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A special Invitation to this week’s film openings

Because, well, The Invitation. Also some others.

To be fair, this is how many dinner parties wind up.
To be fair, this is how many dinner parties wind up.
Movie

Invitation

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An African-American woman (Nathalie Emmanuel) is invited by a distant cousin to a swanky gathering of the clan. Before the night’s over, there will be blood. Gallons of it.

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Next time I see Mr. Marks, I’m gonna check his medication. How else to explain his recent run of rapturous ratings? Remember and Cemetery of Splendor pulled back-to-back five stars, and now, after a brief dip last week to three for My Big Night, we’ve got four for The Invitation. Four! Plus a positively perky chat with the film’s John Carroll Lynch about his early days as a Red Cross character actor. Truly, these are remarkable times we live in.

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I am reassured, however, by his reliably grumpy take on the nostalgic ’80s feel-goodery of Sing Street. No sense in prettifying a musical scene when grottiness was its chief virtue and creative wellspring. At least, that’s what I hear. And poor Take Me to the River seems to have made the mistake of being transgressive, but not transgressive enough. Mr. Marks shaved his middlebrow way back when.

And me? I went and had a great time at Elvis & Nixon. Charm may be both deceptive and fleeting, but darned if I wasn’t charmed as all get out by this sweet slice of historical fancy. Kevin Spacey’s Nixon still has me grinning, and Michael Shannon made Elvis touching but not sappy. Plus it’s 1970, so the soundtrack is groovy.

A Hologram for the King was overly optimistic and a bit scattered — if someone can explain the end of the hunting scene, please do so in the comments — but director Tom Tykwer brings a deft touch and a keen eye to Tom Hanks’s sojourn in the desert. I’m not sorry I saw it, in part because Hanks doesn’t have to wrinkle his brow nearly as dramatically as he did in Bridge of Spies.

Not much need be said about The Huntsman: Winter’s War, except maybe that I really wish they’d done more with the sisters. Those dresses! That owl mask! The gold-leaf eyeshadow!

Also opening: Brazilian social drama Casa Grande and songbirds-in-peril documentary The Messenger.

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To be fair, this is how many dinner parties wind up.
To be fair, this is how many dinner parties wind up.
Movie

Invitation

thumbnail

An African-American woman (Nathalie Emmanuel) is invited by a distant cousin to a swanky gathering of the clan. Before the night’s over, there will be blood. Gallons of it.

Find showtimes

Next time I see Mr. Marks, I’m gonna check his medication. How else to explain his recent run of rapturous ratings? Remember and Cemetery of Splendor pulled back-to-back five stars, and now, after a brief dip last week to three for My Big Night, we’ve got four for The Invitation. Four! Plus a positively perky chat with the film’s John Carroll Lynch about his early days as a Red Cross character actor. Truly, these are remarkable times we live in.

Sponsored
Sponsored

I am reassured, however, by his reliably grumpy take on the nostalgic ’80s feel-goodery of Sing Street. No sense in prettifying a musical scene when grottiness was its chief virtue and creative wellspring. At least, that’s what I hear. And poor Take Me to the River seems to have made the mistake of being transgressive, but not transgressive enough. Mr. Marks shaved his middlebrow way back when.

And me? I went and had a great time at Elvis & Nixon. Charm may be both deceptive and fleeting, but darned if I wasn’t charmed as all get out by this sweet slice of historical fancy. Kevin Spacey’s Nixon still has me grinning, and Michael Shannon made Elvis touching but not sappy. Plus it’s 1970, so the soundtrack is groovy.

A Hologram for the King was overly optimistic and a bit scattered — if someone can explain the end of the hunting scene, please do so in the comments — but director Tom Tykwer brings a deft touch and a keen eye to Tom Hanks’s sojourn in the desert. I’m not sorry I saw it, in part because Hanks doesn’t have to wrinkle his brow nearly as dramatically as he did in Bridge of Spies.

Not much need be said about The Huntsman: Winter’s War, except maybe that I really wish they’d done more with the sisters. Those dresses! That owl mask! The gold-leaf eyeshadow!

Also opening: Brazilian social drama Casa Grande and songbirds-in-peril documentary The Messenger.

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