Chris Hemsworth moves from superhero to war hero in“12 Strong,” a tale inspired by the true story of the Green Beret soldiers who were the first sent into action in Afghanistan after 9/11. Historians may quibble about the accuracy of the proceedings and some may find this standard action flick a bit jingoistic, but it’s a suitable tribute to those brave men who willingly put themselves in harm’s way.
“Phantom Thread” is reportedly Daniel Day-Lewis’ final film appearance and, as always, he delivers an imposing performance. He plays a British fashion designer in the 1950s who uses and misuses his young muse, played by Luxembourger actress, Vicky Krieps (creeps). Paul Thomas Anderson’s film is sumptuously and meticulously made, but has some grating plot elements lessen its impact.
Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer star in “Call Me by Your Name,” a gay coming of age story set in Italy in the early 1980s. Chalamet plays a conflicted teen who falls for a grad student visiting his family’s 17th century Italian villa. There are a couple of excellent scenes that help make up for some of the duller ones. Overall, it’s well acted and beautifully filmed…but perhaps a bit too subtle for its own good.
Fans of gritty shoot-‘em-ups should like “Small Town Crime,” a violent and suspenseful drama starring John Hawkes, Octavia Spencer and Anthony Anderson. Hawkes plays an alcoholic ex-cop who puts his family’s life in danger when he strikes out on his own to pursue the killer of a prostitute. An excellent cast and zippy pace help propel this decadent thriller.
Also opening this week, “Den of Thieves” is a bank heist flick starring Gerard Butler and 50 Cent that was hidden from the critics. “Mary and the Witches Flower” is a Japanese anime offering. “Midnight Man” is a low budget horror entry starring Robert Englund.