EDITOR’S NOTE: Movies reviewed in this week’s column have just been released on video and DVD.
“The Best of Enemies” (PG-13) — Durham, North Carolina, in the 1970s is the setting for a battle of wills and a test of beliefs as working-class civil-rights firebrand Ann Atwater (Taraji P. Henson) is pitted against Ku Klux Klan local chapter leader C.P. Ellis (Sam Rockwell). At issue is a plan to desegregate schools in Durham, an idea that is antithetical to the Klan, as evidenced by violent acts established in the first third of the film — the shooting up of the house of a white woman rumored to have a black boyfriend, etc. Atwater and Ellis co-chair a council to advise on the process, and against all odds form an inexplicable friendship. Based on a book by Osha Gray Davidson detailing the real events.
“The Public” (PG-13) — Emilio Estevez is in the hot seat as writer, director and central character in this ensemble drama about a frigid night in Cincinnati and a group of homeless people seeking shelter from the Arctic blast. With city shelters at max capacity and no safe place to sleep during a bitter cold front, Myra (Jena Malone) and Stewart (Estevez) man the desks at the downtown branch of the library. A local homeless man named Jackson (Michael K. Williams) presses his case for a group to stay overnight, and stages a sit-in. When the situation quickly turns into an occupation, the local crisis negotiator (Alec Baldwin) is brought in, and the situation attracts the attention of a slick city DA (Christian Slater) and the media (Gabrielle Union).
“Mia and the White Lion” (PG) — Ten-year-old Mia (Daniah De Villiers) relocates from London to a farm in Africa with her family, understandably unhappy with the decision. But then her father brings home a pure white lion cub, and the two become inseparable. Flash-forward three years and that little cub is a nearly full-grown LION, doing lion things, like eating household furniture. When Mia finds out her father intends to send the lion away to a hunting reserve, she lets him loose and the two set off to a place where he can be free forever. The moral of the story — outing the shameful hunting practices of using domestically softened wild animals for sport — is pure and good, but I had a hard time buying into the story, despite the fact that there’s no CGI at all.
“An Acceptable Loss” (R) — Director Joel Chapelle trots out every psychological action cliche in the known universe in this political thriller. Tika Sumpter stars as Libby Lamm, a U.S. security adviser working with megahawk politician Rachel Burke (Jamie Lee Curtis). After fudging the truth to do what has to be done to end the war on terror, Lamm resigns. But she can’t unknow the truth. And when she tries to come clean, she becomes the target. You’ve probably already seen a good part of this movie in another, better movie. Pass.
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© 2019 King Features Synd., Inc.