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An atrociraptor chases down Chris Pratt in "Jurassic World Dominion." Courtesy Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

OPENING

 

Ante Sundaraniki (NR) This Telugu-language comedy is about a Brahmin man (Nani) who falls in love with a Christian woman (Nazriya Nazim). Also with Naresh, Rohini, Nadhiya, Azhagam Perumal, Harsha Vardhan, Nikki Tamboli, and Aruna Bhikshu. (Opens Friday)

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Benediction (PG-13) The latest film by Terence Davies is a biography of World War I veteran and poet Siegfried Sassoon (Jack Lowden). Also with Peter Capaldi, Tom Blyth, Jeremy Irvine, Julian Sands, Anton Lesser, Simon Russell Beale, and Gemma Jones. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Jurassic World Dominion (PG-13) Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard reprise their roles as paleontologists in a world where dinosaurs battle people as apex predators. Also with Campbell Scott, Omar Sy, Justice Smith, Isabella Sermon, Mamadou Athie, DeWanda Wise, Kristoffer Polaha, Daniella Pineda, Scott Haze, Dichen Lachman, BD Wong, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, and Laura Dern. (Opens Friday)

777 Charlie (NR) This Kannada-language adventure-comedy is about the friendship between a man (Rakshit Shetty) and his Labrador retriever. Also with Sangeetha Sringeri, Raj B. Shetty, Danish Sait, and Bobby Simha. (Opens Friday)

The Walk (R) Justin Chatwin stars in this drama as a 1974 Boston cop who’s assigned to take part in the integration of schools in the city. Also with Terrence Howard, Jeremy Piven, Katie Douglas, Sally Kirkland, and Malcolm McDowell. (Opens Friday at América Cinemas La Gran Plaza)

 

NOW PLAYING

 

The Bad Guys (PG) Better than any of the Despicable Me movies, this animated film based on Aaron Blabey’s children’s books is about a villainous wolf (voiced by Sam Rockwell) who pulls off robberies with his animal friends but then is tempted to go straight when a do-gooding professor (voiced by Richard Ayoade) decides to subject them to an experiment. The animation style is distinctive enough to make this stand out from other such movies, there’s a neat partnership between Rockwell and Marc Maron as the voice of his snake best friend, and the script is fairly even-handed about why a professional bad guy might want to go over to the side of the law. Anthony Ramos voices a piranha who’s one of the wolf’s gang members, and he sings a catchy original song called “We’re Gonna Be Good Tonight.” Additional voices by Awkwafina, Craig Robinson, Lilly Singh, Alex Borstein, and Zazie Beetz.

Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 (NR) The sequel to the 2007 Indian horror-comedy is about two strangers (Kartik Aaryan and Kiara Advani) who discover supernatural goings-on at a music festival. Also with Tabu, Rajpal Yadav, Amar Upadhyay, and Sanjay Mishra.

The Bob’s Burgers Movie (PG-13) The film version retains enough of the flavor of the Fox TV show to distinguish it from the other Hollywood animated movies. The same week that the bank calls in its loan to Bob’s Burgers, a giant sinkhole opens up in front of the restaurant to reveal a human corpse. Louise (voiced by Kristen Schaal) decides she can save her family’s business if she solves the murder. The pun-heavy dialogue doesn’t always work and the film has trouble accommodating all its regular characters plus a bevy of cameos, but the musical numbers and the family dynamic are enough to make this a pleasant watch even for newcomers to the show. Additional voices by H. Jon Benjamin, Dan Mintz, John Roberts, Larry Murphy, David Wain, Stephanie Beatriz, Gary Cole, David Herman, NIck Kroll, Aziz Ansari, Jordan Peele, Jenny Slate, Sarah Silverman, Zach Galifianakis, Paul Rudd, and Kevin Kline. 

Crimes of the Future (R) David Cronenberg returns to the body-horror movies he made in the last century, and he’s as provocative as ever. In a future where evolution has caused humans to stop feeling pain and grow extra organs, Viggo Mortensen plays a man who collaborates with a surgeon (Léa Seydoux) to turn the removal of his tumors into acts of performance art. This parable has slippery meanings, and the director re-engages his ability to conjure images of repulsive power such as a bed that looks like a giant upside-down cockroach and a dance piece by a dancer whose body is covered in ears. The paranoid mood leads itself to ferociously mannered performances, with Kristen Stewart stealing the film as a bureaucrat with a gulping manner of speaking who creeps out everyone she meets. Cronenberg’s vision is ultimately more hopeful than his previous efforts, but this is best taken as an ineffable experience whose odd bits wash over you. Also with Scott Speedman, Don McKellar, Tanaya Beatty, Nadia Litz, Lihi Kornowski, Denise Capezza, and Welket Bungué.

Deep in the Heart: A Texas Wildlife Story (NR) The latest documentary by Ben Masters (The River and the Wall) showcases the wildlife native to Texas. 

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (PG-13) Marvel goes for horror, and the result is better than The New Mutants. Benedict Cumberbatch returns as the time lord, who tries to save an interdimensional traveler (Xochitl Gomez) from Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), who has gone insane from grief and is destroying universes to gain control of the girl’s power and live in an alternate universe where she’s a happy mother of two. Director Sam Raimi joins the franchise, and his brand of surrealist horror both fits the story and distinguishes the series from the other Marvel franchises. Olsen makes an authentically terrifying villain as a zombie who radiates pain with every move she makes, which compensates for the overstuffedness of a movie that only runs 126 minutes. The new Doctor Strange is a more layered creation, too, and that’s more than welcome. Also with Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jett Klyne, Julian Hilliard, Bruce Campbell, Anson Mount, Lashana Lynch, Hayley Atwell, John Krasinski, Patrick Stewart, and Charlize Theron.

Downton Abbey: A New Era (PG) It’s supposed to be a new era, but everything feels the same. The time period shifts to the late 1920s, and while the abbey is taken over by a film crew shooting a movie, the Grantham-Crawley clan relocates to a villa on the Riviera that the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) has just inherited. Just like the first big-screen sequel to the TV show, this one tries to fit in a whole season’s worth of plotlines into two hours, and it doesn’t go. The rhythm of the scenes is all off, none of the emotional beats hit the way you’d like, and the whole thing ends with a funeral sequence that’s way too long. The film is too rushed to succeed at anything. The writers could take a page from the Marvel superhero movies about long-form storytelling. Also with Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Hugh Dancy, Dominic West, Jim Carter, Allen Leech, Tuppence Middleton, Samantha Bond, Laura Carmichael, Harry Hadden-Paton, Douglas Reith, Phyllis Logan, Robert James-Collier, Joanne Froggatt, Lesley Nicol, Sophie McShera, Michael Fox, Kevin Doyle, Raquel Cassidy, Laura Haddock, Jonathan Zaccaï, Nathalie Baye, Penelope Wilton, and Imelda Staunton. 

Everything Everywhere All at Once (R) The Being John Malkovich of our generation. Michelle Yeoh stars in this surreal martial-arts drama as the owner of a Southern California laundromat who discovers the existence of an infinite number of parallel universes and has to access the skills of her more accomplished alternate selves to stop them from being destroyed. This film has the wackiest fight sequences since Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, as all the different characters instantly acquire kung fu proficiency at one point or another. The filmmaking team The Daniels (Swiss Army Man) stages all these scenes fantastically, working endless variations inside an IRS office building. Much like Scott Pilgrim, the brilliance eventually becomes exhausting, but the film deserves all kinds of props for their ambition and expanding the philosophy of martial-arts movies beyond the traditional Buddhist koans. Also with Ke Huy Quan, Stephanie Hsu, Tallie Medel, Harry Shum Jr., Biff Wiff, Jenny Slate, Jamie Lee Curtis, and James Hong.

Family Camp (PG) This Christian comedy is about two highly different families who compete for the trophy at their summer camp. Starring Tommy Ackerman, Eddie James, Leigh-Allyn Baker, Gigi Orsillo, Cece Kelly, Jacob M. Wade, Elias Kemuel, and Mark Christopher Lawrence. 

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (PG-13) The third film in the series is the best one, yet despite its complement of interesting ideas, the thing stubbornly refuses to take flight. Early on, the film reveals that Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen, replacing Johnny Depp in the role) were a couple in their younger days. Now that they’re enemies, Dumbledore sends a team of wizards to stop his ex from gaining power over the wizarding world. David Yates is still on board as director, and the series badly needs someone who can look at this material with fresh eyes. There are some neat story ideas like the team carrying out fragments of a larger plan to stop the villain from reading their minds, but you sense that J.K. Rowling could have handled this better in the pages of a novel. The critics of her transphobic rhetoric were right all along: She should have stuck to the books. Also with Eddie Redmayne, Dan Fogler, Jessica Williams, Ezra Miller, Callum Turner, Alison Sudol, William Nadylam, Victoria Yeates, Oliver Masucci, Maria Fernanda Cândido, Poppy Corby-Tuech, and Katherine Waterston.

Father Stu (R) Stuart Long started out as an amateur boxer in Montana, moved to Hollywood to become an actor, experienced a serious motorcycle wreck while driving drunk, and decided to join the priesthood. Mark Wahlberg’s performance in the title role knits all this together and helps make this into one of the better Christian films of recent years. First-time director Rosalind Ross alternates between gloss and grit as the scene requires, and she doesn’t stint on the abuse and neglect of Stu’s upbringing by a drunken father (Mel Gibson). Still, you watch Wahlberg as his body deteriorates after Father Stu is struck down by a degenerative muscle disorder, and he entertains doubts about God’s existence and his choice of profession. Too few Christian films obey the basic precepts of good filmmaking, but this one does. Also with Jacki Weaver, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Teresa Ruiz, Carlos Leal, Ned Bellamy, and Malcolm McDowell.

Firestarter (R) Adapted from Stephen King’s novel, this thriller is about a little girl (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) who can start fires with her mind. Also with Zac Efron, Sydney Lemmon, Michael Greyeyes, Gloria Reuben, and Kurtwood Smith. 

Hustle (R) Adam Sandler stars in this comedy as a washed-up basketball scout who discovers a phenom while traveling in Spain. Also with Ben Foster, Queen Latifah, Jaleel White, Juancho Hernangomez, Raúl Castillo, María Botto, Boban Marjanović, and Robert Duvall.

Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story (PG-13) Frank Marshall and Ryan Suffern’s documentary chronicles the history of the New Orleans Jazz Festival. Starring Bruce Springsteen, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, Tom Jones, Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Buffett, Al Green, Aaron Neville, Pitbull, and Katy Perry. 

The Lost City (PG-13) The stars are upstaged by the supporting players in this comic adventure-romance that has too little comedy. Sandra Bullock plays a best-selling romance novelist who is kidnapped by a bratty British billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe) because he thinks she knows the location of a buried treasure on an island in the Atlantic that looks like a generic jungle set. The man who poses as a model on the cover of her books (Channing Tatum) pursues them in a mostly ineffectual attempt to rescue her. Radcliffe makes a funny, sputtering villain and Brad Pitt has a great time in a brief cameo as the ultra-manly operative who accompanies the cover model. A comedy about these two going up against each other would have been better than this one that spends too much time going into the characters’ backstories and has too few funny bits from the leads. The film runs out of power way before its ending. Also with Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Patti Harrison, Héctor Anibal, Thomas Forbes Johnson, Oscar Nuñez, Bowen Yang, and Stephen Lang. 

Major (NR) Adivi Sesh stars in this Indian biography of Maj. Sandeep Unnikrishnan, who lost his life saving civilians during the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Also with Saiee Manjrekar, Sobhita Dhulipala, Prakash Raj, and Murali Sharma. 

Men (R) Oscar nominee Jessie Buckley is the best reason to see the first straight horror film by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation). She portrays an Irish woman still reeling from the suicide of her husband (Paapa Essiedu) when she rents a home in the countryside to get away. Unfortunately, she’s set upon by a series of male predators, all of whom are played by Rory Kinnear. Casting the same actor in all these roles puts us in the heroine’s mindset, since all the Kinnears seem equally shady to us (and all of them seem to have worse hair and teeth than the last). This specific nightmare doesn’t match the heroine’s recent trauma, and the film only fitfully achieves the paranoid vision it’s going for. However, Garland knows how to pull off a creepy set piece, and Buckley’s fraying psyche is never less than compelling. Also with Gayle Rankin and Sonoya Mizuno.

The Northman (R) This Viking epic is the sort of movie made to inspire whole albums of heavy metal music. In a story stitched together from Shakespeare’s Hamlet and several Icelandic sagas, Alexander Skarsgård portrays a chief’s son who witnesses his uncle (Claes Bang) murder his father (Ethan Hawke) and goes into exile, vowing revenge against the killer. Director/co-writer Robert Eggers (The Witch, The Lighthouse) fiddles with the sound mix to make the hero’s encounters with spirits from the next world seem truly uncanny, and the off-the-charts levels of violence help convince us that we’re watching Vikings rather than dressed-up actors. The hero’s quest for revenge takes him away from a woman he loves and the chance to raise a family, and instead leads him to a desolate land of blood and ashes and dead bodies as far as the eye can see. Also with Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy, Oscar Novak, Elliott Rose, Gustav Lindh, Phill Martin, Elder Skar, Olwen Fouéré, Ingvar Sigurđsson, Ralph Ineson, Willem Dafoe, and Björk.

Prithviraj (NR) Akshay Kumar stars in this historical drama as the 12th-century king Prithviraj Chauhan. Also with Sanjay Dutt, Sonu Sood, Manushi Chhillar, Manav Vij, Ashutosh Rana, Lalit Tiwari, and Govind Pandey.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (PG) Running away from a Raiders of the Lost Ark-style rolling boulder, Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) says, “I don’t want to die this way! It’s derivative!” How would that make it different from the rest of the movie? The doctor finds his way back to Earth for revenge on Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) and opens an interdimensional door that lets in Sonic’s ally Tails (voiced by Colleen O’Shaughnessy) and enemy Knuckles (voiced by Idris Elba). Why did this film need to be two hours long? It’s bright, loud, and colorful, and I can’t remember a single funny bit or a single salient trait about the main character. Taking your kids to this is like feeding them Chocolate Frosted Flakes; it’ll make them happy while you feel terrible about yourself. Also with James Marsden, Tika Sumpter, Shemar Moore, Adam Pally, Tom Butler, Lee Majdoub, and Natasha Rothwell.

Top Gun: Maverick (PG-13) The sequel improves on the 1986 original while removing the camp element, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. After spending his Navy career pissing off too many officers to be promoted, Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) returns to Top Gun in San Diego to teach a new generation of pilots to carry out a mission to bomb a nuclear plant somewhere. The younger pilots aren’t the most interesting bunch, but the training and combat sequences filmed in real F-18s are snazzy, and Jennifer Connelly makes an apt foil as an ex-girlfriend of Maverick’s who reunites with him in the present day. This may just be a nostalgia exercise, but it’s crisply done without overdosing on the past. Also with Miles Teller, Jon Hamm, Bashir Salahuddin, Glen Powell, Monica Barbaro, Danny Ramirez, Lewis Pullman, Charles Parnell, Lyliana Wray, Jean Louisa Kelly, Ed Harris, and Val Kilmer. 

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (R) You don’t need to be a Nicolas Cage superfan to enjoy this delicious self-parody. Cage portrays a character much like himself, a Hollywood star whose debts lead him to accept $1 million from a Spanish billionaire (Pedro Pascal) to attend his birthday party, only to learn that the man is an illegal arms dealer. Director/co-writer Tom Gormican romps through Cage’s filmography, and he and writing partner Kevin Etten get a lot right about actors and how they think their work gives them unfailing insight into other people. The set pieces are delightful, especially the one in which Cage and his new friend drop acid together, but what most impresses you is Cage’s good grace and great skill in sending himself up and making “Nick” into a figure of pathos. Also with Tiffany Haddish, Ike Barinholtz, Neil Patrick Harris, Sharon Horgan, Lily Sheen, Paco León, Alessandra Mastronardi, Jacob Scipio, Katrin Vankova, David Gordon Green, and Demi Moore.

Vikram (NR) Not to be confused with the 1986 film by the same name, this Indian thriller stars Kamal Haasan as a retired cop who must save a kidnapped politician. Also with Vijay Sethupathi, Fahadh Faasil, Narain, Arjun Das, Harish Uthaman, and Suriya. 

Watcher (R) First-time filmmaker Chloe Okuno shows some intriguing talent for slow burns in this thriller about an American former actress (Maika Monroe) who moves to Bucharest with her Romanian husband (Karl Glusman) and thinks that her neighbor across the street is watching her. The unfamiliar setting makes an effective backdrop for a heroine who’s left alone by her husband for long stretches and doesn’t speak the language. Unfortunately, Okuno’s approach works less well in the story’s violent climax, and Monroe is catatonic when her brain should be working in overdrive. Still, this feels like the work of a talented director who will make a better movie in the same vein, or at least deserves the chance to make it. Also with Burn Gorman, Mȃdȃlina Anea, Gabriela Butuc, Florian Ghimpu, Flaviu Crisan, and Cristina Deleanu.

 

DALLAS EXCLUSIVES

Maika: The Girl From Another Galaxy (PG) This Vietnamese film is about an 8-year-old boy (Truong Phu) who meets an alien (Chu Diep Anh) who falls to Earth in a meteor. Also with Tin Tin, Ngoc Tuong, and Kim Nha. 

The Score (NR) This British musical is about two men (Will Poulter and Johnny Flynn) who attempt to pull off a robbery from a remote café. Also with Naomi Ackie, Lydia Wilson, Lucian Msamati, and Roger Ashton-Griffiths. 

We Are the Thousand (NR) Anita Rivaroli’s documentary is about 1,000 rock musicians in Cesena, Italy who hold a concert to convince Foo Fighters to play their city. 

Wolf Hound (R) Based on a real-life event, this World War II film stars James Maslow as a Jewish American fighter pilot who infiltrates Nazi territory to rescue an American bomber crew. Also with Trevor Donovan, John Turk, Michael Wayne Foster, John Wells, Ronald Woodhead, Taylor Novak, Michael Parrish, and Kara Joy Reed. 

 

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