelties amidst heavenly visions. It’s not easy to watch, and, in fact, borders on gratuitous. The film sits uneasily in today’s climate of racial violence. And yet, it must still be seen: another side of another story that needs to be told. Opens Oct. 7 in wide release


A high-powered Tokyo salaryman (Ken Watanabe) finds his world shattered when he is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. What follows is a profoundly depressing, slow unraveling as he slowly forgets … everything. The once-proud man is reduced, and there is no happy ending waiting for him when he loses his ability to work, to provide and even to simply be. There is no “bright side” of the ravages of disease, and director Yukihiko Tsutsumi isn’t interested in trying to manufacture one. The result is painful, but honest. Watanabe captures that impotent frustration, but credit also is due to Kanako Higuchi, who plays his long-suffering wife. Plays at 2:15 and 6:30 p.m. Oct. 13, and noon, 2:15, 4:30 and 8:45 p.m. Oct. 14 at the Movie Museum

Akira Kurosawa’s samurai reinterpretations of Shakespear-ean classics are legendary for a reason. Nowhere is this truer than in his rendition of King Lear — a sumptuous film that ranks among his very best. The elderly warlord Hidetora gives his kingdom to his three sons, two of whom immediately start grappling for power. The disillusioned Hidetora descends into madness while his youngest son, Saburo, tries to save him, but the ending is grim for all involved. The visuals are magnificent; the battles without comparison in sheer scope and audacity. There is no finer screen rendition of the old tale, and certainly one of this master’s best works, period. Plays at 1 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12 at Doris Duke Theatre