Freeze Frame: “Freaky” (R), “Fatman” (R), “Ammonite” (R), “The Life Ahead” (PG-13), “Wolfwalkers” (PG)

“Freaky Friday” meets “Friday the 13th” in the bloody R-rated horror comedy, “Freaky.”  Vince Vaughn plays a deranged serial killer who supernaturally switches bodies with a mousey teenager. While “Freaky” doesn’t quite live up to its wacky promise, Vaughn milks his dual role for all its comic worth.


Mel Gibson plays Santa Claus…you heard that right…in yet another wacky, violent R-rated comedy, “Fatman.” A spoiled, wealthy kid sends a hired killer to knock off Saint Nick when he gets a lump of coal for Christmas. Intended as a pitch-black satire, “Fatman” is bleak and annoying instead of campy and amusing. It’s a lump of coal in your cinematic stocking.


Impressive, nuanced performances from Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan add strength to the slow-moving period romance, “Ammonite.” Winslet plays a reclusive paleontologist who begins a forbidden romance with the wife of a fellow scientist in 1840s England. “Ammonite” should have caught emotional fire, but instead merely simmers.


Eighty-six-year-old screen legend Sophia Loren returns in the sentimental Netflix drama, “The Life Ahead.” Loren plays an elderly Italian Holocaust survivor who reluctantly takes in a troubled 12-year-old Sudanese refugee. Loren is getting all the attention, but young Ibrahima Gueye carries the movie with his savvy, convincing performance.


Stunning, beautifully hand drawn animation is the main attraction of the Irish offering, “Wolfwalkers.” In 17th century Ireland, a young English lass befriends a free-spirited girl who lives in the woods. Turns out, the Irish girl is part of a tribe that transforms into wolves at night. It doesn’t all work, but “Wolfwalkers” is a pleasant bit of visual poetry.


Your local art house theaters are offering online viewing options for a number of  intriguing movie titles. More information is available at,, and

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