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



2016 has not been kind to sequels or reboots of any ilk, so there’s little surprise that this 13-years-later sequel to Bad Santa continues the trend. Willie (Billy Bob Thornton) is as irreverent and foul as ever as he gets pulled into a charity heist that somehow also involves his mother (Kathy Bates). There’re plenty of nasty jokes about, well, everything from suicide to mental retardation, but these Christmas cookies have long since gone stale. It’s a retread of unfunny material that can’t even catch half the spark the original had. The cast does their best, but even Bates can’t save garbage.

Opens Nov. 23 in wide release



Hawaii has placed heavy expectations on Disney’s latest, and critics can be … assuaged, relatively. Moana (Auli‘i Cravalho), in typical Disney style, longs to explore the world outside her sheltered Pacific island, and then she does, learning valuable life lessons about believing in herself along the way. The movie doesn’t really push the plot too far from the formula. But the animation is exquisite, beautiful and vibrant and always hypnotizing. Maui (Dwayne Johnson) also keeps the film rooted with his complexities, and this critic also just likes Moana’s dumb chicken friend. It’s classic Disney: charming, fun and different — just a little, but enough.

Opens Nov. 23 in wide release



Director (and fashion icon) Tom Ford’s sophomore production is as sharp, clean and stylish as to be expected, but its plot is considerably less clear-cut. The unhappy Susan (Amy Adams) one day receives a manuscript from her ex-husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal), detailing the story of a man who was unable to protect his wife and daughter before unraveling into a saga of impotence. The idea is that all these interlocking stories-within-stories reflect on one another, but Ford never quite decides what exactly the overarching message of it all is supposed to be. The result is an exercise in aesthetics — not thought.

Opens Nov. 23 at Kahala Theatre