Is the highly anticipated sequel to the 1982 sci-fi classic “Blade Runner” merely a replicant? Nope. Happily, “Blade Runner 2049” is a compelling film noir follow-up that stands on its own. Ryan Gosling plays a LAPD officer who hunts down replicants, renegade bioengineered humans. Ultimately, he is led to unravel the mystery of his own life and confront a former Blade Runner, played by Harrison Ford. It’s a stylish, smart and visually arresting philosophical thriller.
Throw a disaster movie and a romantic soap opera into a blender and you get “The Mountain Between Us,” a story about two strangers who are forced to work together to survive after their plane crashes on a snowy mountaintop. Idris Elba and Kate Winslet have the charisma and acting chops to elevate what would otherwise be a drab romantic drama.
All you really need to say about “Victoria & Abdul” is that Oscar-winner Judy Dench is in it. She plays Queen Victoria, who befriends an Indian footman, played by Bollywood star Ali Fazal. Against the wishes of her staff, he becomes her teacher and confidant. This low key drama may not be accurate history, but it’s entertaining speculation.
Just when you thought there weren’t any more stories to tell about WWII, we get “13 Minutes.” It’s the story of German citizen Georg Elser, a carpenter who, completely on his own, created a time bomb that just missed killing Hitler by 13 minutes. It may not be as compelling as it should have been, but it’s a solidly made, interesting thriller.
Also opening this week, “Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards” is a documentary about the legendary fashion designer. Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson star in “Viceroy’s House,” a historical drama about the India’s transition from British rule to independence in 1947. “Literally, Right Before Aaron” is a romantic comedy starring Justin Long and Cobie Smulders.