Animal World (NR) Han Yan’s Chinese adaptation of a Japanese manga comic stars Li Yifeng as a children’s entertainer who harbors wild fantasies of pulling his family out of its financial troubles. Also with Zhou Dongyu, Cao Bingkun, Wang Ge, and Michael Douglas. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)
Black Water (R) Jean-Claude van Damme stars in this thriller as a foreign undercover agent who becomes imprisoned aboard a CIA submarine. Also with Dolph Lundgren, Courtney B Turk, Jasmine Waltz, Al Sapienza, and Kris van Damme. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Damsel (R) David and Nathan Zellner (Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter) co-direct and co-star in this Western about a wealthy pioneer (Robert Pattinson) traveling across the continent to marry his sweetheart (Mia Wasikowska). Also with Robert Forster. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
The Domestics (R) Tyler Hoechlin and Kate Bosworth star in this thriller as a married couple trying to survive in a postapocalyptic world. Also with Sonoya Mizuno, David Dastmalchian, Dana Gourrier, Laura Cayouette, and Lance Reddick. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Eating Animals (NR) Christopher Dillon Quinn (God Grew Tired of Us) adapts Jonathan Safran Foer’s exposé of the meat industry. Narrated by Natalie Portman. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Ideal Home (R) Paul Rudd and Steve Coogan star as a bickering gay couple whose lives are overturned when a boy (Jack Gore) shows up claiming to be a long-lost grandson. Also with Kate Walsh, Alison Pill, Jenny Gabrielle, and Jake McDorman. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)
Sanju (NR) Ranbir Kapoor stars in this biography of movie star Sanjay Dutt, who lived a tumultuous personal life. Also with Sonam Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Vicky Kaushal, Dia Mirza, Manisha Kolrala, Boman Irani, and Anushka Sharma. (Opens Friday)
Sicario: Day of the Soldado (R) Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin return for this sequel to the 2015 gangland thriller. Also with Isabela Moner, Jeffrey Donovan, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Matthew Modine, Shea Whigham, Elijah Rodriguez, and Catherine Keener. (Opens Friday)
Uncle Drew (PG-13) This basketball comedy stars Lil Rel Howery as a desperate man who recruits a team of legendary septuagenarians (Kyrie Irving, Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, Nate Robinson, and Lisa Leslie) to win a pickup basketball tournament. Also with Tiffany Haddish, Erica Ash, Nick Kroll, J.B. Smoove, and Mike Epps. (Opens Friday)
Woman Walks Ahead (R) Jessica Chastain stars in this biography of Catherine Weldon, the 19th-century artist who became an activist for Native Americans while painting portraits on the Lakota reservation. Also with Sam Rockwell, David Midthunder, Ciarán Hinds, Rulan Tangen, Michael Greyeyes, and Bill Camp. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)
Adrift (PG-13) Shailene Woodley is pretty much the sole reason to see this survival story based on the real-life adventure of Tami Oldham, the 24-year-old American who was shipwrecked in the Pacific in 1983 and survived 41 days of drifting on the open water. Her dynamic physicality as an inexperienced sailor forced to repair her boat by herself and keep herself sane through the hours of solitude is always watchable. Too bad director Baltasar Kormákur (Everest) films the thing in such an unimaginative way and performs some cheap gimmickry with the story’s timeline. Also with Sam Claflin.
American Animals (R) Much like I, Tonya, this uses multiple contradictory perspectives to dramatize a hideously misbegotten real-life crime. Barry Keoghan and Evan Peters star as two college students who conspire to steal rare books from the celebrated collection at Kentucky’s Transylvania University in 2004. The re-enactments of the botched heist are interspersed with interviews with the real-life students who tried to pull off the robbery, as well as their parents and people who knew them. First-time writer-director Bart Layton invests this all with an unearned air of deadly seriousness and some portentous quotes from John James Audubon and Charles Darwin (whose books were among those that the thieves targeted). He’s better off simply observing these guys who approach a felony like it’s an awesome college prank, and Peters gives a compelling performance as a doggedly determined guy who drives everyone else forward with the idea that they were meant to do this. Also with Blake Jenner, Jared Abrahamson, Ann Dowd, and Udo Kier.
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.
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.
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.
Gotti (R) The story of the real-life flamboyant Mafia don gets turned into a movie that’s a mash-up of Goodfellas, The Godfather, The Departed, Donnie Brasco, and every other mob movie you can think of. John Travolta overacts as usual in the title role, but that isn’t as serious a problem as the fact that this movie appears to have been edited by a chimpanzee after a few hits of strong weed. Director Kevin Connolly (that’s right, the guy who played Eric on Entourage) keeps taking us up narrative blind alleys, and the voiceover narration by different characters bears no relationship to what is going on on the screen. There’s no energy in this thing, either. Also with Kelly Preston, Spencer Rocco Lofranco, Pruitt Taylor Vince, and Stacy Keach.
Hereditary (R) The movie of your nightmares, especially if you have a kid with a nut allergy. Ari Aster’s hella impressive feature film debut stars Toni Collette as a mother whose family is upended by multiple tragedies and buried secrets lurking in her family’s past. Aster borrows M. Night Shyamalan’s trick of having the characters stare at something that’s out of camera range, leaving us to guess what it might be, and plays off the mother’s occupation of constructing miniatures by making the family house look like a dollhouse. There are great contributions from Alex Wolff as the stoner teenage son who can’t face what he’s done, Milly Shapiro as a creepy-ass 12-year-old girl, and Ann Dowd as a cheery neighbor who’s into spiritualism, but no one outdoes Collette’s terrifying turn as a woman driven hellishly forward to investigate her past and possibly on the verge of snapping. Also with Gabriel Byrne and Mallory Bechtel.
Hotel Artemis (R) I love the self-assuredness of this stylized thriller and the way it casts actors effectively to or against type. I don’t love writer-director Drew Pearce’s occasional sub-Tarantino flourishes in the dialogue or the way he loses track of his characters. With gray hair and a limp, Jodie Foster plays a hard-drinking, agoraphobic nurse who runs a medical facility for wounded criminals in near-future Los Angeles. The house rules she sets for the place are tested when the owner (Jeff Goldblum) comes in wounded and looking to kill one of the other patients. Also with Sterling K. Brown, Dave Bautista, Sofia Boutella, Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto, Brian Tyree Henry, Kenneth Choi, Charlie Day, and Father John Misty.
The Incredibles 2 (PG) Lives up to the original. Brad Bird returns for this Pixar animated film, in which brother-and-sister telecom moguls (voiced by Bob Odenkirk) try to legalize superheroes by making Helen (voiced by Holly Hunter) the face of the movement. The movie doesn’t significantly advance the ideas and characters who we met in the first movie, but Bird works a number of crackerjack action sequences, including Helen having to fight the supervillain blind in a room full of hypnotizing TV monitors and another with Violet (voiced by Sarah Vowell) facing off with a zombified superheroine who can throw punches at her from other dimensions. An astonishing amount of this movie works, from Bob (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) trying to adjust to life as a househusband to Violet’s courtship of a boy at school. The thing zips along quite well. Additional voices by Samuel L. Jackson, Huck Milner, Sophia Bush, Brad Bird, Phil LaMarr, Jonathan Banks, Barry Bostwick, Isabella Rossellini, and John Ratzenberger.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (PG-13) The best directed movie since the first one, and also the dumbest. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return for this sequel, as they try to rescue the dinosaurs from a volcanic eruption on the island where they’ve been kept. You can admire the craftsmanship by new director J.A. Bayona (A Monster Calls) and still take in the gaping plot holes and boneheaded decisions by all the major characters. To make matters so much worse, there’s a cute little girl (Isabella Sermon) whom the heroes have to protect as the dinosaurs run loose on the mainland. Behind the first-rate production values, this movie is as tick-tock predictable as any low-budget slasher flick. Also with Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, Ted Levine, James Cromwell, Geraldine Chaplin, Toby Jones, BD Wong, and Jeff Goldblum.
Ocean’s 8 (PG-13) If this pleasant but wifty caper comedy had been just a little cleverer, it might have merited the deluxe cast adorning it. Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett headline this sequel to Ocean’s 11 as partners in crime who head up an all-female group of thieves to steal a diamond necklace from a bitchy movie star (Anne Hathaway) at the Met Gala. Director Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) will never be mistaken for an imaginative filmmaker, but he keeps the thing moving along well enough. Unexpected notes come from the sexual tension between the two lead actresses and a funny turn from Helena Bonham Carter as a down-on-her-luck fashion designer who thinks her acting’s better than it is. A bevy of celebrity cameos (including Anna Wintour and members of her staff) help make the film seem like it’s really at the Met Gala. Also with Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Awkwafina, James Corden, Richard Armitage, Dakota Fanning, Marlo Thomas, Dana Ivey, Elizabeth Ashley, Mary Louise Wilson, Shaobo Qin, and Elliott Gould.
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.
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.
Race 3 (NR) The third film in this saga stars Anil Kapoor as the patriarch of an Indian crime family. Also with Salman Khan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Bobby Deol, Daisy Shah, and Saqib Saleem.
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.
Superfly (R) This new hip-hop version of the 1972 blaxploitation classic is better than the Shaft remake. Trevor Jackson stars as Youngblood Priest, an Atlanta cocaine magnate who wants to leave the life while he has his youth and his millions, only to find his attempts resulting in pressure from rival gangs, dirty cops, and his Mexican suppliers. Music-video director Director X is occasionally guilty of glorifying the bling-and-ho’s life of a kingpin, but he keeps things moving along and looking good. Screenwriter Alex Tse introduces a few new twists to the intricate plot and Jackson holds the center well as the soft-spoken, violence-averse drug lord. Disreputable though this is, it’s also quite enjoyable. Also with Jason Mitchell, Michael Kenneth Williams, Esai Morales, Jennifer Morrison, Lex Scott Davis, Andrea Londo, Jacob Ming-Trent, Brian Durkin, Big Bank Black, KR, and Big Boi. (Opens Wednesday)
Tag (R) This unintentionally depressing comedy is based on a Wall Street Journal story about a group of adult male friends who get together for one month a year to play tag. Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Hannibal Buress, and Jake Johnson play the members, who are hellbent on tagging their friend (Jeremy Renner) who has never been tagged in 30 years of the game. First-time director Jeff Tomsic wants to be funny while at the same time depicting how the group’s obsession with tagging one guy has turned them into paranoid, stunted headcases, and he can’t strike the proper balance. Renner walks off with the film, turning in his funniest performance ever as a guy who excels at the game because he’s a psychopath. Stay for the closing credit sequence, a soulful black-and-white music video with Renner overemoting as he leads the cast in a rendition of Crash Test Dummies’ “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm.” Also with Isla Fisher, Annabelle Wallis, Rashida Jones, Leslie Bibb, Nora Dunn, and Brian Dennehy.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (PG) This warmly humane documentary by Morgan Neville (20 Feet From Stardom) unspools the story of how Fred Rogers, a skinny ordained Presbyterian minister from Pittsburgh, became an unlikely TV star through his musical talent and his faith that children were wiser than we gave them credit for. The film includes interviews with surviving family members, friends, and people who worked with him on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and offers up convincing evidence that the man really was the same offscreen as on TV. At a time when Sesame Street catered to kids with punchy visuals, his show drew them in with silence and slowness. The film cannily ties Rogers’ habit of telling all kids they were special with his Christian faith that God’s love encompasses us all. The movie shows how he and his show made the world a better place.
Distorted (R) Christina Ricci stars in this thriller as a bipolar patient who suspects her new landlord (John Cusack) of secretly conducting psychological experiments on the building’s tenants. Also with Brendan Fletcher, VIcellous Shannon, Nicole Anthony, Oliver Rice, and Gigi Jackman.
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.
Hearts Beat Loud (PG-13) Brett Haley (I’ll See You in My Dreams) directs this film about a high-school graduate (Kiersey Clemons) who forms a songwriting duo with her dad (Nick Offerman) before going off to college. Also with Toni Collette, Ted Danson, Sasha Lane, and Blythe Danner.
1945 (NR) This Hungarian drama is about two Orthodox Jews (Iván Angelusz and Marcell Nagy) who return home to their village on the last day of World War II to find themselves unwelcomed by both their fellow Hungarians and the town’s Soviet occupiers. Also with Péter Rudolf, Bence Tasnádi, Tamás Szabó Kimmel, Dóra Sztarenki, and Eszter Nagy-Kálózy.