Britt-Marie Was Here (NR) This Swedish comedy stars Pernilla August as a 63-year-old housewife who starts life fresh by becoming the coach of a small-town soccer team. Also with Vera Vitali, Peter Haber, Olle Sarri, Mahmut Suvakci, Malin Levanon, and Anders Mossling. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
The Captain (NR) Zhang Hanyu stars in this based-on-real-life Chinese thriller as a commercial airline pilot who has to land his plane safely after his windshield cracks at 30,000 feet. Also with Ou Hao, Du Jiang, Yuan Quan, Li Qin, Zhang Tian’ai, and Zhang Yamei. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
The Elephant Queen (PG) Mark Deeble and Victoria Stone’s documentary tracks the progress of an elephant herd on a trek through the African savanna. Narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (PG) Angelina Jolie returns as the sorcerer queen who goes to war over her stepdaughter (Elle Fanning). Also with Michelle Pfeiffer, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Harris Dickinson, Ed Skrein, Juno Temple, Imelda Staunton, Lesley Manville, David Gyasi, and Robert Lindsay. (Opens Friday)
Miss Virginia (NR) This drama stars Uzo Aduba as one of the mothers who looks to integrate Arkansas’ public schools in 1957. Also with Matthew Modine, Aunjanue Ellis, April Grace, Niles Fitch, Adina Porter, and Vanessa Williams. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Pain and Glory (R) The latest Pedro Almodóvar film stars Antonio Banderas as a world-famous Spanish filmmaker dealing with a litany of health problems and unresolved relationships in his past. Also with Asier Etxeandia, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Julieta Serrano, Asier Flores, Cecilia Roth, Raúl Arévalo, César Vicente, Susi Sánchez, and Penélope Cruz. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Raju Gari Gadhi 3 (NR) The Indian horror-comedy series soldiers on with this third chapter, starring Ashwin Babu, Avika Gor, Brahmaji, Urvashi, Prabhas Sreenu, and Ajay Ghosh. (Opens Friday at Harkins Southlake)
Trick (R) Omar Epps stars in this horror film as a detective trying to solve a string of small-town homicides. Also with Jamie Kennedy, Tom Atkins, Ellen Adair, Vanessa Aspillaga, and Alex Breaux. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Zombieland: Double Tap (R) Ruben Fleischer reunites with his principal cast (Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, and Abigail Breslin) for this sequel to his 2009 zombie comedy. Also with Luke Wilson, Rosario Dawson, Zoey Deutch, Thomas Middleditch, Dan Aykroyd, and Bill Murray. (Opens Friday)
Abominable (PG) For what it’s worth, a better animated movie about a yeti than Smallfoot. Chloe Bennett provides the voice of a Chinese teenager who discovers one of the legendary snowmen living on her roof and resolves to take him back to the Himalayas before he’s located by the rich captors whom he escaped from. The film does go all dopey when it reveals the yeti’s magical powers, but there are still moments of wit as the heroine and her two friends (Tenzing Norgay Trainor and Albert Tsai) crisscross the country. The film is also available in Mandarin, with different actors providing the voices. Additional voices by Eddie Izzard, Tsai Chin, Michelle Wong, James Hong, and Sarah Paulson.
Ad Astra (PG-13) Can someone tell me what’s so great about James Gray’s films, because I’m at a loss. His latest is not a gritty New York drama but a space opera, and more watchable than those others tend to be. Brad Pitt portrays an astronaut whose father (Tommy Lee Jones) has gone insane on a mission to Neptune and is threatening to destroy the entire solar system. This is in the vein of stately, philosophical space movies, and Gray (without the benefit of experience) does reasonably well with sequences in zero-gravity, including a rover chase on the surface of the Moon. Some of the visuals are intensely beautiful, but Gray can’t impart any visceral excitement to the story of a man who travels 2.7 billion miles to discover that he doesn’t want to be alone. It’s supposed to be a movie about how we all need other people, and there isn’t a single memorable person in it. Also with Liv Tyler, Ruth Negga, Kimberly Elise, Loren Dean, Bobby Nish, LisaGay Hamilton, John Ortiz, John Finn, and Natasha Lyonne.
The Addams Family (PG) With the cartoon family created by Charles Addams returning to its roots, and with Oscar Isaac voicing Gomez and Charlize Theron as Morticia, you’d think this would come to more. The Addamses deal with a gentrifying neighborhood and an evil home makeover TV host (voiced by Allison Janney) who’s bent on tearing down their eyesore of a house. The animation doesn’t match the weirdness of the subject matter. The only thing that does is the subplot in which Wednesday (voiced by Chloë Grace Moretz) starts attending public school. She’s the serene Goth heart of this thing, and there’s a nice Eighth Grade callback in the casting of Elsie Fisher as a girl at school who goes Goth with her. Additional voices by Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, Tituss Burgess, Jenifer Lewis, Aimee Garcia, Pom Klementieff, Bette Midler, and Snoop Dogg.
The Angry Birds Movie 2 (PG) Not nearly as objectionable as the first movie. The sequel to the 2016 animated hit has the birds and the pigs banding together when an eagle (voiced by Leslie Jones) starts hurling giant balls of ice at both of their islands. The second film sports an entirely new creative team, and they come up with some good stuff about Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) worrying about losing his war-hero status if there’s no more war and being forced to cede control to Chuck’s engineering genius sister (voiced by Rachel Bloom), as well as a running gag with some hatchlings losing and trying to recover some unhatched eggs. Maybe the enterprise lacks substance, but at least it has some out-loud laughs. Additional voices by Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Peter Dinklage, Bill Hader, Awkwafina, Eugenio Derbez, Maya Rudolph, Tony Hale, Beck Bennett, Gaten Matarazzo, Lil Rel Howery, Pete Davidson, Zach Woods, Dove Cameron, Nicki Minaj, Sterling K. Brown, and Tiffany Haddish.
The Battle of Jangsari (NR) Like too many other Korean War movies. This film dramatizes the attack by South Korean forces on Jangsari Beach, a diversion that suffered heavy casualties so the main American-backed forces could land at Incheon. The film adopts the viewpoint of a North Korean fighting for the South (Minho) and an officer (Kim Sung-cheol) who’s suspicious of him. There’s also a subplot involving an American journalist (Megan Fox) writing up the story of the Korean soldiers that could have easily been lost. Directors Kwak Kyung-taek and Kim Tae-hoon come up with a well-managed sequence where the South Koreans trap a detachment of North Koreans in a tunnel, but too often they rip off Saving Private Ryan. The movie’s so busy paying misty-eyed tribute to the heroism of Korean soldiers that they become uninteresting. Also with Kim Myung-min, Kim In-kwon, Kwak Si-yang, Jang Ji-gun, Lee Ho-jung, Lee Je-wook, Dong Bang-woo, Kim Min-kyu, and George Eads.
Brittany Runs a Marathon (R) Jillian Bell gets a well-deserved showcase in this flawed but crowd-pleasing comedy as an obese New Yorker who’s ordered to lose weight and decides to train for the New York City Marathon. Bell, the scene stealer from 22 Jump Street and Rough Night, delivers on the laughs in the scenes where she trains with her new running buddies (Michaela Watkins and Micah Stock). Better, both she and the film know that Brittany’s psychological issues don’t go away once the fat does. I wish every subplot didn’t end with a neat little homily about Brittany needing to take responsibility for her health and her life, but the film does well with both the struggles and the rewards of losing weight. Also with Utkarsh Ambudkar, Alice Lee, Lil Rel Howery, Patch Darragh, Sarah Bolt, and Mikey Day.
Chhichhore (NR) Probably best if you went to university in India. This dramedy stars Sushant Singh Rajput as a divorced man whose teenage son (Mohammad Samad) fails his university entrance exam and jumps out a window. The protagonist, his ex-wife (Shraddha Kapoor), and their college friends come together and try to bring the boy out of his coma by telling him stories about what losers they used to be when they were in school. Surely we all had that one classmate with the massive porn collection, but too much of the humor here is specific to its setting. While the raunchy humor does keep the proceedings from being a slog, 153 minutes of sentimental reminiscences about college life is too much. Also with Varun Sharma, Prateik, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Navin Polishetty, Tushar Pandev, and Saharsh Kumar Shukia.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold (PG) Adapted from the beloved animated TV show Dora the Explorer, this live-action movie isn’t exactly ground-breaking, but it has enough self-awareness to make it a different creature from the show. Isabela Moner plays the plucky explorer who’s packed off to high school in L.A. by her parents (Michael Peña and Eva Longoria) after she addresses a few too many imaginary cameras, only to be kidnapped by treasure hunters who suspect that her parents know the location of a lost Inca city. The story doesn’t come to much of a point and the young cast is a bit flavorless, but there are enough savory things on the fringes of the action (including Eugenio Derbez’ first English-language performance that shows what he can really do) to make this relatively pain-free. Also with Jeff Wahlberg, Madeleine Madden, Nicholas Coombe, Madelyn Miranda, Q’orianka Kilcher, and Adriana Barraza. Voices by Benicio Del Toro and Danny Trejo.
Downton Abbey (PG) A classic example of a big-screen version of a TV show that tries to squeeze a season of plot developments into a movie’s paltry length. Set in 1927, the film concerns a visit by the king and queen of England (Simon Jones and Geraldine James) to Downton, where the Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) and Lady Mary Talbot (Michelle Dockery) are expected to play host. Everything looks good, the acting is solid, and the one-liners are polished to a sharp edge, but if you’re not already a fan of the show, this won’t mean very much to you. Despite the occasional nod to the fact that Edwardian England isn’t great for people who are gay or Irish or women with unconventional ideas, this is an exercise in nostalgia for the feudal system. Also with Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter, Imelda Staunton, Laura Carmichael, Allen Leech, Joanne Froggatt, Robert James-Collier, Kate Phillips, Phyllis Logan, Sophie McShera, Brendan Coyle, Stephen Campbell Moore, David Haig, Susan Lynch, Tuppence Middleton, and Penelope Wilton.
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (PG-13) More fun than any of the proper Fast and the Furious movies, mostly because it leaves the racing crew behind and cherry-picks the two funniest actors from the series for their own adventure. British outlaw Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) is contacted after his MI6-agent sister (Vanessa Kirby) is framed as a traitor. However, to bring her in safely, he’s forced to work with the American DSS agent (Dwayne Johnson) whom he despises, and they’re both forced to fight the genetically enhanced supersoldier (Idris Elba) who framed her. Some of the macho posturing between Johnson and Statham is actually funny, but Kirby damn near steals the film as the spy who cuts through all the crap and gets on with the task at hand. Having director David Leitch (Atomic Blonde) join the series is a plus as well. Also with Eiza González, Eddie Marsan, Eliana Su’a, Cliff Curtis, Roman Reigns, Lori Pelenise Tuisano, Helen Mirren, and uncredited cameos by Kevin Hart and Ryan Reynolds.
Gemini Man (PG-13) Not as bad as its press. Will Smith stars as a retired government black ops operative who finds himself being hunted by a clone of himself that’s 25 years younger. The digital de-aging of Smith is just sort of there, and you wind up accepting it as part of the story. Too bad the story is so weak, as the main character’s reckoning with his younger self is too sketchily written to provide the drama. This plush, globe-trotting spy thriller feels like a paycheck job for director Ang Lee, though a few fluid action sequences (like a shootout and motorcycle chase in Cartagena and a Smith-on-Smith fight in Budapest) remind us that this is the guy who directed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It’s far from a great action movie, but it has a few things worth watching. Also with Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Douglas Hodge, Benedict Wong, Ilia Volok, Ralph Brown, and Linda Emond.
Good Boys (R) Charming, but no Booksmart. Three 6th-grade boys (Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, and Brady Noon) cut class to go to a cool kid’s birthday party, only to become entangled with a teenage girl (Molly Gordon) and her backpack full of molly and be forced to embark on a surreal journey. The boys are game for this and first-time feature director Gene Stupnitsky films a shootout with a paintball gun as if it’s a scene from a drug thriller. The film doesn’t tell us anything about friendship that Superbad didn’t tell us, but it has enough laughs to earn it some goodwill. Also with Midori Francis, Izaac Wang, Millie Davis, Michaela Watkins, Will Forte, Retta, and Lil Rel Howery.
High Strung Free Dance (PG) A new cast takes over the sequel to the 2016 musical that’s now buried on Netflix. Juliet Doherty plays a telemarketer who wants to be a ballet star and winds up dancing the lead for a Broadway production staged by a hot young choreographer awesomely named Zander Raines (Thomas Doherty, no relation). The plotlines all wind up exactly where you expect them to go, and they take mind-rottingly stupid turns to get there. This would be tolerable if the dance numbers were worth it. The only one that comes close is the laughably bombastic climactic ballet about a tortured artist and his muse. Also with Harry Jarvis, Ace Bhatti, Kika Markham, Jorgen Makena, Joshua Sinclair-Evans, and Jane Seymour.
Hustlers (R) See, I told you Jennifer Lopez can act! This film based on a real-life story stars Constance Wu as a novice stripper who is taken under the wing of Lopez’ aging dancer who ropes her and other dancers into a credit card fraud scheme to keep themselves afloat after the 2008 financial crisis. Writer-director Lorene Scafaria drills deep into the specifics of the job that these women do, but she doesn’t forget to infuse this with a palpable, Scorsesean sense of glee as the strippers rip off Wall Street douches who can afford to lose the money. Wu and Lopez make an infectious comedy team, and they both bring the dramatic fireworks later on when their friendship is sundered by the crime ring unraveling. More than just a comedy featuring women wearing very little clothing, this is a crime saga that indicts the capitalist system in the starkest terms. That’s a nice trick. Also with Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Julia Stiles, Mercedes Ruehl, Madeline Brewer, Mette Towley, Wai Ching Ho, Trace Lysette, Devin Ratray, Frank Whaley, Steven Boyer, G-Eazy, Usher, Cardi B, and Lizzo.
It Chapter Two (R) This overlong, bombastic sequel to the 2017 film (both adapted from Stephen King’s novel) has all the original’s flaws and screws up almost everything it got right. Picking up 27 years after the original, this film has the grown-up version of the Losers (Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, and Bill Hader) reuniting in their Maine hometown after Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) returns and kills again. The filmmakers here seem to think that all the wrong things are scary, paying too much attention to the creatures that chase our heroes to bring all the stray subplots to any sort of conclusion or keep from losing track of these characters for huge chunks of the movie. All the flashbacks to the Losers as kids could have been lost, too. The movie acknowledges that King has trouble ending his books, and yet this one can’t come up with an ending that works. That’s damning. Also with Sophia Lillis, Wyatt Oleff, Jaeden Martell, Jack Dylan Grazer, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Andy Bean, Teach Grant, Nicholas Hamilton, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Jess Weixler, Jake Weary, Xavier Dolan, Peter Bogdanovich, and an uncredited Stephen King.
Jexi (R) 84 minutes of Adam Devine being tortured by his phone. He plays a smartphone addict whose new phone comes with a digital assistant (voiced by Rose Byrne) that publicly makes fun of his porn-viewing habits, lack of social life, and crappy job. Seriously, that’s all it is. You’d think that writer-directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (Bad Moms) would be able to come up with more of a story, or at least funnier jokes. Instead, they’ve come up with a version of Her that sucks. It doesn’t help that Devine doesn’t have the flexibility to play straight man to a phone. Even the presence of Michael Peña as the main character’s obnoxious boss can’t improve this. Also with Alexandra Shipp, Justin Hartley, Charlyne Yi, Ron Funches, Wanda Sykes, and Kid Cudi.
Judy (R) Looking bleary, alcohol-soaked, and prematurely aged, Renée Zellweger does an uncannily precise imitation of Judy Garland in this biopic that takes in the singer as she plays five weeks in a London nightclub in the winter of 1968. The part shows off her gift for mimicry, and she’s probably a better singer than Garland was at the sadly diminished late-career stage that’s portrayed here. The film is based on Peter Quilter’s stage play End of the Rainbow, and it doesn’t have much to say about the traumas of child stardom lingering into adulthood. Beyond the lead performance, the film is rather indifferently cast. Zellweger’s performance deserves better than this lukewarm show business tragedy. Also with Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock, Rufus Sewell, Bella Ramsey, Royce Pierreson, Phil Dunster, Darci Shaw, Andy Nyman, and Michael Gambon.
Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (PG-13) An interesting, if inferior, companion piece to the David Crosby documentary. The team of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman helm this profile of the singer, who applied her enormous voice to a huge variety of music during her stardom in the 1970s and ’80s. Now retired after Parkinson’s disease took away her ability to sing, Ronstadt makes a keen interview subject, though you wish the filmmakers had let her go deeper into her political views or her use of diet pills back in her younger days. Even so, it’s undeniably a treat to hear not only her hits but also live performances of some of her more familiar songs. Also with Bonnie Raitt, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne, Don Henley, Aaron Neville, Ry Cooder, Peter Asher, Karla Bonoff, Kevin Kline, Cameron Crowe, and David Geffen.
Monos (R) A trippy stylistic statement from Colombia, this war film is about a group of teenage soldiers working for anti-government rebels who cope with their boredom while guarding an American hostage (Julianne Nicholson) in their hideout high in the Andean mountains. Director/co-writer Alejandro Landes has the eye for the striking visual, taking advantage of Colombia’s breathtaking natural scenery and creating some hallucinatory vistas, but he also keeps the story grounded in emotional reality, as the group starts to fracture over petty jealousies, sexual entanglements, and the prisoner’s attempts to escape. As the soldier who takes over the group, Moisés Arias (from TV’s Hannah Montana!) is terrifying as a heart of darkness who takes his charges deeper into chaos and murder. Also with Sofia Buenaventura, Laura Castrillón, Sneider Castro, Karen Quintero, Deibi Ruedas, Paul Cubides, Wilson Salazar, and Julián Giraldo.
Overcomer (PG) Alex Kendrick stars in his latest Christian film as a high-school basketball coach who is forced to train a single cross-country runner (Aryn Wright-Thompson) after massive unemployment in the area scuttles his team. Also with Shari Rigby, Priscilla Shirer, Ben Davies, Holly Morris, Kendrick Cross, and Cameron Arnett.
The Peanut Butter Falcon (PG) If you watch this and don’t like it, check your pulse. This small film has a big, beating heart. The film follows titular hero Zak (Zack Gottsagen) and his dreams of becoming a wrestler. He has Down Syndrome and lives in a retirement home, spending his time watching an old VHS of his favorite wrestler (Thomas Haden Church). Wrestling is Zak’s dream, so he escapes and inadvertently ends up on a boat with Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), who’s on the run from a group of no-goods he stole from. A bond is formed, and they make it a mission to track down Zak’s hero. The writers-director duo do not exploit Gottsagen’s condition and Tyler treats him as he does everyone: like a human being. LaBeouf disappears into this role, one of the best of his career. Also with Dakota Johnson, Jon Bernthal, Yelawolf, Mick Foley, John Hawkes, and Bruce Dern. — Chase Whale
Promare (PG-13) Hiroyuki Imaishi’s anime film is about a force of pilots operating giant robots to protect the Earth from threats. Voices by John Eric Bentley, Steve Blum, Johnny Yong Bosch, Melissa Fahn, Crispin Freeman, and Billy Kametz.
Rambo: Last Blood (R) The Vietnam veteran is in Mexico trying to go out the same way as Logan did, but it doesn’t work nearly as well. Sylvester Stallone stars as the grizzled veteran who is in retirement near the border when his niece (Yvette Monreal) is kidnapped by Mexican sex traffickers. Age has brought neither wisdom nor self-awareness to John Rambo, just a lot of aches and pains. The series ends as it began, with Rambo killing off a ton of guys with darker colored skin. The old soldier should have been put out to pasture decades ago. Also with Paz Vega, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Louis Mandylor, Joaquín Cosio, Sheila Shah, Óscar Jaenada, and Adriana Barraza.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (PG-13) This horror film takes too long to get going, but once it does, look out. Based on Alvin Schwartz’ series, this is about a group of teenagers who find a storybook in a haunted house in their small town and find themselves the subject of gory stories that come true. Zoe Colletti does some fairly heroic work in the main role, a girl with abandonment issues who is now watching her friends vanish from sight. Still, the main attraction here are the innovative monsters, owing more than a bit to Stephen Gammell’s illustrations for the books. When a racist jock suddenly starts vomiting straw in the middle of a cornfield, that’s something horror movies haven’t given us before. Director André Øvredal (Trollhunter) does a fair job of knitting these disparate short stories into a cohesive whole. Just try forgetting the Jingle Jangle Man (“Me tie dough ty walker!”). Also with Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush, Austin Zajur, Austin Abrams, Natalie Ganzhorn, Lorraine Toussaint, Dean Norris, and Gil Bellows.
War (NR) Hyped as a long-anticipated meeting between two of India’s biggest action stars, this film appears to have been suckered by its own hype. Tiger Shroff stars as a Muslim soldier and traitor’s son who enlists in Indian military intelligence and even seeks out training from his father’s killer (Hrithik Roshan) to help take down a business mogul (Sanjeev Vasta) who’s secretly funding ISIS terrorists in Iraq. It’d be much easier to live with the unbelievable plot twists and even the irrelevant musical numbers if the fight sequences were any good. Unfortunately, they go on for what seem like hours while the combatants punch through stone walls and absorb bullet and knife wounds until your belief is no longer suspended and instead goes into free fall. Also with Vaani Kapoor, Ashutosh Rana, Anupriya Goenka, Dipannita Sharma, Soni Razdan, and Keith Dallison.
Along Came the Devil (NR) Sydney Sweeney stars in this horror film as a girl whose demonic possession threatens the entire small town where she lives. Also with Jessica Barth, Matt Dallas, Madison Lintz, Heather DeVan, and Bruce Davison.
The Laundromat (R) Steven Soderbergh’s drama stars Meryl Streep as a widow whose investigation of her identity theft case leads her to an international conspiracy. Also with Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas, Melissa Rauch, James Cromwell, David Schwimmer, Jeffrey Wright, Robert Patrick, Matthias Schoenaerts, Will Forte, Chris Parnell, Rosalind Chao, Larry Wilmore, and Sharon Stone.
Lucky Day (R) Luke Bracey stars in this thriller as an ex-convict who tries to protect his family from a psychopath (Crispin Glover). Also with Nina Dobrev, Ella Ryan Quinn, Clé Bennett, Mark Dacascos, and Clifton Collins Jr.
Lucy in the Sky (R) Natalie Portman stars in this drama as an astronaut who begins to unravel mentally after returning to Earth from space. Also with Jon Hamm, Zazie Beetz, Dan Stevens, Pearl Amanda Dickson, Colman Domingo, Jeffrey Donovan, Tig Notaro, and Ellen Burstyn.
Mary (R) This horror film stars Gary Oldman as a man who buys a boat for business purposes only to discover its terrifying secrets. Also with Emily Mortimer, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Owen Teague, Chloe Perrin, and Jennifer Esposito.
Polaroid (PG-13) A long-delayed horror film finally seeing a multiplex, this stars Kathryn Prescott as a teenager who discovers that the Polaroid camera that she finds is haunted. Also with Tyler Young, Samantha Logan, Keenan Tracey, Priscilla Quintana, Katie Stevens, Madelaine Petsch, and Mitch Pileggi.
Where’s My Roy Cohn? (PG-13) Matt Tyrnauer (Studio 54) directs this documentary about the amoral lawyer who helped the U.S. government persecute Jews and homosexuals like himself.