Side Effects (R) Steven Soderbergh’s clever thriller stars Rooney Mara as a suicidal woman whose struggles with depression overwhelm her when her husband (Channing Tatum) returns home from prison. Mara does her best work to date as someone riding her condition’s peaks and valleys, but then halfway through the film, the main character becomes her psychiatrist (Jude Law) as he tries to save himself after his patient’s treatment goes very wrong. The film is a throwback to psychological thrillers of the early 1990s that deal in murder, kinky sex, and actresses acting crazy, but Soderbergh and writer Scott Z. Burns can’t help throwing in some informative asides on the marketing of new drugs and our pharmaceutical-crazed culture. This is trash, but it’s so much fun. Also with Catherine Zeta-Jones, Vinessa Shaw, Michael Nathanson, Mamie Gummer, David Costabile, and Polly Draper. (Re-opens Friday)
Chasing Ice (PG-13) Jeff Orlowski’s documentary follows National Geographic photographer James Balog as he takes time-lapse photographs of the Arctic’s ice melt due to climate change. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Filly Brown (R) Gina Rodriguez stars in this drama as a girl from L.A.’s barrio pursuing her dream of becoming a rapper. Also with Lou Diamond Phillips, Edward James Olmos, Emilio Rivera, Noel Guglielmi, and the late Jenni Rivera. (Opens Friday at AMC Parks at Arlington)
From Up on Poppy Hill (PG) This English-dubbed autobiographical animated film by Goro Miyazaki is about a group of teenagers trying to save their school clubhouse from being torn down to make way for the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Voices by Sarah Bolger, Anton Yelchin, Gillian Anderson, Christina Hendricks, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Noth, Bruce Dern, Jamie Lee Curtis, Beau Bridges, Jeff Dunham, and Ron Howard. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Gimme the Loot (NR) Adam Leon’s caper film stars Tashiana Washington and Ty Hickson as two taggers who resolve to graffiti-bomb the Home Run Apple, the giant apple that pops up at Citi Field for each New York Mets’ home run. Also with Meeko, Zoë Lescaze, Sam Soghor, Adam Metzger, Greyson Cruz, and James Harris Jr. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Home Run (PG-13) Scott Elrod stars in this baseball drama as a substance-abusing player who tries to straighten out by coaching a Little League team. Also with Dorian Brown, Charles Henry Wyson, James Devoti, Nicole Leigh, Drew Waters, and Vivica A. Fox. (Opens Friday)
The Lords of Salem (R) Rob Zombie’s latest horror film stars Shari Moon Zombie as a radio DJ who believes that the undead are returning to take revenge on the town of Salem, Mass. Also with Bruce Davison, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Judy Geeson, Meg Foster, Patricia Quinn, Sid Haig, Maria Conchita Alonso, and Dee Wallace. (Opens Friday)
Oblivion (PG-13) Tom Cruise stars in this science-fiction thriller as a post-apocalyptic drone repairman who discovers hidden truths about the war that devastated Earth. Also with Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Zoe Bell, and Melissa Leo. (Opens Friday)
Upstream Color (PG-13) North Texas filmmaker Shane Carruth (Primer) stars in his second feature, portraying half of a couple who discover that their shared pasts might be intertwined with a mysterious organism. Also with Amy Seimetz, Andrew Sensenig, Thiago Martins, Myles McGee, and Frank Mosley. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Admission (PG-13) Tina Fey’s new movie is being sold as a standard-issue romantic comedy, but it’s much heavier and more interesting than that. Adapted from Jean Hanff Korelitz’ novel, this stars Fey as a Princeton admissions officer who learns from a nontraditional school founder (Paul Rudd) that one of his students (Nat Wolff) is the baby she gave up for adoption 17 years ago. Besides tart observations on the university admissions process, the movie packs intriguing characters, including Lily Tomlin as Fey’s feminist-scholar mother. Yet the chemistry between Fey and Rudd doesn’t take, and the movie comes to think of the boy’s acceptance to Princeton as a matter of life or death for some reason. Despite its flaws, this is still the best Tina Fey movie to date. Also with Michael Sheen, Gloria Reuben, Christopher Evan Welch, Travaris Spears, Olek Krupa, Sonya Walger, and Wallace Shawn.
The Call (R) Halle Berry stars in this thoroughly sadistic little thriller as a traumatized 911 operator who involves herself with the case of a teenage girl (Abigail Breslin) who is abducted by a serial killer and places a call from the trunk of his car. We learn much about how 911 operators do their jobs and how they might respond in a situation such as this. Yet the heroine’s actions make absolutely no sense in the last 15 minutes of this thing, and the movie overall is histrionic and tawdry. Director Brad Anderson used to make such great romantic comedies; What’s he doing wasting his time on something like this? Also with Morris Chestnut, Michael Eklund, David Otunga, José Zúñiga, Justina Machado, Roma Maffia, and Michael Imperioli.
The Croods (PG) This fitfully inspired animated comedy is about a family of prehistoric cavepeople headed by an overprotective, risk-averse dad (voiced by Nicolas Cage) until their home is destroyed and they’re forced to journey many miles to find a new place. The movie’s fanciful prehistoric landscape is nice to see, and terrific voice work from both Cage and Emma Stone as his adventurous daughter gives the movie some personality. However, the movie never really hits any memorable highs or sustains any sort of momentum and is populated by bizarre creatures. Check out the graceful flock of cute, murderous little red birds. Additional voices by Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke, Chris Sanders, and Cloris Leachman.
Evil Dead (R) Uruguayan filmmaker Fede Alvarez cleverly reframes Sam Raimi’s 1981 camp horror classic as the story of a junkie trying to get clean. Jane Levy (from TV’s Suburgatory) stars as a recovering heroin addict who becomes possessed by a demon while trying to quit cold turkey at a cabin in the woods with her friends. Alvarez does a fair job of replicating Raimi’s over-the-top gross-out humor, and Levy excels as both the troubled druggie and as the murderous hellbeast, thanks to a rewarding script co-written by Juno’s Diablo Cody. As the heroine has to slay the demon version of herself, the movie plays like the fever dream of an addict going through the worst withdrawal ever. That’s a good thing. Also with Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Elizabeth Blackmore, Jessica Lucas, and Jim McLarty.
Fists of Legend (NR) Not to be confused with a similarly titled 1994 Jet Li film, this MMA drama follows parallel stories about a young South Korean boxer (Park Jung-min) training for the 1988 Summer Olympics and the same man in the present day (Hwang Jung-min), a noodle shop owner who’s persuaded to reinvent himself as an MMA fighter for a reality TV show/tournament. The film’s plot is fairly simple, so it’s not clear why it needs to run 150 minutes. Even if director Kang Woo-suk can’t steer it clear of sentimental excesses, he does make the MMA fights exciting. Also with Yu Jun-sang, Yoon Je-moon, Park Won-sang, Gu Won, Park Doo-sik, Lee Jung-hyeok, Lee Yo-won, Jeong Wong-in, Sung Ji-roo, Kang Shin-il, Ji-woo, and Kang Sung-jin.
42 (PG-13) A museum piece, not a movie. This biography of Jackie Robinson focuses on the three years leading up to the baseball star’s tumultuous 1947 season, when he integrated his sport as a player for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Writer-director Brian Helgeland tries to create scope by taking us through dead-end subplots with poorly characterized supporting roles. This is forgivable; less so is Helgeland’s failure to give us a sense of how widespread racism was among fans, the press, and executives. The racial slurs that Robinson (Chadwick Boseman, doing what he can with a plaster saint of a role) encounters seem to come mostly from a few troublemakers. Had Helgeland been more willing to court controversy, this might have been the great American story that it promised to be. Also with Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie, Christopher Meloni, Ryan Merriman, Lucas Black, Andre Holland, Alan Tudyk, Hamish Linklater, T.R. Knight, and John C. McGinley.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation (PG-13) In this sequel to the 2010 hit, the commando unit is exterminated except for three soldiers (Dwayne Johnson, Adrianne Palicki, and D.J. Cotrona), who try to prove that the U.S. president (Jonathan Pryce) who ordered them killed is actually an imposter and a terrorist agent. Had the movie focused on that plot, or indeed any other, it might have been all right. Instead, the action scenes (including a swordfight on a zipline high in the mountains) pile on one another in no discernible order and contain so many huge guns and combat vehicles that you wonder who’s compensating for their masculine shortcomings. The movie is nonsensical and not nearly as cool as it thinks it is. Also with Lee Byung-hun, Elodie Yung, Ray Stevenson, Ray Park, Luke Bracey, Walton Goggins, Arnold Vosloo, RZA, Channing Tatum, and Bruce Willis.