Bunker (R) This horror movie set during World War I is about a group of soldiers trapped together who are turned against one another by a mysterious force. Starring Roger Clark, Luke Baines, Julian Feder, Sean Cullen, Eddie Ramos, Quinn Moran, Patrick Moltane, and Kayla Radomski. (Opens Friday)
The Civil Dead (NR) Clay Thomas stars in his own comedy as a misanthropic photographer who receives a mysterious visit from a long-lost friend (Whitmer Thomas). Also with Teresa Lee, Budd Diaz, Robert Longstreet, and Anthony Overbeck. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
Cocaine Bear (R) Elizabeth Banks’ comic horror movie is about a bear that goes on a murderous rampage in the Georgia backwoods after ingesting a smuggler’s shipment of cocaine. Starring Keri Russell, Alden Ehrenreich, Margo Martindale, Matthew Rhys, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Isiah Whitlock Jr., Kristofer Hivju, Brooklynn Prince, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and the late Ray Liotta. (Opens Friday)
Emily (R) Emma Mackey stars in this biography of Emily Brontë. Also with Fionn Whitehead, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Alexandra Dowling, Amelia Gething, Adrian Dunbar, and Gemma Jones. (Opens Friday)
Jesus Revolution (PG-13) This Christian drama stars Kelsey Grammer as a 1970s Southern California preacher who seeks young hippies as new members. Also with Joel Courtney, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Jonathan Roumie, Ally Ioannides, Julia Campbell, Nic Bishop, and Steve Hanks. (Opens Friday)
Juniper (NR) This British black comedy stars George Ferrier as a self-destructive teen who’s punished by being forced to move in with his alcoholic grandmother (Charlotte Rampling). Also with Marton Csokas, Edith Poor, and Cameron Carter-Chan. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)
Linoleum (NR) Colin West’s science-fiction thriller stars Jim Gaffigan as a fading children’s TV host who tries to build a rocket in his own home. Also with Rhea Seehorn, Katelyn Nacon, Gabriel Rush, Amy Hargreaves, Michael Ian Black, and Tony Shalhoub. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)
Luther: The Fallen Sun (R) A big-screen continuation of the British cop series, this stars Idris Elba as a disgraced detective who breaks out of prison to catch a serial killer. Also with Cynthia Erivo, Dermot Crowley, Thomas Coombes, Hattie Morahan, Lauryn Ajufo, Vincent Regan, Dan Li, Edward Hogg, and Andy Serkis. (Opens Friday)
Mummies (PG) This Spanish animated film is about three Egyptian mummies who come to life in London, seeking an ancient ring. Voices by Sean Bean, Joe Thomas, Eleanor Tomlinson, Dan Starkey, Celia Imrie, and Hugh Bonneville. (Opens Friday)
Selfiee (NR) The title is not a misprint. Akshay Kumar stars in this Indian show-business comedy. Also with Emraan Hashmi, Diana Penty, Nushrratt Bharuccha, Mahesh Thakur, Fahim Fazli, Tisca Chopra, Mruna Thakur, and Yo Yo Honey Singh. (Opens Friday)
The Amazing Maurice (PG) Based on Terry Pratchett’s children’s book, this animated film is about a cat (voiced by Hugh Laurie) who seeks to con a kid and his horde of rats. Additional voices by Emilia Clarke, David Thewlis, Himesh Patel, Gemma Arterton, Joe Sugg, Rob Brydon, Peter Serafinowicz, Hugh Bonneville, and David Tennant.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (PG-13) The movie’s subtitle notwithstanding, this falls well short of the mania it promises. Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) determines to settle down and make up for lost time with his daughter (Kathryn Newton), but her attempts to communicate with the quantum realm get them both sucked into the place along with Hope, Hank, and Janet (Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, and Michelle Pfeiffer), where they have to confront Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors). The latter is an imposing presence who’s clever enough to dangle the prospect of giving Scott back his lost years of child-rearing, but that’s where the cleverness stops. Marooned at subatomic level, director Peyton Reed loses all the fun he had with making things and people different sizes in the first two films, and the comedy stubbornly refuses to lift off. Also with Bill Murray, Katy O’Brian, William Jackson Harper, David Dastmalchian, Randall Park, and uncredited cameos by Corey Stoll, Tom Hiddleston, and Owen Wilson.
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.
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.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (PG-13) With Michelle Yeoh in the running for an Oscar, now’s a good time to revisit this heavily influential 2000 hit in which she and Chow Yun-Fat play Qing Dynasty kung fu masters who try to safeguard a jade sword from robbery. The film is a feast for the senses, between Ang Lee’s breathlessly romantic direction, Peter Pau’s photography of different parts of China, Tan Dun’s Oscar-winning score, and especially Yuen Woo-ping’s wirework-enhanced fight choreography, which showcases the incredible martial-arts skills of Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi. This old-fashioned epic has even more impact on the big screen. Also with Chang Chen, Lung Sihung, Cheng Pei-pei, Wang Deming, Li Li, Hai Yan, Li Fazeng, and Gao Xi’an.
80 for Brady (PG-13) Look away, Falcons fans. Seriously, look away. Coming out the weekend before the Super Bowl (and just in time for Tom Brady’s retirement), this comedy based on the real-life story of four octogenarian women from Boston who traveled to Houston for Super Bowl LI for their first-ever trip to the big game. They’re played by Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno, and Lily Tomlin. The script is more knowledgeable about football than it needs to be, which I appreciate, and the chemistry among the four heavily decorated leads makes this pleasant enough in the early going. The movie only turns truly bad when the women get into the Patriots’ coaching box during the game and help engineer the big comeback against Atlanta. The Super Bowl setting does allow for numerous cameos, and TB12 himself appears to Tomlin’s character and gives her pep talks. Also with Harry Hamlin, Sally Kirkland, Bob Balaban, Sara Gilbert, Glynn Turman, Jimmy O. Yang, Ron Funches, Marshawn Lynch, Patton Oswalt, Billy Porter, Guy Fieri, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and Rob Gronkowski.
Fulbari (NR) This Nepalese film stars Dayahang Rai, Bipin Karki, and Priyanka Karki. (Opens Friday at Cinepolis Euless)
Hidden Blade (NR) This Chinese World War II spy thriller overly complicates itself. Tony Leung plays a Chinese collaborator with the Japanese invaders, a counterintelligence director in Shanghai who executes both Chiang Kai-Shek’s Nationalists and the Communists while secretly planning to betray the Japanese himself. The story starts in December 1941 before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, but writer-director Cheng Er constantly flashes back to the 1937 invasion of China and the days in 1945 leading up to Japan’s surrender, interrupting the stories of minor characters to take us to other minor characters. All the switching among locations and storylines is confusing even if you’re familiar with the history of the region, and it’s done at a glacial pace. It’s all very handsomely appointed, but too fragmented to make much of an impact. Also with Wang Yibo, Hiroyuki Mori, Da Peng, Eric Wang, Jiang Shuying, Zhang Jingyi, Huang Lei, and Zhou Xun.
Knock at the Cabin (R) Adapted from Paul Tremblay’s novel The Cabin at the End of the World, M. Night Shyamalan’s latest has an intriguing premise but goes wrong playing it out. The film is about a gay couple (Ben Aldridge and Jonathan Groff) and their adopted Chinese daughter (Kristen Cui) who rent out a remote cabin in the Pennsylvania countryside when a group of fanatics forces their way in, takes them hostage, and says that the family can only prevent the world from ending by killing one of their own members. The conventional plot has a same-sex couple at its center, and their homosexuality is not incidental to their situation. All this is enough to keep the film going for a while, but the clumsy denouement and some bad writing sink it in the end. Dave Bautista steals the movie as the head of the home invaders, who genuinely doesn’t want violence but does it anyway. Also with Nikki Amuka-Bird, Abby Quinn, and Rupert Grint.
Magic Mike’s Last Dance (R) Steven Soderbergh and Channing Tatum return to the series, as the male stripper heads to London to set up a show like his Florida shows. Also with Salma Hayek, Caitlin Gerard, Nancy Carroll, Gavin Spokes, Juliette Motamed, and Ayub Khan-Din.
Marlowe (R) Everything is off in this film-noir adaptation of John Banville’s The Black-Eyed Blonde. Liam Neeson portrays the hard-boiled detective created by Raymond Chandler, who’s hired by a wealthy housewife (Diane Kruger) to find the missing boyfriend (François Arnaud) whom she’s been cheating on her husband with. Neil Jordan directs and co-writes this movie, and you wouldn’t expect something so clumsy from a filmmaker so experienced. The rhythm and pace of the scenes is off, the plot is snarled, and the performances aren’t good enough to take your attention off the flaws. The setting of 1939 Hollywood doesn’t add much, either. Also with Danny Huston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Patrick Muldoon, Colm Meaney, Daniela Melchior, Ian Hart, Seána Kerslake, Alan Cumming, and Jessica Lange.
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.
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.
Of an Age (R) Not much happens in this gay Australian coming-of-age film, and I’ve decided I’m okay with that. Elias Anton plays a teen who has a fleeting sexual encounter with his best friend’s older brother (Thom Green) in 1999, then the two men don’t see each other again until 2010, when they come back to their native land. This is the product of North Macedonian writer-director Goran Stolevski (You Won’t Be Alone), who captures the little towns around Melbourne in their dusty ordinariness and makes sure the two protagonists aren’t overshadowed by the woman who connects them (Hattie Hook), who is a drama machine. Most of the film is taken up with these two guys riding in cars and talking about Cate Blanchett, the Balkan war, and being tired of life Down Under. This film is best at illustrating how this brief affair sets both men’s lives on their paths. Also with Toby Derrick, Grace Graznak, Jack Kenny, Milijana Cancar, Verity Higgins, and Jessica Lu.
Pathaan (NR) Inspired by the Marvel series, this movie is the fourth in a cinematic universe that connects it to other Indian spy thrillers. A terminally ill Pakistani general (Manish Wadhwa) decides to take a chunk of India with him by hiring a former Indian agent-turned-terrorist for hire (John Abraham) to launch a bioweapon at a major city, so an exiled agent (Shah Rukh Khan) comes in from the cold to stop him. A full hour of this is an extended flashback, and action scenes are shot in Dubai, Ibiza, Paris, Moscow, and Afghanistan. Abraham does make a properly formidable villain. Also with Deepika Padukone, Ashutosh Rana, Dimple Kapadia, Prakash Belawadi, Prem Jhangiani, Shaji Choudhary, Rajat Kaul, Nikhat Khan, and Salman Khan.
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.
Shehzada (NR) This Indian comedy stars Kartik Aaryan as a boorish young man who reforms when he discovers he’s the biological son of a billionaire (Ronit Roy). Also with Kriti Sanon, Paresh Rawal, Manisha Koirala, Rajpal Yadav, Debattama Saha, and Sachin Khedekar.
Sword Art Online the Movie: Progressive — Scherzo of Deep Night (NR) This does a better job at introducing newcomers to its series than most anime films. Two freelance players (voiced by Yoshitsugu Matsuoka and Haruka Tomatsu in the Japanese version and Bryce Papenbrook and Cherami Leigh in the English-dubbed version) decide to take possession of a rare artifact to prevent a war from breaking out between the two major alliances of players. The film doesn’t fall too deep into backstories or sentimental melodrama, and the swordfights are pretty cool. The movie tells its story and then gets off the screen without any fuss. Additional voices by Shiori Izawa, Kimberly Anne Campbell, Kaede Hondo, AmaLee, Yusuke Kobayashi, A.J. Beckles, Inori Minase, and Anairis Quiñones.
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.
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.
Vaathi (NR) Also released under the English title Sir, this Indian film stars Dhanush as a lecturer who rebels against the for-profit college that he works for. Also with Samyuktha, P. Sai Kumar, Tanikella Bharani, Samuthirakani, and Thotapalli Madhu.
Vinaro Bhagyamu Vishnu Katha (NR) This Indian romantic thriller stars Kiran Abbavaram, Kashmira Pardeshi, Subhaleika Sudhakar, Dayanand Reddy, and Murali Sharma.
Close (PG-13) Nominated for the Oscar for Best International Feature, this Belgian drama stars Eden Dambrine and Gustav de Waele as two 13-year-old boys whose friendship comes apart. Also with Émilie Dequenne, Léa Drucker, Igor van Dessel, Kevin Janssens, Marc Weiss, and Léon Bataille.
One Fine Morning (R) The latest drama by Mia Hansen-Løve stars Léa Seydoux as a Frenchwoman who embarks on an ill-advised affair while trying to sort out her father’s living situation. Also with Pascal Greggory, Melvil Poupaud, Nicole Garcia, Sarah Le Picard, Pierre Meunier, Fejria Deliba, and Jacqueline Hansen-Løve.