All Is True (PG-13) Kenneth Branagh directs and stars in this film that imagines Shakespeare’s last days of life back in Stratford. Also with Judi Dench, Gerard Horan, Jimmy Yuill, Jack Colgrave Hirst, Kathryn Wilder, Lydia Wilson, and Ian McKellen. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)
Bharat (NR) A remake of the Korean drama Ode to My Father, this Indian film stars Salman Khan as a man who spends his life keeping his promise of holding his family together through his country’s turbulent history. Also with Katrina Kaif, Disha Patani, Varun Dhawan, Jackie Shroff, Nora Fatehi, Shashank Arora, and Tabu. (Opens Friday)
Changeland (R) Seth Green stars in and writes his own directing debut as a man who travels to Thailand with his best friend (Breckin Meyer) during a crisis in his life. Also with Macaulay Culkin, Brenda Song, Clare Grant, Rob Paulsen, and Rachel Bloom. (Opens Friday at América Cinemas Fort Worth)
Chasing the Dragon II: The Wild Bunch (NR) Tony Leung Ka-Fai stars in this Chinese thriller as a gangster who sets his sights on Macau as he kidnaps rich people for ransom. Also with Louis Koo, Simon Yam, Yu On-On, Lam Ka-Tung, and Sabrina Qiu. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
The Child Remains (NR) This Canadian horror film stars Allan Hawco and Suzanne Clément as an expecting couple whose weekend at a secluded countryside inn becomes a terrifying experience. Also with Shelley Thompson, Lesley Smith, and Géza Kovács. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)
Dark Phoenix (PG-13) In Fox’s final X-Men installment, both sides must team up to stop Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) from destroying the world. Also with James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jessica Chastain, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Evan Peters, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Brian D’Arcy James, Ato Essandoh, Halston Sage, and Jennifer Lawrence. (Opens Friday)
Echo in the Canyon (PG-13) Andrew Slater’s documentary interviews many of the musicians involved in the Laurel Canyon music scene in Los Angeles. Starring Eric Clapton, Brian Wilson, Ringo Starr, David Crosby, Fiona Apple, Jackson Browne, Michelle Phillips, Cat Power, Regina Spektor, Graham Nash, Jakob Dylan, Norah Jones, and the late Tom Petty. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Ghost Fleet (NR) Shannon Service and Jeffrey Waldron’s documentary explores the use of slave labor on commercial fishing vessels in Southeast Asia. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Halston (NR) Frédéric Tcheng (Dior and I) directs this documentary about the fashion designer who ruled over the 1970s and 1980s. Starring Liza Minnelli, Marisa Berenson, and Joel Schumacher. Narrated by Tavi Gevinson. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Katie Says Goodbye (NR) Olivia Cooke stars in this drama as a 17-year-old girl who becomes a prostitute to stay alive in San Francisco. Also with Mireille Enos, Christopher Abbott, Jim Belushi, Nate Corddry, Keir Gilchrist, Chris Lowell, and Mary Steenburgen. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Pavarotti (PG-13) Ron Howard directs this documentary about the legendary Italian opera singer. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Project Ithaca (R) This science-fiction thriller is about a group of strangers who must work together to get home after waking up on a spaceship. Starring James Gallanders, Dera Campbell, Daniel Fathers, Alex Woods, and Caroline Reynaud. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
The Secret Life of Pets 2 (PG) In this sequel, Max (voiced by Patton Oswalt) tries to adjust to life in the country, while his friends in the city try to adjust to life without him. Additional voices by Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Jenny Slate, Eric Stonestreet, Lake Bell, Hannibal Buress, Dana Carvey, Ellie Kemper, Nick Kroll, Bobby Moynihan, and Harrison Ford. (Opens Friday)
The Tomorrow Man (PG-13) This romance stars Blythe Danner as a woman who falls for a man (John Lithgow), only to find out that he’s a survivalist who spends much of his time building a bunker to survive the apocalypse. Also with Derek Cecil, Sophie Thatcher, Eve Harlow, Wendy Makkena, and Katie Aselton. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)
Aladdin (PG) At last, a Hollywood movie where the Middle Eastern characters are the good guys. This live-action remake of the 1992 animated Disney musical fixes a good number (though not all) of the racial and class issues from the original. The decor helps differentiate the film from Disney’s other live-action remakes and forces Guy Ritchie out of his comfort zone to good effect. It isn’t all good, though, because Ritchie is rarely comfortable staging musical numbers and can’t match the wit of the animation in the original movie. (The new songs don’t add much, either.) However, the movie gives good roles to a cast full of Middle Eastern actors (Mena Massoud as Aladdin sings well and has the dance moves), and Will Smith avoids embarrassing himself as the genie and makes the part his own. We’ll take that much. Also with Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Numan Acar, and Billy Magnussen.
Avengers: Endgame (PG-13) Pays off in spades. Following the events of Avengers: Infinity War, our heroes travel through time to try to avert the mass death that occurred when Thanos (Josh Brolin) snapped his fingers. The time-travel gambit is cleverly done, filling in backstory and making some of Marvel’s less essential previous films more important in retrospect. The film hits home emotionally, too, when you least expect it, as Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) carry more emotional weight here than in other installments. Even if the massive climactic battle sequence is calculated to make you cheer when various superheroes enter the fray, it also brings an uncommon unity to the 21 movies that preceded it. Given what a heavy task this movie had to accomplish, it succeeds better than it had any right to. Also with Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd, Don Cheadle, Brie Larson, Tessa Thompson, Danai Gurira, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Gwyneth Paltrow, Zoe Saldana, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Rene Russo, Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Wong, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, Winston Duke, Letitia Wright, Cobie Smulders, Linda Cardellini, Ty Simpkins, Ken Jeong, Frank Grillo, Maximiliano Hernández, Jon Favreau, Hayley Atwell, John Slattery, Tilda Swinton, Marisa Tomei, Angela Bassett, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, William Hurt, Natalie Portman, Robert Redford, and Samuel L. Jackson. Voices by Kerry Condon, Taika Waititi, Vin Diesel, and Bradley Cooper.
The Biggest Little Farm (PG) John Chester’s documentary chronicles his own attempts to develop a sustainable farm outside Los Angeles, despite no experience in farming.
Booksmart (R) Olivia Wilde proves a major comic talent in her directing debut, an instant classic of a teen comedy. A high-school valedictorian (Beanie Feldstein) and her openly gay best friend (Kaitlyn Dever) grow tired of being wallflowers and decide to cram four years’ worth of partying into the night before graduation. The story veers between episodes as the girls are repeatedly sidetracked on their way to a party, but Wilde sustains the anarchic energy as the movie barrels through one hectic, surreal night. Dever’s springiness contrasts well with Feldstein’s bulldozer-like force, and the script is chockablock with vivid supporting characters and funny lines. Billie Lourd steals all her scenes as an indestructible classmate who keeps improbably popping up along the girls’ journey and spends the entire film stoned. Also with Jessica Williams, Jason Sudeikis, Mason Gooding, Diana Silvers, Victoria Ruesga, Skyler Gisondo, Molly Gordon, Noah Galvin, Austin Crute, Eduardo Franco, Nico Hiraga, Mike O’Brien, Will Forte, and Lisa Kudrow.
Brightburn (R) This riff on the Superman story stars Jackson A. Dunn as an alien child who falls to Earth in Kansas and starts to demonstrate superpowers. Also with Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Jennifer Holland, Matt Jones, Meredith Hagner, and Becky Wahlstrom.
Captain Marvel (PG-13) Brie Larson is everything you’d want in this first Marvel superhero movie with a woman at the center. She portrays Carol Danvers, a U.S. Air Force pilot who loses her memory, becomes caught up in an intergalactic racial war, crash-lands in L.A. in 1995, and tries to recover her past. Where other Marvel movies give us cool, futuristic tech, this one sticks to its time period and gives us superheroes working with dial-up internet and public pay phones. Larson looks capable of taking down a bunch of soldiers by herself and also looks convincingly shaken when she finds out her alien brethren have been lying to her. She also makes a neat comic duo with Samuel L. Jackson as a younger Nick Fury, who is better used here than in any previous Marvel films. Leading into Avengers: Endgame, this introduces a heroine who looks ready to pound Thanos into the ground. Also with Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn, Annette Bening, Lashana Lynch, Djimon Hounsou, Clark Gregg, Gemma Chan, Rune Tente, Algenis Perez Soto, Akira Akbar, Lee Pace, McKenna Grace, and uncredited cameos by Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle, Chris Evans, and Scarlett Johansson.
The Curse of La Llorona (R) Underneath all the ethnic trappings, this is just the same old third-rate horror flick with the same old conjuring tricks. Linda Cardellini stars as a widowed Los Angeles social worker in 1973 who inadvertently causes the deaths of two Mexican boys, and their mother (Patricia Velasquez) calls down the child-snatching Mexican spirit to take revenge by taking the social worker’s two kids. There are other versions of the story of La Llorona that the movie could have used more profitably, and while first-time director Michael Chaves shows some talent, he doesn’t display any more invention or wit than a thousand other hack horror filmmakers. Cardellini gives everything she has to this performance, which is the best reason to watch. Also with Roman Christou, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, Raymond Cruz, Marisol Ramirez, Tony Amendola, and Sean Patrick Thomas.
De De Pyaar De (NR) This Indian comedy stars Ajay Devgn as a 50-year-old venture capitalist in London who falls for a 26-year-old woman (Rakul Preet Singh) and causes an uproar among his ex-wife (Tabu) and grown children back in India. This leads to predictable farce and moony romanticizing of a May-December romance, and the musical numbers don’t add much. The one thing that does is the main character’s weird relationship with his psychiatrist (Jimmy Sheirgill), who comes to his London apartment, insults him personally, drinks his Scotch, borrows his money, and keeps insisting that his psychology degree isn’t fake. Also with Javed Jaferi, Alok Nath, Bhavin Bhanushali, Inayat Sood, and Madhumalti Kapoor.
Detective Pikachu (PG) If you or your kids are already knee-deep in Pokémon knowledge, this movie is for you. Otherwise, it’s got nothing. Justice Smith stars as an insurance investigator in a metropolis filled with the magical creatures who runs into his father’s Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) and reluctantly teams up with him to solve his father’s disappearance. The CGI effects team does excellent work to create a world where humans interact with the mystical warriors of various stripes. However, the film-noir plot is weak stuff and the filmmakers clearly think that they can evoke the style of those old thrillers by putting characters in trench coats. Smith (Paper Towns) does creditable work to hold up his end of things. He deserves better material than this. Also with Kathryn Newton, Suki Waterhouse, Rita Ora, Karan Soni, Chris Geere, Diplo, Omar Chaparro, Bill Nighy, and Ken Watanabe.
A Dog’s Journey (PG) At this point, even the jokes about these movies being doggie snuff films have gone stale. The same dog (voiced by Josh Gad) keeps dying a thousand deaths and being reborn as other dogs so he can find his way back to Dennis Quaid. Marg Helgenberger is here to replace the late Peggy Lipton, which is more noteworthy than anything that happens in the plot. Also with Kathryn Prescott, Betty Gilpin, Ian Chen, Henry Lau, and Abby Ryder Fortson.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (PG-13) Michael Dougherty and his co-writers try to make the humans more interesting in this installment of the series. Big mistake. While Godzilla battles a bestiary’s worth of giant creatures rising up from the depths of the Earth, there’s all manner of cringe-worthy dialogue (“Oh my God!” “Zilla.”) and even more intolerable family drama between two estranged scientists (Kyle Chandler and Vera Farmiga) and their teenage daughter (Millie Bobby Brown). Dougherty graduated from low-budget subversive horror flicks like Trick ‘r Treat and Krampus, but a big epic like this blunts everything interesting about him. It’s a bridge too far. Also with Zhang Ziyi, Sally Hawkins, Bradley Whitford, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Aisha Hinds, Anthony Ramos, CCH Pounder, Joe Morton, David Strathairn, and Ken Watanabe.
The Hustle (PG-13) In this trifling, inoffensive remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, a posh British con artist (Anne Hathaway) meets a working-class Australian grifter (Rebel Wilson) in a resort town on the French Riviera, and the two go back and forth between being allies and enemies. The two actresses are game, but the various characters they pretend to be aren’t funny (with the possible exception of Hathaway as a German psychiatrist), and first-time director Chris Addison has little sense of how to build a scene. This would have been better had it been a film version of the Broadway musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, with Hathaway and Wilson singing and dancing. Watch for Dean Norris as a Fort Worth oilman who becomes a mark for the con artists. Also with Alex Sharp, Ingrid Oliver, Casper Christensen, and Nicholas Woodeson.
The Intruder (PG-13) There’s a surprising number of home-invasion thrillers about black families, and this one is nowhere near as inventive as Us. Michael Ealy and Meagan Good are a well-to-do San Francisco married couple who buy a house in Napa Valley from a friendly old guy (Dennis Quaid) who starts stalking them obsessively and acts as if the house is still his. Director Deon Taylor (Traffik) hammers home every action sequence without an ounce of cleverness or subtlety, and neither the racial angle nor the villain driving an emotional wedge between the husband and the wife generates anything interesting. The bad guy is a leering psychopath played clumsily by Quaid, and the other characters all act like idiots so that the plot can keep going. Also with Joseph Sikora, Alvina August, and Lili Sepe.
John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum (R) 55-year-old Keanu Reeves moves and fights like he’s 22 in this third installment of the martial-arts series. His hit man is now wounded and on the run after breaking the rules of his society of contract killers, so now his colleagues are all after him for the money and the notoriety. Director Chad Stahelski keeps up the accumulation of detail in this fictional universe full of colorful decor and sleek clothing. Also with Halle Berry, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, Anjelica Huston, Mark Dacascos, Jason Mantzoukas, Asia Kate Dillon, Saïd Taghmaoui, Randall Duk Kim, Boban Marjanovic, Cecep Arif Rahman, Yayan Ruhian, Tobias Segal, and Laurence Fishburne. — Chase Whale
Ma (R) Octavia Spencer has a grand old time playing her matronly image for scares in this horror film. Diana Silvers (from Booksmart) stars as a teenager who moves back to her mother’s hometown, falls in with a group of partying teens, and runs into a middle-aged woman who opens up her basement as a party venue for them. Messy as this is, it’s also the best film ever directed by Tate Taylor (The Help, The GIrl on the Train). He and Spencer create a pitiable monster out for revenge on the kids’ parents who tormented her when she was a teen. Spencer’s unhinged turn is the best reason to see this, and proof that she can do more than just the roles she’s been given so far. Also with Juliette Lewis, McKaley Miller, Corey Fogelmanis, Gianni Paolo, Missi Pyle, Luke Evans, and Allison Janney.
Photograph (PG-13) The latest film by Ritesh Batra (The Lunch Box) stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui as a Mumbai street photographer who convinces a stranger (Sanya Malhotra) to pose as his fiancée for the benefit of his family. Also with Sachin Khedekar, Denzil Smith, Jim Sarbh, and Vijay Raaz.
Poms (PG-13) The seed of something more interesting can be detected at the center of this underwhelming senior comedy. Diane Keaton plays a woman who is secretly dying of brain cancer when she decides to start up a cheerleading squad for the women at her retirement home. Director Zara Hayes (a documentarian making her first fiction film) makes the mistake of telling us that these old ladies are cool instead of just showing them doing cool things, and she does too much to gloss over the edges promised by the plot. Keaton is understatedly fine here, but she and a nice supporting cast can’t prop up this script. Also with Jacki Weaver, Pam Grier, Rhea Perlman, Celia Weston, Phyllis Somerville, Alisha Boe, Charlie Tahan, and Bruce McGill.
Rocketman (R) Better than Bohemian Rhapsody. This other musical biopic of a shy, gay, working-class British pianist who becomes a debauched rock star features Taron Egerton as Elton John. Though it’s officially sanctioned by Elton John, it doesn’t gloss over or glamorize Sir Elton’s drug- and sex-fueled excesses. Director Dexter Fletcher (who also did uncredited work on Bohemian Rhapsody) can’t escape the confines of the musical bio genre, but he does pull off some nice full-scale dance numbers, and Egerton (despite being too tall and good-looking for the part) holds up his end by doing his own singing and dancing. The further this movie dives into fantasy, the better it is. Also with Jamie Bell, Bryce Dallas Howard, Richard Madden, Tom Bennett, Steven Mackintosh, Matthew Illesley, Kit Connor, Ophelia Lovibond, Tate Donovan, and Gemma Jones.
Shazam! (PG-13) The decision makers at Warner Bros. and DC Comics finally lighten up, to the relief of all of us. Asher Angel stars as a 14-year-old foster kid who gains powers that allow him to transform into a flying, bulletproof superhero (Zachary Levi) when he says the magic word. The movie has issues with pacing and a dull supervillain (Mark Strong), but horror-film director David F. Sandberg doesn’t screw up the comic material. All the other kids in the foster home have their distinct personalities, and Jack Dylan Grazer is a standout as a handicapped friend and comic-book nerd who helps the hero navigate his new life. The tone of this retro exercise is on a par with Marvel’s enjoyably dizzy exercises. This breath of fresh, lightning-singed air is the first DC movie I want to see again. Also with Djimon Hounsou, Grace Fulton, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Faithe Herman, John Glover, Meagan Good, Michelle Borth, Ross Butler, D.J. Cotrona, and Adam Brody.
UglyDolls (PG) About how you would expect an animated movie based on a line of toys to be. Kelly Clarkson is the voice of a malformed doll who believes that she and the other similar dolls in her magical land can find their way to “The Big World” and a child’s love. The proceedings do pick up in the middle when the dolls reach a place called The Institute of Perfection, a dehumanizing school where dolls are taught how to have no flaws. The place is funny, and so is the villain (voiced by Nick Jonas) running the place, who sings a Justin Bieber-style ode about how no other dolls can hope to be as beautiful or perfect as himself. This, though, can’t make up for the story or for the weak vocal acting by a cast full of singers rather than actors. Additional voices by Janelle Monáe, Blake Shelton, Pitbull, Gabriel Iglesias, Wanda Sykes, Charli XCX, Wang Leehom, Bebe Rexha, Emma Roberts, and Lizzo.
Always Be My Maybe (PG-13) Randall Park and Ali Wong star in this romantic comedy as two childhood friends who fall for each other when they’re adults. Also with Daniel Dae Kim, Charlyne Yi, Karan Soni, Casey Wilson, and Keanu Reeves.
Domino (R) Brian de Palma directs this thriller about a Danish police detective (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) seeking revenge for the murder of his partner. Also with Carice van Houten, Nicolas Bro, Søren Malling, Paprika Steen, Eriq Ebouaney, and Guy Pearce.
Non-Fiction (R) The latest film by Olivier Assayas (Personal Shopper) is about two couples (Juliette Binoche, Guillaume Canet, Vincent Macaigne, and Christa Théret) who cheat relentlessly on one another as they cope with the changes in the publishing world. Also with Nora Hamzawi, Pascal Greggory, Laurent Poitrenaux, and Nicolas Bouchaud.
Rich Boy, Rich Girl (NR) Sasha Jackson and Cody Longo star in this romantic comedy as two impoverished young people who pretend to be wealthy to impress the other. Also with Elaine Hendrix, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Sean Whalen, Lucy DeVito, Natalie Gold, and C. Thomas Howell.
The Souvenir (R) Joanna Hogg’s autobiographical film stars Honor Swinton Byrne as a film student in the 1980s who becomes romantically involved with a heroin addict (Tom Burke). Also with Tilda Swinton, Richard Ayoade, Ariane Labed, and Lydia Fox.