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Hell or High Water

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Hell or High Water (R) Ben Foster and Chris Pine star in this thriller as two brothers who launch a desperate criminal scheme to save their family farm in Texas. Also with Dale Dickey, Katy Mixon, Taylor Sheridan, Kristin Berg, Gil Birmingham, and Jeff Bridges. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Abortion: Stories Women Tell (NR) Tracy Droz Tragos’ documentary about women seeking abortions in rural Missouri and Oklahoma. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

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Amateur Night (NR) Jason Biggs stars in this comedy as an unemployed architecture student who takes a job driving sex workers to their meeting places. Also with Janet Montgomery, Ashley Tisdale, Bria L. Murphy, Jenny Mollen, and Steven Weber. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

Anthropoid (R) Jamie Dornan and Cillian Murphy star in this thriller about the real-life World War II plot in Czechoslovakia to assassinate an SS general who’s Hitler’s fourth in command. Also with Charlotte Le Bon, Anna Geislerová, Harry Lloyd, Bill Milner, and Toby Jones. (Opens Friday)

Blood Father (R) Mel Gibson stars in this thriller as an ex-convict who reunites with his troubled teenage daughter (Erin Moriarty) to protect her from drug dealers. Also with Diego Luna, Michael Parks, Miguel Sandoval, Dale Dickey, and William H. Macy. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Cosmos (NR) The last film by the late Andrzej Żuławski stars Jonathan Genet and Johan Libéreau as two relatives who arrive at a family guest house and are greeted by omens of murder. Also with Sabine Azéma, Jean-François Balmer, Victória Guerra, Clémentine Pons, and Andy Gillet. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Emily & Tim (NR) Eric Weber’s relationship drama stars multiple actors as the same married couple over the course of 50 years. Starring Thomas Mann, Zosia Mamet, Alexis Bledel, Andre Braugher, Phylicia Rashad, Malcolm Gets, Cara Buono, Kal Penn, Jeremy Jordan, Adepero Oduye, Drena De Niro, and Olympia Dukakis. Narrated by Kathleen Turner. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

Equity (R) Anna Gunn stars in this thriller as a Wall Street investment banker who’s threatened by a financial scandal on the cusp of her biggest deal. Also with Alysia Reiner, James Purefoy, Sarah Megan Thomas, Craig Bierko, Margaret Colin, Tracie Thoms, Carrie Preston, James Naughton, and Nate Corddry. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

The Fight Within (PG-13) Michael William Gordon’s film stars John Major Davis as an MMA fighter forced back into the sport when he wants to leave. Also with Lelia Symington, Matt Leddo, Mike H. Taylor, Wesley Williams, and Travis Crim. (Opens Friday)

Ghost Team (PG-13) Jon Heder stars in this comedy as an obsessive young man who launches his own business investigating paranormal activity. Also with Justin Long, David Krumholtz, Melonie Diaz, Paul W. Downs, and Amy Sedaris. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Gleason (R) This documentary by J. Clay Tweel (Finders Keepers) is about Steve Gleason, the former NFL player diagnosed with ALS who devotes his time to philanthropy. (Opens Friday)

Joshy (R) Thomas Middleditch plays a jilted young man whose engagement party turns into a weekend of debauchery. Also with Adam Pally, Alex Ross Perry, Nick Kroll, Jenny Slate, Lauren Graham, Joe Swanberg, Kris Swanberg, Paul Weitz, Jake Johnson, Alison Brie, and Aubrey Plaza. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Mohenjo Daro (NR) Hrithik Roshan stars in this Indian epic as a farmer in 2016 B.C. who falls in love with a high-status woman (Pooja Hegde) in the largest city of the Indus Valley. Also with Kabir Bedi, Arunoday Singh, Suhasini Mulay, Nitish Bharadwaj, and Sharad Kelkar. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

My Best Friend’s Wedding (PG) Not the 1997 movie starring Julia Roberts, but a Chinese remake of it starring Shu Qi as a woman who realizes she’s in love with her best friend (Feng Shaofeng) only when he gets engaged to another woman (Victoria Song). Also with Rhydian Vaughan, Jessamine Bliss-Bell, Alice Lee, Li Kunjue, and Ye Qing. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

Operation Chromite (NR) John H. Lee’s re-enactment of the Korean War’s Battle of Incheon, fought by American and Korean forces. Starring Liam Neeson, Lee Jung-jae, Lee Beom-su, Jin Se-yeon, Jung Jun-ho, Dean Dawson, and Justin Rupple. (Opens Friday)

Sausage Party (R) This animated comedy is about a sausage (voiced by Seth Rogen) who lives happily in a supermarket until he discovers the terrible fate that awaits him when he’s bought. Additional voices by Kristen Wiig, Michael Cera, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Salma Hayek, Lauren Miller, Danny McBride, Bill Hader, James Franco, Anders Holm, Craig Robinson, and Paul Rudd. (Opens Friday)

NOW PLAYING

Bad Moms (R) A profane blast of fresh air compared with the pap that Hollywood usually serves up to older women. Mila Kunis stars as a 32-year-old Chicagoan who snaps under modern parenting culture’s impossible demands of mothers and stages her own rebellion with two other mothers (Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn) against a PTA president (Christina Applegate) who represents everything they hate. Writer-directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore previously wrote The Hangover, and while I wish they’d let their moms cut loose like the guys in that series, they’ve got three brilliant and personable comic actresses on their side, with Hahn giving every scene of hers an electric charge. Also with Jada Pinkett Smith, Annie Mumolo, Emjay Anthony, Oona Laurence, David Walton, Jay Hernandez, Clark Duke, Wendell Pierce, J.J. Watt, and Wanda Sykes.

The BFG (PG) A Hook-level disaster from Steven Spielberg. This fantasy film based on Roald Dahl’s children’s book stars Ruby Barnhill as a London orphan who’s whisked away by a big friendly giant (Mark Rylance) and helps him keep his fellow giants from eating children. Like too many other cinematic Dahl adaptations, this one becomes bloated and lumbering, missing the small-scale, homespun charm of the original. The giant’s home is rendered without any sense of wonder, as is Dream Country where he goes to catch dreams to give to children, and the proceedings really go downhill when the giant comes out of hiding and visits the Queen of England (Penelope Wilton).  You expect better from Spielberg. Also with Rebecca Hall, Rafe Spall, Jemaine Clement, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, and Bill Hader.

Café Society (PG-13) Kristen Stewart’s dazzling performance is the best thing about Woody Allen’s latest. She plays a secretary and secret lover to a high-powered 1930s Hollywood agent (Steve Carell), only to be torn between him and his nephew (Jesse Eisenberg) who’s visiting California from the Bronx. Cast well against type as a bright, snappy, worldly wise operator, Stewart brings notes of softness and vulnerability to the role that other actresses might not thnk to bring. She’s cast opposite Eisenberg for a third time, and they seem delighted in each other as ever, but Allen loads down his movie with too many extraneous subplots and dead ends. What’s supposed to be a tender little romance of missed connections gets lost, and Stewart’s marvelous performance is wasted. Also with Blake Lively, Corey Stoll, Anna Camp, Ken Stott, Jeannie Berlin, Sheryl Lee, and Parker Posey.

Finding Dory (PG) The advance hype has been adulatory for Pixar’s latest, and I just can’t join in, much as I’d like. In this sequel to Finding Nemo, sweetly forgetful blue tang Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) remembers something about her family and dashes across the Pacific with Marlin and Nemo (voiced by Albert Brooks and Hayden Rolence) in tow to make sure she doesn’t get lost. There’s a nicely ambivalent depiction of the California aquarium that they all become trapped in, but the plot machinery creaks audibly as it strives to separate Dory from everyone else who wants to help her. The story is supposed to be about Dory learning to survive on her own, and this isn’t accomplished in any convincing way. There’s much that’s genuinely entertaining here, but the slippage from Finding Nemo and other Pixar greats is noticeable. Additional voices by Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Idris Elba, Dominic West, Bill Hader, Kate McKinnon, John Ratzenberger, and Sigourney Weaver.

Ghostbusters (PG-13) Paul Feig’s reboot of the 1985 comedyisn’t as funny as Bridesmaids or Spy, but it’s still quite a bit of fun.Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy play the leaders of this group of paranormal investigators who go into business just as a bullied bellhop (Neil Casey) tries to take over New York City at the head of a ghost army. Wiig and McCarthy seem hamstrung by their straitlaced characters and the PG-13 rating, so the hijinks fall to the other two Ghostbusters: Leslie Jones gets some good lines as an MTA worker who joins up, but Kate McKinnon walks away with the movie as a tech genius who takes a psychopath’s joy in causing spirit-world havoc and is scarier than some of the evil spirits that the group faces. Chris Hemsworth scores, too, as the Ghostbusters’ dim-bulb receptionist. The main actors from the original Ghostbusters all show up here in different roles from the ones they played. Also with Andy Garcia, Ed Begley Jr., Cecily Strong, Charles Dance, Matt Walsh, Michael Kenneth Williams, Nate Corddry, Annie Potts, Ernie Hudson, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, and Bill Murray.

Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party (PG-13) A federal judge recently ordered Dinesh D’Souza to undergo psychiatric counseling. Maybe the judge saw this film, or really, any of D’Souza’s others. The right-wing filmmaker and convicted felon’s documentary traces the history of slavery and genocide against Native Americans to Democratic presidents and lawmakers, while hailing the Republicans’ foundation as an anti-slavery party. The idea that the parties and voters might have shifted in the last 150 years doesn’t seem to occur to him. Some funhouse-style reenactments paint Hillary Clinton’s career as backed by murder and evil. If the Republican Convention didn’t give you your fill of conservative derangement, here’s more.

How to Be Yours (NR) Bea Alonzo and Gerald Anderson star in this Filipino comedy as a young couple trying to balance their careers with their burgeoning relationship. Also with Bernard Palanca, Janus del Prado, Alex Medina, Anna Luna, Nicco Manalo, Jerome Tan, Divine Aucina, and Bryan Sy.

Ice Age: Collision Course (PG) The prehistorical animals go into space! Well, one of them, anyway. You may be surprised by that, but you won’t be surprised by the desperation that drives the makers of this fifth installment in the series to such a plot twist. Manny, Sid, and Diego (voiced by Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, and Denis Leary) have to save the entire world this time by locating a meteor crash site while Manny also deals with his daughter (voiced by Keke Palmer) getting married. The movie ventures into musical numbers, a cameo by Neil deGrasse Tyson, and a utopian society with eternal youth. Nothing works. Additional voices by Queen Latifah, Simon Pegg, Adam Devine, Nick Offerman, Max Greenfield, Josh Peck, Seann WIlliam Scott, Wanda Sykes, Jennifer Lopez, Jessie J, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

Jason Bourne (PG-13) The superspy has recovered all his memories now, and yet it’s the movie he’s in that’s forgettable. Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass return to the spy series, as Bourne tries to avenge the long-ago murder of his father (Gregg Henry) and the more recent murder of CIA analyst-turned-hacker Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles). Greengrass brings his familiar proficiency to a riot in Athens and a high-collateral-damage car chase in Las Vegas, but Bourne’s search for the killer and his encounters with the changing face of spycraft don’t lead anywhere rewarding. Also with Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel, Riz Ahmed, Ato Essandoh, Bill Camp, and Tommy Lee Jones.

The Legend of Tarzan (PG-13) So boring that it’s infuriating. Instead of an origin story, this new adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ stories picks up as Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård) has resumed his title as Lord Greystoke and married Jane (Margot Robbie) before he’s summoned back to the jungle to protect it from a Belgian slaver and diamond hunter (Christoph Waltz). Skarsgår’s performance is as flat as his abs, Waltz is stuck in a ridiculous role, the special effects are subpar, and the whole thing is dour and joyless. Also with Djimon Hounsou, Rory J. Saper, Sidney Ralitsoele, Osy Ikhile, Antony Acheampong, Ben Chaplin, Jim Broadbent, and Samuel L. Jackson. — Cole Williams

Lights Out (PG-13) This above-average horror film stars Teresa Palmer as a directionless young woman who acts to save her young half-brother (Gabriel Bateman) and her mother (Maria Bello) from the monster that haunts them all but disappears whenever lights come on, only able to hurt people where there’s darkness. Swedish director David Sandberg adapts this from his own short film, and the best thing here is how the monster works as a metaphor for the mother’s mental illness and the damage it wreaks on her family. If Palmer didn’t give such a flat performance, this would be excellent. Also with Alexander diPersia, Alicia Vela-Bailey, Andi Osho, Emily Alyn Lind, and Billy Burke.

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (R) Four terribly attractive actors who are also excellent comic ad-libbers make this hilarious. Zac Efron and Adam Devine play hellraising brothers who advertise for respectable wedding dates on Craigslist, drawing two party-girl best friends  (Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza) who pretend to be sensible professional women so they can get the free trip to Hawaii that comes with the date. Devine is a bit too cartoonish, but he and everyone else fire off terrific lines and riffs while writers Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O’Brien (Neighbors) give their characters enough emotional underpinnings for this to stick. As the bride and the sister of the brothers, Sugar Lyn Beard steals a number of scenes, including a tantric massage you won’t soon forget. Also with Stephen Root, Sam Richardson, Alice Wetterlund, Kumail Nanjiani, Marc Maron, and Jake Johnson.

Nerve (PG-13) Emma Roberts stars in this watchable thriller as a straightedge Staten Island teen who gets roped into playing an online game in which she performs initially harmless but increasingly dangerous stunts for increasing amounts of money. Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman previously made the documentary Catfish, so they’re pretty savvy about depicting the interaction of the online world and the real world. The film motors along reasonably well until the end, when its condemnation of the internet lynch mob falls flat. Roberts’ acting remains like well-chosen house paint: just sort of there. Also with Dave Franco, Emily Meade, Miles Heizer, Kimiko Glenn, Marc John Jeffries, Colson Baker, Samira Wiley, and Juliette Lewis.

Nine Lives (PG) Kevin Spacey stars in this comedy as an uptight businessman who becomes trapped in the body of his family’s cat. Also with Jennifer Garner, Robbie Amell, Cheryl Hines, Mark Consuelos, and Christopher Walken.

The Secret Life of Pets (PG) Not as deep as Zootopia, but better than Finding Dory.Louis C.K. voices a neat-freak terrier in Manhattan whose jealousy over his owner bringing home a sloppy mutt (voiced by Eric Stonestreet) leads both of them to become stranded in Brooklyn and forced to cooperate to get back home. The lead characters are boring; Louis C.K. doesn’t adjust well to the kiddie environment. Still, there’s a funny subplot where the dogs fall into the hands of an underground movement of stray animals whose bunny rabbit leader (voiced in manic, scene-stealing manner by Kevin Hart) dreams of overthrowing the human race. He and the other supporting characters are funnier than the leads. Additional voices by Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan, Steve Coogan, and Albert Brooks.

Star Trek Beyond (PG-13) The U.S.S. Enterprise gets broken into pieces in this latest episode, which sees the crew stranded on an alien planet while trying to stop an enemy (Idris Elba) who has hacked all the Federation’s records and knows all their tricks. Even though Simon Pegg is now a co-writer in addition to portraying Scotty, the movie could badly use some humorous touches, and its layers on the familiar characters are mildly interesting rather than compelling. Still, Justin Lin (from the Fast & Furious franchise) is a steadying hand on the tiller. Oh, and Mr. Sulu (John Cho) is gay. Also with Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Sofia Boutella, Joe Taslim, and the late Anton Yelchin.

Suicide Squad (PG-13) Maybe Warner Bros. should get out of the superhero business entirely. What they’re doing sure isn’t working. Viola Davis stars as a U.S. government honcho who proposes to battle the next world-threatening baddie by forcing imprisoned supervillains to work for them, including a contract killer (Will Smith) and the Joker’s girlfriend (Margot Robbie). The plot is weak and writer-director David Ayer (Fury) has neither the sense of humor nor the flair for camp that this material demands. The group chemistry is nonexistent, and Jared Leto does little but rip off Heath Ledger’s old moves as the Joker. If this movie can’t lighten up, what chance to Warners’ more iconic superhero movies have? Also with Joel Kinnaman, Jay Hernandez, Jai Courtney, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Cara Delevingne, Adam Beach, Ike Barinholtz, David Harbour, Common, Ezra Miller, and an uncredited Ben Affleck.

Train to Busan (NR) A superb technical breakthrough for Korean cinema, though underneath the effects you can detect the same sappy melodramatic impulses that plague other Korean thrillers. Gong Yu plays a 1%-type Seoul fund manager who grudgingly takes his daughter (Kim Soo-ahn) on a train trip to Busan when a zombie virus breaks out on the train and in many parts of the country. Director Yeon Sang-ho’s treatment of the zombie waves is as good as anything you’ll see from Hollywood, but we’re saddled with a hissable villain (Kim I-seong) who sacrifices multiple people to save himself, and the girl is basically there to cry whenever her dad gets in trouble. Let’s hope this blockbuster paves the way for better films in South Korea. Also with Jeong Yoo-mi, Choi Woo-sik, Ahn Soo-hee, and Ma Dong-seok.

 

DALLAS EXCLUSIVES

Don’t Think Twice (R) Mike Birbiglia writes, directs, and co-stars in this comedy about an improv comedy troupe whose dynamic changes when one of their members (Keegan-Michael Key) lands a coveted spot on a national comedy TV show. Also with Gillian Jacobs, Kate Micucci, Chris Gethard, Tami Sager, Emily Skeggs, and Richard Kline.

Indignation (R) This adaptation of Philip Roth’s novel stars Logan Lerman as an East Coast Jew who attends college in Ohio in 1951 to get away from his  upbringing. Also with Sarah Gadon, Tracy Letts, Ben Rosenfield, Linda Emond, and Bryan Burton.

The Mind’s Eye (NR) Graham Skipper and Lauren Ashley Carter star in this thriller as young people persecuted by a scientist (John Speredakos) who covets their supernatural abilities. Also with Larry Fessenden, Noah Segan, Michael LoCicero, and Jeremy Gardner.

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