The Purge (R) Ethan Hawke stars in this horror film as the head of a family who holes up in their house for safety during an annual 12-hour period when all crime is legal. Also with Lena Headey, Adelaide Kane, Max Burkholder, Dana Bunch, and Tom Yi. (Opens Friday)
Before Midnight (R) Richard Linklater’s sequel to Before Sunrise and Before Sunset reunites Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as the now-married lovers as they experience midlife troubles in New York. Also with Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
The East (R) This second collaboration from Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij (Sound of My Voice) stars Marling as a private intelligence firm operative who tries to infiltrate a group of violent anarchists. Also with Ellen Page, Alexander Skarsgård, Toby Kebbell, Shiloh Fernandez, Jason Ritter, Julia Ormond, and Patricia Clarkson. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
In the House (R) The latest film by François Ozon (Swimming Pool) stars Fabrice Luchini as a French high-school teacher who becomes obsessed by the writing assignments turned in by a student (Ernst Umhauer). Also with Kristin Scott Thomas, Bastien Ughetto, Denis Ménochet, Jean-François Balmer, and Emmanuelle Seigner. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
The Kings of Summer (R) Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ comedy about three teenage boys (Moises Arias, Gabriel Basso, and Nick Robinson) who decide to spend a summer building a cabin and living off the land. Also with Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Gillian Vigman, Erin Moriarty, and Megan Mullally. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)
Love Is All You Need (R) The latest film by Susanne Bier (In a Better World, After the Wedding) stars Pierce Brosnan as a British widower who meets a cheated-on Danish wife (Trine Dyrholm) while they’re attending a wedding in Italy. Also with Paprika Steen, Sebastian Jessen, Molly Blixt Egelind, Ciro Petrone, Marco D’Amore, and Line Kruse. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)
Tiger Eyes (PG-13) Judy Blume’s beloved coming-of-age novel is adapted by her son Lawrence Blume, with Willa Holland starring as a teenage girl who moves to New Mexico with her family in the wake of her father’s murder. Also with Amy Jo Johnson, Tatanka Means, Elise Eberle, Cynthia Stevenson, Lucien Dale, and Russell Means. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Violet & Daisy (NR) Saoirse Ronan and Alexis Bledel star as teenage assassins who are forced to reconsider their line of work after learning a secret about their next target (James Gandolfini). Also with Cody Horn, Tatiana Maslany, John Ventimiglia, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, and Danny Trejo. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
At Any Price (R) The latest film by Ramin Bahrani (Goodbye Solo) stars Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron as a battling father and son who are forced to deal with a crisis at their expanding family farming business. Also with Kim Dickens, Clancy Brown, Chelcie Ross, Red West, and Heather Graham.
Epic (PG) This animated movie’s renderings of forest greenery are simply glorious. Too bad it trips over pesky minor elements like story and character. Adapted from William Joyce’s The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs, this movie is about a teenage girl (voiced by Amanda Seyfried) who’s magically shrunken down to a couple of inches tall and introduced to a world of tiny people and talking animals protecting the forest. The movie is overloaded with expositional dialogue and characters who are poorly introduced. You can’t even figure out why the bad guys are trying to reduce the forest to rot. A witless script wastes an enviable voice cast, and any sense of wonder here is broken every time somebody starts to speak. Additional voices by Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Christoph Waltz, Aziz Ansari, Chris O’Dowd, Jason Sudeikis, Pitbull, Steven Tyler, and Beyoncé Knowles.
Fast & Furious 6 (PG-13) The latest and most enjoyable in the series has Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, and the rest of the gang convening in London to stop a British baddie (Luke Evans) who has the resurrected-from-the-dead Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) in his clutches and working for him. Director Justin Lin gives up the pretense that any of this is to be taken seriously and orchestrates two impressive large-scale action sequences: the climax on a military airbase and a knock-down, drag-out brawl between Rodriguez and Gina Carano that’s intercut with a slapstickier fight between Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, and Joe Taslim. The comedy is still cringe-inducing and the dialogue is still bad enough to kill plants and small animals, yet there’s still some gas left in the tank. Also with Jordana Brewster, Gal Gadot, Elsa Pataky, Clara Paget, Kim Kold, and Ludacris.
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.
The Great Gatsby (PG-13) Ridiculous. And also pretty cool. Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge!) adapts F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel into a piece of spectacle that overloads your senses. Leonardo DiCaprio (looser and more romantic than he’s been since Titanic) portrays Gatsby, while Carey Mulligan pulls off the near-miraculous feat of making Daisy interesting. Their performances help make this version of Gatsby feel more alive than more realistic versions, as does Luhrmann’s gleefully anachronistic soundtrack and his scrupulously composed, frenetically edited scenes of revelry. The movie flattens out the novel’s themes and waters down its critique of capitalism, but Luhrmann manages to make this classic into very much his own opulent, tragic creation. Also with Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher, Elizabeth Debicki, Jason Clarke, Callan McAuliffe, and Amitabh Bachchan.
The Hangover Part III (R) This crew should have put down the bottle after the first hangover. Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis reunite after their buddy (Justin Bartha) is kidnapped by a crime lord (John Goodman). The anarchic glee of the first movie (and the second, if you’re feeling generous) has now soured into going through the motions, and you don’t care about tying up the few loose ends from the earlier installments. Goodman can’t inject his line readings with any menace, and the Asian kingpin Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) has devolved into a huge hassle. Even the gap-filling photo reel over the end credits isn’t funny this time out. Good riddance to this series. Also with Jeffrey Tambor, Mike Epps, Sasha Barrese, Jamie Chung, Gillian Vigman, Sondra Currie, Melissa McCarthy, and Heather Graham. — Steve Steward