Freeze Frame: “Motherless Brooklyn” (R), “Jojo Rabbit” (R)

Actor Edward Norton wrote, produced, directed and stars in the moody film noir melodrama, “Motherless Brooklyn.” Norton is excellent as a gumshoe with Tourette’s Syndrome who uncovers a web of fraud and racial exploitation in 50s New York City when he investigates the death of his employer, played by Bruce Willis. The solid supporting cast includes Willem Dafoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Alec Baldwin, who oozes shadiness as a powerful city official. This handsomely produced story of murder and political corruption is beautifully acted and involving, but a bit too long for its own good.


Looking for something different? New Zealand filmmaker Taiki Waititi offers one of the most original satires in recent memory, “Jojo Rabbit.” This irreverent and wacky comedy is about a fervent 10-year-old Nazi youth, beautifully played by young Roman Griffin Davis, who has a unique imaginary friend, Adolph Hitler, played like a petulant child, by Waititi. Jojo’s troubles mount and his loyalties tested when he discovers that his mom, played by Scarlett Johansson, is hiding a young Jewish girl in their attic. The humor and social commentary are hit-and-miss, but when it hits, it hits strong. “Jojo Rabbit” is definitely not for everyone, but you’ve got to give it credit for being novel and audacious.


Also opening this week, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton are reluctantly reunited in “Terminator: Dark Fate.” It is intended to be the first installment in a new trilogy. “Harriet” is a period drama about abolitionist Harriet Tubman, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Kasi Lemmons. Cynthia Erivo and Leslie Odom, Jr. star. “Where’s My Roy Cohn” is a documentary about the infamous lawyer and power broker who came to fame as advisor to Joseph McCarthy and, later, Donald Trump. “Arctic Dogs” is an animated family flick about husky couriers.

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