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This Week at the Movies: Meet the New Mary Poppins

Plus: a family affair for 'Deep Space Nine' actor Rene Auberjonois

EXCLUSIVE CLIP: Deep Space Nine star Rene Auberjonois in Blood Stripe

One of TV’s busiest actors, Rene Auberjonois, has a new boss: his 42-year-old son, Remy, who directed his father in Blood Stripe, opening this week at the Los Angeles Film Festival. “It was odd telling my father what to do,” says Remy of his first directing gig, “but he was game.”

Remy — an in-demand actor in his own right — cowrote this story of a female Marine (Kate Nowlin, Remy’s wife) struggling to adapt to civilian life after three tours of duty in Afghanistan. With the subject matter verging on dark, the senior Auberjonois suggested a humor injection: “My dad read the script and said, ‘You need to lighten this up,’ ” Remy recalls. “He learned that working with Robert Altman, who directed him as Father Mulcahy in M*A*S*H.”

In this clip from the film, exclusive to Movies for Grownups, Rene’s character — a minister who runs a summer camp — reminds the traumatized Marine of a triumph she once experienced there as a young girl.

Julie Andrews in 'Mary Poppins', left, and Emily Blunt in 'Into the Woods'

Courtesy Everett Collection

Left: Julie Andrews in 'Mary Poppins', 1964. Right: Emily Blunt, 'Into the Woods', 2014.

Mary Poppins Breezes Back

“Goodbye, Mary Poppins,” said Bert the chimney sweep (Dick Van Dyke) at the end of Walt Disney’s classic 1964 film. “Don’t stay away too long!” Just as you’d expect of the strong-willed nanny (Julie Andrews), she utterly ignored him. Fifty-four years after the original, on Christmas of 2018, Disney will release the lo-o-o-ng-awaited sequel, Mary Poppins Returns. The internet is abuzz with pros and cons about the new Mary, Emily Blunt, but we’re “spit-spot” about it: Blunt sang up a storm in Disney’s Into the Woods. (Let’s just hope Mary/Emily doesn’t get steamrollered by Disney’s nakedly mercantile sequel machine.)


New in Theaters

* Designates a Movies for Grownups Editors’ Choice

Me Before You

Pack your pockets with tissues before settling in for this unapologetic weepie, the story of a young woman (Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke) determined to make life worth living for a handsome quadriplegic (The Hunger Games’ Sam Claflin). Charles Dance and Janet McTeer are touching as the hero’s furrow-browed parents, and it’s fun to see Downton Abbey’s faithful man servant, Brendan Coyle, as Clarke’s working class dad.

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

Andy Samberg expands on his old SNL Digital Shorts music formats with a feature-length mockumentary about a clueless rock star. With a galaxy of his old TV buddies including Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Will Forte, Tim Meadows and Jimmy Fallon.


New at Home

Race

The story of Olympic champion Jesse Owens — the African American runner who exploded Hitler’s myth of Aryan superiority — is faithfully captured in this often-thrilling biopic starring Stephan James (Selma) as Owens and SNL alumnus Jason Sudeikis as his coach. FULL REVIEW

Triple 9

Officer Casey Affleck has been shot by a group of crooked Atlanta cops trying to create a distraction so they can pull off a heist across town. The bad news — for them — is that the targeted cop doesn’t die.*

The Dresser (Netflix)

This new film version of Ronald Harwood’s play features two of our greatest actors—Anthony Hopkins and Ian McKellan—in two of their finest performances. Literate, uncompromising and challenging, the story of a fading Shakespearean actor (Hopkins) and his faithful dressing room assistant (McKellan) grabs the viewer with visceral immediacy and never lets go.

* Eddie the Eagle

Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service) brings an earnest naiveté to the role of ungainly British ski jumper Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards. Hugh Jackman is a cranky delight as his coach, a washed-up former ski champ. FULL REVIEW


Still Out There

* Designates a Movies for Grownups Editors’ Choice

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Loud, chaotic and utterly alien to the quiet whimsy of Lewis Carroll, this awful sequel to 2010’s slightly less-terrible Alice in Wonderland once more stars Johnny Depp as a strangely morose Mad Hatter. FULL REIVEW

Angry Birds

They’re birds. They are angry. OK, got it!

* A Bigger Splash

Tilda Swinton plays a rock singer coping with the ripples of certain life decisions in this sensuous mystery set in a lavish Italian seaside villa. Along with beautiful peeps Ralph Fiennes and Dakota Johnson, she encounters passion, jealousy and insecurity. But mostly passion.

Captain America: Civil War

This duckbilled platypus of a movie is ungainly and slapped together, but giddy good fun to behold. The grownup stars include Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle, William Hurt, Hope Davis, Marisa Tomei and Alfre Woodard. FULL REVIEW

The Jungle Book

Make no mistake: This live-action version of the 1967 Disney cartoon is as removed from Kipling’s literary classic as Angry Birds is from Audubon’s Birds of America. Still, the computer animation is jaw-dropping, and Bill Murray is fun as the voice of Baloo the Bear.

The Lobster

Think it’s tough being single? In this dark futuristic comedy, single folks must find a mate in 45 days — or be turned into animals. Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz and John C. Reilly are among those racing the clock.

* Love & Friendship

Hmm, a laff riot from Jane Austen? Kate Beckinsale stars as a scandalous 1790s British noblewoman who, on a visit to her in-laws, sets out to score a husband for herself — and a rich aristocrat for her comely daughter (Morfydd Clark). FULL REVIEW

* Maggie’s Plan

Julianne Moore is a hoot in this latter-day screwball comedy. She plays Georgette, the wife of a philanderer (Ethan Hawke) who leaves her for Maggie (Greta Gerwig), a clueless home-wrecker. Fast-forward three years, and Maggie wants to give the hubby back. But does Georgette accept returns?

* The Meddler

Susan Sarandon shines as the overinvolved mother of a TV writer (Rose Byrne). She smothers the poor girl with attention — until she catches the eye of a charming ex-cop (J.K. Simmons) who rides a Harley and raises chickens. FULL REVIEW

* Money Monster

George Clooney is host of a TV financial show, Julia Roberts is his producer — and Jack O’Connell is the desperate viewer who hijacks the show after losing everything by taking their advice. Directed by Jodie Foster. FULL REVIEW

* My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

The cast of the 2002 original is back, as boisterous and big-haired as ever. Michael Constantine and Lainie Kazan shine as 70-somethings who learn their 50-year marriage was never sanctified. Don’t you just hate it when that happens? FULL REVIEW

* The Nice Guys

This slam-bang buddy-cop flick harks back to the best of them (think Lethal Weapon or 48 Hrs.). In 1977 L.A., Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling are mismatched detectives searching for an MIA porn star. The jokes are just one form of the rapid-fire killers here. FULL REVIEW

USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage

Nicolas Cage stars as Charles B. McVay, captain of the torpedoed ship that sank in the closing days of World War II, leaving nearly 1,000 men floating in the ocean at the mercy of the sea, sun and sharks.

X-Men: Apocalypse

OK, now we’re confused. Are these the ones who hang out at Iron Man’s house? They all wear tights, right?

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