Someone must have watched the Pixar/Disney films “Brave” and “Frozen” and then decided they should do a very gloomy amalgamation of those stories. The result is “The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” a sequel to 2012’s “Snow White and the Huntsman.” A great cast, terrific production values and impressive costumes almost save this murky and violent fairy tale…but it never achieves any real magic.
Kansas City native Don Cheadle wrote, produced directed and stars in the involving biopic “Miles Ahead,” a fantasia on the life of jazz legend Miles Davis. Yes, the story is highly fictionalized, but it serves to create what feels like an authentic portrait of the troubled artist. Cheadle’s work is first rate on all counts, demonstrating that the gifted actor has been paying attention. Like jazz, it’s a creative riff on the melody of Davis’ eventful life.
Do you like movies that creep you out? “The Invitation” is a well-acted and unsettling horror thriller that is as affecting as it is disturbing. A man and his girlfriend are invited to a dinner party at his ex-wife’s house. It doesn’t take long for them to discover that someone has ulterior motives. If you enjoy slowly building suspense, then this is one invitation you may want to accept.
“April and the Extraordinary World” is a wildly imaginative French sci-fi animated tale from France. A family of scientists gets caught up in a wild adventure in an alternate steampunk world of the 1940s. The beautiful hand-drawn animation and Jules Vern-like story make for an entertaining concoction.
Also opening this week, Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey play the title roles in the comedy “Elvis & Nixon” which purports to illuminate the meeting of the King of Rock and Roll and the 37th President. Tom Hanks stars in “A Hologram for the King,” the story of an American businessman trying to navigate the culture of Saudi Arabia.