Here are snapshots of what our reviewers thought of the movies opening this week in the Seattle area. (Star ratings are granted on a scale of zero to four.)
★★★½ “Hustlers” (R; 110 minutes): Not all of it is beautiful, to be sure, but it’s always a kick. Inspired by a New York magazine story by Jessica Pressler (the details of which the movie follows quite closely), the film tells of two women’s transformation from hardworking strippers to leaders of an effective band of hustlers. Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu star. Full review. Multiple theaters. — Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times arts critic
★★★ “Edie” (not rated, for mature audiences; 102 minutes): The title character (lovingly portrayed by the brilliant Sheila Hancock) is no ordinary climber. She’s 83 and has been sedentary for most of that time. Conquering a glacier-carved mountain in Scotland, though, looms large in her mind in this quiet, unrushed and moving tale of age and will. Full review. Crest. — Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press
★★★ “Official Secrets” (R; 111 minutes): Director Gavin Hood’s drama focuses on Katharine Gun (Keira Knightley), a British intelligence specialist who in 2003 leaked to the press an NSA memo about a blackmail scheme targeting United Nations Security Council members. It’s a good story, well-told. Full review. Multiple theaters. — Moira Macdonald
★★ “The Goldfinch” (R; 149 minutes): The new film version of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, a sweeping coming-of-age story, feels like a disappointing misfire; it needed more room to breathe, to soar. Full review. Multiple theaters. — Moira Macdonald
★★★★ “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice” (PG-13; 95 minutes): Have we taken the iconic singer for granted? She was such a huge star for so long. Ronstadt, now 73, has lost her incredible vocal ability to Parkinson’s disease and retired from singing in 2009. Thankfully, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s beautiful, deeply moving documentary captures and preserves the unforgettable voice while detailing her career and indelible impact on the music industry. Multiple theaters. — Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service
“Aquarela” (PG; 89 minutes): A 90- minute documentary on water. How exciting can that be? You have no idea. Yes, it’s a meditation on water in a multitude of forms. But, as directed by Victor Kossakovsky, it’s an unexpectedly unnerving film that’s at least as terrifying as it is beautiful. While there are tranquil views to be had, the key “Aquarela” take-away is that we enter water’s world very much at our own risk. (The Los Angeles Times does not provide star ratings with reviews.) Meridian. — Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
“Jay Myself” (not rated, for mature audiences; 79 minutes): Stephen Wilkes’ energetic documentary focuses on the career of 88-year-old American photographer Jay Maisel, who has been blessed both by his individual talent and by some very good fortune. That latter component manifested itself in the early 1960s, when Maisel bought a six-story former bank building in Manhattan’s SoHo. The space enabled Maisel to become a hoarder. It’s a fun journey. (The New York Times does not provide star ratings with reviews.) Grand Illusion. — Glenn Kenny, The New York Times
“Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins” (not rated, for mature audiences; 93 minutes): Some crusading journalists write with a scalpel, others with a scythe. Ivins, who famously called President George W. Bush “Shrub,” used both. She was funny and mean, clever and sincere; most of all she was political to the bone. Samples of each are scattered like acid-dipped chocolate nuggets throughout director Janice Engel’s hagiographic documentary. SIFF Cinema Uptown. — Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
“Haunt” (R; 92 minutes): Halloween turns deadly for some friends who encounter an extreme haunted house. Katie Stevens and Will Brittain star. Varsity.
“Riot Girls” (not rated, for mature audiences; 81 minutes): After a mysterious illness wipes out all the adults, the kids left behind split into two gangs, sparking a vicious war for territory, resources and survival. The cast includes Madison Iseman and Jenny Raven. Varsity.