Wu Jing shields Wang Zhi from an explosion in "The Wandering Earth II." Courtesy Well Go UsA



The Banshees of Inisherin (R) Martin McDonagh’s fourth film is his first that takes place in his native Ireland, and it feels the most like his stage plays in a good way. Colin Farrell plays a farmer on the Aran Islands whose best friend (Brendan Gleeson) suddenly cuts him off, and reacts to the end of their friendship by coming hilariously and dangerously unhinged. The entire island becomes sucked into the friendship drama, and McDonagh’s particular brand of violence in the air keeps the film from becoming a cozy comedy about village eccentrics. Farrell gives the performance of his career as a pathetic man whose quest to find out why leads him to bloodshed, and the underrated Kerry Condon receives a showcase as his sister who’s desperate to escape this island even if it’s to an actual war zone. Underneath the black comedy is the sadness of a friendship ending. Also with Barry Keoghan, Gary Lydon, Pat Shortt, David Pearse, and Bríd Ní Beachtain. (Re-opens Friday)

Elvis (PG-13) Baz Luhrmann dares to take on the entire peanut butter, bacon, and banana sandwich of Elvis Presley’s life, but this grand opera comes and goes without leaving much of an impact. Tom Hanks stars as Col. Tom Parker, who narrates the story of how he discovered the young country-blues singer (Austin Butler) and made him a star while also suffocating him creatively and stealing his money. Seeing the film through the prism of this con artist’s self-justifications is an interesting idea that only serves to turn Hanks (under a mountain of prosthetic fat) into a puppet, lacking the grifter’s snaky charm. Opposite him, Butler does remarkable work capturing the King’s stage presence in his early, middle, and late years, and his performances of some songs blends seamlessly with the original Elvis songs on the soundtrack. Still, the movie too often resorts to music-biopic cliches, and all of Luhrmann’s skill can’t make it fresh. Also with Kelvin Harrison Jr., Richard Roxburgh, David Wenham, Olivia DeJonge, Helen Thomson, Luke Bracey, Dacre Montgomery, Yola, Alton Mason, Shonka Dukureh, and Kodi Smit-McPhee. (Re-opens Friday)


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 filmmakers deserve 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. (Re-opens Friday)

Fear (R) Deon Taylor (Fatale, Black and Blue) directs this horror film about a group of friends taking a country vacation when a deadly pandemic traps them there. Starring Ruby Modine, Joseph Sikora, Annie Ilonzeh, Andrew Bachelor, Iddo Goldberg, Tyler Abron, and T.I. (Opens Friday)

Infinity Pool (R) Brandon Cronenberg’s horror film stars Alexander Skarsgård and Cleopatra Coleman as a couple who stumble onto terrifying secrets during their island vacation. Also with Mia Goth, Jalil Lespert, Amanda Brugel, John Ralston, and Thomas Kretschmann. (Opens Friday)

Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist (PG-13) The sixth film in the Christian series stars Kevin Sorbo as a man battling a charismatic UN chief (Neal McDonough). Also with Corbin Bernsen, Bailey Chase, Sarah Fisher, Sam Sorbo, and Braeden Sorbo. (Opens Friday)

Living (PG-13) A British remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru, this drama stars Bill Nighy as a 1950s civil service worker who tries to build a children’s playground in the city after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Also with Aimee Lou Wood, Alex Sharp, Adrian Rawlins, Oliver Chris, Hubert Burton, Anant Varman, Lia Williams, and Patsy Ferran. (Opens Friday)

Maybe I Do (PG-13) Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey star in this comedy as an engaged couple whose first meeting with each other’s parents holds some unexpected revelations. Also with Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, William H. Macy, and Richard Gere. (Opens Friday)

Pathaan (NR) Shah Rukh Khan stars in this Indian thriller as an exiled government agent who must thwart a nuclear terrorist attack on India. Also with John Abraham, Deepika Padukone, Ashutosh Rana, Gautam Rode, and Dimple Kapadia. (Opens Friday)

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. (Re-opens Friday)

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. (Re-opens Friday)

The Wandering Earth II (NR) The sequel to the 2019 Chinese science-fiction movie stars Andy Lau as the leader of a new generation of Earthlings who must save the planet. Also with Wu Jing, Zina Blahusova, Clara Lee, Wang Zhi, Tong Liya, Anil Joseph, and Alysa Finnegan. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)




Avatar: The Way of Water (PG-13) I’m not impressed. Picking up some 15 years after the previous film, the story has Jake Sully and Neytiri (Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldaña) the father of four kids on Pandora when the humans return and force them to take shelter with another clan of Na’vi who have evolved to live in the sea. The visuals are surprisingly not that good, reminiscent of a top-end video game with both human and alien characters moving in unnatural manners and even some motion-smoothing. The Na’vi go from representing Native Americans to Polynesians, and the villains from the original film are resurrected so that they can be evil again. (They’re left alive for that reason and no other, too.) James Cameron’s movies aren’t just dumb, they’re preachy, too. That’s a bad combination. Also with Stephen Lang, Kate Winslet, Cliff Curtis, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Brendan Cowell, Jemaine Clement, Britain Dalton, Trinity Jo-Li Bliss, Jack Champion, Dileep Rao, Giovanni Ribisi, Edie Falco, and Sigourney Weaver.

Babylon (R) Damien Chazelle’s three-hour epic is never boring, but it still bites off more than it can chew. Set in Hollywood during the 1920s and ’30s, it’s about a fading movie star (Brad Pitt), an actress (Margot Robbie) whose rise is thwarted by the advent of sound movies, and a day laborer (Diego Calva) who becomes an executive. After the discipline of La La Land and First Man, Chazelle truly lets rip here, capturing the madness of early Tinseltown with the rhythms of a Keystone Kops short. Some of the set pieces here are astounding. The problem is, amid all this length and all the orgiastic excess, he loses the characters’ tragic arcs and never really earns his movie’s status as a paean to the magic of cinema. Also with Jean Smart, Jovan Adepo, Lukas Haas, Li Jun Li, Eric Roberts, Olivia Hamilton, Samara Weaving, Max Minghella, Joe Dallessandro, P.J. Byrne, Jeff Garlin, Chloe Fineman, Damon Gupton, Ethan Suplee, Spike Jonze, Katherine Waterston, Flea, Olivia Wilde, and Tobey Maguire.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PG-13) Burdened with the difficult double objective of mourning Chadwick Boseman and providing the thrills of a Marvel superhero movie, this imperfect sequel manages better than we could reasonably expect. In the wake of King T’Challa’s death, Wakanda fends off threats to its vibranium supply from an awakened underwater kingdom led by a flying Mayan serpent god (Tenoch Huerta). While Ramonda (Angela Bassett) assumes the throne, Shuri (Letitia Wright) deals with grief in unexpected ways. The film does lag a bit when introducing us to a pre-Columbian ocean city, and the sympathetic villain isn’t quite as resonant as the one in the first movie. Even so, the movie gives us some solid nuggets of action and comedy, and the post-credit sequence does great work at bringing some closure to the story. Also with Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Dominique Thorne, Martin Freeman, Michaela Coel, Florence Kasumba, Richard Schiff, Lake Bell, Robert John Burke, Mabel Cadena, Alex Livinalli, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Trevor Noah, and an uncredited Michael B. Jordan.

The Devil Conspiracy (R) But for the occasional profanity, this badly photographed supernatural thriller will give you flashbacks to the bad Christian movies of the mid-2010s. A group of Satan worshipers in the biotech business in Rome look to resurrect the Devil by kidnapping an American art historian (Alice Orr-Ewing) and forcing her to give birth to Lucifer’s spawn, while the Archangel Michael takes possession of a murdered priest (Joe Doyle) to thwart them. The filmmakers do try to inject some humor into the proceedings, but all the biggest laughs are unintentional — when Michael initially imprisons Lucifer in Hell, the fallen angel says, “Shit, is this really necessary?” Terrible special effects and nighttime scenes where you can barely see anybody make this sub-Da Vinci Code exercise look as bad as its material. Also with Eveline Hall, Peter Mensah, Brian Caspe, Spencer Wilding, Natalia Germani, Wendy Rosas, James Faulkner, and Joe Anderson. 

The Fabelmans (PG-13) Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical film is highly likable, if not exactly ground-breaking. His fictional alter ego (played by Mateo Zoryan as a small boy and Gabriel LaBelle as a teenager) is captured by the magic of cinema at a young age and seeks to become a filmmaker while growing up in New Jersey, Arizona, and northern California. Spielberg and co-writer Tony Kushner draw a complicated portrait of the former’s childhood, with his father (Paul Dano) not understanding the ways of arts while his mother (Michelle Williams) is the fun parent, but emotionally unstable. The loose, baggy structure allows for some great set pieces ranging from a monologue by an old Jewish great-uncle (Judd Hirsch) to a sex scene with a Christian girl (Chloe East) who has pictures of Jesus on every surface of her bedroom. Also with Seth Rogen, Sam Rechner, Oakes Fegley, Keeley Karsten, Julia Butters, Sophia Kopera, Robin Bartlett, Jeannie Berlin, and David Lynch. 

A Guilty Conscience (NR) Dayo Wong Tze-wah stars in this Hong Kong courtroom drama as a defense lawyer who tries to clear the name of his client (Louise Wong) after his negligence gets her sentenced to 17 years in prison. Also with Renci Yeung, Adam Pak, Fish Liew, Michael Wong, and Tse Kwan-Ho. 

House Party (R) Despite some jokes that land, this remake is nowhere near the 1990 classic comedy original. Jacob Latimore and Tosin Cole star as two house cleaners, best friends, and would-be party promoters who discover that the L.A. mansion they are tidying up belongs to LeBron James. Since they’re about to lose their jobs and the house is empty, they decide to throw a rager, invite a bunch of LeBron’s celebrity friends, and charge admission at the door. Music video director Calmatic makes his feature film debut and brings a fatal lack of energy to the affair, while the two leads suffer from a lack of rapport. The comic highlights here are an uncredited James and Kid Cudi portraying a crazy, murderous version of himself who has an in with the Illuminati (whose members include Mark Cuban and Kid ‘n Play). Also with Karen Obilom, DC Young Fly, Shakira Ja’nai Paye, Mya, Allen Maldonado, Bill Bellamy, Jamar Malachi Neighbors, Zeus Ley, Chinedu Unaka, Lena Waithe, Lil’ Wayne, Odell Beckham Jr., Anthony Davis, Tinashe, Juvenile, and Snoop Dogg. 

I Wanna Dance With Somebody (PG-13) The overabundance of material defeats a terrific director, Kasi Lemmons, in this biography of Whitney Houston. British newcomer Naomie Ackie acts as hard as she can as the legendary singer while lip-syncing to recordings made by the real Houston. The movie covers much of the ground that Kevin Macdonald’s documentary Whitney covered, with the addition of some good material about Houston’s complicated relationship with Robyn Crawford (Nafessa Williams). However, the 150-minute runtime is too much, the filmmakers don’t adopt a compelling angle on Houston’s life or her music, and the whitewashing done on the character of Clive Davis (Stanley Tucci) — the real Davis is a producer on this film — is borderline disgraceful. Despite a few powerful moments, there’s not much point to all this. Also with Ashton Sanders, Clarke Peters, Tamara Tunie, Bria Danielle Singleton, and Dave Heard. 

A Man Called Otto (PG-13) This remake of the Swedish comedy A Man Called Ove isn’t nearly as good as the original. Tom Hanks is terribly miscast as a grumpy, prematurely old man who decides to kill himself after his wife dies and he’s pushed into retirement. Instead, he’s pulled out of his misanthropy by the Latino family from California who move in across the street. Director Marc Forster (Finding Neverland, Quantum of Solace) has little feel for the gentle comedy in this story and fails to turn the snowy Iowa setting into a suitable backdrop for it. Hanks also misses the simmering anger underneath his character’s fastidiousness and love of engineering. The whole thing just subsides into tasteful Hollywood melodrama. If the Swedish movie was a little bit too sentimental, this is a lot too sentimental. Also with Mariana Treviño, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Truman Hanks, Rachel Keller, Mack Bayda, Cameron Britton, Juanita Jennings, Peter Lawson Jones, Kailey Hyman, and Mike Birbiglia. 

M3GAN (PG-13) A lesser film would have coasted on that creepy doll, but this horror movie does better. Allison Williams plays a robotics scientist who’s given custody of her freshly orphaned niece (Violet McGraw) and invents a robot doll (Amie Donald, with voice by Jenna Davis) to help the girl through her grief. It does such a good job that it starts killing everyone who’s a threat to the girl. This movie features a ton of bad parenting, and part of what M3GAN scary is that she steps in to fill the void. She’s capable of caring, and even more scary than her murders is the song she sings to console her primary user when she misses her parents. We’ve been pigeonholing horror flicks as either “elevated horror” that traffics in big ideas or schlock horror that only aims for your id, but this movie manages to do both. Also with Brian Jordan Alvarez, Jen Van Epps, Lori Dungey, Amy Usherwood, Jack Cassidy, Stephane Garneau-Monten, Kira Josephson, and Ronny Chieng.

The Menu (R) This art satire uses haute cuisine as its metaphor to become a tasty amuse-bouche. Anya Taylor-Joy plays a woman whose boyfriend (Nicholas Hoult) takes her to a super-exclusive Noma-meets-El Bulli restaurant on a rocky island only to find that the guests and employees are being killed one by one as the evening progresses. If making fun of molecular gastronomy is so 2005, the movie has better stuff in the characterization of the 10 other dinner guests, and it is funny when the main character survives an attack by hitting the restaurant hostess with a Pacojet. The writers and director here all come from TV’s Succession, and their lines are made better by Taylor-Joy’s pinpoint comic delivery. This falls short of being a great satire, but it works as a joke that pays off. Also with Ralph Fiennes, John Leguizamo, Hong Chau, Paul Adelstein, Reed Birney, Judith Light, Aimee Carrero, Rob Yang, Mark St. Cyr, Arturo Castro, and Janet McTeer.

Missing (PG-13) Another thriller that takes place on computer and phone screens, this is not as good as Searching but still diverting. Storm Reid plays a Southern California teenager who has to coordinate an investigation from 3,100 miles away after her mom (Nia Long) and her mom’s new boyfriend (Ken Leung) disappear on a romantic vacation in Cartagena. The stuff with our investigators doing clever and downright illegal things to find out what has happened to the vanished adults is still pretty nifty as the teens find out increasingly shady information about them. However, the plot contains one twist too many, and what happens in the last 20 minutes or so makes very little sense. There’s a nifty running gag in which the main character watches a Netflix adaptation of the events depicted in Searching. Also with Joaquim de Almeida, Megan Suri, Amy Landecker, Tim Griffin, Daniel Henney, and Jasmin Savoy Brown.

Plane (R) Mostly very plain indeed. Gerard Butler stars in this action-thriller as a commercial airline pilot flying 14 passengers from Singapore to Tokyo, and there is one great scene when the plane is hit by lightning and has to make an emergency landing on a jungle island in the Philippines. After that, though, this subsides into a boilerplate exercise, with the pilot having to free an accused murderer (Mike Colter) so that he can help save the other passengers from militant Filipino separatists. Butler is better than usual here because he’s playing a Scotsman instead of chewing on his American accent. Other than that, there’s not much distinctive about this. Also with Yoson An, Daniella Pineda, Paul Ben-Victor, Remi Adeleke, Joey Slotnick, Evan Dane Taylor, Claro de los Reyes, Lilly Krug, Oliver Trevena, and Tony Goldwyn. 

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (PG) This better-than-you-might-expect sequel has the Spanish-accented cat (voiced by Antonio Banderas) losing the eighth of his nine lives and facing the end of his adventure-hero career. A quest for a star that grants wishes brings him up against obese crime boss Jack Horner (voiced by John Mulaney) and a wolf (voiced by Wagner Moura) who is Death incarnate. The stereotypes are unfortunate, especially when Puss’ retirement home is run by a crazy cat lady (voiced by Da’Vine Joy Randolph), but his climactic swordfight against the wolf is boss, and Florence Pugh has a great time voicing Goldilocks with a trashy London accent. The studio makes an effort to make the movie look different from the Shrek films, and Puss’ confrontation with his mortality gives the character new dimensions. Additional voices by Salma Hayek Pinault, Harvey Guillén, Anthony Mendez, Kevin McCann, Samson Kayo, Ray Winstone, and Olivia Colman. 

Skinamarink (NR) An example of elevated horror that’s too elevated for its own good. The story is set in 1995, as siblings ages 6 and 4 (Lucas Paul and Dali Rose Tetreault) are trapped in a house where first their parents and then the house’s doors and windows vanish. First-time filmmaker Kyle Edward Ball shoots this in his childhood home in Edmonton, and his point is that anybody’s home looks creepy at night after everyone has gone to bed — the camera’s mere presence creates the expectation that something ominous will happen. There is a single effective scare involving a toy telephone and a few genuinely eerie moments, but mostly the film’s shots of ceilings or floors leans so heavily on the premise of something bad lurking just outside the frame that the narrative collapses. This is a student film, though it’s the work of a talented student. Also with Ross Paul and Jaime Hill.

The Son (R) This is Florian Zeller’s follow-up to his The Father, and everything that was wrong with that Oscar-winning movie is a thousand times worse here. Hugh Jackman plays a successful New York businessman who has no idea how to parent his mentally troubled teenage son (Zen McGrath) because his own father (Anthony Hopkins) was and continues to be so horrible. The movie is stagey without being well-written. It focuses on its actors without containing a single good performance. The atmosphere of dysfunction is so suffocating and the characters make so many bad choices that watching the film takes on a certain hopelessness. This Oscar contender is truly terrible. Also with Laura Dern, Hugh Quarshie, and Vanessa Kirby. 

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime the Movie: Scarlet Bond (PG-13) An early candidate for the best movie title of 2023, this anime film is about an ogre warrior (voiced by Yȗma Uchida and Jonah Scott) whose village is wiped out by orcs, so he enlists the help of the all-powerful slime (voiced by Miho Okasaki and Brittney Karbowski) for the gods’ help in saving the queen (voiced by Riko Fukumoto and Cherami Leigh) who saved his life. As is so often the case, newcomers to the series will find themselves lost amid this story’s panoply of races, kingdoms, and warriors with special powers. Past that, though, there are some cool swordfights and a story that looks at the pros and cons of economic survival and damage to the environment. Additional voices by Makoto Furukawa, Ricco Fajardo, Tomoaki Maeno, Chris Rager, Takahiro Sakurai, Daman Mills, Shinpachi Tsuji, Greg Dulcie, Mitsuru Ogata, Mark Stoddard, Ken Uo, Sean Hennigan, Takuya Eguchi, and Ian Sinclair. 

Waltair Veerayya (NR) This Telugu-language action-comedy stars Chiranjeevi as a smuggler who is targeted by different branches of Indian law enforcement. Also with Ravi Teja, Shruti Haasan, Catherine Tresa, Rajendra Prasad, Prakash Raj, and Vennela Kishore. 

The Whale (R) Torturous, like the best Darren Aronofsky movies. This adaptation of Samuel D. Hunter’s play stars Brendan Fraser as a 600-pound gay man who tries to reconcile with the daughter he abandoned (Sadie Sink) by saving her from failing high school. If you’re wondering whether this is just so much fatsploitation, you’d better believe it is. When the main character first gets up from his sofa, it’s shot like a horror movie, and too often the movie revels in creating disgust for the guy who’s trying to eat himself to death. The flaws in the play have been exacerbated here, but Fraser’s performance is one for the ages, as his initial play-it-cool demeanor with his child gives way to desperation to make things right with her before he dies. Also with Hong Chau, Ty Simpkins, and Samantha Morton.




After Love (NR) Aleem Khan’s film stars Joanna Scanlan as a British convert who discovers secrets about her Muslim husband after his sudden death. Also with Nathalie Richard, Nasser Memarzia, Talid Ariss, Sudha Bhuchar, Nisha Chadha, and Subika Anwar-Khan. 

Alice, Darling (R) Anna Kendrick stars in this thriller as a woman who goes on a trip with her friends to get away from her emotionally abusive boyfriend (Charlie Carrick). Also with Kaniehtiio Horn and Wumni Musaku. 

Detective Knight: Independence (R) This action film stars Bruce Willis as a cop trying to stop an insane EMT (Jack Kilmer) from launching a terrorist attack on July 4th. Also with Dina Meyer, Willow Shields, Lochlyn Munro, Jimmy-Jean Louis, and Lorenzo Antonucci. 

The Offering (NR) This horror film is about a Jewish family fighting off a demon (Paul Kaye) that is preying on them during a stressful time. Also with Emily Wiseman, Nick Blood, Velizar Binev, Jonathan Yunger, Daniel Ben Zenou, and Allan Corduner. 

The Price We Pay (R) Emile Hirsch and Stephen Dorff star in this horror film as two criminals who encounter supernatural terror while running from the law. Also with Gigi Zumbado, Erika Ervin, Jesse Kinser, Sabina Mach, and Vernon Wells.