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



Lyndon B. Johnson was a contradiction: a hulking 6-foot-4 Texan who sometimes cried and pouted when he didn’t get his way; a Southerner who hammered through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with dogged persistence. Bryan Cranston is an apt choice to play the man, and he embodies the part — it’s just that the rest of the film is little more than gossamer around him, hardly substantial enough to give anyone, including Melissa Leo as Lady Bird Johnson and Anthony Mackie as Martin Luther King, Jr., much to do or say. Perhaps it is the format (All the Way was an HBO TV special adapted from a stageplay), but it seems hardly enough to capture the giant shadow LBJ casts in history. Plays at 12:30, 4:30 and 8:45 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Movie Museum



A group of Mexicans (including Gael Garcia Bernal) seeking a new life in the U.S. are trekking across the desert border when they are set upon by a lone American gunslinger (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) who starts sniping them off, one by one, before they can enter the country. There’s a political allegory in here (none too subtly), but it’s mostly window dressing for an elaborate cat-and-mouse game between the two men. It’s high-tension stuff, to be sure, but without much story or substance around it, what’s the point of this illegal immigrant hunting game? Minimalism is not always the best course of action. Opens Oct. 14 in wide release



A gloomy street food vendor listlessly spends every day making dorayaki pancakes. Looking to hire help, he stumbles upon a perky old woman, who makes the perfect sweet red-bean paste to enliven his confections and, unexpectedly, his life. But, of course, both are hiding dark secrets that soon threaten their newfound bliss. This is a story without real villains, or even drama. There are only lessons to learn, food to relish and life to take one slow step at a time. While there’s something to be said for its simplicity of purpose and style, the result is more boring than it is profound — a lesson as treacle-sweet as red-bean paste. Plays at 4 p.m. Oct. 16, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18 and 1 p.m. Oct. 20 at Doris Duke Theatre