Scott Marks 3:30 p.m., Dec. 24
Go for Sisters
Director John Sayles (remember Lone Star?) understands that characters are crucial. He has given us a couple of good ones in Bernice and Fontayne (Lisa Gay Hamilton and Yolanda Ross, both relishing the opportunity), former high school besties reunited in middle age when Bernice is assigned as Fontayne's parole officer after a drug sentence. And he offers a decent setup: a black woman (Bernice) hiring a Hispanic ex-cop to take her into Mexico to search for the Chinese smugglers who are holding her son (and sending pieces of him via messenger). But once the wheels are set in motion, the whole thing somehow fails to go anywhere. It's okay to make the real story one of estranged friends warily approaching reconciliation. It's not okay to make the cover story - the one with the smugglers and the ex-cop and the mutilated son - dull as dirt and burdened with disquisitions on the plight of the immigrant. With Edward James Olmos. 2013.