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



The archetypical sports movie remains archetypical in this ferocious, testosterone-fueled portrayal of boxer Vinny Pazienza, but it’s a knockout nonetheless. The obsessively competitive boxer falters when his neck is broken in a car accident — effectively ending his career. Of course, he fights back against the odds and succeeds (what’d you expect?). Miles Teller’s dedicated performance is bolstered by a surprising turn from Aaron Eckhart as his alcoholic trainer. But the one thing holding this film back from greatness is its ambivalence toward the dark sides of Pazienza’s fame and willpower. It ignores the subtlety needed to elevate it above clich .

Opens Nov. 18 in wide release



This film critic has a special love for Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, the novel — a marvelous meditation on the war in Iraq; America’s paradoxical, careless affection for its veterans; and mindless consumerism — but this film is mired in causes higher than its abilities allow. Focusing on Billy Lynn (Joe Alwyn) and his Army squad as they make an appearance at a Dallas Cowboys football game at Thanksgiving, director Ang Lee is aiming for a hyper-realistic, in-your-face confrontation of America’s shaky values, but the result doesn’t always take him where he wants it to go. There’re too many characters, camera angles and chaos for a cohesive voice to come through. What a shame.

Opens Nov. 18 at Kahala Theatre



Hailee Steinfeld stars as Nadine, a disaffected 17-year-old who copes with tragedy and self-loathing with acerbic wit and a decidedly cynical worldview. It’s a millennial movie, through and through, but something here rings authentic in a way so many teen movies do not. Nadine is unlikeable, and stubbornly so, but it’s hard not to at least empathize with her sharp critiques of her fellow man. Balancing out her existential rage is Woody Harrelson as a jaded teacher who recognizes her struggle (even if she doesn’t recognize that his advice is what she needs). It’s got a darker acid than something like Easy A or Mean Girls, but it deserves its spot besides them in the modern teen movie pantheon.

Opens Nov. 18 in wide release