SHARE
Bella Heathcote stars as Olive Byrne in PROFESSOR MARSTON AND THE WONDER WOMEN, an Annapurna Pictures release. Credit: Claire Folger / Annapurna Pictures

OPENING

American Satan (R) This supernatural thriller is about a rock band in L.A. who make a deal with a mysterious stranger (Malcolm McDowell) in exchange for success in music. Also with Booboo Stewart, Andy Biersack, Drake Richards, Tori Black, Mark Boone Junior, Bill Duke, and Denise Richards. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Brawl in Cell Block 99 (NR) S. Craig Zahler (Bone Tomahawk) directs this thriller about a former boxer (Vince Vaughn) who winds up in prison after a drug deal goes bad. Also with Jennifer Carpenter, Tom Guiry, Marc Blucas, Fred Melamed, Clark Johnson, Udo Kier, and Don Johnson. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

The Foreigner (R) Jackie Chan stars in this action-thriller as a Vietnamese businessman in the U.K. who goes on a personal revenge quest after his daughter is killed in a terrorist bombing. Also with Pierce Brosnan, Katie Leung, Rufus Jones, Orla Brady, Lia Williams, and Michael McElhatton. (Opens Friday)

Happy Death Day (PG-13) This comic horror film stars Jessica Rothe as a college student who becomes caught in a time loop and is forced to repeatedly relive her birthday, the day she is murdered. Also with Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Rachel Matthews, Charles Aitken, Phi Vu, and Jason Bayle. (Opens Friday)

Loving Vincent (PG-13) Animated entirely with oil paintings, this film takes the viewpoint of various characters who knew Vincent van Gogh in life. Voices by Saoirse Ronan, Chris O’Dowd, John Sessions, Helen McCrory, Eleanor Tomlinson, and Douglas Booth. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (PG-13) Liam Neeson stars in this biography of the FBI source known as “Deep Throat,” who helped the Washington Post break the news on Richard Nixon’s presidency. Also with Diane Lane, Marton Csokas, Tony Goldwyn, Ike Barinholtz, Josh Lucas, Wendi McClendon-Covey, Brian d’Arcy James, Maika Monroe, Michael C. Hall, Tom Sizemore, Julian Morris, Eddie Marsan, Bruce Greenwood, Noah Wyle, and Kate Walsh. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (NR) The latest dramedy by Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha, Mistress America) is about an estranged family coming together in New York to celebrate the work of their patriarch, a famous artist (Dustin Hoffman). Also with Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Adam Driver, Elizabeth Marvel, Emma Thompson, Rebecca Miller, Grace van Patten, Danny Flaherty, Judd Hirsch, Candice Bergen, and SIgourney Weaver. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

M.F.A. (NR) This thriller stars Francesca Eastwood as an art student and rape victim who sets out to avenge herself on all the rapists walking free while incorporating their murders into an art project. Also with Clifton Collins Jr., Michael Welch, Andrew Caldwell, Leah McKendrick, Peter Vack, and David Sullivan. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

The Pathological Optimist (NR) Miranda Bailey’s documentary profile of anti-vaccination crusader Andrew Wakefield. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (R) Angela Robinson (D.E.B.S.) directs this biography of Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans) and his BDSM three-way relationship with two women (Rebecca Hall and Bella Heathcote). Also with Connie Britton, Chris Conroy, JJ Feild, Maggie Castle, Alexa Havins, and Oliver Platt. (Opens Friday)

The Secret Scripture (PG-13) Rooney Mara stars in this Irish film as a young woman whose tragic affair with a young priest (Theo James) leads to her institutionalization and her turning of her Bible into an art project. Also with Aidan Turner, Eric Bana, Jack Reynor, Susan Lynch, and Vanessa Redgrave. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

Secret Superstar (NR) This Indian film stars Zaira Wasim as a teenage girl who yearns to pursue a music career over the objections of her strict Muslim family. Also with Meher Vij, Raj Arjun, Manuj Sharma, Kabir Shaikh, and Aamir Khan. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

So B. It (PG-13) This adaptation of Sarah Weeks’ novel stars Talitha Bateman (Annabelle: Creation) as a the daughter of a mentally challenged woman (Jessica Collins) who undertakes a cross-country journey by herself to discover the secret of her parentage. Also with Alfre Woodard, Jacinda Barrett, Dash Mihok, Cloris Leachman, and the late John Heard. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

NOW PLAYING

American Assassin (R) Dylan O’Brien continues to bore me to tears in this thriller about an American tourist who turns himself into a vigilante and gets scooped up by the CIA after his fiancée is murdered by Arab terrorists while they’re on vacation. We keep getting told that our hero is dangerously reckless and making his spy missions about himself, and yet nothing bad ever happens to him as a result. O’Brien is out-acted by just about everyone on the screen, including Michael Keaton as his sadistic instructor, Shiva Negar as the beautiful Iranian spy who works with him, and Taylor Kitsch as the rogue American who’s the alpha villain. This movie has an antihero and doesn’t seem to know it, and add that it’s not-so-casually racist into the bargain. Also with Sanaa Lathan, Charlotte Vega, Shahid Ahmed, Scott Adkins, Navid Negahban, and David Suchet.

American Made (R) The latest Tom Cruise movie is slickly entertaining without ever quite feeling like there’s anything at stake. He portrays Barry Seal, the real-life Louisiana pilot who started running guns for the CIA and drugs for Pablo Escobar while working as an informant for the DEA in the 1980s. Director Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow, Mr. and Mrs. Smith) does all this up with his customary verve and energy, and Cruise is far better cast as a shifty antihero than as an action hero at this point. This thing could have used better performances from the supporting cast, but it won’t make you feel like it wasted your time. Also with Sarah Wright, Domhnall Gleeson, Jesse Plemons, Caleb Landry Jones, Lola Kirke, Jayma Mays, Alejandro Edda, Mauricio Mejia, Robert Farrior, Benito Martinez, and Mickey Sumner. 

Battle of the Sexes (PG-13) The greatest tennis movie ever, this would have been better if Hillary Clinton had won the presidency, but then, you could say the same for a lot of things. The directing team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine) are behind this rollicking account of the 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell), also taking in King’s fight for equal pay on the tennis circuit and her struggle with her sexuality at the same time she was in the public eye. Simon Beaufoy’s script picks up all sorts of juicy ancillary details along the way, and the thing is anchored by Stone, who does a dead convincing impression of King’s game face but is also marvelously alert to the women’s champ’s need to hide her sexuality. If this movie is the first step in weaponizing Emma Stone, we should all look out. Also with Andrea Riseborough, Sarah Silverman, Natalie Morales, Jessica McNamee, Bill Pullman, Austin Stowell, Fred Armisen, Martha MacIsaac, Mickey Sumner, Eric Christian Olsen, Alan Cumming, and Elisabeth Shue.

Blade Runner 2049 (R) Visually, a triumph. In other respects, a letdown. Denis Villeneuve helms this sequel to the 1982 science-fiction cult classic, in which a replicant (Ryan Gosling) hunting down his own kind who don’t obey orders is commanded to track down an unknown person who’s linked to Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford). Villeneuve reproduces the squalid, overcrowded, rain-soaked aesthetic from Ridley Scott’s old film while expand on it, showing the ruins of Las Vegas with 100-foot statues of naked women posing seductively in the desert. Unfortunately, the film falls flat attempting to expanding upon the original’s philosophical questions about being human, and portions of the film stop dead for exposition, while the relationship between the new blade runner and his hologram companion (Ana de Armas) never carries its emotional weight. Ideally, this movie should be projected on the back wall of a trendy nightclub, with the sound on mute. Also with Jared Leto, Robin Wright, Sylvia Hoeks, Mackenzie Davis, Dave Bautista, Wood Harris, Carla Juri, Hiam Abbass, Barkhad Abdi, Edward James Olmos, and Sean Young.

Flatliners (PG-13) The 1990 supernatural thriller was trashy and maudlin, but this remake makes it look like a deathless masterwork, especially the last third. Ellen Page stars as a medical student who ropes some fellow students into subjecting themselves to near-death experiences so that they can report back from the afterlife. They come back from death as adrenaline junkies when they’re not hallucinating the worst memories from their childhood. This thing is mostly just dull until the hallucinations start killing them one by one. That’s when this medical thriller turns as preachy and sentimental as the worst religious films. Also with Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev, Kiersey Clemons, James Norton, and Kiefer Sutherland. 

Friend Request (R) Alycia Debnam-Carey (TV’s Fear the Walking Dead) stars in this horror film as a college student who finds her friends being killed after she accepts a friend request from a social outcast. Also with William Moseley, Connor Paolo, Brit Morgan, Brooke Markham, and Sean Marquette. 

Home Again (PG-13) Reese Witherspoon starring in a romantic comedy directed by the daughter of Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer should be terrific, and yet this sleepy affair seems to distill the worst aspects of Hallie Meyers-Shyer’s parents films. Witherspoon plays a newly separated mother who moves back to her hometown of L.A. and rents out her house to three struggling young filmmakers, falling in love with the handsome director (Pico Alexander) of those three. Comic subplots with a flaky socialite (Lake Bell) and a movie producer who’s a thinly disguised satire of Jason Blum (Reid Scott) don’t lead anywhere, and the heroine’s two meant-to-be-adorably neurotic daughters (Lola Flanery and Eden Grace Redfield) are simply intolerable. At least Shyer and Meyers’ films were funny; this isn’t. Also with Michael Sheen, Nat Wolff, Josh Stamberg, Jon Rudnitsky, and Candice Bergen. 

It (R) A horror movie that’s everything you’d want, except scary. Based on Stephen King’s novel, this movie is about a group of kids in Maine (where else?) in the 1980s who band together against the scary clown (Bill Skarsgård) who has been murdering kids in their small town for decades. Argentinian director Andrés Muschietti (Mama) pulls off some sequences with great flair and gets some terrific performances from Jaeden Lieberher as the ringleader with a speech impediment and Sophia Lillis as the lone girl in the group. He also elicits commendable cinematography by Chung Chung-hoon and music by Benjamin Wallfisch, and the comic relief here is actually funny. Still, the clown’s antics don’t crawl under your skin like they should, and the whole affair lapses into regrettable sentimentality near the end. If you can’t wait for Season 2 of Stranger Things, this will tide you over nicely. Also with Wyatt Oleff, Jeremy Rae Taylor, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Finn Wolfhard. 

Judwaa 2 (NR) Salman Khan stars in this Indian comedy as twins trying to take over organized crime.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (R) Harry Hart (Colin Firth) is back from the dead, which seems to encapsulate everything that’s wrong with this sequel. Taron Egerton returns as the British secret agent who must team up with his American colleagues after a drug lord (Julianne Moore) kills most of his fellow Kingsmen. Director Matthew Vaughn has lost none of his flair for an action sequence, Egerton holds the center effortlessly, and Moore is a delight playing the supervillain as a demure Betty Crocker housewife with a 1950s fetish and legitimate points about the War on Drugs. Yet these too often get lost amid the movie’s myriad plotlines. This overstuffed, overlong affair shamefully wastes Jeff Bridges and Channing Tatum as American agents. The parts where Eggsy tries to get the amnesiac Harry to remember his old self are the weakest, and the movie would have been better off letting Harry stay dead. Also with Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Hanna Alström, Pedro Pascal, Edward Holcroft, Emily Watson, Bruce Greenwood, Sophie Cookson, Poppy Delevingne, Michael Gambon, and Elton John. 

Leap! (PG) This wildly misconceived animated film is supposed to take place in 19th-century France, but the characters wisecrack like contemporary American kids. Elle Fanning is the voice of an orphaned girl from Brittany who escapes from her orphanage with a friend (voiced by Nat Wolff), and they make their way to Paris, where she cottons on at a prestigious ballet school and fulfills her dream of becoming a dancer. This film was originally done in French, and maybe it was better in that language, but the American dub is so lame that you won’t be curious to find out. Additional voices by Kate McKinnon, Carly Rae Jepsen, Maddie Ziegler, and Mel Brooks. 

The Lego Ninjago Movie (PG) The series finally stretches itself too thin with this entry about a high-school reject (voiced by Dave Franco) who is secretly a ninja along with his fellow rejects, fighting to take down an evil overlord (voiced by Justin Theroux) who just happens to be his estranged dad. The movie does manage to make the hero’s daddy issues funny, and there’s an inspired bit where the weapon of mass destruction turns out to be a flesh-and-blood cat that knocks over the Lego skyscrapers. However, you may be lost if you aren’t already familiar with the Ninjago mythology, and even if you are familiar, the visual and verbal wit of the previous two films is largely missing here. Pump the brakes on this series before we get to The Lego Architecture Movie. Additional voices by Jackie Chan, Olivia Munn, Fred Armisen, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Peña, Abbi Jacobson, Zach Woods, Ali Wong, Randall Park, Charlyne Yi, and Constance Wu. 

mother! (R) Ranks higher on the WTF meter than any of Darren Aronofsky’s other films, and that’s saying a mouthful. Jennifer Lawrence stars as a nameless woman married to a famous writer (Javier Bardem) and living in their secluded mansion until some mysterious houseguests (Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer) show up and start the process of her life unraveling into a nightmare. On one level, this is a parable about the tragic costs of living with an artist who loves his own creative genius more than he can ever love anyone else, but the movie’s Biblical parallels also make it into an obscene and horrifying parody of the stories of the creation of man and Jesus. Lawrence is too imprecise here to give this the tragic import that it’s looking for, but Aronofsky’s craftsmanship makes this an effective haunted house film. The late sequences with the writer’s fans mobbing the house are as convincing a depiction of hell as anything. Also with Domhnall Gleeson, Brian Gleeson, Stephen McHattie, Jovan Adepo, and Kristen Wiig.

The Mountain Between Us (PG-13) This thriller stars Idris Elba and Kate Winslet as two passengers forced to rely on each other when their small plane crashes high in the Rocky Mountains during the winter. Also with Beau Bridges and Dermot Mulroney. 

My Little Pony: The Movie (PG) The voice talent in the cast of this musical animated movie might lead you to believe that this might be good. Don’t be fooled, though, because this is every bit as slapdash and dumb as you’d expect a movie based on a beloved line of toys to be. When a fallen unicorn (voiced by Emily Blunt) invades the ponies’ homeland and takes it over for an overlord (voiced by Liev Schreiber), the kingdom’s remaining princess (voiced by Tara Strong) has to lead a small party to save the kingdom. If you’re new to the whole Pony universe, you’ll be hopelessly lost as to which pony is which. Even if you’re not, the songs by Daniel Ingram and Michael Vogel evaporate instantly from your mind while they’re being sung. For all the time that’s been put into this, it feels like a cynical cash-in, and not a terribly smart one at that. Additional voices by Ashleigh Ball, Andrea Libman, Tabitha St. Germain, Taye Diggs, Uzo Aduba, Kristin Chenoweth, Michael Peña, Zoe Saldana, and Sia.

A Question of Faith (PG) This Christian drama is about two accidents that leave three families in a state of spiritual crisis. Starring Richard T. Jones, C. Thomas Howell, Jaci Velasquez, Kim Fields, Renée O’Connor, Amber Thompson, Karen Valero, and Gregory Alan Williams.

The Stray (PG) This adventure film is about a group of four people and one dog who are all struck by lightning while backpacking in Colorado. Starring Sarah Lancaster, Michael Cassidy, Scott Christopher, and Connor Corum.

Stronger (R) Solid rather than brilliant work by David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express), this biopic stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Jeff Bauman, a deli worker who lost his legs in the Boston Marathon bombing. Based on Bauman’s memoir, the movie is honest about the difficulties he faces not only adjusting to life as an amputee but also being tagged as a hero by the public and press in the attack’s aftermath. The movie has the benefit of terrific, raw performances by Gyllenhaal and Tatiana Maslany as Jeff’s girlfriend, but the proceedings really turn on a deeply moving monologue by the Costa Rican bystander (Carlos Sanz) who saved Jeff’s life. This is a better monument to Boston Strong than Patriots Day. Also with Miranda Richardson, Richard Lane Jr., Nate Richman, Lenny Clarke, and Clancy Brown. 

Til Death Do Us Part (PG-13) Annie Ilonzeh stars in this thriller as a woman trying to hide from her abusive ex-husband (Stephen Bishop). Also with Taye Diggs, Malik Yoba, Robinne Lee, and Jessica Vanessa DeLeon.

Victoria and Abdul (PG-13) Stephen Frears’ drama details the real-life friendship between an elderly Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) and a young Indian clerk (Ali Fazal). Also with Tim Pigott-Smith, Eddie Izzard, Adeel Akhtar, Olivia Williams, Fenella Woolgar, and Michael Gambon. 

Wind River (R) Screenwriter and Fort Worth product Taylor Sheridan (Sicario, Hell or High Water) shows some promise in his directing debut. Jeremy Renner stars as a U.S. Fish & Wildlife ranger who finds a teenage girl’s frozen body on an Indian reservation and has to assist the FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) in charge of the murder case. Sheridan’s particularly strong on the script’s procedural elements, depicting the logistical challenges of investigating in such a remote and inhospitable place, and the performances are hard to fault. This movie could have been shorter, and the extended flashback placed just before the climax is a regrettably clumsy misstep. Still, this is a solid Western. Also with Gil Birmingham, Kelsey Asbille, Julia Jones, Teo Briones, Martin Sensmeier, Tantoo Cardinal, Apesanahkwat, and Graham Greene.

DALLAS EXCLUSIVES

City of Rock (NR) Dong Chengpeng writes, directs, and stars in this comedy as a Chinese musician who tries to save his city’s rock garden by organizing a rock concert. Also with Coulee Nazha.

Lucky (NR) The late Harry Dean Stanton stars in this drama as a 90-year-old atheist who makes a spiritual journey. Also with David Lynch, Ron Livingston, Ed Begley Jr., Beth Grant, Barry Shabaka Henley, and Tom Skerritt.

The Osiris Child (NR) This science-fiction thriller is about a former nurse (Kellan Lutz) and a military contractor (Daniel Macpherson) trying to stop an interplanetary crisis. Also with Isabel Lucas, Luke Ford, Temuera Morrison, Teagan Croft, and Rachel Griffiths. 

Stopping Traffic (NR) Sadhvi Siddhali Shree’s documentary about law enforcement agents and activists trying to halt the worldwide sex trafficking trade.

LEAVE A REPLY