Film guide for the week of Jan. 10 – Orange County Register

Film guide for box-office releases and ongoing movies

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OPENING

‘The Commuter’: (PG-13) (for some intense action/violence, and language) A big, explosive train derailment lights up the screen late in “The Commuter,” but this latest action vehicle for the almost-ageless Liam Neeson runs off the rails a bit earlier. After setting up an enjoyable mystery, the screenwriters fall back on one movie cliche after another as the film rumbles toward its destination. 1 hour, 44 minutes. Grade: **

CONTINUING

‘All the Money in the World’: (R) (for language, some violence, disturbing images and brief drug content) “All the Money in the World” has, with remarkably few signs of haste, accomplished its unenviable task of recasting Kevin Spacey’s role with Christopher Plummer. But was it worth the trouble? The film, about the 1973 kidnapping of the grandson of billionaire oil tycoon John Paul Getty (Plummer), is, for better and worse, every bit a  Ridley Scott production: a solidly built, no-nonsense drama, largely without surprise. (Associated Press) 2 hours, 12 minutes. Grade: ***/

‘Coco’: (PG) (for thematic elements) Pixar’s latest offering, based on the Mexican tradition of the Day of the Dead, takes viewers into  a fabulously colorful and entirely magical world while making profound observations about family relationships. A 12-year-old boy whose dreams of being a guitarist are forbidden by his family crosses over into the world of the dead where he meets generations of relatives and fantastical spirit animals in a thrilling and joyous vision (Associated Press) 1 hour, 45 minutes. Grade:  ****

‘The Disaster Artist’: (R) (for some sexuality/nudity and language throughout) James Franco’s comedy about the iconically bad film “The Room” is less about would-be auteur Tommy Wiseau than it is about Franco himself. He populates it with his show biz friends and there are moments of pure joy, but the joke underlying the whole thing is not enough to support a feature-length film. 1 hour, 43 minutes. Grade: ***/

‘Darkest Hour’: (PG-13) (for some thematic material) Gary Oldman embraces the task of playing  Winston Churchill with almost palpable delight, bringing to life the British leader’s brilliance, large emotions and larger appetites. The historical drama in which he appears is just serviceable enough, falling back on an idealized notion of the English character that feels, in present circumstances, less…

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