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The BYT Weekly Mini Movie Guide: Now Playing In DC
May 15, 2015 | 3:00PM

We review films. You see films. You need to know where to see those films. You may want to know what we thought of those films. Here’s where you can read what we thought of the film you’re about the see. Click on the film links to read THE FULL BYT REVIEWS.

About EllyNow playing in D.C.

Farhadi’s approach to drama is both exhausting and exhilarating: even with low-stakes settings, the film has the dense plotting of a thriller. -Alan Zilberman


The Age of AdalineNow playing in D.C.

If you looked like Blake Lively and didn’t age for 80 years, you might think life was pretty god damn good. But you’d be wrong. In Age of Adaline, the protagonist spends her immortal years moping, when she’s not dazzling men with her stunning wit and knack for foreign languages. -Rachel Kurzius


American SniperNow playing near D.C.

Individual sequences are well-executed, and the two lead performances are strong. It’s just the whole movie feels like moral doublespeak. -Jeff Spross


Avengers: Age of UltronNow playing in D.C.

This is a film that indulges the gee-whiz joy of comic book action, even as it rises above those inherent shortcomings. -Alan Zilberman


CinderellaNow playing near D.C.

We all know how Cinderella ends, though in live action it becomes clear what a squandering of resources the hunt for the owner of the glass slipper is. Most worrying is that the film ends without telling us they lived happily ever after. Still, I somehow doubt Disney’s next announcement is Cinderella 2: The Red Wedding. -Rachel Kurzius


Clouds of Sils MariaNow playing near D.C.

Clouds of Sils Maria is a fascinating, multilayered, introspective look into the difficulties of Hollywood and of growing older in general that might rank among Assayas’ best. -Ross Bonaime


Dior and INow playing in D.C.

Dior and I is ostensibly a “will he or won’t he triumph” documentary about Simons and the greatest professional challenge of his career. What Tcheng has really created is a beautiful tribute to the labor and craftsmanship that goes into a dying art, and the people who spend their lives in ateliers, honing their craft and passing their institutional knowledge down to the next generation of artisans. -Catherine McCarthy


Ex MachinaNow playing in D.C.

There’s a lot of talk about thought experiments in Ex Machina, Alex Garland’s hyphenate debut, and it’s clear that the film fancies itself a thought experiment. Thought experiments, though, are not all created equal; according to Daniel Dennett, perhaps our greatest living philosopher, many well-known thought experiments are actually “boom crutches,” psychological traps that trigger intuitions which cloud good thinking rather than catalyze it. Among those boom crutches, in fact, is one of the thought experiments that is not only discussed in Ex Machina, but is lavishly woven into the film’s visual signatures, making me wonder if Ex Machina itself is nothing but a stylish, entertaining, 108-minute boom crutch. -Max Bentovim


Furious 7Now playing in D.C.

Vin Diesel recently said Furious 7 should win the Best Picture Oscar at the next Academy Awards. Of course he was laughed off, but when a film is this much fun, exciting and ridiculous and reveling in its insanity – and successful on nearly every front – I say why not? -Ross Bonaime


Get HardNow playing in D.C.

There is nothing funny about sexual assault. Why are we still doing this? -Vesper Arnett


Hot PursuitNow playing in D.C.

This is one of those movie experiences where you see the trailer and it’s exactly what you get in the film, and in this case, that’s not a terrible thing. -Vesper Arnett


InsurgentNow playing in D.C.

What happens over the next two hours is simply a prelude to the big reveal which is, naturally, supposed to make you want to EAGERLY await to spend more money on the third film, but then, you knew that going in. The second film is usually the weakest link in the chain – the one without major climaxes or closure, simply there as a middle child in between the overachieving older sibling and the spotlight hogging baby in the family. And Insurgent is no different. -Svetlana Legetic


Iris Now playing in D.C.

Watching Iris feels like visiting your grandparent’s house. -Kaylee Dugan


It FollowsNow playing in D.C.

It Follows is the best pure horror film in years, maybe even a decade. It does not deconstruct genre conventions like Cabin in the Woods or Resolution, and it does not use genre as an opportunity for allegory like The Babadook. There is some angst over teenage sexual hysteria, yet that’s a red herring in comparison to writer/director David Robert Mitchell’s greater purpose. Through the sheer power of his premise and his strength as a filmmaker, It Follows aspires to do no more than thoroughly creep out its audience. -Alan Zilberman


Kingsman: The Secret ServiceNow playing in D.C.

The release of Kingsman: The Secret Service is counter-programming for Fifty Shades of Grey, but it also could have been timed to correspond with Father’s Day. This is exactly the type of movie I’d see with my dad: violent, funny, and irreverent. Within the framework of a standard hero’s journey, director Matthew Vaughn and his co-screenwriter Jane Goldman skewer big targets with glee, and in between the well-choreographed mayhem, there’s a scathing pitch-black satire. No stone is left unturned: the film implicates large swaths of our culture, including the sort of audience who pays for mindless action, and there are jokes so daring that I’m surprised they made the final cut. -Alan Zilberman


Living in the Age of AirplanesNow playing in D.C.

Brian J. Terwilliger’s Living in the Age Of Airplanes takes the guests of the Smithsonian Air And Space Museum on an educational journey through history, exploring how we got to a point where flight is even possible, and how it connects people worldwide. Harrison Ford, who is an avid pilot, narrates the film. Though his recent accident puts him more to the forefront of the audience’s minds entering the film, it only briefly casts a shadow over the actual film experience. As a whole, this film is beautiful, but does not address the problems of technological and societal growth. -Vesper Arnett


Mad Max: Fury RoadNow playing in D.C.

Intentional or not, Mad Max Fury Road is a brutal rebuke of action and science fiction spectacle from the past few years. It does not waste time with exposition, yet finds time for character moments, anyway. There is no plot beyond the direction in which cars travel, and world-building strikes an impressive balance between intrigue and disgust. The action is spectacular, with our heroes confronting multiple sources of danger at once. But for all its explosions and mayhem, director George Miller has focused command over the material. All the car chases are frenzied, though they are filmed clearly, without any chaos or confusion. Fury Road is also a feminist film – idiots will claim that it is misandrist – and the heroine might even represent an improvement over Ripley in the Alien films. It’s that good. -Alan Zilberman


Pitch Perfect 2Now playing in D.C.

Get aca-ready, ladies and gents, because Pitch Perfect 2 is seizing on every element that garnered the first film a cool $113 million at the box office and ratcheting up the volume. Who cares about the National Championships of A Capella when our intrepid group of harmonizing misfits have to win Worlds to survive? -Rachel Kurzius


Saint LaurentNow playing near D.C.

Saint Laurent (not to be confused with Yves Saint Laurent, which is currently streaming on Netflix and makes for the other half of this style viewing sandwich and covers, in terms of the story, the era PRECEDING the one we’re about to talk about) is a 2 hours and 30 minutes long visual roller coaster which rewards and punishes the viewer all at once. -Svetlana Legetic


Seymour: An IntroductionNow playing near D.C.

There’s choreography in classical piano that can seem a little childish. When a player starts and stops a note, the way they move their arm/torso around the finger has a small, perceptible impact on the note’s quality and timbre. I played piano for years – I stopped when I was eighteen – and I always thought sighing into the keyboard (or whatever) was silly. Not only was I dead wrong, but immature about it, too. Part of the joy of Seymour: An Introduction, the new documentary directed by Ethan Hawke, is that goes deep into the virtue of practice, and how it intertwines with talent. Many documentaries are about creative people; this is one of the few that is also about creativity. -Alan Zilberman


TangerinesNow playing near D.C.

War films usually unfold on large canvasses. Directors like battlefields because they’re impressive and, well, kind of awe-inspiring. Tangerines, the war drama from Georgian filmmaker Zaza Urushadze, upends that trope. Instead of a battlefield, he focuses on a remote stretch of road, three modest houses, and an orchard. -Alan Zilberman


UnfriendedNow playing in D.C.

Watching a film via a computer via a large screen is a bit confusing. I hate to sound meta but Unfriended is probably best watched on an actual laptop. The characters are, in a nutshell, boring teens whose deaths you don’t really mourn but since it’s a horror film I’m not really here to make friends. -Jenn Tisdale


The Water DivinerNow playing near D.C.

In short, The Water Diviner seems pretty close to a sure thing. But apparently not. To be frank, the film feels like a glorified BBC television miniseries, full of ham-handed shot choices and shop-worn character arcs and rote plot points. -Jeff Spross


Welcome to MeNow playing in D.C.

Borderline personality disorder isn’t funny. But it’s not NOT funny. But it’s not ha-ha funny. But it’s not such a horrible thing that it shouldn’t be discussed. Welcome to Me, the new comedy, mostly drama, not a dramedy, starring Kristen Wiig isn’t funny. But it’s not NOT funny. -Brandon Wetherbee


Wild TalesNow playing near D.C.

The most important thing to know about Wild Tales is its structure. Instead of one feature-length narrative, the film is an anthology of six short vignettes. Aside from some thematic overlap, there is no connection between them. Instead of summarizing them all, I’ll just focus on one of them so you get an idea of the overarching tone. A man drives his Audi through Patagonia, and the car ahead of him will not let him pass. He finally gets through, calling the second driver a “motherfucking hick,” and this exchange ends to a slow-moving chase sequence. The payoff of the chase includes an explosion, unhinged brutality, and even on-screen defecation (yes, really). The vignettes vary in terms of ambition and the number of characters, so what unites them is cynicism about justice, both in the legal and karmic sense. -Alan Zilberman



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