NEW YORK (CNS) — The glossy crime drama "Live by Night" (Warner Bros.) traces the rise of Joe Coughlin (Ben Affleck, who also wrote and directed), a Boston-bred gangster in the Florida of the 1920s and '30s. Though not exactly a hoodlum with a heart of gold, Coughlin is presented as a sympathetic figure in Affleck's serious-minded adaptation of Dennis Lehane's best-selling novel. Friday, January 13, 2017
NEW YORK (CNS) — The action comedy "Monster Trucks" (Paramount) certainly lives up to its title. It has strange creatures mysteriously propelling utilitarian vehicles in the absence of an internal combustion engine. It also sees to it that some bad guys meet justice, as you might expect. Thursday, January 12, 2017
A spotlight will shine on works of 10 local composers in an evening of new music in Agnes Flanagan Chapel at Lewis & Clark College, Portland, at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21. Desire for the Sacred is an evening created by Cascadia Composers that features organists Gregory R. Homza, Dan Miller and Cheryl Young and Portland’s Resonance Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Katherine FitzGibbon. Wednesday, January 11, 2017
TV fare this week includes "Command and Control," an episode of the series "American Experience" that explores the long-hidden truth behind a deadly 1980 nuclear accident in Arkansas. This chilling nightmare played out in September 1980. A worker accidentally drops a socket, puncturing the fuel tank of an intercontinental ballistic missile carrying the most powerful nuclear warhead in the U.S. arsenal, an incident which ignites a series of feverish efforts to avoid a deadly disaster. Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Two new anthologies offer a splendid trove of insights about spirituality and Christian community. One is edited by Brian Doyle, editor of Portland magazine. "A Sense of Wonder: The World's Best Writers on the Sacred, the Profane & the Ordinary" collects 37 essays and personal stories from the award-winning university magazine, which has featured the work of writers such as Mary Gordon, Mary Oliver, William Stafford and Pico Iyer, all included in this stunning collection. Tuesday, January 10, 2017
NEW YORK (CNS) — Much in the manner of "Lost" fans, who wondered what exactly was going on in that series, the audience for NBC's drama "Timeless" will increasingly want a definitive answer to the core enigma that drives its action and contributes to its suspense. Monday, January 9, 2017
The Marylhurst Writers Club hosts poet Elizabeth Woody reading her work at the university Friday, Jan. 20. The reading is free and open to the public.
Bloomsbury Review praised her work, writing, “Her poems are like hands and hearts and also like lights: they grip and pulse and illuminate. Like the woman herself, the work is grand and modest and forceful. It will shake you, and move you deeply….”
NEW YORK (CNS) — The first thing to know about "A Monster Calls" (Focus) is that, although it's based on a children's novel, it's definitely not for kids.
Even many adults will find its mawkish treatment of death and its supply of blithe "answers" to life's struggles difficult to handle. While the film is probably acceptable for mature and literate adolescents, "mature" is the vital term here.
NEW YORK (CNS) — The sanguinary subtitle of the action-horror sequel "Underworld: Blood Wars" (Screen Gems) proves unpleasantly appropriate as the amount of butchery on screen eventually goes off the charts. By the time the film's protagonist, in a climactic scene, uses her bare hands to rip the entire spine out of the back of one of her adversaries, the suitable audience for all of this slaughter has dwindled to nil. Saturday, January 7, 2017
NEW YORK (CNS) — The struggles of the civil rights era provide the backdrop for the appealing fact-based drama "Hidden Figures" (Fox 2000). Along with a personalized insight into the injustices that still prevailed in American society in the early 1960s, director Theodore Melfi's adaptation of Margot Lee Shetterly's book — which centers on three extraordinarily gifted mathematicians working for NASA — successfully re-creates the tension of the Cold War space race. Friday, January 6, 2017
NEW YORK (CNS) — Though it's set in present-day Los Angeles, the comedy-drama "La La Land" (Lionsgate) takes a spirited stab at reviving the musicals of Hollywood's golden age.
Writer-director Damien Chazelle ("Whiplash") dreams big in this over-the-top fantasy where drivers exit their cars on a freeway overpass and burst into song, and lovers float in the air amid the projected stars in a planetarium.
The Portland Wind Symphony, in partnership with the music therapy program at Marylhurst University, will present its second free sensory-friendly concert at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, St. Anne's Chapel at Marylhurst University. Everyone is welcome. New this year: the Marylhurst Chamber Choir will join the Portland Wind Symphony to perform classical and popular works for choir and band in an environment that is comfortable and judgment free. Wednesday, January 4, 2017
NEW YORK (CNS) — Directed and co-written (with Jay Cocks) by Martin Scorsese, "Silence" (Paramount) is a dramatically powerful but theologically complex work best suited to viewers who come to the multiplex prepared to engage with serious issues. Those willing to make such an intellectual investment, however, will find themselves richly rewarded. Sunday, January 1, 2017
NEW YORK (CNS) — Science fiction becomes the springboard for a study of selfishness, sin and the possibility of forgiveness in "Passengers" (Sony). While this tale about a transgression born of desperation will resonate with romantics, it may leave others cold. Sunday, January 1, 2017
NEW YORK (CNS) — Though the mayhem that pervades "Assassin's Creed" (Fox), director Justin Kurzel's adaptation of a popular series of video games, is mostly bloodless, other more unusual problems render it unacceptable for all. That becomes clear from the moment the eponymous affirmation first pops up in the dialogue. "Nothing is true," so it informs us, "everything is permitted." Sunday, January 1, 2017
NEW YORK (CNS) — "Collateral Beauty" (Warner Bros.) is a strange, pretentious drama about overcoming grief. While that's obviously a subject about which a good film — perhaps many of them — might be made, the treatment of it in director David Frankel's quirky mess of a movie is at once too bizarre and too pat to yield any insights. Sunday, January 1, 2017
NEW YORK (CNS) — "Sing" (Universal) is a generally amiable but flawed musical cartoon, populated mostly by animals. While the essential values of this show-biz fable are respectable enough, writer-director Garth Jennings incorporates elements into his film that make it unsuitable for youngsters. Sunday, January 1, 2017
NEW YORK (CNS) — Suffering is a leitmotif in any of August Wilson's plays, but there's also brutal honesty and joy in unexpected moments — as well as the musical cadence of his language to enjoy. That's what enlivens "Fences" (Paramount), the film adaptation of Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning work from 1983. Moral decisions, and the consequences of immoral ones, lurk at every turn in the plot as well. Sunday, January 1, 2017
NEW YORK (CNS) — At the center of filmmaker Kenneth Lonergan's drama "Manchester by the Sea" (Roadside) lays a crushed soul flawlessly embodied by actor Casey Affleck. Affleck's character, Lee Chandler, is a janitor in several Boston-area apartment buildings. A terse yet proficient handyman, he has little interest in conversing with tenants or in social interaction of any kind. Sunday, January 1, 2017
NEW YORK (CNS) — The makers of "Why Him?" (Fox) evidently couldn't decide whether their film should be a raunchy sex comedy or a tamer tale about the clash between established family values and the often bereft behavior of the untethered newly wealthy.
So they split the difference, resulting in an unpleasant botch that becomes an audience endurance contest.