‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’
(PG-13; 133 minutes; Walt Disney): “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is chronologically the first of the three standalone “Star Wars” films – this one serving as a prequel to “Star Wars: A New Hope,” the first of George Lucas’ orginal trilogy. In “Rogue One,” a group of unlikely heroes led by Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) embark on a mission to thwart the evil Empire by stealing the blueprints of the Death Star.
This latest installment, directed by J.J. Abrams, was widely liked by critics and fans, who appreciated that it paid homage to the mythology of the franchise while also taking some risks. We get a female hero in the lead and an extremely diverse cast – plus lots of action and the usual quippy humor (most of that courtesy of the cheeky android K-2SO, played by Alan Tudyk). But despite the welcome light moments, “Rogue One” is ultimately a pretty dark movie.
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” also stars Forest Whitaker, Ben Mendelsohn, Mads Mikkelsen, Riz Ahmed and Donnie Yen.
(R; 115 minutes; K5 International): You probably missed this indie gem when it was in the theaters here for just a minute, so it should go on the top of your rental list right away. Adam Driver (HBO’s “Girls,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) plays a man named Paterson who works as a bus driver in the city of Paterson, New Jersey. He’s a simple, kind man with a simple routine, doing essentially the same things every day: he drives his bus and observes the city and its people; he writes poetry in his notebook; he walks his dog; he goes to the neighborhood bar for a beer. His wife Laura (played by Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani), while perfectly suited for him, is very different. A restless artist, Laura embraces new experiences and constantly chases new artistic pursuits. Nothing much happens in the movie – there are no action sequences, no explosions, no murders – but it’s a sweet, mesmerizing look at the life of Paterson and Laura and their poetic little world.
‘Office Christmas Party’
(R; 105 minutes; Paramount): A strong comedic cast couldn’t save this one, which critics and audiences shunned equally. A CEO (Jennifer Anniston) of a technology company threatens to close the underperforming branch managed by her rowdy brother (T.J. Miller), so he and his chief technology officer (Jason Bateman) throw a ridiculously lavish office Christmas party, thinking it will impress a potential client (Courtney B. Vance) and close a deal that could save their jobs. Of course, the party gets completely out of hand (cocaine is accidentally fed into a fake snow machine, for starters), but any more than that you’ll have to watch for yourself. It also stars Kate McKinnon, Olivia Munn, Rob Corddry and Vanessa Bayer.
‘The Bounce Back’
(PG-13; 104 minutes): In this likeable romantic comedy, dating and relationship guru Matthew Taylor, played by Shemar Moore, goes on a book tour to promote his new best seller, “The Bounce Back.” He meets celebrity therapist Kristin Peralta, played by Nadine Velazquez, who thinks he’s nothing but a scam artist. Fans of Hallmark movies can probably see where this is headed: Matthew falls for Kristin, but has to confront issues stemming from a past relationship in hopes of making this one work. Also stars Bill Bellamy and Sheryl Underwood.
Also out April 4
- “DCI Banks”
- “Don’t Hang Up”
- “Don’t Kill It”
- “We Don’t Belong Here”
- “Book of Love”