On The Night Before, And The Rest Of The Weekend’s New Film Releases.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2.
Director: Francis Lawrence.
Writers: Peter Craig, Danny Strong.
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland.
Playing At: Wide.
The games are over as the districts unite to overthrow President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Part 1 was a good first half of a movie, but occasionally too grim. Hopefully Part 2 closes out on a more hopeful, thrilling note. This series has been miles ahead of Twilight and Divergent, but that's not a high bar to clear. This one needs to wrap up the loose threads in a way that doesn't feel like an obligation.

The Night Before.
Director: Jonathan Levine.
Writers: Jonathan Levine, Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, Evan Goldberg.
Cast: Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anthony Mackie, Jillian Bell.
Playing At: Wide.
Ever since I heard the guys playing Kanye West's “Runaway” on the giant piano at F.A.O. Schwarz, I knew this movie would be right up my alley. Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie play three buddies who go out for one last Christmas Eve bacchanal. That sounds like my kind of night.

Secret in Their Eyes.
Director: Billy Ray.
Writer: Billy Ray.
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Alfred Molina.
Playing At: Wide.
Like all remakes, this one will draw endless comparisons to the original, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Julia Roberts plays a detective hell-bent on finding her daughter's killer, due process be damned. This film has a stacked cast, but it still can't help but beg the question, “Why?”

Brooklyn.
Director: John Crowley.
Writer: Nick Hornby.
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Julie Walters.
Playing At: Angelika Plano, The Magnolia.
Saoirse Ronan, one of the most exceptional young actresses working today, plays Ellis, an Irish immigrant to the titular borough. Though she struggles to make it as a shopgirl, she falls in love with Tony (Emory Cohen). But then a family emergency calls her back to Ireland, and she's stuck between her uncertain but exciting life in America and her comfortable but possibly still fulfilling life in Ireland. It sounds old-fashioned, but critics have unanimously praised it for being extremely well-done and gentle and romantic.

Trumbo.
Director: Jay Roach.
Writer: John McNamara.
Cast: Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren, Diane Lane, Louis CK.
Playing At: Angelika Plano, The Magnolia.
Bryan Cranston gets his cinematic role of a lifetime as Dalton Trumbo, the outspoken screenwriter who was blacklisted in the '50s for his support of the Communist party. But he kept on writing, using his quick wit to avoid prison and churn out great movie after great movie. Expect a lighter take on a dark time in our nation's history.

By the Sea.
Director: Angelina Jolie Pitt.
Writer: Angelina Jolie Pitt.
Cast: Angelina Jolie Pitt, Brad Pitt, Melanie Laurent, Melvil Poupaud.
Playing At: Angelika Dallas, Cinemark West Plano.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Pitt drink, smoke, brood, fight and screw at a seaside hotel in France. Unsurprisingly, many people found that to be dreadfully boring. But more power to them for wanting to make the movie they wanted to make, instead of a blockbuster or romantic comedy.

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution.
Director: Stanley Nelson.
Playing At: Angelika Dallas.
This PBS documentary takes a volatile look at the activist group as it approaches its 50th anniversary. Sadly, many of the things they were rallying against all those years ago are still happening today.

Hot Sugar's Cold World.
Director: Adam Bhala Lough.
Playing At: Texas Theatre.
DJ Hot Sugar experiments with natural sounds (or unnatural, depending on how you view drums made out of human skulls) to create his aural wonders. This doc takes a look at his creative process, including collaborations with iconoclasts like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Jim Jarmusch.

Repertory Pick of the Week.

Singin' in the Rain.
Directors: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly.
Writers: Adolph Green, Betty Comden.
Cast: Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen.
Playing At: The Magnolia.
Showing: Tuesday, November 24.
I don't like to mince words. This is my favorite movie of all time. Nothing can top the colorful musical numbers, the endless one-liners and the boundless joy it brings me. The cast is impeccable, the movie beautifully shot and the songs are some of the best ever recorded. Seeing this in a theater could quite possibly change your life.

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