IN THE HEART OF THE SEA
PG-13 for intense sequences of action and peril, brief startling violence, and thematic material | In Theaters 12/11 (2D/IMAX) | Ok for Kids 13+ | Warner Bros. | Reel Preview: 4.5 of 5 Reels | In the Heart of the Sea
In the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted by a whale of mammoth size and will, with an almost human sense of vengeance. The real-life maritime disaster inspired Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick,” but that was only half the story.
“In the Heart of the Sea” reveals the encounter’s harrowing aftermath, as the ship’s surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive.
Directed by Ron Howard, this movie stars Chris Hemsworth as the ship’s veteran first mate Owen Chase; Benjamin Walker as its inexperienced Captain, George Pollard; Cillian Murphy as second mate Matthew Joy; and Ben Whishaw as novelist Herman Melville, whose inquiries into the event 30 years later helped bring the story to light.
THE LADY IN THE VAN
PG-13 for a brief unsettling image | In Theaters 12/11 | Ok for Kids 13+ | TriStar/Sony | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels | The Lady in the Van
Nicholas Hytner directs Alan Bennett’s adaptation of his critically-acclaimed West End hit, based on his own bestselling memoir. The real-life story centers on Miss Shepherd (Dame Maggie Smith, reprising her stage role), an eccentric woman of uncertain origins who “temporarily” parks her broken down van in Bennett’s London driveway … and proceeds to live there for the next 15 years.
Also stars Alex Jennings as Bennett, as well as Dominic Cooper, James Corden and Jim Broadbent.
THE BIG SHORT
R for pervasive language and some sexuality/nudity) | In Theaters 12/11 (limited; wide release 12/23) | Ok for Kids 17+ | Paramount | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels | The Big Short
When four outsiders saw what the big banks, media and government refused to see, the global collapse of the economy, they had an idea: The Big Short. Their bold investment leads them into the dark underbelly of modern banking where they must question everyone and everything.
Based on the true story and best-selling book by Michael Lewis (“The Blind Side,” “Moneyball”), and directed by Adam McKay (“Anchorman,” “Step Brothers”) this gripping story stars Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt.
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.
Images in this feature used courtesy of the studios and distributors.