Aftersun (R) Charlotte Wells’ drama is about a 10-year-old Scottish girl (Frankie Corio) who takes a summer vacation in Turkey with her father (Paul Mescal). Also with Celia Rowlson-Hall. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Causeway (R) Jennifer Lawrence stars in this drama as an Afghanistan veteran who’s shipped back to New Orleans after suffering a traumatic brain injury. Also with Brian Tyree Henry, Linda Emond, Neal Huff, Danny Wolohan, Jayne Houdyshell, Frederick Weller, and Stephen McKinley Henderson. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Dear Zoe (R) Based on Philip Beard’s novel, this teen drama stars Sadie Sink as a girl who runs away from home after her little sister’s death and lives with her father (Theo Rossi). Also with Jessica Capshaw, Kweku Collins, Vivien Lyra Blair, and Justin Bartha. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Double XL (NR) This Indian comedy stars Sonakshi Sinha and Huma Qureshi as plus-size women investigating their country’s beauty standards. Also with Zaheer Iqbal, Dolly Singh, Shobha Khote, Kanwaljeet Singh, Mahat Raghavendra, and Kay Eluvian. (Opens Friday)
The Estate (R) Dean Craig’s comedy is about a terminally ill woman (Kathleen Turner) whose extended family comes together to compete against one another for her inheritance. Also with Toni Collette, Anna Faris, David Duchovny, Rosemarie DeWitt, Billy Slaughter, Keyla Monterroso Mejia, and Ron Livingston. (Opens Friday)
Good Night Oppy (PG) Get ready for lots of guys with pocket protectors being happy. Ryan White’s documentary follows the Mars rover Opportunity, which was supposed to explore the Red Planet for 90 days and instead did its job for 15 years. NASA scientists and engineers who worked on the project make engaging guides to the years-long adventure as they steered the vehicle from Pasadena in its quest to discover whether Mars might have once been home to pH-neutral water and thus some form of life. Given its story, the thing is rather short on excitement, but it’s catnip for viewers who thrill to scientific discoveries. (Opens Friday at Movie Tavern Hulen)
I’m Totally Fine (NR) Natalie Morales stars in this comedy as a woman who encounters space aliens while traveling deep in the countryside. Also with Jillian Bell, Harvey Guillén, Blake Anderson, and Karen Maruyama. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Like, Share & Subscribe (NR) This Indian comedy stars Faria Abdullah, Santosh Shoban, Brahmaji, and Dayanand Reddy. (Opens Friday at Cinemark Roanoke)
Locked-in Society (R) This German comedy stars Justus von Dohnányi as a parent who takes six schoolteachers hostage so his child can graduate from high school. Also with Florian David Fitz, Anke Engelke, Nilam Farooq, Thomas Loibl, Torben Kessler, and Thorsten Merten. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)
Mili (NR) This Indian action-thriller stars Jahnvi Kapoor as a student who is stuck in a freezer and must fight to survive. Also with Sunny Kaushal, Manoj Pahwa, Hasleen Kaur, Rajesh Jais, and Sanjay Suri. (Opens Friday)
The Minute You Wake Up Dead (R) This thriller stars Cole Hauser as a stockbroker whose involvement in an insurance scam results in multiple deaths. Also with Jaimie Alexander, Andrew Stevens, Darren Mann, and Morgan Freeman. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Nocebo (NR) This horror film stars Eva Green as a fashion designer suffering from an ailment that mystifies medical professionals. Also with Mark Strong, Chai Fonacier, Billie Gadsdon, and Cathy Belton. (Opens Friday at Premiere Cinemas Burleson)
On the Line (R) Mel Gibson stars in this thriller as a radio talk-show host who receives a death threat against his family on the air. Also with William Moseley, Kevin Dillon, Carole Weyers, Nadia Farès, and John Robinson. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
One Piece Film: Red (PG-13) This anime film is about a mysterious pop singer (voiced by Kaori Nazuka and AmaLee) who decides to reveal herself to the world. Additional voices by Mayumi Tanaka, Colleen Clinkenbeard, Shuichi Ikeda, Brandon Potter, Kazuya Nakai, Christopher Sabat, Akemi Okamura, and Luci Christian. (Opens Friday)
Phone Bhoot (NR) Katrina Kaif stars in this Indian comedy as a ghost who suggests a business idea to two ghostbusters. Also with Ishaan Khatter, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Manu Rishi Chadha, Sheeba Chadha, and Jackie Shroff. (Opens Friday)
The Return of Tanya Tucker: Featuring Brandi Carlile (R) Kathlyn Horan’s music documentary follows the country-music legend as she makes her first album of new music in almost 20 years, produced by the younger singer, who’s more than a bit of a fangirl. Carlile admits to being a control freak who’s working with Tucker as a way of trying to break out of her rigidity, while Tucker (her wild-child reputation of old notwithstanding) emerges as fussy about the little details of her craft. There’s not much in the way of lascivious material, and the discussions of the songs on the album will likely be strictly for country music nerds. Still, you can gain a new appreciation of just how good Tucker still is and how undersold she has been by the country establishment. The new song “Ready As I’ll Never Be” plays over the closing credits, and it’s quite pleasing. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)
Soft & Quiet (R) This real-time thriller stars Stefanie Estes as a schoolteacher who has a disturbing encounter with someone from her past. Also with Jon Beavers, Jayden Leavitt, Olivia Luccardi, Cissy Ly, Dana Millican, and Eleanore Pienta. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
A Unicorn for Christmas (NR) This holiday film stars Abby James Witherspoon as a girl who discovers a real unicorn at a fair. Also with Sunny Mabrey, Catherine Dyer, Lane Davies, Ed Marinaro, and Charlene Tilton. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)
Amsterdam (R) The first post-Jan. 6 movie is this madcap satire that largely misses the mark. A Black lawyer (John David Washington), an addicted cosmetic surgeon (Christian Bale), and an international spy (Margot Robbie) who met during World War I team up again years later to thwart a fascist plot to overthrow President Franklin Roosevelt and install a dictator. Depending on whom you ask, such a plot did happen in 1933, but the movie takes so long to get to the hook for us modern types in the audience. Writer-director David O. Russell’s manic energy papers over some of the cracks, as does the deluxe cast. Still, this is supposed to be a detective story, and Russell’s lack of focus becomes frustrating in this context. His self-pitying identification with misunderstood heroes is off-putting as well. Also with Robert DeNiro, Chris Rock, Rami Malek, Anya Taylor-Joy, Mike Myers, Michael Shannon, Zoe Saldaña, Andrea Riseborough, Matthias Schoenaerts, Alessandro Nivola, Timothy Olyphant, Bonnie Hellman, Beth Grant, Colleen Camp, Ed Begley Jr., and Taylor Swift.
Barbarian (R) This is terrible, despite an interesting gambit halfway through. The film starts with Georgina Campbell as a woman renting an Airbnb in a bad part of Detroit, only to find a nice young man (Bill Skarsgård) already staying there, because the place is double-booked. Just as they’re attacked by the monster also living there, the movie stops and starts over with a loathsome Hollywood actor (Justin Long) who owns the house coming there some time later to prep the place for sale. There’s one funny bit when the actor discovers a blood-spattered sex dungeon in the basement and is happy because he gets to add the square footage to the place’s real estate listing. Still, the movie has all its ends hanging loose, with nothing to say about Detroit’s urban decay, #MeToo, vacation rentals, or a monster that wants its victims as babies. Also with Kate Bosworth, Richard Brake, Will Greenberg, Jaymes Butler, and Sara Paxton.
Black Adam (PG-13) The old, boring DC Comics movies are back with this grim exercise. A completely miscast Dwayne Johnson plays the titular 5,000-year-old slave who’s reborn with god-like powers and a lust for revenge in the present day. The Middle Eastern country full of oppressed people who hate the Justice League and greet Black Adam as a liberator is an interesting setting, but director Jaume Collet-Serra (Jungle Cruise) is too busy imitating Zack Snyder’s heroic shots to do much with it. The humorous bits don’t work, and out of the new batch of superheroes sent to subdue Black Adam, only Quintessa Swindell registers as a human cyclone. Casting Johnson as a guy who’s seeking to avenge his son’s death ignores all the qualities that made him a star in the first place. Also with Pierce Brosnan, Sarah Shahi, Aldis Hodge, Noah Centineo, Bodhi Sabongui, Marwan Kenzari, Mohammed Amer, Djimon Hounsou, Henry Winkler, and uncredited cameos by Viola Davis and Henry Cavill.
Call Jane (R) Not terrible, but also not terribly urgent given its subject matter. Elizabeth Banks stars as an Illinois housewife in 1969 who has to procure an illegal abortion to save her own life and then falls in with a ring of people providing similar services to women who need them. Screenwriter Phyllis Nagy (Carol) makes her directing debut here, and while the movie doesn’t have any bad spots, the only thing that’s really good is Banks’ performance as an establishment type who winds up as a fearless law-breaker. The film was written and shot before the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling this past summer, but other films made before this one address the issue with greater power. Also with Sigourney Weaver, Chris Messina, Wunmi Mosaku, Cory Michael Smith, Grace Edwards, Evangeline Young, Rebecca Henderson, Aida Turturro, John Magaro, and Kate Mara.
DC League of Super-Pets (PG) Aside from introducing the smallest kids to the DC superhero universe, I’m not sure what this inoffensive animated film is for. Superman’s dog (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) sees his master (voiced by John Krasinski) and all the other superheroes kidnapped by a supervillain guinea pig (voiced by Kate McKinnon) and has to lead a group of shelter pets who’ve conveniently acquired their own superpowers to save them. It all goes by without dragging too much, but neither the jokes nor the animated set pieces stick in the mind. The Lego movies made better use of the DC characters than this does. Additional voices by Kevin Hart, Diego Luna, Vanessa Bayer, Natasha Lyonne, Marc Maron, Olivia Wilde, Jemaine Clement, Daveed Diggs, Thomas Middleditch, Ben Schwartz, Maya Erskine, John Early, Dascha Polanco, Jameela Jamil, Lena Headey, Keith David, Dan Fogler, Busy Phillipps, and Keanu Reeves.
Don’t Worry Darling (R) All the offscreen drama aside, this psychological thriller definitely has issues but is better than its reviews. Florence Pugh plays a housewife who discovers that her idyllic 1950s suburban community is actually a prison. Director Olivia Wilde (who also co-stars here as a fellow housewife) doesn’t have a flair for the phantasmagoric, and her envisioning of this feminist nightmare too often comes off like clicking off film-school references. Fortunately, her aptitude for thriller elements kicks in during the movie’s second half, as our heroine seeks to escape this place that isn’t M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village but is also not not The Village. The reason to see this is Pugh’s performance, playing most her scenes in a paranoid terror without turning monotonous. Also with Harry Styles, Chris Pine, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne, Nick Kroll, Sydney Chandler, Asif Ali, Douglas Smith, Timothy Simons, and Kate Berlant.
Gandhadagudi (NR) Puneeth Rajkumar’s documentary examines the wildlife of Karnataka in southwestern India. (Opens Friday)
Halloween Ends (R) Michael Myers is definitely gone amid a burst of interesting ideas. I just wish they’d been organized at all. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has her final showdown with the killer, though the story takes a considerable detour through a nerdy engineering student (Rohan Campbell) who accidentally kills a boy he’s babysitting, becomes a town pariah, rejuvenates Michael, and does the bidding of Laurie’s granddaughter (Andi Matichak). The whole theme that trauma is unkillable much like Michael is an interesting one, but the plotlines don’t come together in an effective way, and too much of the film is wrapped up in therapy-speak. Laurie considers suicide, and you might too, if her life were yours. It’s enough of a hook to hang a slasher movie on, but the filmmakers here don’t manage it. Also with Will Patton, Kyle Richards, Michael Barbieri, Marteen, Joanne Baron, Michael O’Leary, Michele Dawson, and Nick Castle.
A Hundred Billion Key (NR) Kiều Minh Tuấn stars in this Vietnamese action-comedy as a hit man who forges a new identity after losing his memory and his money. Also with Thu Trang, Jun Vũ, and Anh Tú. (Opens Friday)
Kantara (NR) This Kannada-language film is about a war between jungle villagers and supernatural forces. Starring Rishab Shetty, Achyuth Kumar, Pramod Shetty, Sapthamj Gowda, Suchan Shetty, Deepak Rai Panaje, and Ragu Pandeshwar.
The Legend of Maula Jatt (NR) Fawad Khan stars in this Indian historical epic as a gladiator who seeks revenge on his nemesis (Hamza Ali Abbasi). Also with Mahira Khan, Humaima Malik, Gohar Rasheed, and Faris Shafi. (Opens Friday)
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (PG) The idea of adapting Bernard Waber’s children’s books into a partially animated musical film is fantastic. The execution? Boo, hiss! Shawn Mendes does the voice of the CGI-generated crocodile who is adopted by a down-and-out stage magician (Javier Bardem) and then abandoned before making friends with a boy (Winslow Fegley) who moves into the Manhattan brownstone where he lives. Bardem looks somewhat manic when he bursts into song and dance, but he isn’t the problem. The animation of both Lyle and the neighbor’s cat looks terrible, and the directing team of Josh Gordon and Will Speck (Blades of Glory, Office Christmas Party) has no natural flair for musical numbers. Songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (The Greatest Showman, Dear Evan Hansen) have seen better days as well. The charm of the original is lost here. Also with Constance Wu, Scoot McNairy, Brett Gelman, Lyric Hurd, and an uncredited Jack Black.
Mahapurush (NR) Not the Satyajit Ray film, but a Nepalese comedy about an old man (Hari Bansha Acharya) who decides to get married after raising his children. Also with Madan Krishna Shrestha, Gauri Malla, Rabindra Singh Baniya, Rajaram Paudel, Arun Chhetri, and Anjana Baraili.
Minions: The Rise of Gru (PG) Not sure why everyone’s flocking to this pleasantly forgettable latest installment of the Despicable Me series, where 11-year-old Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) tries to join a league of supervillains who have a vacancy after kicking out their founder. The Minions are fun characters, but once again, they’re not enough to carry the movie by themselves, and the subplot with them learning kung fu from a master in Chinatown (voiced by Michelle Yeoh) leads to disappointing stuff. The new supervillains don’t add much, either. There are some stray gags that raise a laugh, but the movie never builds its momentum. Additional voices by Russell Brand, Alan Arkin, Taraji P. Henson, Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo, Jimmy O. Yang, Lucy Lawless, RZA, Will Arnett, Steve Coogan, and Julie Andrews.
My Policeman (R) In Bros, the characters make jokes about tragic gay movies set in the past before gays could live openly. This awfully British film adapted from Bethan Roberts’ novel is one of those. Harry Styles stars as a cop in Brighton in the 1950s who marries a woman (Emma Corrin) but carries on an affair with a museum curator (David Dawson). Despite the hot gay sex scenes, this affair still comes off as repressed and tedious thanks to Michael Grandage’s direction, and it’s perverse that the most interesting actor here — Corrin — is in the role that the plot deliberately shunts off to one side. The flash-forwards with the characters reunited some 40 years later could have been lost entirely as well. All in all, this is more than a bit of a chore to sit through. Also with Linus Roache, Gina McKee, Kadif Karwan, Dora Davis, Freya Mavor, and Rupert Everett.
Prey for the Devil (PG-13) Pretty terrible. Jacqueline Byers stars in this horror film as a Catholic nun who receives exorcism lessons after the same demon that possessed her abusive mother then does the same to a little girl (Posy Taylor). The gender flip of a woman fighting the church to perform the ritual really should generate more than it does here. The plot turns on an outrageous coincidence, and for all the filmmakers’ desire to portray the darker history of the church, the commentary is pretty toothless. Also, the movie isn’t scary, so there’s that. This movie has too many ideas in its head and doesn’t have the chops to see them through. Also with Virginia Madsen, Colin Salmon, Nicholas Ralph, Christian Navarro, Cora Kirk, Debora Zhecheva, Koyna Ruseva, and Ben Cross.
Ram Setu (NR) Akshay Kumar stars in this action-thriller as an archaeologist investigating the natural phenomenon also known as Adam’s Bridge. Also with Jacqueline Fernandez, Nushrratt Bharuccha, Anngad Raaj, Satyadev Kancharana, Nassar, and Pravesh Rana.
Running the Bases (PG) This Christian film stars Brett Varvel as a baseball coach whose methods run into opposition when he takes over the team at a new school. Also with Todd Terry, Raphael Ruggero, Gigi Orsillo, Eric Hanson, Isabelle Almoyan, Justin Sterner, Jackson Trent, and Michael Ochotorena.
Smile (R) Parker Finn’s horror film has the germ of an interesting idea, but fouls it up in the execution. Sosie Bacon plays a psychiatrist at a mental hospital who has a patient (Caitlin Stasey) commit suicide in front of her while grinning, and then discovers a chain of suicides behind that of witnesses to other suicides killing themselves a few days later. I like the suggestion that our psychiatrist is in dire need of mental help even before witnessing the patient’s death, but the movie suffers from three different contradictory endings, and too often resorts to stale old jump scares. The cast can’t save a lot of bad dialogue or carry the conceit. Also with Kyle Gallner, Jessie T. Usher, Robin Weigert, Judy Reyes, Gillian Zinser, Rob Morgan, and Kal Penn.
Tár (R) Cate Blanchett gives perhaps the performance of her career in this drama as a world-famous composer and orchestra conductor whose history of sexually harassing her female students and protégées catches up with her in Berlin. This is Todd Field’s first film since his 2006 drama Little Children, and he has his classical music references are crushingly on point as well as a fix on how that world makes it particularly easy for sexual predators. He accompanies this with some dazzling camerawork as well, capturing the gloss of its main character’s rarefied world. The actors are all playing their own instruments, and Blanchett is conducting the Berlin Philharmonic for real. The star, her killer tailored suits, and Hildur Guðnadóttir’s music all convince us of the protagonist’s musical genius without excusing the harm she does to the people around her. The balancing act this movie pulls off is worth a shout of “Bravissimo!” Also with Nina Hoss, Noémie Merlant, Mark Strong, Allan Corduner, Sophie Kauer, Zethphan Smith-Gneist, and Julian Glover.
Terrifier 2 (NR) The sequel to the 2016 horror film is about a killer clown (David Howard Thornton) who comes back to life to hunt new victims on Halloween. Also with Jenna Kanell, Griffin Santopietro, Lauren LaVera, Catherine Corcoran, Felissa Rose, and Chris Jericho.
Ticket to Paradise (PG-13) The best stuff in this curiously inert romantic comedy comes around the edges of the action. George Clooney and Julia Roberts play a bitterly divorced couple who team up when their law-school graduate daughter (Kaitlyn Dever) falls for a hot Indonesian guy (Maxime Bouttier) and throws over her legal career to marry him and farm seaweed in Bali. The bickering between the older couple is written lamely, and their attempts to sabotage the wedding aren’t funny. There’s one amusing set piece where everybody plays beer pong with arak instead of beer, and Billie Lourd cadges a few funny bits as the daughter’s best friend. Mostly, the stars seem to be going at half speed in this tropical setting. Also with Cintya Dharmayanti, Geneviève Lemon, Dorian Djoudi, and Lucas Bravo.
Thank God (NR) This Indian comedy stars Sidharth Malhotra as a narcissistic Realtor who dies in an accident and is given a chance in the afterlife to live better. Also with Ajay Devgn, Rakul Preet Singh, Kiara Khanna, Kiku Sharda, Seema Pahwa, Kanwaljeet Singh, Urmilla Kothare, and Nora Fatehi.
Till (PG-13) Danielle Deadwyler’s performance as Emmett Till’s mother is everything for this film about the infamous lynching of a Chicago boy in Mississippi. Jalyn Hall portrays the ill-fated 13-year-old who goes down south to visit his family and makes the mistake of wolf-whistling a white woman (Haley Bennett) who brings a mob to his relatives. Director/co-writer Chinonye Chukwu (Clemency) is a fundamentally scrupulous filmmaker who keeps the violence against Emmett Till offscreen. This gambit works because the revelation of the boy’s face, with all distinguishing features beaten out of it, is so skillfully built up to and executed. The movie as a whole remains too careful to make the impact it should, but Deadwyler is tremendous as the boy’s grieving mother who has his corpse photographed to show the world what the white people of Mississippi have done. Also with Frankie Faison, Sean Patrick Thomas, John Douglas Thompson, Gem Marc Collins, Sean Michael Weber, Eric Whitten, Keisha TIllis, Kevin Carroll, Tosin Cole, Jayme Lawson, E. Roger Mitchell, Roger Guenveur Smith, and Whoopi Goldberg.
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.
Triangle of Sadness (R) There’s always an off-putting smug element in Ruben Östlund’s satirical comedies, and what makes it so maddening is that he’s so talented. Harris Dickinson and the late Charlbi Dean star as a couple of fashion models who take a free pleasure cruise until the boat is blown up by pirates and they’re stranded with a small group of survivors on a desert island. There’s a fantastic sequence straddling comedy and nightmare when food poisoning + a storm at sea = guests in their formal wear vomiting and diarrhea-ing all over the place while the ship’s extremely drunk captain (Woody Harrelson) uses the p.a. system to harangue them about communist theory. Other than that, Östlund’s satire of the idle rich picks targets that are entirely too easy. Also with Zlatko Buric, Dolly de Leon, Alicia Eriksson, Carolina Gynning, Henrik Dorsin, Oliver Ford Davies, Iris Berben, Amanda Walker, and Vicki Berlin.
The Woman King (PG-13) The piece of African history that this is based on merits unearthing, and Gina Prince-Bythewood makes it into an effective historical epic. Viola Davis plays Nanisca, the 19th-century general of an all-female unit of elite soldiers who fought against Portuguese colonizers in the kingdom of Dahomey. The film is full of meticulous historical research, and occasionally it drags down the story’s forward momentum. Still, Davis turns in a leonine performance as a military leader who hasn’t resolved the demons from her past, and South African TV actress Thuso Mbedu makes a bright impression as a girl who joins the unit and becomes a warrior. Prince-Bythewood continues to be a worthy action director, and she picks her material well. Also with John Boyega, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, Shaina West, Jordan Bolger, Jimmy Odukoya, Adrienne Warren, Angélique Kidjo, and Hero Fiennes Tiffin.
Decision to Leave (NR) The latest film by Park Chan-wook (The Handmaiden) is a thriller about a detective (Park Hae-il) fascinated by a man’s widow (Tang Wei) while investigating his death. Also with Go Kyung-pyo, Jung Yi-seo, Park Jeong-min, and Lee Jung-hyun.
Raymond & Ray (R) Ethan Hawke and Ewan McGregor star in this drama as estranged brothers who take a road trip for the funeral of their abusive father. Also with Maribel Verdú, Tom Bower, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Todd Louiso, Oscar Nuñez, and Sophie Okonedo.