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.)
★★★ “Harriet” (PG-13; 125 minutes): Cynthia Erivo, like the real-life Harriet Tubman, is a tiny woman, but the forcefulness of her voice and her presence brings director Kasi Lemmons’ biopic to vivid life. The handsome and surprisingly quiet film is a long-overdue portrait of an American hero. Full review. Multiple theaters. — Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times arts critic
★★★ “Terminator: Dark Fate” (R; 128 minutes): A dusty SUV screeches to a stop on a wreckage-strewn highway and out steps Linda Hamilton, aka Sarah Connor, looking like 25 miles of bad road, her face deeply seamed, her eyes baleful and glaring. She raises a rocket launcher and lets fly. KABOOM! And right there, right then, it’s a true “Terminator” movie. Full review. Multiple theaters. — Soren Andersen, Special to The Seattle Times
★★★½ “Jojo Rabbit” (PG-13; 108 minutes): Taika Waititi’s sprightly, attractively composed coming-of-age comedy set in World War II Germany is an audacious high-wire act: a satire in which a buffoonish Adolf Hitler delivers some of the funniest moments; a wrenchingly tender portrait of a mother’s love for her son; a lampoon of the most destructive ideological forces that still threaten society; and an improbably affecting chronicle of moral evolution. Full review. Multiple theaters. — Ann Hornaday,
★★ “Motherless Brooklyn” (R; 144 minutes): The 20-year passion project for writer/director/producer/star Edward Norton is one of those strangely mesmerizing failures; it doesn’t really work, but it’s … something. Based, rather loosely, on Jonathan Lethem’s novel, it’s an overstuffed attempt at film noir, filled with beautifully photographed faces and nostalgic shots of New York. But perhaps Norton was too much in love with it all; as a movie, it’s just too much. Full review. — Moira Macdonald
“Adopt a Highway” (not rated, for mature audiences; 78 minutes): An ex-convict, newly released from prison after 21 years, discovers an abandoned baby in a dumpster behind the fast-food restaurant where he works. Caught between impulses of kindness and panic, he soon realizes this could be his chance at redemption. The film, written and directed by Logan Marshall- Green, stars Ethan Hawke. Varsity.
“Arctic Dogs” (PG; 92 minutes): In this animated feature, a fox (voiced by Jeremy Renner) enlists the help of his friends to thwart an evil genius’ sinister plan to melt the Arctic and become the world’s supreme ruler. The voice cast also includes Anjelica Huston, James Franco, Alec Baldwin and John Cleese. Multiple theaters.
“Cyrano, My Love” (R; 110 minutes): Alexis Michalik’s delightful, buoyantly performed period comedy ricochets from backstage to onstage to offstage and beyond as it recounts a largely fictionalized origin story of the most enduring French play of all time, “Cyrano de Bergerac.” Set mainly in 1897 Paris, the movie swirls around poet and dramatist Edmond Rostand, played by a nimble Thomas Solivérès. (The Los Angeles Times does not provide star ratings with reviews.) Meridian. — Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
“Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the Movie Palace” (not rated; 94 minutes): A celebration of the grand American shrines to cinema that rose to glitzy prominence during the 1920s (including New York’s 6,000-seat Roxy and Chicago’s 46,000-square-foot Uptown), April Wright’s well-researched documentary might not quite live up to its title, but it does a decent job of capturing those golden years. Grand Illusion. — Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times
“Synonyms” (not rated, for mature audiences; 123 minutes): Furious, brilliant, exhausting, this is the story of a man (a charismatic Tom Mercier) in self-imposed exile. He has come to Paris “to flee Israel” — each step, scene and recited noun shows how far he has to go — but soon loses his clothing and other possessions, leaving him as naked as a newborn and ready for rebirth. Director Nadav Lapid isn’t afraid of obvious situations, bold gestures and didactic metaphors, all of which he deploys in a coming-into-consciousness tale of violence and memory, being and belonging. In French and Hebrew, with English subtitles. (The New York Times does not provide star ratings with reviews.) SIFF Cinema Uptown. — Manohla Dargis, The New York Times