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Asura: City of Madness – Jung Woo-sung stars in this Korean thriller as a dirty cop who’s caught between a crooked mayor (Hwang Jung-min) and a ruthless prosecutor (Kwak Do-won).

OPENING

The Accountant (R) Ben Affleck stars in this thriller as an Asperger’s syndrome-suffering accountant for crime lords who tries to extricate himself as his clients and law enforcement close in. Also with Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, John Lithgow, and Jeffrey Tambor. (Opens Friday)

American Honey (R) The first American film by Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank) is about an Oklahoma teenager (Sasha Lane) who runs away from home to join a wandering crew of teens who sell magazine subscriptions. Also with Shia LaBeouf, Riley Keough, McCaul Lombardi, Crystal Ice, Veronica Ezell, Chad McKenzie Cox, and Arielle Holmes. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

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Asura: The City of Madness (NR) Jung Woo-sung stars in this Korean thriller as a dirty cop who’s caught between a crooked mayor (Hwang Jung-min) and a ruthless prosecutor (Kwak Do-won). Also with Ju Ji-hoon, Jeong Man-sik, Yoon Ji-hye, Kim Hae-gon, and Oh Yeon-ah. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

Desierto (R) Gael García Bernal stars in this thriller as one of a group of Mexican immigrants who are preyed upon by a racist with a rifle (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) while crossing the border into America. Also with Alondra Hidalgo, Diego Cataño, Oscar Flores, David Lorenzo, and Marco Pérez. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Kevin Hart: What Now? (R) Concert film of the stand-up comedian’s 2015 performance at Lincoln Financial Field. Also with Halle Berry and Don Cheadle. (Opens Friday)

La Leyenda del Chupacabras (PG) This Mexican animated film takes on the legend of the Chupacabra. Voices by Mayté Cordero, Eduardo España, Benny Mendoza, Laura González, and Emilio Treviño. (Opens Friday)

A Man Called Ove (PG-13) Rolf Lassgård stars in this Swedish comedy as a grumpy, widowed retiree who has to cope when new neighbors from Iran move in next door. Also with Bahar Pars, Filip Berg, Ida Engvoll, Tobias Almborg, Klas Wiljergard, Chatarina Larsson, and Borje Lundberg. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Max Steel (PG-13) Ben WInchell stars in this fantasy film as a teenager who befriends an alien (voiced by Josh Brener) to become a superhero. Also with Andy Garcia, Maria Bello, Anna Villafañe, and Mike Doyle. (Opens Friday)

Ordinary World (PG-13) Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong stars in this dramedy as a failed rock musician trying to adjust to fatherhood and life after music. Also with Selma Blair, Judy Greer, Madisyn Shipman, Dallas Roberts, Kevin Corrigan, and Chris Messina. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Priceless (PG-13) Ben Smallbone’s drama is about a truck driver (Joel Smallbone) who takes a shady job at a low ebb in life. Also with David Koechner, Jim Parrack, Amber Midthunder, Katherine Neff, and Bianca Santos. (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.

Barcelona: A Love Untold (NR) This Filipino romance was filmed in Spain, but the love scenes set in the shadow of the Sagrada Familia or in Parc Güell can’t disguise the fact that this is the same movie as countless others made in the old country. Daniel Padilla plays an architecture student who comes across a young woman (Kathryn Bernardo) who happens to look exactly like his deceased ex-girlfriend. The drill is the same; this thing looks great, but its pacing, writing, and acting wouldn’t pass muster on a daytime soap opera here. Also with Joshua Garcia, Aiko Melendez, and Edgar Mortiz.

Better Off Single (NR) Aaron Tveit stars in this comedy as a suddenly unemployed and single man who goes on a hallucinatory bender to find himself. Also with Kal Penn, Lauren Miller, Jason Ralph, Annaleigh Ashford, Abby Elliott, Chris Elliott, and Lewis Black.

The Birth of a Nation (R) If not for the rape charges against him, I’d be calling this a confident debut by a first-time director. Nate Parker is that man, also writing and starring in this biopic about Nat Turner’s slave rebellion in 1831. From a largely incomplete historical narrative, Parker has crafted a lean, muscular narrative, full of inspired touches even if he occasionally goes overboard with the dramatic touches. His vehicle also plays to his own strengths as an actor, allowing him to flash his brilliant smile and project warmth and tenderness toward a fellow slave (Aja Naomi King). However, whatever statement this movie has to make about present-day race relations is obscured by the events outside the film. Someday we’ll be able to separate those out, but not now. Also with Armie Hammer, Penelope Ann Miller, Mark Boone Junior, Gabrielle Union, Colman Domingo, Aunjanue Ellis, Roger Guenveur Smith, and Jackie Earle Haley.

Blair Witch (R) The original movie set the standard for found-footage horror films. This sequel is just a standard found-footage horror film. James Allen McCune stars as the younger brother of the lead character from the 1999 movie, who takes a larger film crew into the same woods to search for her. The crew’s modern-day equipment includes GPS, walkie-talkies, and a bevy of smaller cameras, including one mounted on a drone. The tech winds up betraying the crew, although director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett (who did the far better You’re Next) make disappointingly little out of it. They execute some better special-effects within the format than the original could, but they can’t keep this thing from feeling like the retread that it is. Also with Callie Hernandez, Corbin Reid, Brandon Scott, Wes Robinson, and Valorie Curry.

Bridget Jones’s Baby (R) Despite a long absence from the screen, Renée Zellweger’s flair for physical comedy remains undiminished in this third installment that finds the klutzy British TV news producer now older, thinner, still single, pregnant, and unsure of whether the father is her ex (Colin Firth) or an American dating-website billionaire (Patrick Dempsey). Bridget is also somewhat less annoyingly self-absorbed, thanks to the auspices of new screenwriter Emma Thompson (who also plays a humorless ob/gyn here), and there are a few scattered big laughs here, but this outing never has enough of them to take flight, nor does it have the emotional weight to transcend its trashy late-’90s roots. Also with Jim Broadbent, Gemma Jones, Sally Phillips, Shirley Henderson, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Sarah Solemani, Kate O’Flynn, and Celia Imrie.

Deepwater Horizon (PG-13) Peter Berg’s film valuably reconstructs the 2010 environmental disaster, but that doesn’t feel like enough. Mark Wahlberg portrays an electronics technician on the ill-fated drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s undeniably fascinating to see the work that goes on on an oil rig, and Berg uses the power of cinema to depict what kind of fiery hell the Deepwater Horizon became when it exploded. He makes it clear that BP’s cost-cutting and anxiety to get back on schedule were chiefly responsible for the wreckage and loss of life, but his concerns seem to end with the workers getting to safety. He wants to make this into a heroic story about the individuals on the rig, but it feels like he’s ignoring a big part of the story so he can take something positive away. Watch the documentary The Great Invisible for some hard truths this movie won’t touch. Also with Kurt Russell, Dylan O’Brien, Gina Rodriguez, Ethan Suplee, Kate Hudson, and John Malkovich.

Don’t Breathe (R) Evil Dead remake director Fede Alvarez re-teams with his star Jane Levy to make this rather good thriller about a small-time criminal who tries to get her younger sister away from their abusive mom and white-trash-hell Detroit by robbing a rich blind man (Stephen Lang), only to discover that he’s a ruthless killer. The characters’ emotional layers are brought up without being followed through on, but Alvarez builds up tension with some great sequences inside the blind man’s house, including one shot in total darkness, and a sickening one where he captures her and reveals what he intends to do with her. It’s not quite as good as 10 Cloverfield Lane, but it’s  an excellent bet. Also with Dylan Minnette and Daniel Zovatto.

The Girl on the Train (R) Portraying a severely depressed alcoholic, Emily Blunt looks like she’s about to die and kinda wants to. That’s the main drawing card for this clumsy Americanized adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ novel about a woman who risks her own life when she starts investigating the disappearance of her ex-husband’s nanny (Haley Bennett). The supporting cast is enviable and the self-destructive glimmer in Blunt’s eyes is something you won’t soon forget, but director Tate Taylor (The Help) bungles the subplots and generates little suspense as his main character tries to recover her memories. A better director could have made this such trashy fun. Also with Justin Theroux, Rebecca Ferguson, Luke Evans, Edgar Ramírez, Laura Prepon, Lisa Kudrow, Darren Goldstein, and Allison Janney.

Hell or High Water (R) A great Western. This contemporary thriller stars Ben Foster and Chris Pine as two West Texas brothers looking to save their family ranch by robbing the rural branches of the very bank that owns the mortgage on their place. Screenwriter Taylor Sheridan wrote Sicario, but unlike that film, this one has a sense of humor and earns its moral ambiguity by counting up the cost of the brothers’ crime spree and having them stand to become wealthy if they can clear their debt. Jeff Bridges contributes a magnificent turn as a crusty old Texas Ranger who’s chasing the outlaws down, and the final confrontation between him and Pine is one you won’t soon forget. Also with Gil Birmingham, Marin Ireland, Katy Mixon, John-Paul Howard, and Dale Dickey.

Kubo and the Two Strings (PG) Not a masterpiece, but still remarkable. The latest stop-motion animated film by Laika Entertainment is about a homeless boy in ancient Japan (voiced by Art Parkinson) who embarks on a quest to find his father’s suit of armor. As Kubo’s guardians, Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey seem less than uncomfortable in their roles, and the comic relief that they’ve been given isn’t as fresh as in other Laika films. Still, the look of this film is inspired by the angles and corners of origami, and its extravagantly imaginative visual touches make it a feast for the eyes. Additional voices by Rooney Mara, George Takei, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Brenda Vaccaro, and Ralph Fiennes.

The Late Bloomer (R) Kevin Pollak directs this comedy about a young man with a glandular condition that causes him to undergo all the body changes of puberty in three weeks. Also with Brittany Snow, Maria Bello, Jane Lynch, Kumail Nanjiani, Beck Bennett, Jason Antoon, Ken Marino, Illeana Douglas, and J.K. Simmons.

The Magnificent Seven (PG-13) Denzel Washington headlines this watchable-but-only-that, ethnically diverse remake of a remake as a warrant officer in the 1870s who’s hired by the people of a small town to protect them from the depredations of a land baron (Peter Sarsgaard). Washington and his co-stars (Chris Pratt as a hard-drinking gambler, Ethan Hawke as a shell-shocked war veteran) provide the magnetism, but director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) makes his usual hackwork out of the action. There are some remakes where you can simply plug actors of color into roles originally played by white people and get on with it, but a period Western demands something more. Oh, what Quentin Tarantino could have done with this! Also with Haley Bennett, Lee Byung-hun, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Luke Grimes, Matt Bomer, Cam Gigandet, and Vincent D’Onofrio.

Masterminds (PG-13) An embarrassing wealth of comic talent goes into this comedy that underdelivers. Zach Galifianakis stars in this movie based on a real-life incident as a Florida armored car security guard who falls in love with a colleague (Kristen Wiig) and conspires with her and her criminal friend (Owen Wilson) to rob his employers of all the cash they’re transporting. The scenes with Jason Sudeikis as a weirdo hit man are the only ones that are actively painful, but director Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite) relentlessly condescends to his characters like he always does, and Galifianakis is better in supporting roles than in a lead role like this one. There are still some solid laughs here, but this should have been so much more. Also with Kate McKinnon, Ken Marino, Devin Ratray, and Leslie Jones.

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life (PG) Based on James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts’ children’s novel, this stars Griffin Gluck as a kid who decides to break all his school’s rules to shake up the routine. Also with Lauren Graham, Efren Ramirez, Rob Riggle, Thomas Barbusca, Andrew Daly, and Adam Pally.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (PG-13) Ransom Riggs’ novel gets lost amid Tim Burton’s adaptation, which runs more than two hours and still feels terribly rushed. Asa Butterfield stars as a Florida kid who travels to a Welsh island and discovers a bubble of time where it’s always the same September day in 1943, and where a house for children with strange abilities is run by a benevolent witch (Eva Green). Butterfield is a cute and charmless presence at the center of this, and Burton’s in such a hurry to get to the grotesque stuff that he runs roughshod over any sense of wonder or world-building, not to mention a romantic subplot with an air elemental (Ella Purnell). Without a story to connect all its elements, Burton’s little more than a hack like Chris Columbus. Also with Judi Dench, Rupert Everett, Allison Janney, Chris O’Dowd, Finlay MacMillan, Lauren McCrostie, Kim Dickens, O-Lan Jones, Terence Stamp, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Mission Milano (NR) Andy Lau stars in this Chinese action-comedy as an Interpol agent who must save his marriage while saving the world from the latest apocalyptic threat. Also with Huang Xiaoming, Wong Cho-nam, Michelle Hu, Petrina Fung, and Shen Teng.

M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story (NR) The second-best cricket movie I’ve ever seen, behind Lagaan. Sushant Singh Rajput stars as Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the wicket-keeper from Bihar with the big bat and (sometimes) long hair who led India to its first Cricket World Cup victory in 28 years. Despite the subtitle, there’s hardly anything in this biopic that hasn’t been told exhaustively. Dhoni is depicted as upstanding, abstemious, gracious in victory and defeat, humble in the face of success, and willing to make hard choices on team selection. Somehow Rajput exudes enough charisma to keep the character from being boring, and there’s enough cricket action to keep your interest from flagging during this movie’s three-hour running time. Also with Disha Patani, Fawad Khan, Ram Charan, Kiara Advani, and Anupam Kher.

Pete’s Dragon (PG) David Lowery turns the near-unwatchable partially animated 1977 Disney musical into a gem of a live-action fable. Oakes Fegley stars as an orphaned boy who survives in the woods with a dragon that he meets living there. The North Texas filmmaker takes a huge gamble by bringing out the dragon early, and his animators conjure a creature that can look cuddly or fierce as required. Lowery assimilates into the Disney house style without surrendering his unique qualities, drawing lyrical performances from his actors and never losing control of the fragile tone. His mastery is awe-inspiring; this filmmaker has all the tools he needs to become one of cinema’s greats. Also with Bryce Dallas Howard, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Oona Laurence, Isiah Whitlock Jr., and Robert Redford.

Queen of Katwe (PG) A rare movie about Africa that doesn’t involve war or plague or other forms of mass death, and one that earns its uplift honesty. Madina Nalwanga stars in this biopic of Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan teenage girl born in the Katwe slum of Kampala who has gone on to become an internationally ranked chess player. Director Mira Nair doesn’t stray too far from the template of sports movies — this is a Disney film, after all — but even though she’s shooting the film in South Africa, she still manages to evoke Uganda (where she lives part-time) through the music on the soundtrack, which combines tribal rhythms with modern sounds from America, Europe, and India. The film features powerhouse performances from Lupita Nyong’o as Phiona’s mother and David Oyelowo as the ministry worker who introduces the girl to chess. Also with Martin Kabanza, Taryn Kyaze, Ronald Ssemaganda, Ethan Nazario Lubega, Esther Tebandeke, Nikita Waligwa, and Edgar Kanyike.

Sausage Party (R) There’s something to offend just about everyone except atheists in this scattershot but occasionally inspired animated comedy about a supermarket hot dog (voiced by Seth Rogen) who thinks that food items go to a heavenly afterlife when they’re purchased, only to discover that their destiny is to be eaten. Too many of the sex jokes are obvious, but the movie does better when the humor comes from the visuals, as in the demented food-item sex orgy that climaxes this thing. Watch for the running joke that features bickering between a Jewish bagel (voiced by Edward Norton) and a Muslim lavash (voiced by David Krumholtz) over aisle space. Additional voices by Kristen Wiig, Michael Cera, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Salma Hayek, Nick Kroll, Lauren Miller, Danny McBride, Bill Hader, Anders Holm, Craig Robinson, and Paul Rudd.

Snowden (R) Joseph Gordon-Levitt shines amid the considerable flaws of Oliver Stone’s biopic of the U.S. government whistle-blower. Like most of Stone’s movies, this one is meticulously researched and Stone wants to make damn sure you know it, stuffing the script with information that would be more helpful in a book than in a film. He may trust us to process a lot of information, but he doesn’t trust us to interpret the movie and instead underlines all the emotional cues until even the most die-hard Edward Snowden supporter feels like telling him to shut up. Gordon-Levitt saves the movie with a subtle turn as a man being torn apart by his convictions and loyalty to his country, and he strikes up terrific chemistry with Shailene Woodley as Ed’s girlfriend. Still, you’re better off watching Citizenfour. Also with Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Rhys Ifans, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Olyphant, Scott Eastwood, Ben Schnetzer, LaKeith Stanfield, Joely Richardson, and Nicolas Cage.

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.

Storks (PG) Some of the gags in this animated kids’ movie are just brilliant. If only there were a story to connect them. In a world where storks have gotten out of the baby delivery business to deliver packages instead, Andy Samberg is the voice of one stork who wants to take over the company but has to team up with a misfit girl (voiced by Katie Crown) to deliver a baby to its proper home when one accidentally comes his way. Along the way, there’s a pack of wolves who form themselves into vehicles to chase after the stork and a climactic fight sequence that takes place in complete silence because no one wants to disturb the sleeping baby. Yet director Nicholas Stoller (Neighbors) jumps manically from tangent to tangent and keeps the movie from building momentum. Additional voices by Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Danny Trejo, and Kelsey Grammer.

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.

Sully (PG) In the hands of a lesser lead actor, Clint Eastwood’s dramatization of airline pilot Chesley Sullenberger and his heroic efforts to save the passengers on his US Airways flight in 2009 would likely crash. Instead, Tom Hanks has great chemistry with his sardonic co-pilot (Aaron Eckhart), and Eastwood films Sullenberger’s water landing effectively. That’s good, because the script is full of expositional dialogue given to an overqualified supporting cast, and it derails trying to give sketches of the passengers Sully saves. Despite some bumps, the crew lands this thing safely. Also with Laura Linney, Anna Gunn, Mike O’Malley, Jerry Ferrara, Holt McCallany, and Jamey Sheridan. — Steve Steward

War Dogs (R) Jonah Hill obliterates everything else on screen as a boorish, psychopathic 20-something guy from Miami who teams with a school friend (Miles Teller, reduced to straight man) to win a $300 million weapons contract from the U.S government to equip soldiers in Iraq. This story based on real life could have been a bristling war satire, but Todd Phillips directs this like it’s another sequel to The Hangover, replete with strippers, a trip to Vegas, and Bradley Cooper. Hill’s energy as a greed-head who thinks he’s bulletproof is the only genuine thing about this film that splashes about in the shallows. Also with Ana de Armas, Kevin Pollak, Shaun Toub, Patrick St. Esprit, and Wallace Langham.

When the Bough Breaks (PG-13) Everything in this tedious thriller is ripped off from The Hand That Rocks the Cradle — the filmmakers don’t even bother stealing from a good movie. Morris Chestnut and Regina King play a successful couple who hire a pretty young surrogate (Jaz Sinclair) to bring their fertilized embryo to term, only to discover that she’s an insane stalker who wants the husband for herself. The film flirts with creativity by making it look the surrogate’s being controlled by an abusive boyfriend (Theo Rossi) early on, but that gets drowned out in the indifferent performances and direction here. Also with Romany Malco, Michael K. Williams, Glenn Morshower, and Tom Nowicki.

 

DALLAS EXCLUSIVES

 

Demon (R) This Polish horror-comedy by the late Marcin Wrona is about a Jewish groom (Itay Tiran) who becomes possessed by a dybbuk in the middle of his wedding. Also with Agnieszka Ulewska, Andrzej Grabowski, Tomasz Schuchardt, Katarzyna Herman, and Tomasz Zietek.

Denial (PG-13) Rachel Weisz stars in this drama based on the real-life story of a history professor who finds herself sued for libel by a British Holocaust denier (Timothy Spall). Also with Tom Wilkinson, Andrew Scott, Mark Gatiss, John Sessions, Jack Lowden, Alex Jennings, Harriet Walter, and Caren Pistorius.

The Great Gilly Hopkins (PG) Based on Katherine Paterson’s novel, this drama stars Sophie Nélisse (The Book Thief) as a 12-year-old foster kid who finally finds some stability when she meets her latest foster mother (Kathy Bates). Also with Glenn Close, Julia Stiles, Bill Cobbs, Billy Magnussen, and Octavia Spencer. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Phantasm: Ravager (R) The last installment in the fantasy-horror series. Starring Reggie Bannister, A. Michael Baldwin, Kathy Lester, Bill Thornbury, and Angus Scrimm.

Torchbearer (PG) This documentary is about Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson and his arguments for God’s existence.

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