All the World Is Sleeping (NR) This drama stars Melissa Barrera as a drug addict who tries to get clean while raising her daughter. Also with Jackie Cruz, Kristen Gutoskie, Luis Bordonada, Lisandra Tena, Cory Scott Allen, and Dave Edwards. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
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)
Full River Red (NR) The latest historical epic by Zhang Yimou stars Lei Jiayin as a 12th-century minister who discovers a murder in his own camp while leading troops against a warring kingdom. Also with Shen Teng, Jackson Yee, Zhang Yi, Yue Yunpeng, and Wang Jiayi. (Opens Friday)
Kabzaa (NR) Upendra stars in this action film as an Indian military officer who becomes a mob boss to fight British colonial rule. Also with Shiva Rajkumar, Kiccha Sudeepa, Shriya Saran, Murali Sharma, Nawab Shah, Kota Srinivasa Rao, and Tanya Hope. (Opens Friday)
Moving On (R) Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin star in this comedy as estranged friends who conspire to take revenge on a man (Malcolm McDowell) who did both of them wrong years before. Also with Catherine Dent, Sarah Burns, Marcel Nahapetian, and Richard Roundtree. (Opens Friday)
Mrs. Chatterjee vs. Norway (NR) Based on a real-life case, this Indian film stars Rani Mukerji and Anirban Bhattacharya as an immigrant couple whose children are taken away by the Norwegian government. Also with Jim Sarbh, Neena Gupta, and Tiina Tauraite. (Opens Friday)
Phalana Abbayi Phalana Ammayi (NR) Srinivas Avasarala directs and co-stars in this Indian romantic comedy about two people (Naga Shaurya and Malvika Nair) whose relationship is off and on from their teens until their 30s. Also with Megha Chowdhury, Manoj Anand, Hamza Butt, and Jamie-Lee Beacher. (Opens Friday)
Shazam! Fury of the Gods (PG-13) Zachary Levi returns as the superhero who tries to keep his friends together while fighting new villains. Also with Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Rachel Zegler, Adam Brody, Ross Butler, Meagan Good, Grace Caroline Currey, D.J. Cotrona, Djimon Hounsou, Lucy Liu, and Helen Mirren. (Opens Friday)
A Snowy Day in Oakland (PG-13) Nicole Ari Parker stars in this comedy as a psychologist who turns over a new leaf by opening a new practice in an underserved neighborhood in Oakland. Also with Evan Ross, Arden Myrin, Roger Cross, Sean Maguire, Reno Wilson, Deon Cole, Tony Plana, Loretta Devine, Kimberly Elise, Michael Jai White, Jackée Harry, and Marla Gibbs. (Opens Friday)
Supercell (PG-13) This drama stars Daniel Diemer as a teenager who runs away from home to follow his father (Richard Gunn), a storm-chaser. Also with Alec Baldwin, Skeet Ulrich, Praya Lundberg, Johnny Wactor, Jordan Kristine Seamon, and the late Anne Heche. (Opens Friday in Dallas)
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. (Re-opens Friday)
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.
Champions (PG-13) A remake of a Spanish movie called Campeones, this sports comedy just manages to stay this side of watchable. Woody Harrelson plays a disgraced ex-college basketball coach who assaults an employer and is sentenced to community service coaching a group of intellectually disabled people to compete in the Special Olympics. Director Bobby Farrelly actually shoots the film in Des Moines, where it’s set, and the setting looks believable in a way that many Hollywood movies don’t. Harrelson’s presence and his chemistry with Kaitlin Olson as a love interest do much to dry this movie out. It never rises to the level of memorable, but it is pretty much the movie that you would expect. Also with Matt Cook, Madison Tevlin, Joshua Felder, Kevin Iannucci, Ashton Gunning, Matthew von der Ahe, Bradley Edens, Casey Metcalfe, Tom Sinclair, Ernie Hudson, and Cheech Marin.
Chhakka Panja 4 (NR) The fourth film in the Nepalese comedy series stars Deepak Raj Giri, Nabin Luhagun, Kedar Ghimire, Deepa Shree Niraula, and Nirmal Sharma.
Cocaine Bear (R) The late Ray Liotta’s last act on film was to be disemboweled and have his entrails eaten by the cocaine bear. I think he would have been okay with that. Based on a 1980s incident when a drug dealer dropped a shipment of coke over the Chattahoochee Mountains in Tennessee, this film has a black bear becoming hooked on the white stuff and tearing through bumbling drug mules, cops, and park rangers, none of whom give a crap about the nurse (Keri Russell) or her kids who have gone missing in the park. Director Elizabeth Banks mostly maintains the right energy and tone of black humor, and the actors follow suit. It’s all quite a disreputable good time. Also with Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Margo Martindale, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Ayoola Smart, Aaron Holliday, Kristofer Hivju, Christian Convery, Brooklynn Prince, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Hannah Hoekstra, and Matthew Rhys.
Creed III (PG-13) Michael B. Jordan moves behind the camera and directs this latest installment, and while his direction isn’t the most brilliant, it does prove that he can helm a movie. The story finds Adonis Creed retired and living back in L.A. with his wife (Tessa Thompson) and deaf 4-year-old daughter (Mila Davis-Kent) when a friend from his troubled past (Jonathan Majors) surfaces after being released from prison and wants to restart his boxing career. Majors is given much of the spotlight here, and he does not fall short as he plays a villain who’s out of control but savvy enough to play on Adonis’ guilt, and who fights with the moves of someone whose discipline has gone to hell but is still a dangerous opponent. Also with Wood Harris, Selenis Leyva, José Benavidez Jr., Anthony Bellew, Spence Moore II, Thaddeus J. Mixson, Florian Munteanu, and Phylicia Rashad.
Demon Slayer: To the Swordsmith Village (R) Other anime movies leave you lost if you start watching in the middle of the series. This one gives you all the backstory, and then some other weird things happen with the continuity. Picking up after Mugen Train, Tanjiro (voiced by Natsuki Hanae in the Japanese version and Zach Aguilar in the English-dubbed version) and his friends manage to kill two upper-rank demons, and the remaining members of the demon elite decide to throw something special at our heroes while Tanjiro goes off to have his sword repaired. The new stuff is decent enough, but half of this theatrical movie is, in fact, made up of the last two episodes of the previous anime season, so be advised. Additional voices by Hiro Shimono, Aleks Le, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Bryce Papenbrook, Akari Kitô, Abby Trott, Kana Hanazawa, and Kira Buckland.
Jesus Revolution (PG-13) Based on the true story of Pastor Chuck Smith, who opened the doors of his failing southern California church to hippies in the early 1970s, this film stars Kelsey Grammer as the pastor and Jonathan Roumie as the bearded and tie-dye-wearing wandering preacher who convinces him that young people are looking for Christ. A Christian movie that exhorts its audience not to judge people on how they present themselves is a welcome change, but the pastor is too easily convinced, and too much of the movie focuses on artist Greg Laurie (Joel Courtney), a young Jesus freak who will go on to found his own string of megachurches and co-write this movie’s script. The movie is surely right about the link between 1960s counterculture and today’s evangelical movement, but the drama wears thin before the first half is over. Also with Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Anna Grace Barlow, Ally Ioannides, Julia Campbell, Nic Bishop, and Steve Hanks.
The Magic Flute (NR) This drama stars Tim Wolfe as a 17-year-old English music student who’s sent to an academy in the Austrian Alps and finds a secret passageway into the world of Mozart’s opera. Also with F. Murray Abraham, Iwan Rheon, Amir Wilson, Jeanne Goursaud, Stéfi Celma, Asha Banks, and Waldemar Kobus.
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.
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.
Mummies (PG) Spain doesn’t have a tradition of animated movies for kids, and while this looks good, the script will make you wish you were watching the movie in the original Spanish. Three Egyptian mummies (voiced by Eleanor Tomlinson, Joe Thomas, and Dan Starkey) live in a secret underground city for the dead, but they’re forced to venture above ground into the modern world after a villainous British lord loots their tomb and makes off with a priceless ring. The animation renders ancient Egypt into some pretty colors, but the jokes are so very lame: “This isn’t the 1000s anymore.” Even the principals invading a modern stage musical of Aida can’t inject any creativity into this. Voices by Sean Bean, Shakka, Celia Imrie, and Hugh Bonneville.
Nhà Bà Nữ (NR) Already the highest-grossing Vietnamese film of all time, this drama stars Lê Giang as a matriarch who rules three generations of her family. Also with Trấn Thành, Khả Như, Song Luân, Uyen Ân, and Ngọc Giàu.
Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre (R) Aubrey Plaza is the wild card sorely needed by this otherwise rote Guy Ritchie heist movie. Jason Statham plays a private security contractor who’s hired by the British government to retrieve a mysterious stolen item. To get to the arms dealer (Hugh Grant) who’s brokering the sale, he dangles a meeting with the guy’s favorite Hollywood action star (Josh Hartnett). The action is all competent and bland, and what keeps the film from forgettability is the snarky attitude Plaza gives Statham as his team’s new computer expert. Even The Rock couldn’t match the unimpressed sauce she brings to his po-faced tough-guy act. Three of the main bad guys here are named Trent, Alexander, and Arnold, so I guess Ritchie hates the Liverpool right back by that name. Also with Cary Elwes, Bugzy Malone, Tim Seyfi, Peter Ferdinando, Lourdes Faberes, Max Beesley, Tom Rosenthal, Ergun Kuyucu, and Eddie Marsan.
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.
Scream VI (R) What started out as a movie conceived as light entertainment is now a series that’s buckling under the weight of its history. Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott is mercifully left at home as the franchise moves to New York, with Tara (Jenna Ortega) going to college and Sam (Melissa Barrera) following her in an overprotective manner. Characters endlessly discuss stuff that happened in the earlier movies and dealing with their trauma, the new protagonists aren’t interesting enough to carry the movies, and the performances by Barrera and Ortega don’t hint at how dynamic they’ve been elsewhere. The movie isn’t funny, either. The old slasher flicks were mocked for having killers return from the dead over and over, and this series has done away with that formula without replacing it meaningfully. Also with Courteney Cox, Dermot Mulroney, Hayden Panettiere, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Mason Gooding, Jack Champion, Liana Liberato, Josh Segarra, Devyn Nekoda, Tony Revolori, Henry Czerny, Samara Weaving, and Skeet Ulrich.
65 (PG-13) For a movie with Adam Driver shooting lasers at dinosaurs, this doesn’t come to very much. He plays an alien transport driver who crash-lands on our Earth 65 million years ago and has to figure out how to keep himself and his one surviving 9-year-old passenger (Arianna Greenblatt) alive. The writers of A Quiet Place, Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, make their directing debut here, and you can easily see that movie’s DNA as this story tracks the hero’s use of futuristic tech to fight the flesh-eating lizards. I like how the smaller predators are more dangerous than the larger ones, but the movie falls into sentimental slush every time the hero tries to communicate with the girl or is reminded of the daughter he lost to illness. This creature feature takes on too much. Also with Chloe Coleman and Nika King.
Southern Gospel (PG-13) Better than most of the Christian dramas that we’ve encountered recently. Max Ehrich plays an Alabama preacher’s son who abandons the church for a music career and lots of drugs in the late 1960s, then comes back after a fatal accident tarnishes his career. It seems weird that the movie ignores the civil rights movement during the historical period when it was particularly active, but the hero’s drug use is treated sympathetically rather than as a fall from grace, and the villains are the humorless believers who never go near alcohol or weed. Ehrich has a lovely voice, too, and his relationship with his wife (Katelyn Nacon) takes some believable turns. Also with J. Alphonse Nicholson, Gary Weeks, Burgess Jenkins, Frank Hoyt Taylor, and Emma Myers.
Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar (NR) This Indian romantic comedy stars Ranbir Kapoor as a man whose business is helping other people break off their relationships painlessly. Also with Shraddha Kapoor, Anubhav Singh Bassi, Boney Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, and Kartik Aaryan.
Blueback (PG) Mia Wasikowska stars in this drama as a scuba diver who takes on blue grouper poachers off the coast of Western Australia. Also with Albert Mwangi, Radha Mitchell, Ariel Donoghue, Clarence Ryan, and Eric Bana.
A Little White Lie (R) Michael Shannon stars in this comedy as a New York City handyman who’s mistaken for a famous reclusive novelist. Also with Kate Hudson, Don Johnson, Zach Braff, Peyton List, Wendie Malick, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Jimmi Simpson, Mark Boone Junior, Adhir Kalyan, and M. Emmet Walsh.
The Quiet Girl (PG-13) Nominated for the Oscar for International Feature, this Irish-language film stars Catherine Clinch as a neglected 11-year-old girl who’s sent to live with foster parents. Also with Carrie Crowley, Andrew Bennett, Michael Patric, and Kate Nic Chonaonaigh.