Reginald Hudlin's period/courtroom/race drama – the pleasant start to my latest quadruple feature – is actually inspired by a 1941 case in the career of Thurgood Marshall, who, of course, later became the first African-American appointed to the Supreme Court. In other words, it's kind of like an origin story for the hard-living, harder-fighting lawyer, and the movie's great surprise is that it's closer in spirit to an enjoyable comic-book yarn than the prototypical Oscar Bait its subject matter would seem to dictate.

Yes, it's long. Yes, it's slow. Yes, it's so relentlessly downbeat that its only real laugh comes from a man pouring whiskey on the floor for his dog to lick. But I found Blade Runner 2049 overwhelming in the best possible way – a sci-fi dazzler of such intricate plotting, grand themes, visual wonder, and technical and performance-based pleasures that even though I was wiped out by the finale, I felt instantly ready to watch it again. Fun, of course, is always in the eye of the beholder, and while I don't know what it says about my personally beheld eye, Villeneuve's staggering achievement was about as much fun as I've yet had at the movies this year.

The plane crash, cleverly edited to look like one seamless take, is reasonably scary – as is Beau Bridges' rendering of the pilot's fatal stroke – and there are effective jolts and edgy passages involving a hungry cougar, a precipitous tumble, and a totally unexpected bear trap. But from Elba's and Winslet's very first tête-à-têtes, with their forced banter as unconvincing as their blatantly foreshadowed romance, the stakes in The Mountain Between Us feel almost ridiculously low.

Not to alarm anyone, but I think there may be a typo in the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's program for The Diviners, because it credits Mike Skiles for the show's “Set Construction.” I'm pretty sure that's meant to say “No-Set Construction,” given that there's literally no set for director Jalayne Riewerts' production – just Richmond Hill's traditional theatre-in-the-round space decorated by occasional props. That's not at all meant as a put-down. This touching, graceful take on playwright Jim Leonard Jr.'s period drama succeeds primarily because of its bare-bones, Our Town-esque simplicity, and those qualities, happily, are mirrored in the engaged, heartfelt portrayals by Riewerts' cast.

Barry Seal, the subject of director Doug Liman's action comedy American Made, was a real-life drug smuggler and DEA informant who weighed roughly 300 pounds and was said to be nicknamed “El Gordo,” which translates as “The Fat Man.” Naturally, because his story is now a Hollywood movie, a typically buff and ageless Tom Cruise portrays Seal – not under the actor's Tropic Thunder prosthetics, but behind aviator glasses and that iconic ear-to-ear grin suggesting Top Gun 2 has landed sooner than expected. Yet the biggest problem with this diverting, fundamentally unsatisfying film isn't that Seal is being played by Cruise. It's that American Made is being played by The Wolf of Wall Street.

Director Matthew Vaughn's action thriller Kingsman: The Golden Circle opens with a high-speed taxicab melee underscored by Prince's “Let's Go Crazy,” and I initially presumed it to be par for the Kingsman course – more hyper-edited, ultra-violent nonsense involving cartoonish CGI and an iconic pop tune. But it turns out that this particular scene, with this particular song, is actually serving as the film's mission statement, because for 140 minutes, Vaughn's follow-up to 2015's Kingsman: The Secret Service is undeniably crazy. Not good, not even half-good, but certifiable nonetheless.

With his excitability, thinned-out physique, heavy regional dialect, and seemingly lid-less popping eyes – plus a makeup job (or computer touch-up in post-production) making him look a good decade younger than his actual 36 years – Jake Gyllenhaal starts this inspirational drama acting up a storm. To Green's and the actor's immense credit, though, it winds up downgraded to a persistent yet subtle rainfall, with the occasional gusts, when they hit, feeling intensely earned. It's an Oscar Bait role, but Gyllenhaal doesn't give an Oscar Bait performance – merely an exceptional, Oscar-deserving one.

As the advance publicity and trailers for mother! were deliberately vague, it was impossible to know quite what to expect from Aronofsky's follow-up to his Ark-etypal epic Noah, and I presume that a lot of people, like myself, imagined it was going to be some kind of updated Rosemary's Baby with Jennifer Lawrence doing a Mia Farrow and Michelle Pfeiffer in the Ruth Gordon role. And I'd still pay big bucks to see that movie.

Muschietti's achievement is most assuredly a great time, and succeeds as well as it does primarily because the film pulls off a high-risk trick that precious few works in this genre ever do: It manages to be just as funny as it is scary. It may even be funnier than it is scary, and It is awfully freakin' scary.

This past Labor Day weekend might be the new standard-bearer in the annals of cinematic renunciation, because here were our only new – or rather, “new” – cineplex options: the 40th-anniversary release of Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind (a magnificent work, to be sure, but a 1977 one); Marvel's Inhumans (the pilot for a TV series); and Tulip Fever, a period drama shot in the summer of 2014 originally scheduled for release in November of 2015. Since then, the latter title – one boasting a quartet of Oscars winners in Alicia Vikander, Christoph Waltz, Judi Dench, and co-screenwriter Tom Stoppard – has had its release postponed an additional four times before being blithely tossed at the masses on Hollywood's least-favorite weekend of the year. You'd actually feel terrible for director Justin Chadwick's abused outing if the movie itself weren't quite so stupid.

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