A few not-so-shocking giveaways about this week’s new movie releases, including Justice League and Frank Serpico
Matthew Lickona 6 p.m., Nov. 17
Indecipherable cyber-fiction postulating that what we accept as reality in the present day is actually a computer-dictated virtual reality a century later. (What is the matrix? "Unfortunately, no one can be told what the matrix is. You have to see it for yourself." Unfortunately indeed.) The Wachowski Brothers, billing themselves as if they were trapezists rather than writers and directors, have dished up a chunk of comic-book Kafka, with a superhero savior (name of Neo, anagram of One, as in Chosen One) in place of an antihero victim. There's enough going on to occupy your mind (allusions to Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, borrowings from Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam, colorless color, video-game violence, cartoony special effects, a mystical-mythical Wagnerian climax), but not enough to satisfy it. The total effect is not so much a big wow as a big huh. With Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano. 1999.