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Weekend Movies: When Barack Met Michelle

Also, Exclusive Video: John Turturro Hams It Up in ‘Mia Madre’

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: John Turturro in a Deleted Scene From Mia Madre

Two exceptional new foreign films — one Italian, one Norwegian — arrive in theaters this week, each starring actors known well to U.S. audiences.

In Mia Madre, John Turturro plays an ego-driven American actor who complicates the life of his Italian movie director (Margherita Buy) as she tries to deal with the failing health of her elderly mother. Writer-director Nanni Moretti, who also plays the director’s brother, based the script on his own experience of trying to balance work and caregiving. He uses Turturro — featured here in an exclusive outtake from the film — as comic relief in an otherwise somber story.

“The brother and sister are undergoing similar emotions,” says Moretti, “but they have very different personalities. She is fiercely involved in her work as a movie director, but he quits his job to spend more time with their mother.” Smiling sadly, he adds, “The daughter is more like me: In the hospital she is thinking about work, while at work she is thinking about her mother.”

Stellan Skarsgard in 'In Order of Disappearance'

Magnolia Pictures/Courtesy of Everett Collection

Stellan Skarsgård in 'In Order of Disappearance’

Could any film differ more from Moretti’s contemplative vision than Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland’s bloody, brutal revenge comedy, In Order of Disappearance? Stellan Skarsgård plays a model citizen/snowplow operator who methodically kills his way through a list of people responsible for the violent death of his son. This is funny? Surprisingly, yes, as Moland channels the Coen Brothers and Tarantino in equal measure.

“What makes one person laugh makes another wince,” Skarsgård tells us. “You’ve got to find that balance.” As for filming in the dead of a Norwegian winter, he adds, “Shooting in temperatures 30 to 40 below hurts. I’m not the outdoor type.”


Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyers as Barack and Michelle Obama in 'Southside With You'

Courtesy of Roadside Attractions

Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyers as Barack and Michelle Obama in 'Southside With You'

New in Theaters

* Designates a Movies for Grownups Editors’ Choice

* Southside with You

Eleanor and Franklin meets Before Sunrise in this sweet little film that re-creates the summer 1989 afternoon when a couple of kids named Barack Obama (Parker Sawyers) and Michelle Robinson (Tika Sumpter) went for a leisurely ramble across Southside Chicago. Yes, it’s about the first date of the ultimate power couple, but the film also examines that critical moment when youthful idealism feels the first stirrings of personal ambition.

Hands of Stone

Robert De Niro stars as legendary trainer Ray Arcel; Edgar Ramírez plays his most famous protégé, the Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran. The powerhouse cast includes Ellen Barkin as Arcel’s wife, Rubén Blades and John Turturro. FULL REVIEW

Mechanic: Resurrection

Jason Statham’s grim-faced assassin thought he was retired, but as Michael Corleone once noted, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” This time he must kill a series of unfortunate folks lest some very bad men butcher his sweetie (Jessica Alba). Tommy Lee Jones goes scowl for scowl with Statham as one of his targets.

New at Home

 * 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 a porn star who’s gone MIA. The jokes are just one form of the rapid-fire killers here. 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 clueless home-wrecker Maggie (Greta Gerwig). Fast-forward three years, and Maggie wants to give the hubby back. Will Georgette accept returns?


Still Out There

* Designates a Movies for Grownups Editors’ Choice

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley return for a big-screen sequel to their long-running British sitcom, starring as a pair of hard-drinking, bad-mannered publicists on the run after apparently killing Kate Moss (it was an accident!). FULL REVIEW

Ben-Hur

No one asked for a new version of the 1959 Charlton Heston classic (itself a remake), but director Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch) guides a capable cast, including Morgan Freeman, through the familiar narrative. He also brings breathtaking energy to the action sequences, most notably a nerve-shattering battle at sea. FULL REVIEW

* Café Society

Woody Allen’s latest, the story of a young New York man (Jesse Eisenberg) eager to remake himself in 1930s Los Angeles, starts out as a love letter to the Golden Age of Hollywood, then morphs into a meditation on life choices and regrets. FULL REVIEW

* Florence Foster Jenkins

Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant and director Stephen Frears (Philomena) breeze through the funny and sad true story of a 1940s Manhattan socialite who bought out Carnegie Hall to give a one-woman singing recital. The hitch: She could not sing a note. FULL REVIEW

* Ghostbusters

Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) remakes the Gone With the Wind of supernatural comedies, this time with an all-female ghost-hunting cast. Look for appearances by original stars Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson. FULL REVIEW

Jason Bourne

Matt Damon returns nearly 10 years after playing Robert Ludlum’s amnesia-stricken secret agent. This update — like the character’s past — is instantly forgettable.  

* Kubo and the Two Strings

Masterly stop-motion 3-D animation adds artful delicacy to this tale of a boy in ancient Japan searching for a mystical suit of armor worn by his late samurai father. Think origami coming to life.  

* Little Men

The friendship of two Brooklyn teens is torn asunder by their feuding parents. Greg Kinnear is outstanding as a conflicted dad. FULL REVIEW

Pete’s Dragon

The 1977 Disney original starred Helen Reddy and Mickey Rooney. This remake’s got Bryce Dallas Howard and Robert Redford. Whether or not that’s an upgrade, the dragon’s definitely more impressive this time around.

Sausage Party

This R-rated ’toon features dirty-mouthed deli meats desperately trying to avoid being devoured. (And no, we can’t believe we just typed that sentence.)

Star Trek Beyond

Haven’t they run out of places “where no man has gone before”? Uh, no: In the 13th big-screen adaptation of the 1960s TV series, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto) find themselves stranded on an unknown planet.  

Suicide Squad

Mean-spirited. Derivative. Sloppily slapped together. In other words, just the thing to attract millions of 14-year-old boys — who, 30 years from now, will watch it with their own kids and cry out, “What was I thinking?” FULL REVIEW

War Dogs

Miles Teller (Whiplash) and Jonah Hill (Moneyball) star in this action comedy, based on a true story about two stoners who scam the Pentagon into giving them a $300 million contract to arm Afghan fighters. Directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover).


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