Hacksaw Ridge | The Heights
Mel Gibson has only made three previous films (Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ, Apocalypto) but this one looks poised to surpass even those epics. Gibson is as strange and nervy a director as he is an actor, and has a good eye for spectacle. He directs Andrew Garfield as a pacifist soldier in World War II who refuses to pick up a gun. It looks to be a novel inversion of the films where Gibson plays an action hero bent on revenge, killing masses of people. Speaking of handsome, older actor-directors, Robert Redford is having a conversation with film critic Amy Taubin at the Walker Art Center on Saturday. Tickets for that are going fast, but there are a few being allocated by random drawing.
Doctor Strange | Various theaters
Marvel Studios’ 14th #1 hit in a row looks to own the box office for its second weekend, even against strong contenders like Dreamworks’ Trolls. Doctor Strange happens to be among the best and most colorful films of its kind yet. Director Scott Derrickson faithfully recreates the phantasmagoric visions of the original four-color comics with impressively lysergic CGI. Even better, Benedict Cumberbatch continues the tradition of actors brought into the Marvel fold who effectively embody their characters. The result: a rare visionary superhero blockbuster, worth seeing twice. 3-D iMAX is not only recommended, but required. Worth checking out in the future: Cumberbatch’s performance of Hamlet, performed at the National Theatre in London, to be simulcast at Edina Cinema on November 20.
Arrival | Various theaters
Director Denis Villeneuve last made the disturbing Mexican cartel thriller Sicario. Rather than direct that film’s sequel, he made a science-fiction film which seems to be a unique take on the alien arrival scenario. Those disappointed by the Independence Day sequel might find more weighty themes to chew on here (there is some Oscar buzz). It stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker.
Donnie Darko/Southland Tales | The Trylon
Richard Kelly’s two films will both show at the Trylon this weekend. The better-known Donnie Darko was an eerie cult hit that starred Jake Gyllenhaal as a misfit teen who hallucinates a giant killer rabbit. Amazingly, Kelly's follow-up Southland Tales is even wackier. Set in a future United States ravaged by the Iraq War, it stars Justin Timberlake as a scarred, crazed veteran and the Rock as an amnesiac actor who wanders the beaches of Los Angeles, pounding six-packs of beer.
Princess Mononoke | Uptown Theater
If midnight movies are your thing and you happen to be hanging out in Uptown this Friday and Saturday, check out one of Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki’s best-known classics. The plot involves princesses and forest spirits, but the real star is Miyazaki’s amazing vistas, magic, and monster designs. Minnesota resident Neil Gaiman wrote the English treatment of the screenplay. Meanwhile, the indie success Moonlight continues to be the main film at the Uptown for its second week, and is also worth seeing.