SHARE
Florence Pugh tries to kick a nasty opioid addiction in "A Good Person." Courtesy MGM Studios

OPENING

 

Bheed (NR) This Indian drama tells a series of interlocking stories about characters who move to safe places during the COVID pandemic lockdown. Starring Rajkummar Rao, Bhumi Pednekar, Dia Mirza, Ashutosh Rana, Pankaj Kapur, Kritika Kamra, and Kumud Mishra. (Opens Friday)

A Good Person (R) Florence Pugh is sensational in this addiction drama that is Zach Braff’s best film, for what that’s worth. She portrays a pharmaceutical rep who is checking her phone when she drives her car into a construction vehicle and kills her fiancé’s sister and that woman’s husband. A year later, she seeks help for her Oxy addiction and finds herself in the same group with the dead woman’s alcoholic father (Morgan Freeman). Braff remains a talented visual stylist and a terrible, self-indulgent writer who lets scenes go on long after they’ve made their point. What prevents this movie from collapsing is Pugh’s performance as a self-loathing case flailing in a fog of grief and guilt, and not above trying to blackmail an ex-colleague for her blue pills. In a movie that, like Braff’s others, is trying too hard to be cool, she’s the real deal. Also with Molly Shannon, Chinaza Uche, Celeste O’Connor, Zoe Lister-Jones, Nichelle Hines, Toby Onwumere, Ryanne Redmond, Sydney Morton, Brian Rojas, and Alex Wolff. (Opens Friday)

300x250

The Lost King (PG-13) The team of director Stephen Frears and actor/writer Steve Coogan reunite for this drama based on the true story of a housewife (Sally Hawkins) who finds the buried corpse of King Richard III of England. Also with Harry Lloyd, Shonagh Price, Helen Katamba, Lewis Macleod, Benjamin Scanlan, Adam Robb, John Paul Hurley, and Mark Addy. (Opens Friday)

Rewind & Play (NR) Alain Gomis’ documentary is about the racist treatment received by jazz legend Thelonious Monk when he gave an interview to French TV in 1969. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Rodeo (NR) Julie Ledru stars in this French drama as a teenager who finds her purpose in life when she discovers the sport of dirt biking. Also with Yannis Lafki, Antonia Buresi, Cody Schroeder, Louis Sotton, Junior Correia, Ahmed Hamdi, and Dave Nsaman. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

The School of Magical Animals (PG) Based on Margit Auer’s novel, this German kids’ movie stars Emilia Maier as a girl who transfers to a new school where the kids learn about magic. Also with Nadja Uhl, Leonard Conrads, Loris Sichrovsky, Heiko Pinkowski, Marleen Lohse, and Justus von Dohnanyi. (Opens Friday)

Tetris (R) Taron Egerton stars in this drama as the businessman who brings the game to international markets in the 1980s. Also with Nikita Efremov, Rick Yune, Miles Barrow, Mara Huf, Togo Igawa, Oleg Stefan, and Toby Jones. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

The Tutor (R) This thriller stars Garrett Hedlund as a private tutor whose newest student (Noah Schnapp) knows his innermost secrets. Also with Victoria Justice, Kabby Borders, Jonny Weston, Ekaterina Baker, and Exie Booker. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

Where the Wind Blows (NR) Also known as Theory of Ambitions, this Hong Kong stars Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Aaron Kwok as corrupt police detectives who battle for power. Also with Michael Hui, Du Juan, Jessie Li, Patrick Tam, Michael Chow, Ron Ng, Jeana Ho, Elaine Jin, and Maggie Cheung Ho-yee. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

 

NOW PLAYING

 

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.

Das Ka Dhamki (NR) This Indian action-comedy stars Vishwak Sen as a hotel waiter who’s asked to take the place of a deceased pharmaceutical CEO (also Sen). Also with Nivetha Pethuraj, Rao Ramesh, Tharun Bhascker, Akshara Gowda, Hyper Aadi, and Pranati Rai Prakash.

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. 

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. 

Inside (R) A thriller with more Finding Nemo references than you might expect, this heist film stars Willem Dafoe as an art thief who becomes trapped in a New York City penthouse while trying to steal some high-value artworks from the homeowner. Somehow, when our man trips the home security alarm, it brings neither the police nor building security, and while the movie is intended as a metaphoric journey about a man thrown back on his own resources, that point flaws the metaphor. Greek filmmaker Vasillis Katsoupis shows a good deal of talent in this, his second feature film, and he and curator Leonardo Bigazzi curate a fine selection of art on the walls of this place. (You will spend a great deal of time looking at that art.) Holding the film together is Dafoe’s performance as a problem solver trying to hold onto his sanity amid the enforced solitude. Also with Eliza Stuyck.

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. 

Moving On (R) The character stuff around the edges of this story is more interesting than the main plot. Jane Fonda plays an Ohio divorcée who travels to California for her best friend’s funeral, intending to kill the friend’s widower (Malcolm MacDowell) because he raped her 46 years before. Lily Tomlin plays the women’s gay friend who knows about the rape and brings varying levels of commitment to helping the murder plot. She winds up walking away with this drama, but director Paul Weitz has trouble managing the tone and the energy here. The vibe of these characters who have lived decades with their intertwined histories is well captured here, but the movie could have been funnier. Also with Catherine Dent, Sarah Burns, Haaz Sleiman, Marcel Nahapetian, and Richard Roundtree. 

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.

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. 

Shazam! Fury of the Gods (PG-13) The charm wears off in this sequel. Zachary Levi reprises his role as the superhero who has to take on the Daughters of Atlas (Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu) while also keeping his superhero crew together as their child selves grow older. Despite Levi’s most frantic efforts, the new movie loses the humor that made the first movie so entertaining. Without that, the movie’s left with a lot of plotlines that clot together and gobs of mythology delivered lumpily. It all feels really labored. Also with Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Rachel Zegler, Adam Brody, Ross Butler, Meagan Good, Grace Caroline Currey, D.J. Cotrona, Ian Chen, Faithe Herman, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews, and Djimon Hounsou. 

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. 

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. 

 

DALLAS EXCLUSIVES

 

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. 

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. 

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.

 

LEAVE A REPLY