Opening in Orlando: All Eyez on Me, Almost Christmas, Arrival and more 

click to enlarge Loving

Photo courtesy of A24

Loving

OPENING THIS WEEK

All Eyez on Me The long-awaited Tupac Shakur biopic has been the subject of almost as much controversy as the slain rapper's death itself. Multiple directors have been attached (with the job ultimately going to music video specialist Benny Boom), and producers have fought with each other over the distribution rights. At this point, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that Suge Knight had been seen dangling the work print out a high window. Even the exact release date has been, shall we say, up in the air. So maybe you'll finally get to see the picture this weekend? Or maybe you'll just have to settle for seeing Tupac shopping at Safeway, like always. (R)

Almost Christmas Gabrielle Union, Omar Epps and Danny Glover are among the members of a squabbling family who try to honor their dead mama by making it through an entire holiday without killing one another. Now tell me: Isn't this the storyline you'd rather see pursued in the Tupac movie? "I stole your to-go plate, you fat motherfucker!" (PG-13)

Arrival Amy Adams plays a linguist who tries to smooth mankind's first exposure to aliens from another planet. In other words, it's like if Noam Chomsky had been the guy playing the big Casio keyboard in Close Encounters. Kind of a bold move for Amy, given that her last experience making first contact with an extraterrestrial involved a guy by the name of Kal-El – and we've all seen how that one turned out. In the immortal words of erstwhile MC5 manager John Sinclair, "Hey, man, the next time the revolution comes, I'm gonna duck!" (PG-13)

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk Director Ang Lee has said he's afraid he'll get "crucified" for this high-risk Iraq war drama. Because the movie dares to suggest that our government's portrayal of wartime valor can vary wildly from the brutal reality? No, because he's worried about the reaction to the groundbreaking 120-frames-per-second technology employed in making the film. (Hey, you pick your battles, I guess.) Lee almost didn't make the movie in 120 fps, due to the negative reaction Peter Jackson got for shooting The Hobbit in the comparatively humble 48 fps – an experiment that, in the words of my good friend and Blair Witch Project production designer Ben Rock, yielded results roughly commensurate with an episode of The Guiding Light from 1987. So how does The Wrap characterize Lee's foray into even more sophisticated terrain? "Like something shot on videotape in the 1980s." Wow, great minds really do warp along the same curve! (R)

Dog Eat Dog Twenty-nine years after Raising Arizona, what's Nicolas Cage up to? Kidnapping another baby! (You live, you grow.) This time, the ex-con Cage plays isn't quite so successful at nabbing himself a young'un, bringing down considerable heat from organized crime and other entities one doesn't traditionally see involved in the adoption process. As for co-star Willem Dafoe, his credits as advertised in the movie's official promo consist of "Spider-Man, Justice League." Time, it has made chumps of us all. (NR)

Loving A dramatization of Loving v. Virginia, the landmark Supreme Court case that made interracial marriage legal throughout the United States. Vanity Fair lauds the film for focusing on the personal relationship at the heart of the story and offering mere glimpses of the surrounding social context – i.e., viewers under 25 will have no idea what in the hell is going on. If you're older and live in Massachusetts, you'll probably appreciate the opportunity to suck down a post-show cocktail while discussing the many parallels to Obergefell. And if you live in Alabama, get ready for a lot of talk about the good old days. (PG-13)

Shut-In The perils of a New England winter: If you're a widowed psychologist played by Naomi Watts, a mysterious assailant may be trying to break into your home and do harm to you and your paralyzed son. On the plus side, I think you can marry a piece of patio furniture up there by now if you really want to. (PG-13)

Also Playing:

Stagecoach: The Texas Jack Story Trace Adkins portrays real-life Western outlaw Nathaniel Reed, depicted here as a retiree hounded by a U.S. marshal he wronged in his train-robbing days. Aw, c'mon ... it's not like he boosted a baby or something. (NR)

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