What should I see this weekend?, 2/10-2/12

ScreenerBlog

LEGO Batman delivers the laughs, while Fifty Shades Darker is fifty shades of awful.

(SR)=Specialty Release

The Good

The LEGO Batman Movie: “The comedy Batman deserves."

John Wick Chapter 2: “Double-crossed hit man becomes the target of every assassin in the world. Sequel delivers the goods, minus some surprise.”

Kedi (SR): “Ailurophiles should flock to this charming documentary about free-range cats in Istanbul.”

I Am Jane Doe (SR): “This striking, powerful and up-to-the-minute documentary about sex trafficking on the website Backpage enlists a deep bench of heavy-hitting politicos, journalists, victims and advocates to make its moral message.”

Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends) (SR): “Moving account of the little-known band at Paris' Bataclan concert hall the night of the terror attack, as the group emotionally prepares to return to the city. Actor Colin Hanks' second documentary feature shows a filmmaker of both empathy and skill.”

2017 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Documentary (SR): “This year's documentary shorts are dominated by the war in Syria and the world's refugee crisis. The likely winner is among them, although Joe's Violin may get the Oscar because it skews toward the Academy's traditional preferences.”

2017 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Animation (SR): “The 2017 Oscar nominees in the animated-short category are mostly somber, which makes the charming Pixar entry Piper all the more welcome.”

2017 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live Action (SR): “This year's Oscar-nominated live-action shorts are an eclectic mix of romantic tales, with one politically relevant film on the effect of xenophobia, and another on bullying.”

Stray Bullets (SR): “A blazingly confident feature debut.”

Land of Mine (SR): "Nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, this well-made drama borrows a little-known sliver of history concerning Denmark’s post-war mistreatment of young German POWs forced to defuse and extract land mines off Danish beaches to make its case that people are all the same."

Speed Sisters (SR): “This engaging doc delivers a startling spin on Palestinian gender roles.”

Left on Purpose (SR): “This emotionally devastating, thought-provoking doc raises more questions than it can answer.”

The Blah

A United Kingdom (SR): “Worthwhile, enjoyable though not especially stirring depiction of the monumental struggle faced by an African king, played by David Oyelowo, and the white British woman he loved, to marry and govern what would become independent Botswana.”

David Brent: Life on the Road (SR): “In this too-little and yet too-much slice of TV-ready cringe comedy, Ricky Gervais catches up with his unctuous ‘The Office’ character, who’s trying to fulfill his rock-star dreams but just keeps digging deeper holes.”

The Adventure Club (SR): “A perfectly harmless family film that’s about as challenging and interesting as Saturday morning television fare, and yet, better than expected.”

Duckweed (SR): “Pleasant, undemanding dramedy uses time travel to let a son connect with a younger version of his estranged father… Duckweed is entertaining enough, but there's almost no sense of urgency or logic to its story.”

The Ugly

Fifty Shades Darker: “The howlingly dreadful middle stretch of E.L. James’ reputedly erotic trilogy finds its mumbly, colorless dominant-submissive couple going straight vanilla.”

Sex Doll (SR): “Listless, highly predictable study of a call girl in trouble and her stalwart, if punk-like, hero.”

Don’t Hang Up (SR): “In Don’t Hang Up, Internet pranking reaches deadly extremes, but in this case it’s too superficial a concept to make for much of a thriller, which requires a more immersive experience than the film can deliver.”