Atomic Blonde (R) Charlize Theron stars in this action thriller as a British spy trying to track down a killer of Western agents in Cold War Berlin. Also with James McAvoy, Toby Jones, Sofia Boutella, Eddie Marsan, Bill Skarsgård, James Faulkner, Sam Hargrave, and John Goodman. (Opens Friday)
City of Ghosts (R) This documentary by Matthew Heineman (Cartel Land) tracks the efforts of journalists in Raqqa, Syria to document the destruction caused by ISIS. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
The Emoji Movie (PG) Because sometimes life imitates stories in The Onion, this animated film is about a group of emojis inside a smartphone. Voices by T.J. Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris, Maya Rudolph, Jennifer Coolidge, Christina Aguilera, Sofia Vergara, Sean Hayes, Rachael Ray, Patrick Stewart, and the late Steven Wright. (Opens Friday)
A Family Man (R) Gerard Butler stars in this drama as a corporate headhunter who neglects his family while staying in the rat race at work. Also with Alison Brie, Willem Dafoe, Gretchen Mol, Alfred Molina, Kathleen Munroe, and Anupam Kher. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)
Landline (R) Gillian Robespierre (Obvious Child) directs this comedy about the romantic travails of a Manhattan family in 1995. Starring Jenny Slate, Edie Falco, Jay Duplass, Abby Quinn, Finn Wittrock, and John Turturro. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
The Last Face (R) This drama directed by Sean Penn is about an aid agency worker (Charlize Theron) and a doctor (Javier Bardem) who are caught up in a revolution in Africa. Also with Adèle Exarchopoulos, Merrit Wever, Jared Harris, and Jean Reno. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
A Life in Waves (NR) Brett Whitcomb’s documentary profile of composer and electronic-music pioneer Suzanne Ciani. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Maurizio Cattelan: Be Right Back (NR) Maura Axelrod’s documentary profile of the Italilan satirical artist. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)
Mubarakan (PG-13) Arjun Kapoor stars in this Indian comedy as mismatched identical twins whose arranged marriages become entangled. Also with Anil Kapoor, Ileana D’Cruz, Neha Sharma, Athiya Shetty, Vineet Kumar Singh, and Rahul Dev. (Opens Friday)
13 Minutes (R) Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall) directs this drama about German factory worker Johann Georg Elser (Christian Friedel) and his real-life assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler in 1939. Also with Katharina Schüttler, Burghart Klaußner, Johann von Bülow, Felix Eitner, David Zimmerschied, and Udo Schenk. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Wolf Warrior II (NR) Wu Jing stars in and directs this thriller sequel about a former special-ops agent who must come out of retirement when mercenaries start killing civilians on the Chinese coast. Also with Celina Jade, Zhang Han, Shi Zhaoqi, Heidi Moneymaker, and Frank Grillo. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)
Baby Driver (R) A car-chase movie that’s also a musical. Ansel Elgort plays a youthful-looking getaway driver with a passion for music who works off a debt to an Atlanta crime boss (Kevin Spacey) by driving armed robbers away from the police. In his first American movie, writer-director Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz) uses his trademark repeated lines and skillfully set-up gags, but also stages car stunts that are all the sicker because you know they’re being performed for real. The supporting cast is terrific, but Elgort owns the show completely as he rocks out behind the wheel to Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s “Bellbottoms” and dances to Bob & Earl’s “Harlem Shuffle.” The movie’s match of music, editing, and performances makes for a delirious experience. Also with Lily James, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Eiza González, Jon Bernthal, CJ Jones, Flea, Big Boi, Killer Mike, and Paul Williams.
The Beguiled (R) An elegant and beautiful potboiler of the sort you’d expect from Sofia Coppola. Based on Thomas Cullinan’s Civil War novel, this stars Colin Farrell as a wounded Union soldier who stumbles into a sparsely populated girls’ school in Confederate Virginia and starts flirting with the two teachers (Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst) and all the students, possibly to set the women against one another or possibly because he’s played by Colin Farrell. The material might have benefitted more from a director more experienced with psychosexual thrillers, but Coppola finds good comedy in the ways this man disrupts the all-female household, and the violent climactic sequence over a dinner table is one you won’t soon forget. Also with Elle Fanning, Oona Laurence, Addison Riecke, Emma Howard, and Angourie Rice.
The Big Sick (R) The romantic comedy of the summer is this one based on the autobiography of Kumail Nanjiani, the Pakistani-American stand-up comic and actor who fell for a white American woman and was wondering how to tell his parents when she became desperately ill and was placed in a coma. The film bolts out of the gate thanks to a script by Nanjiani and his real-life wife Emily Gordon, with jokes coming from all directions, including Emily’s fictional alter ego (Zoe Kazan), the Chicago stand-up scene where this is set, and Kumail’s Muslim family. The movie loses some of its surefootedness in the second half, as the filmmakers have trouble keeping the laughs going while Emily continues to lie in a hospital. Still, this is likely the first comedy from a Muslim perspective that most Americans have seen, and the more charming because of its real-life story. Also, Kumail’s joke about 9/11 is the most outrageous one I’ve heard all year. Also with Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Zenobia Shroff, Adeel Akhtar, Aidy Bryant, Bo Burnham, Kurt Braunohler, Vella Lovell, David Alan Grier, Linda Emond, and Anupam Kher.
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (PG) Dav Pilkey’s children’s books are turned into an animated film about two troublesome schoolkids (voiced by Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch) who hypnotize their principal (voiced by Ed Helms) into thinking he’s a superhero. Additional voices by Jordan Peele, Nick Kroll, Kristen Schaal, Brian Posehn, and Dee Rescher.
Cars 3 (PG) Basically, this is like Creed with talking cars. In this latest Pixar installment, Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) faces his sporting mortality after a bad run of results and makes drastic changes to his training regimen thanks to a new billionaire sponsor (voiced by Nathan Fillion) who’s so nice that he can’t possibly be a good guy. Once Lightning’s new young trainer (voiced by Cristela Alonzo) is shown topping out over 200 on a racing simulator, we know where this is going. Even so, the base material has a power of its own as the old veteran finds he has to dig into a bag of tricks to stay competitive with the younger racers, and Pixar’s customary in-jokes and throwaway gags help it all go down easy. Check for F1 champion Lewis Hamilton as an electronic assistant named Hamilton. Additional voices by Larry the Cable Guy, Chris Cooper, Bonnie Hunt, Armie Hammer, Tony Shalhoub, Lea DeLaria, Margo Martindale, Kerry Washington, Bob Costas, Darrell Waltrip, Richard Petty, Kyle Petty, Cheech Marin, John Ratzenberger, and the late Paul Newman.
Despicable Me 3 (PG) There’s all sorts of things going on in this third installment, what with Gru meeting his long-lost twin brother (both voiced by Steve Carell), Lucy (voiced by Kristen Wiig) learning to be a mom, the minions (voiced by Pierre Coffin) exiled to their own subplot doing God knows what, and a 1980s kid actor-turned-supervillain (voiced by Trey Parker) trying to destroy Hollywood. All of it fails because the filmmakers behind this seem to have run out of ideas sometime during the last movie. It’s time for Gru to retire and spend more time with his family, away from our screens. Additional voices by Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Nev Scharrel, Steve Coogan, Jenny Slate, and Julie Andrews.
Dunkirk (PG-13) Not a masterpiece, but it gets the job done. Christopher Nolan’s World War II epic tells the story of British civilians rescuing more than 300,000 soldiers from the French beach where they were trapped by the Nazis. Nolan tells the story in three overlapping timelines, from the viewpoints of an RAF pilot (Tom Hardy), a private (Fionn Whitehead), a boat owner (Mark Rylance) and others. Nolan probably should have gone with a more straightforward approach; the temporal dislocation doesn’t increase the chaos of the battle or the story’s forward drive. Luckily, this movie does much better at the small-picture level, conveying the analog nature of aerial combat back then and the private’s series of brushes with death as he tries to flee. This movie may not have the emotional impact that it’s looking for, but it succeeds thanks to Nolan’s assiduous application of his craft. Also with Cillian Murphy, Jack Lowden, Aneurin Barnard, Tom Glynn-Carney, Barry Keoghan, Tom Nolan, Harry Styles, and Kenneth Branagh.
47 Meters Down (PG-13) Since The Shallows became a hit last summer, everybody else has to have a shark flick. This one can’t hold a candle or even a shaky flashlight to that film from last year. Mandy Moore and Claire Holt star as two sisters who are trapped in a shark cage that comes loose from the boat and hits the ocean floor. English director Johannes Roberts (The Other Side of the Door) can’t think of anything inventive to do with the situation or with the open ocean and limited visibility that the setting offers. The acting from the two actresses is undistinguished at best as well. Look elsewhere for your B-grade thrills. Also with Matthew Modine, Yani Gellman, Chris Johnson, and Santiago Segura.
Girls Trip (R) In the “raunchy summer female comedy” tournament, this one defeats Snatched and Rough Night. Regina Hall stars as an Oprah Winfrey-like lifestyle guru who invites her college friends (Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Tiffany Haddish) for a weekend of partying at the Essence Festival in New Orleans. The raunchy summer female comedies tend to be for the white women, so it’s gratifying to see the black women get in on the action, and do it to hilarious effect. Some of the subplots play out predictably, but who cares when you’ve got set pieces like a zipline ride across Bourbon Street that goes wrong? Haddish winds up upstaging her more famous co-stars repeatedly, especially during a sex demonstration with a grapefruit and a banana. Also with Larenz Tate, Mike Colter, Mike Epps, Lara Grice, and Kate Walsh.
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (PG-13) More goes right than wrong in this sequel, in which our band of ragtag space rogues crash-lands on a distant planet that’s sentient, can take human form (Kurt Russell), and happens to be the long-lost father of Peter “Star-Lord” Quill (Chris Pratt). There’s tons more funny business, some involving baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) dancing and bringing the wrong items to Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Yondu (Michael Rooker) as they’re trying to break out of prison. I just wish the sequel had retained more of the original’s caper feel instead of making all its characters go through some hackneyed emotional arc — our Star-Lord was more fun as a common thief than as a guy with superpowers and daddy issues. Still, enough of the original’s jokey spirit remains to prime you for the third mix. Also with Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen GIllan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Sean Gunn, Chris Sullivan, Ving Rhames, Michelle Yeoh, Sylvester Stallone, and an uncredited David Hasselhoff.
The House (R) Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler are both well off their game in this comedy about parents who open an illegal casino in the home of their gambling-addicted neighbor (Jason Mantzoukas) because they can’t pay for college tuition for their teenage daughter (Ryan Simpkins). Having a Vegas-type casino open in suburbia and having suburban types go crazy for the action seems like a fantastic idea, and yet the proceedings stubbornly fail to spark even with the wealth of comic talent in the supporting cast. The film bogs down in a fraud conspiracy at city hall and Ferrell’s character being pathologically afraid of numbers. You’ll lose your money for sure at this place. Also with Nick Kroll, Allison Tollman, Rob Huebel, Randall Park, Andrea Savage, Lennon Parham, Jessica St. Clair, Michaela Watkins, Alexandra Daddario, and Jeremy Renner.
Jagga Jasoos (NR) After so many Western films have used India as an exotic backdrop full of chattering locals, it’s perversely fascinating to watch an Indian film do the same thing to Africa. Ranbir Kapoor stars in this epic musical comedy as a teenage nerd detective who bursts into song constantly to overcome a bad stutter and has a series of madcap adventures, including journeying to South Africa to find his long-lost father (Saswata Chatterjee) and break up an international arms cartel headed by a Russian circus master with two heads (no, seriously). Kapoor and leading lady Katrina Kaif (as a clumsy journalist who tags along) are fine performers, but the dance numbers amid ostriches and zebras and spear-carrying tribesmen are a bit much. Also with Chitrak Bandhyopadhyay, Kiran Srinivas, Saurabh Shukla, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and Denzil Smith.
Maudie (PG-13) A near-unwatchable exercise in overacting, this biopic stars Sally Hawkins as Maud Lewis, an orphaned live-in housekeeper for a lonely fisherman (Ethan Hawke) on the coast of Nova Scotia who would later become one of Canada’s most celebrated folk artists. Writer-director Aisling Walsh doesn’t give insight into Lewis’ work, nor does she tell a coherent story about Lewis’ life — one moment the two characters are making careful arrangements for living separately in the same house, the next they’re getting married. The actors play the same notes over and over, with Hawkins stooped over and speaking in a tiny voice, while Hawke is gruff and abusive in every scene. This movie is bad art. Also with Kari Matchett, Zachary Bennett, Billy MacLellan, and Gabrielle Rose.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (PG-13) The same goes for dead franchises. Much like its three predecessors, the fifth film in the series goes madly in circles as it brings on a new pair of young lovers (Kaya Scodelario and the flavorless Brenton Thwaites) to join Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) as he’s pursued by an undead Spanish captain (Javier Bardem) seeking revenge on Jack for his death. The story is powered by rote action sequences and so much mumbo-jumbo about a magical gadget that controls the seas. It’s harder to laugh at Depp’s comic drunk act now, when you’re wondering whether it’s really an act. The Norwegian directing team of Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (Kon-Tiki) fail to bring anything in the way of originality to this. Also with Geoffrey Rush, Kevin McNally, David Wenham, Stephen Graham, Golshifteh Farahani, Paul McCartney, Orlando Bloom, and Keira Knightley.
Rough Night (R) This raunchy comedy is agreeable enough, but given the talent onscreen and off, it should have come to more. Scarlett Johansson stars as a state-level politician who gets away for her bachelorette party in Miami with her friends when they accidentally kill the male stripper (Ryan Cooper) whom they’ve hired. TV’s Broad City contributes director Lucia Aniello and co-writer Paul W. Downs (who also plays Johansson’s fiancé), and there are scene-stealing bits from Jillian Bell as the needy best friend and Kate McKinnon as a New Agey Australian. As many funny bits as there are, the filmmakers can’t generate any momentum to give us the sense that these women are careening into further comic peril. The movie winds up going in frantic circles. Also with Zoë Kravitz, Ilana Glazer, Ty Burrell, Enrique Murciano, Dean Winters, Karan Soni, and Demi Moore.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (PG-13) The best high-school movie so far this year. After a bunch of angst-ridden Spider-Men, Tom Holland headlines this relatively and invigoratingly carefree outing. Director/co-writer Jon Watts (Cop Car) keeps the whole thing from Peter Parker’s teenage perspective, where participating in the academic decathlon looms as large as battling the villain (Michael Keaton), a screwed-over salvage worker now making weapons for the supervillain. The supporting cast is subtly loaded, but the best parts go to Peter’s school friends, and the most rewarding scenes are him interacting with his Star Wars geek pal (Jacob Batalon), the pretty girl he wants to ask out (Laura Harrier), the cool loser chick (Zendaya), and the nerd bully (Tony Revolori). A predictable third-act twist notwithstanding, the web-slinger’s latest reboot is well worthy of him. Also with Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Donald Glover, Bokeem Woodbine, Logan Marshall-Green, Martin Starr, Hannibal Buress, Kenneth Choi, Garcelle Beauvais, Michael Chernus, Selenis Leyva, Abraham Attah, Angourie Rice, Tyne Daly, Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Evans, and Jennifer Connelly.
Transformers: The Last Knight (PG-13) Having the robots in disguise interact with King Arthur and his knights should have been the touch of insanity that the series needed, but then we’re underestimating the ability of Michael Bay to suck the fun out of everything he does. Even though there’s constant gunfire and explosions in this thing, the pace still manages to seem somehow glacial as Bay keeps cutting away to shots of Mark Wahlberg with his hair flapping in the wind in front of American flags as he fights off a planet-devouring entity and its henchrobots with a sword that belonged to Merlin. Too bad I don’t have some of whatever substance the filmmakers were clearly high on during the whole of this movie. It might make this easier to sit through. Also with Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel, Laura Haddock, Isabella Moner, Santiago Cabrera, Stanley Tucci, and John Turturro. Voices by Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Jim Carter, Omar Sy, Ken Watanabe, Steve Buscemi, and John Goodman.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (PG-13) Stupid fun. Luc Besson adapts this space opera from the beloved series of French comic books from the 1960s, starring Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne as undercover government agents trying to rescue their commander (Clive Owen) from a terrorist plot in a giant floating world that’s home to aliens of all races. Besson’s sexual politics are stuck in the 1990s, and his script’s moral message basically boils down to “genocide is bad.” Still, he does tremendous work evoking the dozens of sub-worlds that exist inside this space and the nonlethal weapons used by the characters, and the statuesque Delevingne looks like a future star, able to deliver a spinning roundhouse kick and a sarcastic joke with equal ease. Also with Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Sam Spruell, Kris Wu, Herbie Hancock, Alain Chabat, Ola Rapace, and Rutger Hauer. Voices by Elizabeth Debicki and John Goodman.
War for the Planet of the Apes (PG-13) These movies continue to wash over me without making much of an impact. Andy Serkis reprises his role as Caesar in this third installment that’s also a retelling of the Book of Exodus, as Caesar has to lead his apes from their jungle home to a new place in the desert when they start being terrorized by a ruthless military colonel (Woody Harrelson). The Biblical parallels are pretty exact — we get a mountain avalanche instead of a parting of the Red Sea — and they’re filled out with Holocaust parallels, as the colonel winds up imprisoning the apes in a concentration camp. The CGI effects are done well enough, but they can’t quite cover up how run-of-the-mill this story is. Also with Steve Zahn, Amiah Miller, Karin Konoval, Michael Adamthwaite, Gabriel Chavarria, Terry Notary, Toby Kebbell, Judy Greer, and Ty Olsson.
Wish Upon (PG-13) This may look like just another bad teen slasher flick, but it’s actually a crazily bad teen slasher flick. Joey King plays a high-school girl who comes into possession of an unopenable ancient Chinese box that grants seven wishes to its owner but also kills the people closest to said owner. Casual racism aside, this thing has so little regard for internal logic and character motivation that the individual scenes stop making sense about a third of the way in, with everyone going from disbelieving all the events to blaming the heroine for everything and back. I give this movie credit for trying to do something different, but dear Lord, does it go wrong. Also with Ryan Phillippe, Ki Hong Lee, Mitchell Slaggert, Shannon Purser, Sydney Park, Kevin Hanchard, Elisabeth Röhm, and Sherilyn Fenn.
Wonder Woman (PG-13) Not all that good, but still yards better than the other DC Comics movies. Gal Gadot plays the warrior princess who gives up her birthright and leaves her island to help an American spy (Chris Pine) bring a successful end to World War I. The origin story means that the other superheroes don’t get awkwardly shoehorned in for cameos, Wonder Woman has a character arc (wobbly though it is) that’s more satisfying than any of those superheroes have had, and the film owes a great deal to Pine and his comic instincts to keep the story grounded. The movie does leave all sorts of things on the table and doesn’t appear to leave the heroine with much place to go as a character, but the good outweighs the bad, on balance. Never send a Man of Steel to do a Wonder Woman’s job. Also with Robin Wright, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya, Lucy Davis, Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock, Saïd Taghmaoui, and Danny Huston.
The Black Prince (R) This historical drama is about the relationship between the last king of Punjab (Satinder Sartaaj) and Queen Victoria (Amanda Root). Also with Jason Flemyng, Shabana Azmi, David Essex, Raji James, Alexa Morden, and Kavi Raz.
Endless Poetry (NR) The latest autobiographical film by Alejandro Jodorowsky stars Adan Jodorowsky as a young artist who comes into his own in 1940s Chile. Also with Brontis Jodorowsky, Leandro Taub, Pamela Flores Bastián Bodenhöfer, and Carolyn Carlson.
Lady Macbeth (R) This thriller is based not on Shakespeare but on Nikolai Leskov’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, starring Florence Pugh as a 19th-century English housewife who turns to adultery and murder out of boredom with her life. Also with Cosmo Jarvis, Paul Hilton, Naomi Ackie, Christopher Fairbank, and Golda Rosheuvel.
The Little Hours (R) This comedy set in 14th-century Italy stars Dave Franco as an escaped servant who takes refuge at a convent full of sex-starved nuns by pretending to be deaf and mute. Also with Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Kate Micucci, Molly Shannon, Jemima Kirke, Paul Reiser, Nick Offerman, Fred Armisen, and John C. Reilly.