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GOOD KILL

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GOOD KILL
Friday, May 22 - Wednesday, May 27
Friday - Sunday: 7:00 and 9:00
Monday - Wednesday: 7:00
Rated R / 102 minutes
Directed by: Andrew Niccol
Cast: Ethan Hawke, January Jones, Bruce Greenwood, Zoë Kravitz

In the shadowy world of drone warfare, combat unfolds like a video game-only with real lives at stake. After six tours of duty, Air Force pilot Tom Egan (Ethan Hawke) yearns to get back into the cockpit of a real plane, but he now fights theTaliban from an air-conditioned box in the Las Vegas desert. When he and his crew start taking orders directly from the CIA, and the stakes are raised, Egan's nerves-and his relationship with his wife (Mad Men's January Jones)-begin to unravel. Revealing the psychological toll drone pilots endure as they are forced to witness the aftermath of their fight against insurgents, Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, Lord of War) directs this riveting insider's view of 21st-century warfare, in which operatives target enemies from half a world away.

‘Good Kill’ Stars Ethan Hawke Fighting Enemies Half a World Away
Disregard the arguments for and against drone warfare advanced in “Good Kill,” and the movie still makes a persuasive case that our blind infatuation with all-powerful technology is stripping us of our humanity. Written and directed by Andrew Niccol (“Gattaca”), “Good Kill” is a blunt, outspoken critique of remote-control warfare, which is transforming the ugly reality of battlefield carnage into a video game whose casualties are pixels on a screen. The killing is real, and yet it isn’t. The title is the congratulatory jargon following an explosion that wipes out a terrorist cell or a Taliban hide-out in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Yemen. The blocky exposition, although highly informative, lends “Good Kill” a heavy-handed didacticism that undercuts the still shocking vision of the direction of modern warfare. Increasingly, it is a video game played by grown-ups who describe their dirty work in techno-speak that obscures what they are actually doing. Although the story is set back in 2010, when the use of drones was dramatically expanded, “Good Kill” still feels like science fiction. As Tom’s drinking worsens, and his inner turmoil reaches a boil, Mr. Hawke recalls Harrison Ford in his haunted, paranoid mode. At any second, you expect him to vomit up his bilious rage, but he resists. “Good Kill” is really a contemporary horror movie about humans seduced and hypnotized by machines into surrendering their souls: “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” for techies. - - STEPHEN HOLDEN / New York Times Critics’ Pick

WOMAN IN GOLD

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WOMAN IN GOLD
Friday, May 22 - Thursday, May, 28
Friday - Sunday: (1:30, 4:15)
Monday - Thursday: (4:15)
108 minutes / Rated PG13
Directed by: Simon Curtis
Cast: Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Brühl

Woman in Gold is the remarkable true story of one woman's journey to reclaim her heritage and seek justice for what happened to her family. Sixty years after she fled Vienna during World War II, an elderly Jewish woman, Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren), starts her journey to retrieve family possessions seized by the Nazis, among them Klimt's famous painting "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I." Together with her inexperienced but plucky young lawyer (Ryan Reynolds), she embarks upon a major battle which takes them all the way to the heart of the Austrian establishment and the U.S. Supreme Court, and forces her to confront difficult truths about the past along the way. Also starring Daniel Brühl (Rush). Directed by Simon Curtis (My Week with Marilyn).

'Woman in Gold' is war story painted in broad strokes
It’s a cautionary tale: First the Nazis came for our neighbors. Then they came for us. Then they came for our paintings. The Weinstein Company keeps finding new angles from which to view the Holocaust, and “The Woman in Gold” is a culturally lofty one. It’s the true story of a postwar custody battle — not for an orphaned girl but for a pilfered portrait of a lady. The painting by Gustav Klimt is known as “Woman in Gold,” but to the art establishment in postwar Austria, the painting in the Viennese museum is the nation’s “Mona Lisa.” Despite a debatable focus and dubious moralizing —money plays a pivotal role in the final outcome — “The Woman in Gold” works, largely because of the odd-couple chemistry between Mirren and Reynolds. It just goes to show that broad strokes are appealing when they’re in the right frame. - - - Joe Williams / St. Louis Post-Dispatch

FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD

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FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
Friday, May 22 - Thursday, May, 28
Friday - Monday: (2:00, 4:45) and 7:30
Tuesday - Thursday: (4:45) and 7:30
119 minutes / PG13
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Michael Sheen, Matthias Schoenaerts, Tom Sturridge and Juno Temple

Based on the literary classic by Thomas Hardy, Far From the Madding Crowd is the story of independent, beautiful and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan, An Education), who attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), a sheep farmer, captivated by her fetching willfulness; Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), a handsome and reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), a prosperous and mature bachelor. This timeless story of Bathsheba’s choices and passions explores the nature of relationships and love—as well as the human ability to overcome hardships through resilience and perseverance. Directed by Thomas Vinterberg (The Hunt, The Celebration).

'Madding Crowd' is a four-way romance
It’s “madding,” not “maddening.” That’s what the genteel folk of southwestern England thought of places such as faraway London, which scarcely casts a shadow over this lovely adaptation of the Thomas Hardy novel. It doesn’t require a spoiler alert to say that any woman raised on romance novels will develop a rooting interest early in this film. The pleasure of “Far From the Madding Crowd” comes from swallowing the golden-hued Kool-Aid without any bothersome pulp. Among the movie’s assets is a sterling cast. Mulligan uses her beguiling smile to defuse the dramatic underpinnings of the story, and Sheen adds another shading to his gallery of great performances. But it’s Belgian actor Schoenaerts who will leave the target audience atwitter. Seemingly incapable of cracking a smile, he fits securely in the stoic-farmer tradition that stretches from John Wayne in “The Quiet Man” to Russell Crowe in “The Water Diviner.” “Far From the Madding Crowd” is the closest thing this season to a crowd-sourced romance. - - - Joe Williams / St. Louis Post-Dispatch (three out of four stars)