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The NHL's first-ever Black player, Willie O'Ree, discusses the state of race relations in hockey in "Black Ice." Courtesy Roadside Attractions
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Baby (NR) This Indian romantic film is about two young people who fall in love. Starring Anand Deverakonda, Mounika Reddy, Seetha, Vaishnavi Chaitanya, and Nagendra Babu. (Opens Fridasy)

Black Ice (R) Hubert Davis’ documentary profiles numerous Black NHL players and their experiences with racism in the sport of hockey. (Opens Friday)

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The Channel (NR) This action-thriller is about a group of Marines-turned-bank robbers who flee law enforcement after a job gone wrong. Starring Clayne Crawford, Max Martini, Paul Rae, Michael Thomas, Ava Justin, Todd Jenkins, Juliene Joyner, and Scott Phillips. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

The Flood (R) Brandon Slagle’s horror-thriller is about a mass prison break during a hurricane in Louisiana that’s interrupted by a flock of starving alligators. Starring Casper Van Dien, Nicky Whelan, Louis Mandylor, Randy Wayne, Ryan Francis, Devanny Pinn, and Kim DeLonghi. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

The Miracle Club (PG-13) This comedy is about a group of devout Irish Catholic women who win an expenses-paid trip to the shrine of Lourdes. Starring Kathy Bates, Maggie Smith, Agnes O’Casey, Mark O’Halloran, Stephen Rea, and Laura Linney. (Opens Friday)

Once Upon a Time in Uganda (NR) Cathryne Czubek’s documentary profiles Isaac Nabwana, a bricklayer in Kampala who suddenly decides to become an action-thriller filmmaker. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Psycho-Pass: Providence (R) This Japanese anime film is about a future law-enforcement agent (voiced by Kana Hanazawa) who receives a tip about a terrorist plot unfolding aboard a foreign vessel. Additional voices by Noriko Hidaka, Yûichi Nakamura, Yûki Kaji, Takako Honda, and Shizuka Itô. (Opens Friday)

 

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Asteroid City (R) For the first time in a long time, Wes Anderson is too dry and cute for his own good in this movie set during the early 1960s in a small town on the California-Arizona border. A grieving father (Jason Schwartzman) and a fading movie actress (Scarlett Johansson) make a distant connection while their teenage children (Jake Ryan and Grace Edwards) carry on a stronger romance. Then a space alien invades the town and everybody loses their minds, or as close to that as ever happens in an Anderson movie. The story is meant to be a disquisition on grief and loss, but the deadpan style muffles the emotions instead of accentuating them. The entire framing device about a playwright (Edward Norton) writing this as a stage play could have been lost, too. Also with Tom Hanks, Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Bryan Cranston, Jeffrey Wright, Liev Schreiber, Tony Revolori, Hope Davis, Steve Park, Rupert Friend, Bob Balaban, Jarvis Cocker, Seu Jorge, Maya Hawke, Sophia Lillis, Hong Chau, Willem Dafoe, Matt Dillon, Steve Carell, and Margot Robbie. 

The Blackening (R) If this Juneteenth-themed horror-comedy isn’t as worked-out as Jordan Peele’s best movies, it is just as funny. A group of college friends reunite 10 years after graduation at a cabin in the woods, only to be hunted down by a hideously racist board game and a masked creep with a crossbow. The movie guys the tropes of slasher movies, but it’s better when it aims for more culturally specific humor, as these Black characters dismiss the idea of calling the police and try to prove how un-Black they are when they’re challenged to sacrifice the person they decide is the Blackest. The villain doesn’t make sense, but director Tim Story (Barbershop) never strikes a false note. If this plays like a comedy sketch writ large, it does have enough material to work at feature length. Starring Grace Byers, Dewayne Perkins, Sinqua Walls, Antoinette Robertson, Melvin Gregg, X Mayo, Jermaine Fowler, Yvonne Orji, Jay Pharoah, and Diedrich Bader.

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. 

Elemental (PG) The latest Pixar movie looks and sounds like other Pixar movies, but is missing that ineffable spark that we recognize. The story is set in a city populated by air, earth, water, and fire elementals, and revolves around a forbidden romance between a water particle (voiced by Mamadou Athie) and a fire particle (voiced by Leah Lewis). The fire elementals are treated as second-class citizens by the others, and the whole conceit was done much more cleverly in Zootopia. The largely unknown voice cast doesn’t provide much distinctiveness, and the entire affair washes over you without leaving much of a mark. The feature is accompanied by Carl’s Date, a short sequel to Up that is unworthy of the movie that spawned it. Additional voices by Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ronnie Del Carmen, Shila Ommi, Mason Wertheimer, and Catherine O’Hara.

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. 

The Flash (PG-13) Hollywood’s first-ever blockbuster movie with an openly gender-fluid lead should be a cause for celebration. It isn’t, partly because Ezra Miller has a record of such terrifying off-screen behavior. Beyond that, it’s easily the weakest of the recent movies about multiple universes. The best stuff comes before The Flash creates the multiverse, with some trippy visuals and a witty sequence with our superhero saving a maternity ward full of babies from falling off a hospital. After the first half hour, though, the movie drowns in fanservice without the absurdist glee of the Spider-Verse movies or even Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The different versions of Superman and Batman who pop up will warm some fans’ hearts, but this movie comes late to the latest trend. Also with Michael Keaton, Ben Affleck, Sasha Calle, Michael Shannon, Maribel Verdú, Ron Livingston, Kiersey Clemons, Antje Traue, Ian Loh, Temuera Morrison, Jeremy Irons, and uncredited cameos by Jason Momoa, Gal Gadot, Nicolas Cage, and George Clooney.

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.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (PG-13) The CGI magic that makes Harrison Ford look like he’s in his late 30s in this film’s extended prologue is as good as it gets, unfortunately. After that, this last installment in the series fails to recapture the magic, with Indy and his British goddaughter (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) trying to prevent some unreconstructed Nazis from obtaining a time-travel device in 1969. James Mangold takes over the director’s chair from Steven Spielberg, and it’s nowhere near the job he did on Logan, another last ride for a movie hero that was far more moving. The picture is full of empty fanservice, saddles Indy with another cute-kid sidekick, and sands away everything that makes Waller-Bridge interesting or funny. The climactic time-travel sequence feels like it was much crazier on the page than it is on the screen, too. Also with Karen Allen, Toby Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Boyd Holbrook, Thomas Kretschmann, Ethann Isidore, Nasser Memarzia, Shaunette Reneé Wilson, John Rhys-Davies, and Antonio Banderas.

Insidious: The Red Door (PG-13) Death comes too late for the horror series. Picking up from the movie 10 years ago, it begins with Patrick Wilson’s paranormal researcher and his son undergoing hypnosis to forget the events they just experienced. Funny, I managed to forget those things entirely without any hypnosis. In the present day, the now-teenage boy (Ty Simpkins) goes off to college and starts experiencing visions of his repressed memories. The movie plays like a drama about a kid experiencing growing pains on his own, and the horror elements don’t fit in with that story at all. Wilson also makes his directing debut here, and it’s not a promising one. The final installment of the series fails to bring any sort of closure. Also with Lin Shaye, Sinclair Daniel, Andrew Astor, Steve Coulter, Leigh Whannell, Peter Dager, Joseph Bishara, Hiam Abbass, and Rose Byrne. 

Joy Ride (R) For too long, Asian women in movies have been cast as exotic playthings for white men. That stereotype receives a long-overdue explosion in this comedy about four American friends (Ashley Park, Stephanie Hsu, Sherry Cola, and Sabrina Wu) who have tons of sexual misadventures on a business trip to China. Screenwriter Adele Lim (Crazy Rich Asians) makes an assured debut as a director, even if she does run into trouble near the end as the movie tries to resolve all its complications. Just savor the culturally specific gags and outrageous set pieces like the women attempting to sneak through customs disguised as a K-pop girl group. It shouldn’t have taken almost 20 years after Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle for Asian-American women to get their own raunchy sex comedy, but this fully warrants the comparison to that classic. Also with Ronny Chieng, Timothy Simons, Meredith Hagner, Desmond Chiam, Chris Pang, Baron Davis, David Denman, Annie Mumolo, and Daniel Dae Kim.

The Lesson (R) The movie’s trailer gives away too much, but the way this British thriller resolves itself still has the power to surprise. Daryl McCormack plays a Black Irish aspiring writer who takes a job tutoring the teenage son of one of Britain’s finest novelists (Richard E. Grant) and soon finds himself entangled with both the author’s years-long case of writer’s block and the recriminations flying back and forth about the suicide of the writer’s oldest son. TV director Alice Troughton makes an admirable filmmaking debut here, capturing the hermetic environment of the novelist’s sumptuous country estate and his family members all scheming for power and trying to use the newcomer for their own ends. If you’re in the mood for highbrow atmosphere and lowbrow thrills, this movie will scratch your itch. Also with Julie Delpy, Stephen McMillan, Crispin Letts, and Tomas Spencer. 

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.

No Hard Feelings (R) Jennifer Lawrence has never been funnier than in this comedy about a self-destructive woman in Montauk whose desperate financial straits lead her to take a rich couple’s offer to deflower their 19-year-old son (Andrew Barth Feldman). Director/co-writer Gene Stupnitsky (Good Boys) misses his chance to comment on the nature of sex work from the point of view of someone who’s making their first foray into the field. The reason to watch this is Lawrence, whose physicality spills all over the screen whether she’s attempting a clumsy striptease for the kid or trying to navigate everywhere on rollerblades because her car has been repossessed. She’s born to play these highly sexed women whose confusion and pain are hilarious. Don’t miss her full-frontal nudity during a hilarious fight sequence on a beach. Also with Matthew Broderick, Natalie Morales, Scott MacArthur, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Kyle Mooney, Hasan Minhaj, and Laura Benanti.

Past Lives (PG-13 Celine Song’s immigrant drama is exquisitely well-crafted and curiously lacking in power. Greta Lee portrays a South Korean woman whose family brings her to America in the early 2000s when she’s a little girl. Twenty years later, she’s reunited with the boy (Teo Yoo) whom she had a crush on when she left. First-time filmmaker Song steadfastly resists picking a side with either the Korean man who got away or the American husband (John Magaro) who married the protagonist, and she’s never less than insightful about the awkwardness of this romantic situation. Somehow this remains a bit too restrained for its own good. It’s still a fantastic debut for the former staff writer on TV’s Wheel of Time, and Lee is fantastic in the lead role. Also with Moon Seung-ah and Leem Seung-min.

Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken (PG) This watchable and forgettable animated film is about a teenager (voiced by Lana Condor) who discovers that her parents have hidden her ancestry from her, and that she’s descended from a royal family of undersea creatures who protect the world from villainous mermaids. The occasionally cringey jokes are made up for by some clever visual gags, and the voice cast includes Toni Collette as Ruby’s mother and Jane Fonda as her grandmother who breaks the news to Ruby. Only during the last third, when the family has to save the world, does the movie lose its charm. It’s never unpleasant, though. Additional voices by Colman Domingo, Blue Chapman, Jaboukie Young-White, Liza Koshy, Ramona Young, Eduardo Franco, Sam Richardson, Annie Murphy, and Will Forte. 

Samajavaragamana (NR) This Indian romantic comedy stars Sree Vishnu, Reba Monica, Naresh, Vennela Kishore, Sudarshan, Raghu Babu, and Rajeev Kanakala.

Sound of Freedom (PG-13) This thriller probably works best for those people who see pedophiles lurking around every corner. For the rest of us, it’s somehow overheated and too slow at the same time. Jim Caviezel plays a heroic Homeland Security agent who quits his job and sets up a full-time operation in Colombia to bust a child sex trafficking operation. He’s flat as usual in the role, and the movie is stolen away by Bill Camp as an American who pretends to be a pedophile so he can buy children from the traffickers and then set them free. He’s the only person who feels like he’s inhabiting a character instead of acting as a mouthpiece for some seriously paranoid filmmakers. Also with Mira Sorvino, Scott Haze, José Zúñiga, Eduardo Verástegui, Gary Basaraba, Manny Perez, and Kurt Fuller. 

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

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. 

 

DALLAS EXCLUSIVES

 

Biosphere (NR) Sterling K. Brown and Mark Duplass star in this comedy as two men who may be the last human survivors of an apocalyptic event.

Squaring the Circle: The Story of Hipgnosis (NR) Anton Corbijn (A Most Wanted Man) directs this documentary about the design firm behind some of rock’s most celebrated albums. Starring Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Roger Waters, and Noel Gallagher. 

 

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