Opening this week:
Charlie's Angels Remember when the big strategy for introducing Idris Elba as 007 was going to be establishing that the British secret service employs several "James Bonds," a fake identity assigned to agents of various ethnicities? I tell ya, even in this day and age, a brother can't have nothin' to himself. But whether or not that idea ever gets used, it's provided an assist for the makers of the latest Charlie's Angels, who want us to believe that multiple teams of Angels are now operating across the globe, each with its own squad leader named Bosley. It's nice that David Doyle still gets to feel irreplaceable, though I doubt Bill Murray is experiencing any particular lump in his throat. The Bosleys in this iteration include Elizabeth Banks, who also wrote and directed the flick. Hey, her Pitch Perfect 2 was the most successful outing ever by a first-time filmmaker, so according to Hollywood's devil-may-care, risk-taking ethos, she now gets to helm any picture she wants – as long as it's part of an existing franchise aimed predominantly at women. The Angels Banks has assembled are Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska, who come across in the promo materials as somewhat, shall we say, butch. So maybe the real innovation here is gender fluidity? Personally, it just makes me wish Kate McKinnon had gotten to play all three roles, in some kind of Ang Lee-approved split-screen deal. Then again, I felt the same way about Playing With Fire. (PG-13)
The Good Liar I'm getting tired of the myth that there are no good roles for women. There are seven of them every year, all played by Helen Mirren. Her latest project casts Mirren as a wealthy widow targeted by a suave con man played by Ian McKellen ... and that's some fine acting right there, because he totally seems like a Derek Jacobi man. The real twist, though, is that the titular creep finds himself developing genuine feelings for his mark. Wow, an attempted financial holdup that turns into a meaningful emotional experience? It's like a typical marriage in reverse! (R)
The Report At last, a respite from the parade of multiplex dramas about the awful toll the war on terror has taken on our well-meaning American snipers. The Report focuses instead on the efforts of U.S. Senate investigator Daniel Jones (Adam Driver) to expose the CIA's use of torture as an interrogation tool. Visit orlandoweekly.com, and our Cameron Meier will tell you what he thought of the movie. I mean, he'll come right out and volunteer it. You won't have to put bamboo splinters under his fingernails or anything. (R)
The Warrior Queen of Jhansi India's rebellion against the British provides the historical background for this dramatic portrait of Rani Lakshmibai (Devika Bhise), the 19th-century army general whose insurrection earned her the plaudit "the Joan of Arc of India." The film's supporting cast includes Derek Jacobi – or, as Ian McKellen refers to him, "the Helen Mirren of wank matter." (R)
– This story appears in the Nov. 13, 2019, print issue of Orlando Weekly. Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly Headlines newsletter.