At the Movies: January 13

Monster Trucks, Live by Night, Patriots Day, The Bye Bye Man

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This week at the movies: Monster Trucks; Live by Night; Patriots Day; and The Bye Bye Man.

Monster Trucks

Looking for any way to get away from the life and town he was born into, Tripp, a high school senior, builds a Monster Truck from bits and pieces of scrapped cars. After an accident at a nearby oil-drilling site displaces a strange and subterranean creature with a taste and a talent for speed, Tripp may have just found the key to getting out of town and a most unlikely friend. Starring Lucas Till, Jane Levy, Rob Lowe, Amy Ryan, and Danny Glover.

Rated PG. Sci-fi/Family. Directed by Chris Wedge. 1h 44m.

What the Critics Say:

“Objectively ridiculous but mostly fun, this is better than you could have predicted given the title but squarely aimed at a young and undiscerning audience.” –Empire

“A sturdy forbidden-friendship movie, where men in black want to separate a well-meaning human from his misunderstood pet.” – Variety

Our Take: Trust us, the kids will love it! Especially if you have little ones who love cute creatures and trucks; this movie combines both worlds and will thrill young imaginations.

Live by Night

It's the Roaring ‘20s and Prohibition hasn't stopped the flow of booze in an underground network of gangster-run speakeasies. The opportunity to gain power and money is there for any man with enough ambition and nerve, and Joe Coughlin (Ben Affleck), the son of the Boston Police superintendent, long ago turned his back on his strict upbringing for the spoils of being an outlaw. But even among criminals there are rules, and Joe breaks a big one: crossing a powerful mob boss by stealing his money and his moll. Also starring Elle Fanning, Zoe Saldana, Sienna Miller, Chris Cooper, and Scott Easton.

Rated R. Crime/Drama. Directed by Ben Affleck. 2h 9m.

What the Critics Say:

“Ben Affleck’s work as a director continues to mix pulpy thrills and ambitious attempts at prestige.” – The NYTimes

“Based on a 2012 novel by Dennis Lehane, the film is sharply written and crafted, lavishly photographed, impeccably acted, with lots of twists and turns…” – Variety

Our Take: We are interested in seeing this full-on Ben Affleck production (he wrote, directed, and starred in this one). We know it’s no Argo (which is considered Ben’s best work to date), but we are always up for a good crime story set in the Prohibition Era…

Patriots Day

Tragedy strikes on April 15, 2013, when two bombs explode during the Boston Marathon. In the aftermath of the attack, police Sgt. Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg), FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers (Kevin Bacon) and Commissioner Ed Davis (John Goodman) join courageous survivors, first responders and other investigators in a race against the clock to hunt down the suspects and bring them to justice. Also starring J.K. Simmons and Michelle Monaghan. Based on true events.

Rated R. Drama/Thriller. Directed by Peter Berg. 2h 13m.

What the Critics Say:

“Genuinely exciting megaplex entertainment, informed by extensive research, featuring bona fide movie stars, and staged with equal degrees of professionalism and respect.” – Variety

“The hurtling action, speaking louder than any dialogue, gives a stirring sense of the suffering and heroism that flowed from the terror at the Boylston Street finish line.” – Wall Street Journal

Our Take: This deeply powerful film is not for the faint-hearted. If you are in the mood to experience a heartfelt retelling of a community’s strength against terrorism, then Patriots Day will fill you with pride.

The Bye Bye Man

People commit unthinkable acts every day. Time and again, we grapple to understand what drives a person to do such terrible things. But what if all of the questions we're asking are wrong? What if the cause of all evil is not a matter of what...but who? When three college friends stumble upon the horrific origins of the Bye Bye Man, they discover that there is only one way to avoid his curse: don't think it, don't say it. But once the Bye Bye Man gets inside your head, he takes control. Is there a way to survive his possession? Starring Douglas Smith, Carrie-Anne Moss, Lucien Laviscount, Faye Dunaway, and Doug Jones.

Rated PG-13. Horror/Thriller. Directed by Stacy Title. 1h 36m.

What the Critics Say:

 “… ‘The Bye Bye Man’ is post-psychological horror. It goes for the logic of momentary jolts, and for a tone of macabre youth-schlock sensation, like ‘The Conjuring’ crossed with a ‘Final Destination’ sequel.” – Variety

“‘The Bye Bye Man’ wouldn’t be a franchise aspirant without hinting at the possibility of a sequel, or perhaps more than one, depending on interpretations concerning the film’s intentionally ambiguous conclusion.” – The Hollywood Reporter

Our Take: The Bye Bye Man is definitely a chiller, and arguably a new horror franchise for you scary movie fans to follow. Get ready for jumpy scenes and some psychological twists that will keep you guessing even after you leave the theater…