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Dheepan (R) (Opens Friday in Dallas)

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Dheepan (R) The winner of the Golden Palm at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, Jacques Audiard’s thriller stars Jesuthasan Antonythasan as a Sri Lankan freedom fighter who flees to France with two strangers whom he claims as his family. Also with Kalieaswari Srinivasan, Claudine Vinasithamby, Vincent Rottiers, Faouzi Bensaïdi, Bass Dhem, and Marc Zinga. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Blackway (R) Julia Stiles stars in this thriller as a woman being harassed in her Pacific Northwest hometown by an ex-cop-turned-crime lord (Ray Liotta). Also with Alexander Ludwig, Taylor Hickson, Hal Holbrook, Lochlyn Munro, and Anthony Hopkins. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

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Careful What You Wish For (R) Nick Jonas stars in this thriller as a young man who has an affair with a woman (Isabel Lucas) who’s married to a powerful investment banker (Dermot Mulroney). Also with Graham Rogers, Kandyse McClure, Alex ter Avest, Kevin J. O’Connor, and Paul Sorvino. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

The Conjuring 2 (R) The sequel continues the adventures of Lorraine and Ed Warren (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson) as they try to exorcize a haunted house in London. Also with Frances O’Connor, Madison Wolfe, Lauren Esposito, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Franka Potente, and Simon McBurney. (Opens Friday)

The Final Master (NR) Fan Liao stars in this Chinese martial-arts film as a Wing Chun master who finds himself a pawn in local politics. Also with Song Jia, Jiang Wenli, Chin Shih-Chieh, Song Yang, and Huang Jue. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

Traded (NR) Michael Paré stars in this Western as a Kansas rancher who takes on a brothel owner (Tom Sizemore) to restore his family. Also with Kris Kristofferson, Trace Adkins, Martin Kove, Brittany Elizabeth Williams, Constance Brenneman, and Quinton Aaron. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

Warcraft (PG-13) Based on the video game World of Warcraft, Duncan Jones’ fantasy film is about a community of humans trying to cope with an influx of orcs fleeing their dying homeland. Starring Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer, Daniel Wu, Ruth Negga, Callum Keith Rennie, and Clancy Brown. (Opens Friday)

Weiner (R) Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg’s documentary profile of disgraced U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner as he runs for mayor of New York City. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

 

NOW PLAYING

Alice Through the Looking Glass (PG) Tim Burton has been replaced as director, but this Disney-meets-Lewis Carroll adaptation remains loud, incoherent, garish, and stubbornly unmagical. Mia Wasikowska returns as the heroine who returns to Wonderland to save the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) by traveling back through time. New director James Bobin (from the Muppets movies) engineers an ingenious opening sequence with Alice captaining a warship through a narrow strait, but he fails to find any resonance in either her relationship with the Hatter or the maudlin subplot with the Queen of Hearts (Helena Bonham Carter) making up with her sister (Anne Hathaway). Sacha Baron Cohen pilfers a few meager laughs as Time himself, but this is a CGI bore. Also with Rhys Ifans, Matt Lucas, Lindsay Duncan, Andrew Scott, and Richard Armitage. Voices by Timothy Spall, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen, Matt Vogel, and the late Alan Rickman.

The Angry Birds Movie (PG) A cynical, sloppy cash-in on the video game’s popularity. Jason Sudeikis stars in this animated movie as a red bird with anger management issues who correctly suspects that the green pigs who’ve come to visit his island are really just a bunch of filthy immigrants who’ve come to steal their stuff. The action sequences are forgettable and the filmmakers don’t bother to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy anger, but the worst offense this movie makes is being unfunny, despite the wealth of comic talent in its voice cast. It’s all enough to make you want to fling missiles at some pig’s house. Additional voices by Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, Kate McKinnon, Keegan-Michael Key, Tony Hale, Hannibal Buress, Ike Barinholtz, Jillian Bell, Peter Dinklage, and Sean Penn.

A Bigger Splash (R) Luca Guadagnino’s latest film is very much him: operatic romance, Tilda Swinton wearing mortally stylish costumes, and full-frontal nudity by just about everyone in the cast. Swinton plays a rock star recuperating from vocal surgery when she and her boyfriend (Matthias Schoenaerts) are visited by her ex-boyfriend (Ralph Fiennes) and his daughter (Dakota Johnson). Fiennes dominates the proceedings as a guy with an insatiable need to be the life of the party, and the Sicilian director gets good mileage out of the palatial estate where the erotic drama plays out and the spectacular scenery on the island of Pantelleria. The plot twist involving Italy’s troubles absorbing immigrants from Africa and the Middle East turn this into some cutting social satire. Also with Aurore Clément, Corrado Guzzanti, and Lily McMenamy.

Captain America: Civil War (PG-13) People are saying this is the best of Marvel’s Avengers series, and they’re pretty much right. The group splits when Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans) disagree over the need for U.N. oversight of the Avengers. Anthony and Joe Russo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) do incredible work just to fit 12 superheroes into this piece without losing track of anyone, and they introduce both Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) into the proceedings in ways that pop. The action sequences are well-managed, too, even if the 12-superhero smackdown feels as obligatory as the orgy that concludes a porno movie. The balance of action, humor, character, emotion, and intellectual debate make this a compendium of the best the Marvel movies have had to offer. Also with Sebastian Stan, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Olsen, Jeremy Renner, Paul Bettany, Emily VanCamp, Frank Grillo, Daniel Brühl, Marisa Tomei, Martin Freeman, Hope Davis, John Slattery, Alfre Woodard, and William Hurt.

The Jungle Book (PG) This live-action film of Rudyard Kipling’s stories looks nice, but it doesn’t uncover anything new. Neel Sethi plays the boy raised by wolves in the Indian jungle when a man-hating tiger (voiced by Idris Elba) vows to kill him. This Disney movie incorporates two of the numbers from the 1967 animated musical version, but director Jon Favreau doesn’t have a flair for the genre, and his film relentlessly cutesifies the animals much like the older incarnation did. The movie does have a superb voice cast, especially a fairly terrifying Elba as the snarling villain. I suspect that in 50 years, though, this will look as dated as the 1967 Jungle Book does now. Additional voices by Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong’o, Christopher Walken, Giancarlo Esposito, Sam Raimi, and the late Garry Shandling.

The Lobster (R) If you’ve never seen a Greek movie, Yorgos Lanthimos’ first English-language film will introduce you to the weirdness. Colin Farrell stars as a man who has 45 days at a resort hotel to find true love or be turned permanently into an animal. This deadpan absurdist comedy features plentiful slapstick humor featuring characters who are so narcotized in their sadness that they make Wes Anderson characters look manic by comparison. He makes some barbed satire on the groupthink among singles and couples about their own ways of life, and his Beckett-like mix of existential despair and knockabout comedy is distinctively Greek. Also with Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, Léa Seydoux, Ariane Labed, Jessica Barden, Olivia Colman, Ashley Jensen, and John C. Reilly.

Love & Friendship (PG) So refined and so much fun. Whit Stillman adapts Jane Austen’s unpublished novella Lady Susan into this comedy about an impoverished aristocratic widow (Kate Beckinsale) who schemes to find rich husbands for both herself and her teenage daughter (Morfydd Clark). Beckinsale is at her best portraying scheming, narcissistic know-it-alls like Lady Susan, and she turns her infuriating character into delightful company. Stillman’s exquisite dialogue comes closer than any other screenwriter to imitating Austen’s diamond wit, and makes this into the year’s most quotable movie. In this fizzy Mozartean farce, he seems to have finally found his milieu. Also with Chloë Sevigny, Xavier Samuel, Tom Bennett, Justin Edwards, Emma Greenwell, Jemma Redgrave, James Fleet, Jenn Murray, and Stephen Fry.

Love Me Tomorrow (NR) This Filipino romance is about a DJ (Piolo Pascual) who gets caught between two women (Coleen Garcia and Dawn Zulueta). Also with Freddie Webb, Patrick Garcia, Carmi Martin, Maxene Magalona, and Lui Villaruz.

Me Before You (PG-13) Emilia Clarke stars in this adaptation of Jojo Moyes’ novel as a young woman who falls in love with the paralyzed man (Sam Claflin) whom she’s taking care of. Also with Janet McTeer, Matthew Lewis, Vanessa Kirby, Jenna Coleman, Joanna Lumley, and Charles Dance.

The Meddler (PG-13) Susan Sarandon stars in this charming comedy as a widowed Brooklyn housewife who moves out to Los Angeles and incessantly pesters her only child (Rose Byrne) with text messages and phone messages because she’s hiding from her own issues. Writer-director Lorene Scafaria bases this on her own life, and she’s clearly still learning her craft as a director. She can’t seem to make the parts of this movie fit together, but she does find some gratifying comic business when the main character becomes unmoored and starts dispensing advice to relative strangers as well as fall in love with a retired cop (J.K. Simmons). This vision of an elderly woman finding new purpose in life is never less than pleasant. Also with Jerrod Carmichael, Cecily Strong, Lucy Punch, Jason Ritter, Sarah Baker, Amy Landecker, and Michael McKean.

Money Monster (R) Jodie Foster gets the little details right in this thriller, but the big things seem to escape her. George Clooney stars as a Jim Cramer-like TV financial guru who gets taken hostage on the air by a disgruntled, bankrupt investor (Jack O’Connell).  The way the TV show shills for the companies it reports on, the way New York City copes with the crisis, and the way the show’s producer (Julia Roberts) and her staff are forced to do actual journalism all seem real enough, but the working-class gunman never comes to life as a character. He’s supposed to be a tragic figure who anchors this thriller, but you’re left unmoved. Also with Caitriona Balfe, Dominic West, Lenny Venito, Christopher Denham, Condola Rashad, Aaron Yoo,  Dennis Boutsikaris, Emily Meade, and Giancarlo Esposito.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (PG-13) It took 14 years for this sequel to hit the screen, which is less remarkable than the fact that the edgeless original was a big hit in the first place. Nia Vardalos reprises her role, her frumpy single gal now a mother dealing with separation anxiety as her teenage daughter (Elena Kampouris) considers going away for college, along with about a zillion other plotlines and characters that aren’t given enough attention. Vardalos’ jokes about how Greek people are hearty and have huge families were old hat back in 2002, and now they’re even more so. This a big hunk of pastitsio that’s been sitting around for too long. Also with John Corbett, Michael Constantine, Lainie Kazan, Gia Carides, Joey Fatone, Louis Mandylor, Ian Gomez, Andrea Martin, Rob Riggle, Mark Margolis, Rita Wilson, and John Stamos.

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (R) A bunch of male writers try to make this sequel more feminist, with partial success. Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne return as the suburban couple trying to sell their house when a new hard-partying sorority moves in next door. The filmmakers try to deal with the darker side of frat life and the gender inequities of college life, but the sorority girls feel synthetic, and as their leader, Chloë Grace Moretz doesn’t fit the role of a pot-loving party girl. The movie still has its share of funny lines, and Zac Efron steals this away as a frat boy trying to cope with the real world. Also with Ike Barinholtz, Kiersey Clemons, Beanie Feldstein, Dave Franco,  Jerrod Carmichael, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Hannibal Buress, Carla Gallo, Lisa Kudrow, Liz Cackowski, Selena Gomez, and Kelsey Grammer.

The Nice Guys (R) Ryan Gosling gives the funniest performance of his career as a bumbling weenie of a private eye in 1977 Los Angeles who teams up with a thug-for-hire (Russell Crowe) to solve a string of murders connected to a porn film. Director/co-writer Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3) is at his best making shaggy comedic crime thrillers like this one, and he engineers all manner of delightful gags as well as conceiving a complex character in the detective’s 13-year-old daughter (Angourie Rice) who’s easily the best detective of the three of them. Still, your eyes gravitate to Gosling, who seizes the role’s doofiness and pulls off one virtuoso comedy bit after another in a tour de force. Also with Kim Basinger, Margaret Qualley, Matt Bomer, Yaya DaCosta, Keith David, Ty Simpkins, and Hannibal Buress.

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (R) Andy Samberg stars in this mockumentary parody of documentaries about pop music stars. Also with Sarah Silverman, Imogen Poots, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Will Forte, Will Arnett, Jorma Taccone, and Joan Cusack.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (PG-13) The animated turtles return for their latest adventure. Starring Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Laura Linney, Will Arnett, Brad Garrett, Tony Shalhoub, and Tyler Perry.

X-Men: Apocalypse (PG-13) Bryan Singer finally loses the plot in this installment set in 1983 that features the mutants being forced to band together to fight an all-powerful villain (Oscar Isaac) bent on destroying the world, just like every other supervillain in these movies. This film has its share of incidental pleasures like Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) taking to a leadership role with the students and the relationship between Jean Grey and Scott Summers (Sophie Turner and Tye Sheridan) being reimagined as a teen romance. Still, Singer’s action sequences are weak, Magneto (Michael Fassbender) is reduced to a mere pawn, and the whole thing feels overstuffed. The series needs new blood behind the camera. Also with James McAvoy, Evan Peters, Rose Byrne, Nicholas Hoult, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ben Hardy, Olivia Munn, Alexandra Shipp, Lana Condor, Lucas Till, and Josh Helman.

 

DALLAS EXCLUSIVES

The Idol (NR) Hany Abu-Assad directs this dramatization of the real-life story of a Palestinian musician (Tawfeek Barhom) who illegally travels to Egypt to compete in the Middle East’s version of American Idol. Also with Nadine Labaki, Hiba Attalah, Kais Attalah, Ahmad Qasem, and Kareem Barakeh.

Maggie’s Plan (R) Greta Gerwig stars in this comedy as a young woman who tries to repair the relationship between her ex-boyfriend (Ethan Hawke) and his ex-wife (Julianne Moore). Also with Maya Rudolph, Travis Fimmel, Bill Hader, and Wallace Shawn.

Urge (R) Pierce Brosnan stars in this thriller as a mysterious stranger who introduces a bunch of partyers to a new designer drug. Also with Ashley Greene, Justin Chatwin, Alexis Knapp, Danny Masterson, Bar Paly, and Alison Lohman.

Viva (R) Héctor Medina stars in this Cuban film as a young gay man who finds his vocation performing at a drag club. Also with Jorge Perugorría, Luis Alberto García, Renata Blanco, Luis Manuel Álvarez, Paula Andrea Rivera, Laura Alemán, and Mark O’Halloran.

 

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