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Payne’s Picks

By Sarah Payne

Movies Coming Soon

The LEGO Batman Movie – February 10 I’m always pleasantly surprised when I see a “kids” movie that genuinely entertains me. The Lego Movie (2014) is definitely one of those movies (along with Frozen and Inside Out). It’s not only heartfelt, but it actually made me laugh out loud several times. Batman, voiced by Will Arnett, was by far my favorite character – self-absorbed and obtuse. So I am thrilled that Warner Brothers is releasing a spin-off of the Lego movie starring Batman, and all of the typical characters that fill his universe. Ralph Fiennes voices his butler, Alfred; Zach Galifianakis voices the Joker; and Michael Cera voices Robin. I predict lots of laughs for kids and for the parents that take them to see this one.

A Cure for Wellness – February 17 Creepy psychological thriller? I’m in! A Cure for Wellness is actually directed by Gore Verbinski, the guy who directed three of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. I suppose I can forgive him for that (Johnny Depp isn’t his fault, after all). And the screenplay was written by Justin Haythe, who also wrote Revolutionary Road. There’s not much press about the movie so far, so there’s some mystery behind what actually happens at this “wellness center” in the Swiss Alps. In an article for Gizmodo reviewing the first 30 minutes of the film, Katharine Trendacosta writes that, “It’s an interesting mystery and it’s clearly meant to be a slow-burn kind of creepy movie, ramping up to all the running and teeth losing in the trailer.” I’m looking forward to seeing Dane DeHaan in more of a leading role; he was excellent in A Place Beyond the Pines back in 2012.

Movie Reviews

Manchester by the Sea – I overheard someone say that this movie stays with you, and I couldn’t agree more. Manchester by the Sea is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time and totally deserves all the praise it’s getting at awards shows. I tell people it’s sad, but not in a melodramatic way. It’s tragic and heartbreaking. It will almost certainly make you cry (I cried three times). Both Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams give some of the best performances of their careers. One thing I noticed is that there’s very little dialogue. The acting is subtle, yet powerful. Some of my favorite scenes are between Affleck’s character and his teenage nephew, played by Lucas Hedges. When Affleck returns home to Manchester-by-the-Sea, he is thrown into the day to day life of his nephew, who has band and hockey practice, and several girlfriends (who don’t know about each other). I don’t want to give too much away about the plot. But as a New Englander, I will say that it makes me proud to see a movie set close to home with Massachusetts accents that don’t make me cringe. If you have a chance and need a good cry, I suggest you rent this movie.

La La Land – There are movies that are worth the hype (like Manchester by the Sea), and then there is La La Land. This movie earned a record-breaking seven Golden Globes last month. Hollywood is clearly in love with La La Land, but that doesn’t mean we have to be. First of all, it’s a musical. I knew this going into the movie, but I was willing to go against my gut and see it anyway because of all the hype. Within the first few minutes of the film, there’s a traffic jam in Los Angeles and everyone jumps out of their cars to sing and dance on the highway. It’s one of several cringe-worthy song and dance numbers in La La Land. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are lovely actors, but they’re not professionally trained singers and dancers. So why would I want to waste two hours watching them sing and dance? Gosling’s character resorts to playing the same piano tune for nearly every song he’s in. Stone’s character is down on herself because she can’t get an acting gig. For those of us outside of the L.A. bubble, the struggle is simply not relatable. It’s like their characters are living in la la land. The movie may be aptly named, but I wouldn’t waste your time on it.