Rated 4.0

The new picture from Alexander Payne (The Descendants, Sideways, Citizen Ruth) is filmed in widescreen black-and-white, and most of it has the bleakness of the central plains in late winter. Story-wise, much of it is a sort of start-and-stop (and start again) road movie in which an unhappy young man (Will Forte) indulges the wishes of his aged father to travel from Billings, Mont., to Lincoln, Neb., for an in-person submission of what he assumes to be the prize-winning number in the lottery run by a mail-order subscription service. The quixotic nature of this endeavor is essential to the pathos and contrasting charms of father and son alike, but that fool’s errand also puts both men on paths toward tentative regeneration—modest but real—for their respective stalled lives. Pageant Theatre. Rated R