Action Point (R) Johnny Knoxville and the Jackass crew reunite for this comedy about a 1970s amusement park operator who decides to create the most irresponsible and dangerous park rides ever. Also with Johnny Pemberton, Dan Bakkedahl, Joe Vaz, Leon Clingman, and Eleanor Worthington-Cox. (Opens Friday)
Adrift (PG-13) Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin star in this adventure film based on the true story of Tami Oldham and Richard Sharp, the couple caught in a hurricane in the Pacific who overcame incredible odds to survive. Also with Grace Palmer and Jeffrey Thomas. (Opens Friday)
All Summers End (NR) Tye Sheridan and Kaitlyn Dever star in this drama about a teen couple forced to deal with the fallout when his prank goes wrong and kills her older brother. Also with Pablo Schreiber, Annabeth Gish, Bill Sage, Austin Abrams, Ryan Lee, and Paula Malcomson. (Opens Friday in Irving)
First Reformed (R) The latest film by Paul Schrader (American Gigolo) stars Ethan Hawke as a Presbyterian minister who’s led to a spiritual crisis by his son’s death and a parishioner’s suicide. Also with Amanda Seyfried, Philip Ettinger, Michael Gaston, and Cedric the Entertainer. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
How to Talk to Girls at Parties (R) This satire by John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) stars Alex Sharp as a space alien who takes human form and tries to navigate a tough London neighborhood. Also with Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning, Stephen Campbell Moore, Matt Lucas, and Ruth Wilson. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
A Kid Like Jake (NR) This adaptation of Daniel Pearle’s play stars Claire Danes and Jim Parsons as the parents of a non-gender-conforming child (Leo James Davis). Also with Priyanka Chopra, Ann Dowd, Amy Landecker, Aasif Mandvi, and Octavia Spencer. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Avengers: Infinity War (PG-13) A mess, but perhaps inevitably given how many characters are stuffed in here. Unlike its predecessors, this omnibus superhero movie takes the necessary step of creating a single villain (Josh Brolin) so powerful that it takes everyone’s combined might to fight him. Not only do we get 22 superheroes, but also various members of their supporting casts, so this story gets even more gridlocked. It’s something of a miracle that the film works as well as it does, with most of the individual scenes accomplishing what they set out to do. Almost half the cast dies at the end, but we can expect at least some of it to be undone in next year’s Avengers movie. How it changes the game won’t be known until then. Also with Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, Don Cheadle, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Anthony Mackie, Tom Hiddleston, Sebastian Stan, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, Benedict Wong, Idris Elba, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Benicio Del Toro, William Hurt, Carrie Coon, Terry Notary, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Michael Shaw, Gwyneth Paltrow, Peter Dinklage, and uncredited cameos by Cobie Smulders and Samuel L. Jackson. Voices by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel.
Beirut (PG-13) This sluggish political thriller stars Jon Hamm as an alcoholic, burned-out diplomat who’s brought into war-torn Lebanon in 1982 to negotiate the release of his kidnapped former friend (Mark Pellegrino) who works for the CIA, only to discover that both the Americans and the Israelis are happy to let the hostage die for shady reasons. There’s a neat script by Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton), but Brad Anderson’s direction is lacking in distinction, and Hamm only comes to life when his character snaps to and turns back into the ace negotiator that he once was. Better casting and more flair behind the camera could have turned this into something special. Also with Rosamund Pike, Dean Norris, Idir Chender, Kate Fleetwood, Leila Bekhti, Douglas Hodge, Jonny Coyne, and Larry Pine.
Black Panther (PG-13) Not just a movie about a black superhero, but a superhero movie whose blackness is central to all its accomplishments. Chadwick Boseman stars as the king of a fictitious African nation that is secretly the richest and most technologically advanced in the world, though he faces a challenge in an African-American (Michael B. Jordan) who thinks the country has failed oppressed black people around the world. Purely from a design standpoint, this is miraculous to look at, as the architecture, production design, and costumes all reflect an Afrofuturism that we haven’t seen on such a scale. In addition, the movie has more and higher-quality female representation than all of Marvel’s other superhero movies combined, as well as the best villain, a sumptuous cast, a soundtrack curated by Kendrick Lamar, and thoughtful ideas about what a powerful country owes the rest of the world. Simply by shifting from a white male point of view, this opens up the superhero genre in radical and exhilarating new directions. Also with Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, Winston Duke, John Kani, Sterling K. Brown, Denzel Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and an uncredited Sebastian Stan.
Blockers (R) The movie that Neighbors 2 was trying to be. This raunchy sex comedy stars John Cena and Leslie Mann as parents who freak the hell out when they discover that their teenage daughters have a pact to lose their virginities on prom night and resolve to stop them, while Ike Barinholtz is a fellow parent whose daughter is in on the pact who tags along on the quest trying to convince the others that they’re acting like crazy people. Thankfully, director Kay Cannon (Pitch Perfect 3) is with that guy and projects a healthy attitude toward the girls’ sexuality while getting terribly funny performances out of her leads and Geraldine Viswanathan, who’s the funniest of the girls here. Watch for Gary Cole and Gina Gershon as a married couple playing weird sex games with each other. Also with Kathryn Newton, Gideon Adlon, Miles Robbins, Graham Phillips, Colton Dunn, and Ramona Young.
Book Club (PG-13) The elderly crowd deserves better than this toothless comedy about four college friends (Candice Bergen, Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, and Mary Steenburgen) who have held a monthly book club for 40 years and are inspired to change their lives by Fifty Shades of Grey. The casting throws up some intriguing romantic pairings (Andy Garcia with Keaton, Don Johnson with Fonda), but the script by director Bill Holderman and his writing partner Erin Simms isn’t funny enough to give this affair something worthy of the star-studded cast here. This movie takes place in the same cocoon of wealthy straight white people that better, funnier films have already mined. Also with Richard Dreyfuss, Craig T. Nelson, Ed Begley Jr., Wallace Shawn, Katie Aselton, Mircea Monroe, and Alicia Silverstone.
Breaking In (PG-13) No reason we can’t have a black Panic Room, and this one isn’t too bad until the last 15 minutes or so. Gabrielle Union plays a mother who takes her two children (Ajiona Alexus and Seth Carr) with her to her late father’s heavily fortified home in the country, only to have a gang of armed burglars take the kids hostage inside the house while she’s trapped outside. Director James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) manages all the mechanics of the plot reasonably well, but the plausibility of the setup falls apart near the end in a most gruesome way. Also with Billy Burke, Jason George, Richard Cabral, Levi Meaden, Mark Furze, and Christa Miller.
Deadpool 2 (R) Still funny, but not as good as the original. Ryan Reynolds returns as the fourth-wall-breaking Canadian for the sequel to his 2016 hit, this time trying to protect an angry superpowered teen (Julian Dennison) from a time traveler (Josh Brolin) seeking to kill the boy before he grows up to kill his family. This sequel goes overboard on the self-aware asides and pop culture references, and new director David Leitch (or, as the James Bond-parodying opening credits identifies him, “one of the guys who kills the dog in John Wick”) doesn’t do as good a job balancing the action with the comedy, nor does he come up with an action sequence as memorable as the stairway fight from Atomic Blonde. The movie gets a boost from Zazie Beetz as a girl whose superpower is incredible good luck, and the post-credits sequence alone is worth the admission price. Also with Morena Baccarin, Brianna Hildebrand, T.J. Miller, Karan Soni, Leslie Uggams, Terry Crews, Bill Skarsgård, Rob Delaney, Lewis Tan, and uncredited cameos by Nicholas Hoult, Matt Damon, and Brad Pitt.
I Can Only Imagine (PG) I’m torn on this one: Would a biography of a better Christian band have made a better movie, or would this still have been dull and thus unworthy of a better band? There’s a workable story in here about how MercyMe lead singer Bart Millard (J. Michael Finley) stood up to his abusive dad (Dennis Quaid) to become a successful musician, but newcomer Finley has the liveliness of a damp sponge in the role, and the scenes with him playing a teenage Bart do him no favors. This might have worked better as a jukebox stage musical that could have covered MercyMe’s changing sound over time. There is a good performance by Trace Adkins as the band’s manager. Also with Cloris Leachman, Madeline Carroll, Jake B. Miller, and Nicole DuPort.
I Feel Pretty (PG-13) It may be disappointingly light on subversive material, but this comedy is still pretty funny. Amy Schumer plays a woman with body-image issues who hits her head in exercise class and wakes up thinking that she’s a supermodel. This movie tells us nothing that other body-positive comedies (going back to the 1996 The Nutty Professor) haven’t already told us, and it’s hard to ignore the fact that Schumer has done sharper-edged work on her own TV show. Yet the laughs come from numerous sources in the movie, and Schumer shows her strengths with both verbal and physical humor, especially in an early and painful mishap with her bike at SoulCycle. Michelle Williams gives a baby-voiced performance that needs to be seen as a cosmetics company heiress, CEO, and modeling face. It’s worth it just to hear her mispronounce “Kohl’s.” Also with Rory Scovel, Aidy Bryant, Busy Philipps, Tom Hopper, Adrian Martinez, Sasheer Zamata, Emily Ratajkowski, Naomi Campbell, and Lauren Hutton.
Life of the Party (PG-13) More watchable than Identity Thief or Tammy, though that isn’t saying much. Melissa McCarthy’s latest comedy vehicle has her playing a mom who’s unceremoniously ditched by her husband and decides to go back to school at the same university where her teenager daughter (Molly Gordon) just started. The star’s charm can’t convince us that this suburban mother’s cultural cluelessness is cool enough to win over her daughter’s classmates, nor can a few stray lines make up for the general lack of inventiveness with which this premise is treated. McCarthy did this whole character much more effectively in a recent Saturday Night Live sketch. It’s only five minutes or so, and it’s free to watch. Also with Gillian Jacobs, Adria Arjona, Sarah Baker, Chris Parnell, Jimmy O. Yang, Julie Bowen, Stephen Root, and Jacki Weaver.
Overboard (PG-13) Some expert performances by Eugenio Derbez and Anna Faris carry this thing for a while. This gender-flipped remake of the 1978 Goldie Hawn-Kurt Russell comedy stars Faris as an overburdened single mom who gets mistreated by a spoiled Mexican playboy (Derbez) and then gets back at him by claiming to be his wife after he falls off his yacht and loses his memory. These actors’ skills are impossible not to admire, but throwing a rich guy into the life of a construction worker doesn’t yield as much comic material as it should, and the plot gets sticky with the machinations of his family back in Mexico. Derbez’ ongoing attempt to make himself a star on our side of the border needs better material. Also with Eva Longoria, John Hannah, Emily Maddison, Cecilia Suárez, Mariana Treviño, Omar Chaparro, Mel Rodriguez, and Swoosie Kurtz.
Pope Francis: A Man of His Word (PG) If this is a Sunday sermon disguised as a movie, it should be said that this pope knows how to give a good one. Wim Wenders directs this documentary profile of the pontiff, who gives extensive interviews in his heavily Argentinian-accented Spanish. Francis speaks powerfully on the Christian need to do things about climate change and the refugee crisis as well as connect with adherents of other religions, but the film’s narrow scope limits its power. It would be nice to see his words translated into tangible benefits for the people he ministers to, who need it the most. Still, the man’s eloquence and wisdom are more than enough to get even a nonbeliever to buy into his message of humility and charity.
A Quiet Place (PG-13) Other films need to be seen on the big screen, but this one needs to be heard on a theater’s speakers to get the full effect. John Krasinski directs, co-writes, and co-stars in this horror film as a parent along with real-life wife Emily Blunt, who live in complete silence with their two children on their corn farm after the world’s population is decimated by aliens with sharp teeth and hypersensitive hearing. Were there more dialogue than just a few lines, the domestic drama here might drown in sentimentality like it did in Krasinski’s insufferable The Hollars. Instead, the lack of speech forces the director to be economical and keep the action flowing. Maybe this thing is a bit literal-minded, and the music could be better, but Krasinski manages some hellacious silent action sequences and turns this into a piece of entertainment that rattles along well. Also with Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe.
Rampage (PG-13) Dwayne Johnson reunites with his San Andreas director Brad Peyton, and the result makes San Andreas look like a Christopher Nolan movie. Yet another movie based on a video game, this stars Johnson as an animal trainer who sees biological samples from outer space turn his beloved rescue gorilla into a giant city-destroying beast. Everybody has massive chunks of dialogue to deliver and nobody is a shred of fun, not Johnson, not the CGI gorilla, not the corporate villains (Malin Akerman and Jake Lacy), not Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a government agent with a huge belt buckle laying down orders to high-ranking officers in a thick Southern accent. I don’t mind so much if my movies are this stupid, but at the very least I expect them to entertain me. Also with Naomie Harris, Will Yun Lee, Breanne Hill, Marley Shelton, and Joe Manganiello.
RBG (PG) Julie Cohen and Betsy West’s documentary profile of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Ready Player One (PG-13) Better than the book, I’ll say that. Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Ernest Cline’s 1980s geek explosion stars Tye Sheridan as a future teenager who has to team up with some gaming buddies to prevent a corporate behemoth from taking control of the virtual-reality cyberuniverse that most people escape into. This movie practically begs you to wind the DVD back and forth so you can catch all the 1980s references in the background, but for a film that wants to tell us to look up from our screens every once in a while, this makes virtual reality look way cooler than real life. Every fan of The Shining needs to see Spielberg’s extended homage to it in the middle of the film. Also with Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe, Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg, and Mark Rylance.
Sherlock Gnomes (PG) The sequel to Gnomeo and Juliet finds the titular couple (voiced by James McAvoy and Emily Blunt) moving to London and having to team up with Sherlock Gnomes and Watson (voiced by Johnny Depp and Chiwetel Ejiofor) when their fellow gnomes are kidnapped by a mysterious serial gnome thief. The cast’s energy is undimmed (especially Blunt’s), and the script is still laden with Elton John references, but it’s lacking the cleverness of the 2011 original, and neither the London setting nor the plotline with both Gnomeo and Watson being taken for granted by their respective partners offers up much. Additional voices by Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Mary J. Blige, Matt Lucas, Julie Walters, James Hong, Dexter Fletcher, Jamie Demetriou, Stephen Merchant, and Ozzy Osbourne.
Solo: A Star Wars Story (PG-13) This just, uh, okay. The prequel bears no signs of its reported production troubles, and stars Alden Ehrenreich as the young Han Solo, escaping his home planet and joining a band of thieves with an eye toward springing his girlfriend (Emilia Clarke) from prison. The movie gives us a glimpse of the Empire’s seedy underbelly (it runs on slave labor), but we know that Han’s going to meet Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and win the Millennium Falcon off Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). Ultimately, this is held back by the same constraints as Rogue One, and director Ron Howard doesn’t give us any highlights or surprises. This is never less than watchable and efficient entertainment, but it’s never any more, either. Also with Woody Harrelson, Paul Bettany, Warwick Davis, Ray Park, and Thandie Newton. Voices by Jon Favreau, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and Linda Hunt.
Super Troopers 2 (R) Get as high as possible before you see this 4/20 comedy, because if you don’t, you’ll probably spot just how feeble its jokes about women and Canadians are. The members of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe (Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, and Erik Stolhanske) reunite for this sequel to their 2002 comedy, in which the lunkheaded former Vermont state troopers are rehired when a stretch of Canada suddenly becomes American territory. Cue tired gags about hockey, Mounties, poutine, and French accents. The lizard isn’t broken anymore, it’s just gone limp from age. Also with Brian Cox, Rob Lowe, Jim Gaffigan, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Marisa Coughlan, Will Sasso, Paul Walter Hauser, Lynda Carter, Fred Savage, Damon Wayans Jr., and Seann William Scott.
Tully (R) Jason Reitman reunites with Diablo Cody and gets back in form with this comedy starring Charlize Theron as a mother of three suffering from severe postpartum depression until she hires a “night nanny” (Mackenzie Davis) who not only takes impeccable care of her new baby so she can get some rest but also brings some sunshine into her life. Reitman’s direction is enviably sharp in some harrowing early montages of the mother’s lonely, sleep-deprived life before Tully comes along, and Cody pens one of the best defenses of boring suburban domestic life you’ll ever hear with Tully’s late monologue. Theron, weighing about 50 pounds more than usual, is customarily excellent as a mother on the brink, and she’s well-matched by the dazzling Davis. Even if you sniff out the climactic plot twist, its implications are still terrifying enough to make it effective. Also with Ron Livingston, Mark Duplass, Lia Frankland, Asher Miles Fallica, and Elaine Tan.
Beast (R) This British thriller stars Jessie Buckley as a girl in an isolated community who falls for a mysterious stranger (Johnny Flynn) who may be a serial killer. Also with Geraldine James, Trystan Gravelle, Shannon Tarbet, and Emily Taaffe.
Disobedience (R) The first English-language film by Sebastián Lelio (A Fantastic Woman) is this adaptation of Naomi Alderman’s novel about two Orthodox Jewish women (Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams) whose love is forbidden by their community. Also with Alessandro Nivola, Allan Corduner, Nicholas Woodeson, Steve Furst, Clara Francis, Cara Horgan, and Bernice Stegers.
Future World (R) James Franco co-stars in and co-directs this postapocalyptic thriller about a boy (Jeffrey Wahlberg) who wanders a hostile wilderness searching for a cure for his dying mother (Lucy Liu). Also with Milla Jovovich, Suki Waterhouse, Margarita Levieva, Brandon Stewart, Snoop Dogg, and Method Man.
How Long Will I Love U (NR) Lun Su’s Chinese romantic film is about a woman from the present day (Tong Liya) and a man from 1999 (Lei Jiayin) who discover that they can travel to each other’s time period through a door in their bedroom. Also with Xu Zheng.
On Chesil Beach (R) Ian McEwan writes this adaptation of his own novelette about an English couple in the 1960s (Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle) whose relationship comes to a head on their wedding day. Also with Emily Watson, Anne-Marie Duff, Bebe Cave, and Samuel West.
The Rider (R) Cast entirely with non-professional actors, Chloé Zhao’s Western stars Brady Jandreau as a rodeo cowboy who must look for another vocation after suffering a life-threatening head injury. Also with Tim Jandreau, Lilly Jandreau, Lane Scott, and Cat Clifford.
The Seagull (PG-13) This adaptation of Chekhov’s play about an aging stage actress visiting her family stars Annette Bening, Elisabeth Moss, Saoirse Ronan, Billy Howle, Mare Winningham, Jon Tenney, Corey Stoll, and Brian Dennehy.
That Summer (NR) Göran Olsson’s documentary unearths footage of Edith Bouvier Beale before she was filmed for Grey Gardens.