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    Netflix’s ‘Knives Out’ Sequel Headed to Theaters Before Streaming

    “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” will receive a weeklong release in about 600 theaters in the United States a month before it becomes available on Netflix.Netflix is giving theater owners a Thanksgiving present.The streaming giant announced on Thursday that “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” will be released in around 600 theaters across the United States for one week beginning on Nov. 23 before becoming available to stream around the world on Dec. 23.The largest theater chains — AMC Theaters, Regal Cinemas and Cinemark — have all agreed to the deal, a first for the top exhibitors. Cinemark screened Netflix films in the past. But Regal and AMC previously refused to work with the company because it would not agree to the exclusive theatrical release periods and financial terms that are usually offered by traditional studios. Terms of the deal for “Glass Onion” were not disclosed.Yet the news now comes as a welcome relief to the industry after the past month, in which theaters generated just $328 million in ticket sales. That was the lowest number in September since 1996, with the exception of the pandemic year of 2020. The original “Knives Out,” starring Daniel Craig as the quirky detective Benoit Blanc, was a sleeper hit in 2019. It cost $40 million to make and grossed $165 million in North American theaters and $311 million worldwide. It was considered a prime example of how studios could successfully release films based on original ideas in theaters.But the chances of replicating that theatrical success seemed to be squashed last year when Netflix plunked down $465 million for the writer-director Rian Johnson to move his star-studded franchise to the streaming service for its next two iterations.“I’m over the moon that Netflix has worked with AMC, Regal and Cinemark to get ‘Glass Onion’ in theaters for this one-of-a-kind sneak preview,” Mr. Johnson said in a statement. “These movies are made to thrill audiences, and I can’t wait to feel the energy of the crowd as they experience ‘Glass Onion.’”The raucous reception for the film at its debut at the Toronto Film Festival last month inspired Netflix to pursue a more expansive theatrical strategy than it had for other films.Whether this development means that Netflix is willing to take a more traditional approach to theatrical distribution remains to be seen. The streaming service said it also did not plan to publicly report how the film did at the box office during its weeklong run. More

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    ‘The Swimmer’ Review: Tough Competition, In and Out of the Pool

    The writer-director Adam Kalderon renders his film with style and rich psychology.“Competitive sports are a tragedy for the body and soul,” Paloma (Nadia Kucher), the house mother at a dumpy training camp for swimmers, sagely tells Erez (Omer Perelman Striks). He’s sitting in an ice bath after working out too hard, the literal chains on his back during push-ups causing him to collapse in pain. An indelicate visual metaphor, perhaps, but the writer-director Adam Kalderon nonetheless renders his film “The Swimmer” with style and rich psychology. Sweat pools around the athlete’s body and the thin line between ambition and obsession is entrancingly legible on Striks’s face.For Erez, the possibility of an astronomical rise in the world of competitive swimming is on the horizon, just within reach. So is the Olympic dream of his increasingly aggressive and passively homophobic coach, Dima (Igal Reznik). But when Erez finds himself in a somewhat ambiguous tête-à-tête with another swimmer, the almost as good Nevo (Asaf Jonas), he’s torn between what he wants more: sex or success. Dima, ravenous for his own chance at winning, puts the two in psychological warfare with one another.“The Swimmer” distinguishes itself from other L.G.B.T.Q. sports dramas less in what the story is and more in how it’s told. Kalderon and the cinematographer Ofer Inov make Adonises out of the film’s athletes, but the film goes beyond mere marble-body ogling in its equal attention to the physical, psychological and emotional toll that training takes on Erez and Nevo. Kalderon finds the intensity of desire and competition in the cracks of the statue.The SwimmerNot rated. In Hebrew, English and Russian, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 24 minutes. In theaters. More

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    ‘Onoda: 10,000 Nights in the Jungle’ Review: Following Orders, for Decades

    Arthur Harari’s film dramatizes the true story of a Japanese officer who continued the fight for 29 years after the Imperial Army’s surrender in World War II.On Aug. 15, 1945, Japan’s wartime emperor, Hirohito, announced the Imperial Japanese Army’s surrender to the Allied Forces in World War II. But for 29 years after this announcement, an officer, Hiroo Onoda, continued to wage war on Lubang Island in the Philippines. The striking film “Onoda” dramatizes the true story of this holdout who persisted for decades after there ceased to be an enemy.Appropriately, “Onoda” moves slowly through its central character’s life story. Onoda (played as a young man by Yuya Endo, with Kanji Tsuda as his older iteration) begins the film as a failed kamikaze pilot, whose life is given purpose by the highhanded Major Taniguchi (Issey Ogata). Taniguchi recruits Onoda to undertake a secret mission, one that Onoda must never surrender. In return, Taniguchi promises that wherever his men go, they will not be abandoned.It’s this promise that fuels Onoda’s faith in the jungles. After the American army decimates the forces on Lubang Island, Onoda becomes the leader of a group of four remaining soldiers. Based on his belief, the group waits for the major’s return, facing rain, starvation and the increasingly bewildered defenses of local Filipino farmers.Despite the film’s wartime setting, there is little talk of politics — in fact, there is little talking at all. Instead, the director, Arthur Harari, chooses to create a psychological portrait of his central character, using images rather than explanations of ideology to tap into Onoda’s mind-set. In training, Taniguchi’s shirt glows titanium white. Sunlight seems to strike faces like a spotlight. The unnatural, painterly quality of the film’s training sequences makes their impression indelible. The light provides wordless, and conveniently apolitical, explanation for why a person might endure nearly three decades (or in cinematic terms, nearly three hours) without action.Onoda: 10,000 Nights in the JungleNot rated. In Japanese and Filipino, with subtitles. Running time: 2 hours 53 minutes. In theaters. More

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    ‘Piggy’ Review: A Bullied Teenager Gets an Unexpected Assist

    As violent as it is thoughtful, this Spanish movie dissects the webs of shame and secrecy that bullying breeds.The teenager Sara (Laura Galán) is comfortable with sharp knives and death: She helps out in her father’s butcher shop, after all, and they often hunt together. As we watch a trio of mean girls mercilessly mock Sara because she’s overweight, it’s natural to expect a brutal payback — that the poster for this Spanish movie depicts the lead drenched in blood might be another clue. But while “Piggy” does take a gory turn, it’s also a left one: The director Carlota Pereda carefully sets up our expectations only to subvert them.Right after her tormentors steal her clothes while she’s enjoying a solo swim at the local outdoor pool, Sara watches them being abducted by a mysterious stranger (Richard Holmes). That man, hulking and grunting, is an agent of chaos, his motives unknown and his actions seemingly arbitrary. He is simultaneously terrifying and fascinating to Sara, who has plenty of reasons to at least fantasize about violent retribution. But she is not the victim-turned-avenging angel so often found in horror movies or thrillers, and instead emerges as a complicated protagonist who makes mistakes and is not always easy to like. So is her well-intentioned mother (Carmen Machi), who thinks Sara must diet to avoid taunts.Pereda, who also wrote the script, is not afraid of psychological and moral ambiguity: It’s obvious that she is on Sara’s side — the bullying scenes are much harder to watch than the bloody ones — but she also knows that shame, guilt and secrecy fester into messy situations and messy people.PiggyNot rated. In Spanish, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes. In theaters. More

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    ‘The Visitor’ Review: Let the Wrong One In

    A young husband discovers that a series of old paintings holds a sinister secret in this derivative creeper.Where would supernatural thrillers be without the small town? Only there can inbred eccentricities bloom and the weird goings-on in Mabel’s back yard remain unremarked upon. The setting is such a cliché that any time we see a big-city transplant grow increasingly aware that his straw-sucking neighbors are acting a bit funny, we’re just waiting for the bonfire in the woods and the upside-down cross.In that sense at least, Justin P. Lange’s “The Visitor” does not disappoint, and genre fans will have no trouble singing along with the movie’s narrative beats. Robert and Maia (Finn Jones and Jessica McNamee) have arrived from London to settle in Maia’s childhood home in a fictitious American town. Maia’s father has died, further straining a marriage that’s already wobbly from an earlier tragedy. So Robert, at least, is in no mood for a visit to the local pub, where everyone from the forbidding pastor to the too-friendly barmaid is looking at him askance. There’s also the small matter of the oil painting in the attic, a man who’s the spitting image of Robert though, disappointingly, is not called Dorian Gray. He’s called “The Visitor.”Filmed in and around New Orleans, “The Visitor” isn’t a terrible movie, just a tired one. Stuffed with bugs, frogs, snakes and silly costumes, it trundles along smoothly enough as Robert learns that his likeness has popped up in multiple paintings, once in a Confederate uniform. Maia, though, seems oblivious to the weirdness, basking in her new pregnancy and the attentions of the townsfolk, who are giving off distinct “Rosemary’s Baby” vibes. Yet Robert, ignoring the sudden deaths and obligatory warnings to leave town, is determined to figure things out. The audience, unfortunately, already has.The VisitorNot rated. Running time: 1 hour 26 minutes. Rent or buy on Apple TV, Google Play and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators. More

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    ‘Hinterland’ Review: Murderers Among Us

    Stefan Ruzowitzky’s film sets a serial-killer mystery in Vienna after the ravages of World War I and employs some dazzling blue-screen backdrops.The backdrops are the star attraction in “Hinterland,” a post-World War I serial-killer mystery directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky. Stretched across panoramic wide-screen, the eye-popping film portrays 1920 Vienna as a pullulating Old World metropolis, its buildings reeling at canted angles, its streets hosting grotesque violence.Perg (Murathan Muslu) is a returning P.O.W. who yearns for the wife he left behind and gets drawn into investigating some baroque murders. This chiseled ex-cop feels forgotten, as we are repeatedly reminded; everyone around him is scrambling to survive or in thrall to an “ism” (communism, anarchism, opportunism). Ruzowitzky, who directed the Academy Award-winning World War II drama “The Counterfeiters,” has a taste for the dark bargains of war and its aftermath, though here he mostly musters a neo-noir mood of regret.Perg figures out that the killings have something to do with grisly decisions made by soldiers during the war. The screenplay for “Hinterland” then clicks a little too abruptly into its grooves to sit with all the story’s implications, as we follow the cat-and-mouse machinations of the investigation and Perg’s missed-connection romance with a forensics doctor, Theresa (Liv Lisa Fries, a “Babylon” star).But the hypervivid visuals remain a feat, shot almost exclusively on blue screens (with much credit due to the digital art director, Oleg Prodeus). Expressionist painters like Ludwig Meidner spring to mind, as does Lars Von Trier’s post-World War II journey into the abyss, “Europa,” with its own looming back-projections and moral swamps. If only the story of “Hinterland” felt as engrossing and alive as its setting.HinterlandNot rated. In German, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 38 minutes. Rent or buy on Apple TV, Google Play and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators. More

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    Review: In ‘To Leslie,’ an Unflinching Working-Class Elegy

    The small-budget indie is a complex portrait of the ways that trauma and addiction haunt an alcoholic mother, and her family, in the South.In gritty detail, “To Leslie” traces the fall of a one-time lottery winner who, years later, has lost everything she holds dear. The British actress Andrea Riseborough (“Nancy”) gives a deft performance as Leslie, an alcoholic mother in West Texas barreling toward rock bottom in this deceptively simple yet heart-wrenching character study.Allison Janney, Marc Maron, Owen Teague and Andre Royo fill out the solid ensemble cast in this small-budget indie, which accomplishes what its bigger-budget peer “Hillbilly Elegy” wanted to, but couldn’t pull off: a complex portrait of the ways in which trauma and addiction haunt a working-class white family in the South.The director, Michael Morris, knows from the start what movie he’s making: one that robs us of our easy assumptions about who Leslie is. She’s unbearably flawed, and the screenwriter Ryan Binaco explains why without forcing long beats of exposition upon the viewer. And he does so while still leaving room for surprise. Leslie doesn’t tank her sobriety when we think she will, yet her recovery is free of narrative subterfuge.The cinematography by Larkin Seiple (“Everything Everywhere All At Once”) is a real feat of visual character development: The camera movement is both protective of Leslie and unflinching in its raw portrayal of her vulnerability. Some of the most affecting shots take place at the bar, like one close-up where Leslie spars with the guy who wants to bed her — “Tell me I’m good.” It’s shot with a depth of field that keeps Leslie’s face in focus, while the rest of the frame is blurred.“To Leslie” probably could have left 15 more minutes on the cutting room floor. But its intermittent lags don’t diminish the overall satisfaction one feels in the film’s final act, when Leslie’s rocky road settles into something believably triumphant.To LeslieRated R for explicit language and violence. Running time: 1 hour 59 minutes. Rent or buy on Apple TV, Google Play and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators. More

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    ‘Mr. Harrigan’s Phone’ Review: Are You Still There?

    In this thriller based on a Stephen King story, a lonely student and a lonelier old man make a connection that persists, even after death.With its curmudgeonly swipes at digital technology, there’s something mildly “get off my lawn!” about “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone.” Based on a Stephen King story, the John Lee Hancock movie tells the story of a teenager who appears to receive calls and texts from his mysterious former employer, Mr. Harrigan, who has recently died.Donald Sutherland portrays the reclusive billionaire who hires Craig (Jaeden Martell) to come to his mansion on the outskirts of their Maine town and read to him after school. Craig’s father (Joe Tippett), although not a fan of Harrigan, trusts his son’s moral compass. Whether it will maintain its true north is one of the movie’s intriguing tensions.There’s a bittersweetness to Craig and Harrigan’s friendship and good chemistry between the leads. It’s as if Mr. Potter from “It’s a Wonderful Life” found some nice local kid who had no idea about his mentor’s Bedford Falls history. The analog world, with its hard-bound literature and daily papers, is fundamental in this parable about the lure of digital technology.When Craig enters high school, he becomes the target of a bully, makes friends and finds a champion. The actor Kirby Howell-Baptiste provides a beam of light and the voice of caution as Craig’s science teacher, Ms. Hart. At the same time, the iPhone is making its debut as a must-have status object. With an unexpected windfall, Craig buys one for his old friend.When Harrigan suddenly dies, Craig is shaken. What happens next makes the movie less a chiller than a diverting drama about technology with things that go bump in the night, along with some nicely apt ethical quandaries for Craig — and for us.Mr. Harrigan’s PhoneRated PG-13 for thematic material, some strong language, violence and brief drug exchanges. Running time: 1 hour 44 minutes. Watch on Netflix. More