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



Adapting a novel is never easy; adapting an epic is nigh impossible — as Ewan McGregor finds out in his overly ambitious directorial debut. The rich story (by Philip Roth) about a Jewish man in Vietnam War-fevered America as his life unravels around him has been flattened into a dull, stilted film that has very little to say about anything that isn’t a blatant clich or an overwrought symbol. The life of the novel has been snuffed, the vibrant details extinguished. The characters are allegories, not people to love and hate. McGregor also miscast himself in the lead role. Only Dakota Fanning burns with any kind of life as his terroristic daughter. Opens Oct. 28 in wide release



Viggo Mortensen stars as Ben, a father who has raised six lovely children off the grid — with a healthy diet of philosophy, science and life-or-death survival tactics — only to be faced with the horrors of civilization when his wife dies and the family must attend her funeral several states away. Everyone in this movie sounds, for better or worse, like a Chomsky-loving graduate student with a focus on ethics, but the movie raises some good points about parenting, socialization and whether we really are all mindless drones in the face of our iPhones and general consumerist indoctrination — both for and against its case. Consider that your politics will directly affect how much you enjoy this otherwise well-shot, amusing caper. Plays at 11:45 a.m., 2, 4:15, 6:30 and 8:45 p.m. Oct. 29 at the Movie Museum



An adaptation of lesbian Victorian crime thriller Finger-smith, relocated to Japan-controlled 1930s Korea, directed by the man who brought the world Oldboy — it shouldn’t work, and yet it all does. Nam Sook-hee is tasked with deceiving Lady Hideko into marrying a conman before she is shipped off to a mental asylum — except the two women fall in love. Park Chan-wook’s lavish aesthetics, graphic sex and gore, and razor-sharp style make the film a visual feast, and its ironic story of repressed women fighting against the male gaze leaves a lot to unpack intellectually, too. In short, it is marvelous. Opens Oct. 28 at Kahala Theatre