LAST FLAG FLYING
Texas filmmaker Richard Linklater stunned Hollywood with his Oscar-nominated "Boyhood." This time, it's a more subtle but emotional impact with "Last Flag Flying." When Steve Carrel's son is killed in Iraq, he turns to his old Marine buddies played by Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne to help say his final goodbye. Linklater has 'guy talk' down pat, writing from the book by Darryl Ponicsan. Carrel's is a quiet performance, but it's the showy Cranston who could wind up in the awards conversation.
Rated R (Amazon Studios)
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS
An all-star cast hops on the train for a remake of the Agatha Christie mystery "Murder On The Orient Express." When one of the passengers turns up dead, it's up to the world's greatest detective to track down the killer. Kenneth Branagh directs and gives himself the plum role of the famous sleuth, Hercule Poirot. The film is good looking, and while the "whodunnit" doesn't go entirely off the tracks, the ride isn't as gripping as it could be.
Rated PG-13 (20th Century Fox)
DADDY'S HOME 2
Last week it was the moms in "A Bad Moms Christmas." Now it's the dads' turn in a sequel to "Daddy's Home," wait for it.. "Daddy's Home 2." Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell are successful co-dads planning Christmas, then their fathers decide to visit. They're played by a tough Mel Gibson and a talkative John Lithgow. Ferrell's always good for a giggle, but it's not as fun as the first.
Rated PG-13 (Paramount Pictures)
Margaret Qualley plays a 1960s teen who decides to run away to the convent in "Novitiate." Melissa Leo could be looking at another Oscar nod playing the strict Mother Superior. When Vatican II kicks in, her identity is challenged. It's a first-time feature for director Margaret Betts, who picked up a book about Mother Teresa and became obsessed with the idea of convent life.
Rated R (Sony Pictures Classics)