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The robots change into animals this time in "Transformers: Rise of the Beasts." Courtesy Paramount Pictures

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The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster (NR) This kids’ movie stars Laya DeLeon Hayes as a girl who conducts a series of medical experiments to try to cure death. Also with Denzel Whitaker, Chad L. Coleman, Reilly Brooke Stith, and Edem Atsu-Swanzy. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Chevalier (PG-13) You’d be amazed how much of this historical drama really happened. Kelvin Harrison Jr. portrays Joseph Bologne, the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, the 18th-century Black French violinist and composer who was celebrated in his time before turning against the monarchy and fighting for the French Revolution. Stephen Williams, a first-time director from American TV, lays out this story with some flair, and the soundtrack uses quite a bit of the Chevalier’s music alongside music by Mozart and Glück to show how well the man stacks up against his contemporaries. The story of a Black man who thinks his sheer brilliance will force the white people around him to accept him as an equal rings a familiar bell with a different tone as well. Black history is full of little-known stories like this that deserve to be told. Also with Samara Weaving, Lucy Boynton, Marton Csokas, Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo, Alex Fitzalan, Sian Clifford, Joseph Prowen, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, and Minnie Driver. (Re-opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

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Mending the Line (R) Brian Cox stars in this drama as a Vietnam veteran who teaches a wounded Marine (Sinqua Walls) how to recover his peace of mind through fly fishing. Also with Wes Studi, Irene Bedard, Perry Mattfeld, Julian Works, and Patricia Heaton. (Opens Friday)

Moon Garden (NR) Ryan Stevens Harris’ fantasy film is about a comatose 5-year-old girl (Haven Lee Harris) who must journey through a mindscape to regain consciousness. Also with Augie Duke, Brionne Davis, Morgana Ignis, and Maria Olsen. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

97 Minutes (NR) This thriller stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers as an undercover agent who tries to save a hijacked airplane before it is shot down by the U.S. government. Also with MyAnna Buring, Jo Martin, Michael Sirow, Pavan Grover, Anjul Nigam, Davor Tomic, and Alec Baldwin. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Other People’s Children (NR) This French drama stars Virginie Efira as a woman who forms a bond with her boyfriend’s young daughter. Also with Roschdy Zem, Callie Ferreira-Goncalves, Yamée Couture, Victor Lefebvre, Henri-Noël Tabary, and Chiara Mastroianni. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

The Roundup: No Way Out (NR) The sequel to last year’s Korean action-thriller stars Ma Dong-seok, Lee Joon-hyuk, Munetaka Aoki, Lee Beom-soo, Park Ji-hwan, and Ko Kyu-pil. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

Takkar (NR) This Indian action-thriller is about a poor man (Siddharth) who stumbles onto a human trafficking scheme. Also with Yogi Babu, Divyansha Kaushik, Abhimanyu Singh, Munishkanth, and RJ Vigneshkanth. (Opens Friday)

A Thousand and One (R) A throwback to New York independent films of the 1990s, in a good way. Teyana Taylor plays an ex-convict in 1994 who kidnaps her 6-year-old son (Aaron Kingsley Adetola) from the foster care system and raises him over the next 11 years while harboring a terrible secret about his upbringing. First-time director A.V. Rockwell makes an impressive debut that touches on the gentrification of Lower Manhattan and police brutality without ever losing its focus on the story of this woman who tries to be a mother even though her own childhood was such that no one taught her how to do it. It all leads to a searing climax when the truth comes out that’s distinguished by great acting from both R&B singer Taylor and Josiah Cross as her teenage son. Also with William Catlett, Aven Courtney, Terri Abney, Alicia Pilgrim, Delissa Reynolds, and Amelia Workman. (Re-opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (PG-13) The franchise returns to its tedious roots with this installment set in 1994. The Autobots and a new race of transforming robots have to save the Earth from being swallowed up by a planet-eater (voiced by Colman Domingo), enlisting the help of an unemployed ex-soldier (Anthony Ramos) and a museum researcher (Dominique Fishback). The script has a few good lines related to the setting, which makes it an improvement on the old Michael Bay movies. It also depicts Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) as a big wet blanket, but it loses the playful spirit of Bumblebee. The story takes forever to get our heroes to recover the magic thingy that the plot revolves around, and everything feels labored. I was expecting so much more. Also with Luna Lauren Velez, Dean Scott Vazquez, and Tobe Nwigwe. Additional voices by Peter Dinklage, Pete Davidson, Ron Perlman, Cristo Fernández, Liza Koshy, MJ Rodriguez, and Michelle Yeoh. (Opens Friday)

Vimanam (NR) Samuthirakani stars in this Indian drama as a father who wishes to make his son’s dream come true of flying in an airplane. Also with Rahul Ramakrishna, Motta Rajendran, Dhanraj, Dhruvan, and Meera Jasmine. (Opens Friday)

Zara Hatke Zara Bachke (NR) This Indian romantic comedy stars Vicky Kaushal, Sara Ali Khan, Inaamulhaq, Sushmita Mukherjee, Neeraj Sood, Rakesh Bedi, Sharib Hashmi, and Akash Khurana. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

 

NOW PLAYING

 

About My Father (PG-13) Sebastian Maniscalco’s singular voice comes through in this loud and brash comedy that he stars in. He plays a Chicago hotelier from a working-class background who feels agita over taking his first-generation immigrant father (Robert De Niro) to meet his old-money in-laws. The premise of the film could have come from a movie 40 years ago, but Maniscalco and co-writer Austen Earl keep it from going stale, as they guy Italian stereotypes in a way that isn’t itself stereotypical, and the white-bread family provides them chances to sound other notes. The mix of embarrassment and appreciation that Sebastian feels for his eccentric and flamboyant dad is pulled off without draggin the movie into sentimental excess. This movie is an early Father’s Day present. Also with Leslie Bibb, Anders Holm, Brett Dier, David Rasche, and Kim Cattrall. 

The Boogeyman (PG-13) This is based on a Stephen King short story, and it’s exactly like too many other horror movies at the multiplex. Chris Messina plays a psychiatrist who’s just coping with the loss of his wife when a patient (David Dastmalchian) who comes to see him at his home commits suicide there. Soon the doctor’s kids (Sophie Thatcher and Vivien Lyra Blair) are seeing the monster that the dead man described preying on his own family. The stuff about a bereaved father who can’t deal with tragedy in his own life is inadequately dealt with, and the monster neither chimes with the themes nor is memorable in its own right. This could have been so much better than it is. Also with Marin Ireland, Madison Hu, and LisaGay Hamilton. 

Fast X (PG-13) They’s too many people in this movie. In the tenth installment of the franchise, Dominic (Vin Diesel) has to ride to the rescue when a mission in Rome goes south. The new baddie is Jason Momoa, who seems to be having more fun than the rest of the cast put together as he pulls dance moves while wearing highlights in his hair and polish on his nails. Still, he can’t make up for the movie stuffing in so many extra characters (some of whom have come back from the dead) that it loses track of the plotlines happening in the far corners of the world. The last movie had better do a really good job of tying up all the loose ends. Also with Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang, Pete Davidson, Scott Eastwood, Daniela Melchior, Alan Ritchson, Luis da Silva Jr., Leo Abelo Perry, Cardi B, John Cena, Jason Statham, Brie Larson, Charlize Theron, Rita Moreno, Helen Mirren, and uncredited cameos by Michael Rooker, Dwayne Johnson, and Gal Gadot. 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (PG-13) This Marvel movie draws out the backstory of Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), which makes it uniquely harrowing and one of Marvel’s best in recent years. A gold-skinned super-alien (Will Poulter) attacks our crew of outlaws and maims Rocket badly, so the others have to save his life by stealing his medical records from the sadistic scientist (Chukwudi Iwuji) who created him. The movie has a ton of animal torture, and even though many of the creatures here don’t belong to any existent species, seeing them tortured may hit you harder than a documentary about actual animals being tortured. The villain and his fascist god complex makes for one of the scariest and most despicable bad guys in the Marvel canon, and Rocket’s story is inspiring like few other ones. Also with Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sean Gunn, Elizabeth Debicki, Nico Santos, Miriam Shor, Sarah Alami, Nathan Fillion, Daniela Melchior, Michael Rosenbaum, and Sylvester Stallone. Additional voices by Vin Diesel, Maria Bakalova, Judy Greer, Mikaela Hoover, Asim Chaudhry, Seth Green, and Linda Cardellini.

Kandahar (R) Pretty much the same as Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant. Gerard Butler plays a British private military contractor who is exposed as working for the CIA and has to flee Afghanistan with his translator (Navid Negahban). It is interesting that the protagonists are being chased by Iranians, Pakistanis, and the Taliban, who are all working at cross purposes and want the men for their own reasons. On the whole, though, this is a fairly standard-issue thriller with gunfights and car chases among mountainous desert regions. If that’s what you’re looking for, this movie has those. Also with Ali Fazal, Elnaaz Norouzi, Bahador Foladi, Mark Arnold, Hakeem Jomah, Corey Johnson, Nina Toussaint-White, Olivia-Mai Barrett, Ray Haratian, and Travis Fimmel. 

The Little Mermaid (PG) Halle Bailey is one of the highlights of this live-action Disney musical remake, so all the racist Ron DeSantis fanboys can suck it. She may not have the phrasing of Jodi Benson from the original 1989 movie, but her voice sports some otherworldly colors that make her credible as a creature of mythology. She’s joined by Melissa McCarthy, turning Ursula into a glorious high-camp villain, and Daveed Diggs, who provides the voice of Sebastian and manages some sly and ingratiating performances of the most familiar songs. If only director Rob Marshall (Chicago, but then again, Mary Poppins Returns) had matched their innovation. The numbers too often lack flair, and the changes to the story don’t amount to a reinvention. The new songs (by original composer Alan Menken and new lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda) don’t make much of an impression, either. See this for the performances. Also with Javier Bardem, Jonah Hauer-King, Noma Dumezweni, Art Malik, Jessica Alexander, and Jodi Benson. Additional voices by Jacob Tremblay and Awkwafina.

The Machine (R) This comedy stars Bert Kreischer as a standup comic who must deal with the fallout of the comedy routine that made him famous years ago. Also with Mark Hamill, Jimmy Tatro, Martyn Ford, Stephanie Kurtzuba, Jess Gabor, Iva Babic, and Rita Bernard-Shaw. (Opens Friday)

Mem Famous (NR) This Indian coming-of-age comedy stars Siri Raasi, Saarya, Muralidhar Goud, Mourya Chowdary, Sumanth Prabhas, and Narendra Ravi.

Nefarious (R) This horror film stars Sean Patrick Flanery as a condemned killer who becomes demonically possessed on the day of his execution. Also with Jordan Belfi, Robert Peters, and Tom Ohmer. 

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (PG-13) A treat for the eyes. The sequel to Into the Spider-Verse has three new directors, and has lost none of the innovation that made the first film such a delight. When Gwen Stacy (voiced by Hailee Steinfeld) pays an unsanctioned visit to Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore), it sets off a series of dominoes that threaten to unravel the multiverse and/or kill Miles’ dad (voiced by Brian Tyree Henry). This second film ends on a cliffhanger that sets up a third movie, so the story is incomplete. Never mind that, though. The movie gleefully drags Miles through universe after universe each with its different drawing style, and the animation allows for crazier hijinks than the live-action Spider-Man films can have. The inventiveness might be wearying if not for the movie stopping every so often for storylines that forebode tragedy. There’s also an argument between two characters about Jeff Koons’ art. I can’t wait to see what the third chapter brings. Additional voices by Oscar Isaac, Jake Johnson, Jason Schwartzman, Issa Rae, Luna Lauren Velez, Karan Soni, Shea Whigham, Greta Lee, Andy Samberg, Jharrel Jerome, Jack Quaid, Jorma Taccone, Jack Quaid, Rachel Dratch, Ziggy Marley, Donald Glover, Kathryn Hahn, Amandla Stenberg, J.K. Simmons, Mahershala Ali, and Daniel Kaluuya.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie (PG) The video game series depended heavily on its gameplay rather than its story for its success, and the animated movie version succeeds by letting the characters be themselves. Mario (voiced by Chris Pratt) is sucked into the Mushroom Kingdom, but instead of rescuing Princess Peach (voiced by Anya Taylor-Joy), he has to enlist her help to rescue his brother Luigi (voiced by Charlie Day). The star-studded voice cast rises to the challenge, and the action of the film imitates the gameplay without overexplaining things. Perhaps the characters could use a bit of fleshing out, but the movie doesn’t try to do too much. Additional voices by Jack Black, Seth Rogen, Keegan-Michael Key, Fred Armisen, Khary Payton, Juliet Jelenic, and Sebastian Maniscalco. — Cole Williams

 

DALLAS EXCLUSIVES

 

Black Lotus (NR) Frank Grillo stars in this action-thriller as an ex-special forces soldier who aims to rescue his daughter from a crime syndicate in Amsterdam. Also with Rico Verhoeven, Marie Dompnier, Peter Franzén, Rona-Lee Shimon, Pippi Casey, and Magnus Samuelsson.

Follow Her (NR) Dani Barker writes and stars in this horror film as an aspiring actress whose latest project proves a threat to her life. Also with Luke Cook, Eliana Jones, Cristala Carter, Brian Vincent, Lorraine Farris, Justin L. Wilson, and Mark Moses. 

L’immensità (NR) Penélope Cruz stars in this Italian drama as a mother raising her children in the 1970s. Also with Vincenzo Amato, Luana Giuliani, Patrizia Francioni, Maria Chiara Goretti, Alvia Reale, Carlo Gallo, and India Santella. 

Sanctuary (R) Christopher Abbott stars in this drama as an upcoming business executive who tries to end his longtime relationship with his dominatrix (Margaret Qualley). Also with Danita Battle. 

Simulant (R) This science-fiction film stars Robbie Amell as a humanoid who tries to win freedom of thought for his fellow artificial humans. Also with Simu Liu, Jordana Brewster, Alicia Sanz, Emmanuel Kabongo, Samantha Helt, Christine L. Nguyen, Mayko Nguyen, and Sam Worthington.

 

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