SHARE
"The Canterville Ghost" makes a less-than-scary impression in the movie by the same name. Courtesy of Blue Sky Entertainment
OPENING

 

Bhagavanth Kesari (NR) This Telugu-language action-comedy stars Nandamuri Balakrishna as a man whose professional and personal life are thrown into upheaval at once. Also with Kajal Aggarwal, Sreeleela, Arjun Rampal, Priyanka Jawalkar, and John Vijay. (Opens Friday)

Butcher’s Crossing (R) Adapted from John Williams’ novel, this thriller stars Nicolas Cage as the leader of a group of buffalo hunters who become stranded in the wilderness. Also with Rachel Keller, Jeremy Bobb, Fred Hechinger, Xander Berkeley, and Paul Raci. (Opens Friday)

Cortez_Web Ad_(300 × 250 px)

The Canterville Ghost (PG) This animated adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s fairy tale is about an American family who moves into an ancient English manor haunted by a 300-year-old ghost (voiced by Stephen Fry). Additional voices by Hugh Laurie, Freddie Highmore, Imelda Staunton, Miranda Hart, David Harewood, Meera Syal, Emily Carey, and Toby Jones. (Opens Friday)

Foe (R) Garth Davis (Lion) directs this science-fiction film about a future farmer (Paul Mescal) who’s offered a chance to travel to a better world on the condition that a genetic clone of himself stay behind with his wife (Saoirse Ronan). Also with Aaron Pierre. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Ganapath (NR) Tiger Shroff stars in this dystopian action film as a mercenary who works to save his people from a mob boss. Also with Kriti Sanon, Elli AvrRam, Rahman, Jameel Khan, Ziad Bakri, and Amitabh Bachchan. (Opens Friday)

The Hard Hit (NR) Jerry G. Angelo stars in this thriller as an Interpol agent whose assignment to bring down a crime boss turns personal. Also with Richard T. Jones, Rob LaColla Jr., Markice Moore, Trae Ireland, Aubrey Trujillo, and Jay Klay. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Killers of the Flower Moon (R) Martin Scorsese’s latest film is about a mixed-race couple (Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone) caught up in a spate of murders of Osage natives during the 1920s. Also with Robert De Niro, Jesse Plemons, Tantoo Cardinal, Cara Jade Myers, JaNae Collins, Jason Isbell, Pete Yorn, Scott Shepherd, William Belleau, Yancey Red Corn, Gary Basaraba, Sturgill Simpson, Tommy Schultz, Tatanka Means, Barry Corbin, John Lithgow, and Brendan Fraser. (Opens Friday)

Leo: Bloody Sweet (NR) This Indian thriller stars Vijay as a chocolatier who is targeted by the mob. Also with Sanjay Dutt, Arjun, Trisha, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Mansoor Ali Khan, and Babu Anthony. (Opens Friday)

Malibu Horror Story (NR) This found-footage horror film is about a group of paranormal investigators who look into the disappearance of four teenagers. Starring Dylan Sprayberry, Robert Bailey Jr., Valentina de Angelis, Rebecca Forsythe, Tommy Cramer, Veno Miller, and Hector Gomez Jr. (Opens Friday at AMC Parks at Arlington)

Maujaan Hi Maujaan (NR) This Punjabi-language comedy is about four siblings who find love despite their disabilities. Starring Gippy Grewal, Binnu Dhillon, Karamjit Anmol, Tanu Grewal, Jimmy Sharma, and Hashneen Chauhan. (Opens Friday at Cinépolis Euless)

Nyad (PG-13) Annette Bening stars in this biographical drama as the swimmer who resolves to swim from Cuba to Florida at age 60. Also with Jodie Foster, Rhys Ifans, Luke Cosgrove, Anna Harriette Pittman, Erica Cho, and Jeena Yi. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

The Other Zoey (PG-13) Josephine Langford stars in this romantic comedy as a student who’s mistaken for a girlfriend by an amnesiac classmate (Drew Starkey). Also with Archie Renaux, Mallori Johnson, Patrick Fabian, Olive Abercrombie, Heather Graham, and Andie MacDowell. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

Pain Hustlers (R) Emily Blunt stars in this drama as a single mother whose job as a pharmacy clerk catapults her into a lucrative position at the heart of the opioid epidemic. Also with Chris Evans, Catherine O’Hara, Chloe Coleman, Brian D’Arcy James, Jay Duplass, and Andy Garcia. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Pashupati Prasad 2: Bhasme Don (NR) The sequel to the 2016 film stars Bipin Karki as a man searching for his own identity after Pashupati Prasad’s death. Also with Saugat Malla, Swastima Khadka, and Mahesh Tripathi. (Opens Friday at Cinépolis Euless)

Soul Mates (NR) Charlie Weber and Annie Ilonzeh star in this horror film as two strangers stranded together in a maze. Also with Neal McDonough. (Opens Friday at Regal Fossil Creek)

Tiger Nageswara Rao (NR) Ravi Teja stars in this Indian film as a 1970s thief who is always one step ahead of the police. Also with Anupam Kher, Renu Desai, Nupur Sanon, Jisshu Sengupta, Murali Sharma, Gayatri Bharadwaj, and John Abraham. (Opens Friday)

Under the Light (NR) The long-delayed film by Zhang Yimou is about a police unit that hunts down corrupt officials. Starring Lei Jiayin, Zhang Guoli, Zhou Dongyu, Yu Hewei, Sun Yizhou, Li Naiwen, Tian Yu, He Zhengjun, and Joan Chen. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

Yaariyan 2 (NR) The sequel to the 2014 romantic comedy stars Divya Khosla Kumar as a woman navigating through a new stage of her life. Also with Yash Dasgupta, Anaswara Rajan, Meezaan Jafri, Warina Hussain, Lillete Dubey, and Murali Sharma. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

 

NOW PLAYING

 

Barbie (PG-13) This philosophical statement about being a woman in present-day society is likely the strangest Hollywood blockbuster you’ll see all year, and much more than the crass corporate product it could have been. A perfectly pitched Margot Robbie plays a Barbie doll who has to travel from Barbie Land to our reality to discover why she’s having random thoughts about death. When Ken (Ryan Gosling) follows her into our reality, he likes the sight of men running everything and tries to turn Barbie Land into another patriarchy. All this takes place against a backdrop that’s wholly committed to Barbie-ness, with streets lined with life-size Barbie Dream Houses and more pink than you’ve ever seen in your life. If the storytelling loses a bit in its last third, the loose ends fit a story about the messiness of being a woman (or a man). This girly film is also thoughtful, complex, and funny, and will ensure that you never look at a Barbie doll the same way again. Also with America Ferrera, Arianna Greenblatt, Emma Mackey, Issa Rae, Beanie Feldstein, Simu Liu, Michael Cera, Will Ferrell, Kate McKinnon, Alexandra Shipp, Hari Nef, Sharon Rooney, Ritu Arya, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Ncuti Gatwa, Nicola Coughlan, Emerald Fennell, Scott Evans, Sharon Rooney, Ana Cruz Kayne, Rhea Perlman, and John Cena. Narrated by Helen Mirren.

The Blind (PG-13) This biography of Phill Robertson from TV’s Duck Dynasty depicts his debauched life before he saw the light of Jesus Christ. Starring Aron von Andrian, Amelia Eve, Matthew Erick White, Brielle Robillard, Connor Tillman, John Ales, Kerry Knuppe, and Ronan Carroll. 

Blue Beetle (PG-13) The Mexican family at the center of this is enough to make this DC superhero movie feel different. Xolo Maridueña portrays a young man on a U.S. territory in the Caribbean who stumbles onto a suit of armor that gives him superhuman powers and also makes him a target of the evil tech firm that wants it. The movie does drag towards the end when the bad guys square off with the good guy and his familia, but director Angel Manuel Soto does not look overmatched by the scale and special effects, and the humor among the hero’s tightly knit family is both funny and culturally specific, especially with his crackpot uncle (George Lopez) and his abuelita (Adriana Barraza) who mysteriously knows how to handle an automatic firearm. Also with Elpidia Carrillo, Bruna Marquezine, Raoul Max Trujillo, Damián Alcázar, Belissa Escobedo, Harvey Guillén, and Susan Sarandon. 

The Creator (PG-13) This science-fiction epic looks amazing. If only the story were as good. John David Washington stars as a U.S. Army intelligence officer in 2070 who’s tasked with retrieving a superweapon being developed by robots in a war between robots and humans. The weapon turns out to be a 14-year-old kid (Madeleine Yuna Voyles). The reported $80 million budget looks like three times as much, with hordes of sentient robots fighting on battlefields and explosions on spaceships that are visible in the sky. Problem is, the relationships between the hero and the girl as well as his possibly dead ex-girlfriend (Gemma Chan) don’t resonate the way they should, and the movie’s statement about artificial intelligence is underbaked. Director Gareth Edwards (Rogue One) has great gifts, but they come with severe limitations. Also with Allison Janney, Sturgill Simpson, Marc Menchaca, Amar Chadha-Patel, Ralph Ineson, Veronica Ngo, and Ken Watanabe.

Dr. Cheon and the Lost Talisman (NR) This Korean horror film stars Gang Dong-won as a fake exorcist who’s called to help a girl who’s actually demonically possessed. Also with Huh Joon-ho, Lee Dong-hwi, Esom, Cho Yi-hyun, Lee Jeong-eun, and Kim Ji-soo. 

Dumb Money (R) Relive the sweet schadenfreude of the GameStop stock saga, when a large group of small-time investors outsmarted some of Wall Street’s best minds in winter 2021. Paul Dano plays Keith Gill a.k.a. Roaring Kitty, a YouTube poster who notices that big-time hedge funds are shorting the stock of the Grapevine-based video game retailer and encourages his followers to inflate the value of the stock so that the hedge funds will lose money. The filmmakers rely too much on the rah-rah factor of working-class people going up against billionaires. If the villains were interesting, maybe this would be the scathing critique of capitalism that it sets out to be. Still, Dano for once plays a regular guy and is excellent in the part, while Pete Davidson as his brother is one of the few consistent suppliers of laughs. Also with Seth Rogen, Vincent D’Onofrio, Nick Offerman, America Ferrera, Anthony Ramos, Talia Ryder, Myha’la, Kate Burton, Clancy Brown, Dane DeHaan, Olivia Thirlby, Sebastian Stan, and Shailene Woodley. 

The Equalizer 3 (R) It’s unusual how slowly this movie goes about its business, and even more unusual that it works so well. Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is wounded in action and has to heal up in a small town on the Italian coast. He does so just in time for the Neapolitan camorra to start throwing their weight around. Before McCall faces down the bad guys, director Antoine Fuqua stops to take a breath and take in the sights in the various towns in Campania that stand in for the setting. It feels appropriate for the story of an aging hit man who realizes that he needs to hang it up while he can. If this is the last movie in the series, it’s a worthy ending. Also with Gaia Scodellaro, Remo Girone, David Denman, Eugenio Mastrandrea, Andrea Scarduzio, Andrea Dodero, Daniele Perrone, Zakaria Hamza, Manuela Tasciotti, Dea Lanzaro, Sonia Ben Ammar, Adolfo Margiotta, and Dakota Fanning.

The Exorcist: Believer (R) This movie jumps to life when Ellen Burstyn enters the proceedings about halfway through, and then the movie sends her off so unceremoniously that you wonder if the filmmakers knew what they had. It’s one of many missteps in this massively disappointing sequel, as a demon possesses two 13-year-old girls (Lidya Jewett and Olivia Marcum) and their parents have to enlist the help of Burstyn’s Chris MacNeil to exorcise them. The fantastic cast are hampered by characters that don’t develop in any believable way, and director/co-writer David Gordon Green ditches the Catholicism for simultaneous Catholic, Baptist, and Vodou exorcism rites that only dilute all of them. Some horror set pieces might have saved this, but instead we get fanservice from a director who lacks the ruthless craft of the late William Friedkin. Take away the connections to the 1973 classic, and this is a perfectly ordinary horror film. Also with Leslie Odom Jr., Ann Dowd, Jennifer Nettles, Norbert Leo Butz, Raphael Sbarge, E.J. Bonilla, Okwui Okpokwasili, and Linda Blair

Expend4bles (R) Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) is killed on a mission botched by Lee (Jason Statham), who is expelled from the group, and his ex-wife (Megan Fox) takes over the group’s leadership. Somehow none of that is enough to energize this wheezy outing, as our aging mercs go up against a terrorist (Iko Uwais) who’s hoarding nuclear weapons for a mysterious kingpin. The attempt to get the women more involved here is strictly forgettable, none of the new additions to the cast give us anything memorable, and the subplots about everyone’s lack of personal lives falls flat. This group was ready for a nursing home in Florida a decade ago. Also with 50 Cent, Dolph Lundgren, Tony Jaa, Randy Couture, Jacob Scipio, Levy Tran, and Andy Garcia. 

Gran Turismo (PG-13) Rather than a straight adaptation of the auto racing video game, this sports drama is based on the true story of Jann Mardenberger (Archie Madekwe), a soccer player’s son from Cardiff whose skill at the game translated into a career driving race cars for real. The movie hammers home its emotional beats with less subtlety than most video games, and the acting isn’t good enough to carry this. Director Neill Blomkamp (District 9) shoots the racing sequences to resemble the game as closely as possible, and the American chief engineer is an embarrassing character, even though David Harbour plays the hell out of the part. This is a glorified commercial for the video game, and you’d get more drama out of playing the game for two hours than this. Also with Orlando Bloom, Takehiro Hira, Darren Barnet, Josha Stradowski, Maeve Courtier-Lilley, Daniel Puig, Pepe Barroso, Thomas Kretschmann, Geri Halliwell Horner, and Djimon Hounsou. 

Haunted Mansion (PG-13) Another corporate conglomerate turns over a beloved property to a smart and inventive independent filmmaker, and if this isn’t as good as Barbie, at least it’s better than the 2003 movie from the Disney ride. Rosario Dawson plays a single mother who buys a New Orleans mansion, finds out that it’s haunted, and hires a tour guide (LaKeith Stanfield), a priest (Owen Wilson), a medium (Tiffany Haddish), and a history professor (Danny DeVito) to exorcise her house. The Big Easy setting offers up some promise, and the cast and director Justin Simien are well suited to the comedy elements in this movie. The horror elements, on the other hand, don’t work at all, and the ending is a complete botch job. The tone of this thing is all over the place, and the enticing talent here deserves better than this mess. Also with Jamie Lee Curtis, Jared Leto, Chase W. Dillon, J.R. Adduci, Charity Jordan, Hasan Minhaj, Dan Levy, and an uncredited Winona Ryder. 

A Haunting in Venice (PG-13) Death on the Nile left Kenneth Branagh’s Hercule Poirot at the end of a well-formed character arc, and this third Poirot adventure shows he should have quit while he was ahead. The story picks up in 1947, when a famous mystery novelist (Tina Fey) brings him out of retirement to help her debunk a psychic (Michelle Yeoh). Instead, somebody winds up dead at the end of her séance. The movie is actually based on Agatha Christie’s Hallowe’en Party with the setting moved to Venice. The Venetian locations add nothing to the proceedings, the gallery of murder suspects yields little in the way of memorable performances, and Branagh and Fey have as much chemistry as oil and water. The filmmakers try to add supernatural doings to the mix, but the director doesn’t have the instincts for horror, and we know that a Christie adaptation isn’t going to give us actual ghosts. Also with Jamie Dornan, Camille Cottin, Jude Hill, Emma Laird, Ali Khan, Kyle Allen, Riccardo Scamarcio, Rowan Robinson, and Kelly Reilly.

MAD (NR) Madhav Chilkuri and Rajath Raghav star in this Indian romantic comedy as mismatched best friends having misadventures. Also with Spandana Palii and Swetaa Varma. 

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 (PG-13) About as deep as a picture postcard from some souvenir shop, this third installment of the series has the Portokalos family travel to Greece to track down the childhood friends of Toula’s late father. The Greek scenery is pretty, but you’d think that 20 years after the original film, writer-director Nia Vardalos would bother to throw the scenes together into some sort of order. There are altogether too many characters for the comic business to go around, and two tertiary characters marry each other for no reason other than so that the movie can have the word “wedding” in the title. This Greek family needed to retire gracefully in the early ’00s. Also with John Corbett, Andrea Martin, Louis Mandylor, Elena Kampouris, Lainie Kazan, Gia Carides, Maria Vacratsis, Elias Kacavas, Melina Kotselou, Alexis Georgoulis, Stephanie Nur, and Joey Fatone.

The Nun II (R) What a mess this turned out to be. The sequel to the 2019 horror film is set in 1956 and has Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) traveling to a convent in Provence when she hears that Valak (Bonnie Aarons) isn’t dead after all and is murdering her way through Europe. The story winds up hopelessly scattered as characters run all over this church looking for one another and trying to put their hands on some mystical thingumabob that’s supposed to tip the balance between good and evil. I could live with that if the movie were scary, but the set piece at a magazine stand is outweighed by too much rote stuff, and the appearance of the werewolf demon is one of the more ridiculous things I’ve seen in a horror film. The tying of this series to the Conjuring movies isn’t enough to make it worth the trip. Also with Storm Reid, Anna Popplewell, Jonas Bloquet, Katelyn Rose Downey, Suzanne Bertish, Peter Hudson, Tamar Baruch, Natalia Safran, Patrick Wilson, and Vera Farmiga. 

Oppenheimer (R) This three-hour biographical epic aims to evoke a single mood of guilt-wracked despair, and darned if Christopher Nolan doesn’t almost pull it off. Around the story of how J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) takes charge of the Manhattan project and builds the atomic bomb that ends the war, there are two interlocking framing stories about him trying to renew his security clearance while his former boss Lewis Strauss (Robert Downey Jr.) tries to be confirmed as the U.S. Commerce Secretary. Nolan gives us precious little time to catch our breath from the start as he toggles between timelines while the supporting characters around Oppenheimer largely get lost. Still, the framing stories snap together in a marvelous way, and the successful atomic bomb test is a splendid set piece. Inside this movie is a better, smaller film that’s trying to get out. Also with Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh, Matt Damon, Alden Ehrenreich, Josh Hartnett, Jason Clarke, Tony Goldwyn, Benny Safdie, James D’Arcy, Harry Groener, Tom Conti, David Krumholtz, Matthias Schweighöfer, Alex Wolff, Michael Angarano, David Dastmalchian, Dane DeHaan, Josh Peck, Jack Quaid, Gustaf Skarsgård, James Remar, Olivia Thirlby, Matthew Modine, Kenneth Branagh, Casey Affleck, and Gary Oldman. 

Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie (PG) “They’re cute little dogs who drive around in cars!” says one character. “I know it’s weird, but just go with it.” It’s about to get weirder. A mad scientist (voiced by Taraji P. Henson) pulls a meteorite out of the sky, but the crystals wind up in the paws of our puppies, who then acquire superpowers. Skye (voiced by Mckenna Grace) frets about being the runt of the litter until she acquires super-strength, and Liberty (voiced by Marsai Martin) frets that her superpower hasn’t manifested at all. Somehow none of it adds up to a solid laugh or any story developments that are in any way surprising. The little ones in the crowd will be the only ones who derive any entertainment value from this. Additional voices by Finn-Lee Epp, Luxton Handspiker, Christian Corrao, Christian Convery, Nylan Parthipan, Callum Shoniker, Ron Pardo, James Marsden, Lil Rel Howery, Kim Kardashian, Kristen Bell, and Chris Rock. 

Saw X (R) Finally, a Saw movie I can get behind. It only took them 10 tries. Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) receives a terminal cancer diagnosis, falls victim to a scam involving a quack cure, and sets about hunting down the fake doctors who conned him. The movie takes an unusually long time setting itself up, and patiently delves into the emotions of a serial killer as he faces his end. Even better material comes at the end when some of his prospective victims manage to turn the tables on him and force him to lock himself in his own trap while taunting him about everything wrong with his world-view. It’s so good that it almost makes the previous eight or nine films worth having sat through. Also with Shawnee Smith, Michael Beach, Synnøve Macody Lund, Renata Vaca, Steven Brand, Joshua Okamoto, Octavio Hinojosa, Paulette Hernández, Jorge Briseño, and Costas Mandylor.

Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour (PG-13) You’ll likely be watching this in a packed theater with little girls running around and singing along with Taylor, but this movie is strong enough to hold up even if you see it on your smartphone by yourself six months from now. Sam Wrench’s concert documentary takes in Swift’s last performance from the first leg of her current concert tour, where she plays selections from all her previous albums. If you didn’t have the coin to pay your way in to her stadium show, this film showcases her deep understanding of stagecraft, her indefatigable energy, and her unforced chemistry with her fans. Maybe the moss-covered piano she plays on “Champagne Problems” is a bit much, but the show is full of wow moments like the mystical backdrop for “Willow” and the giant snake coiling around the stage to introduce the Reputation part of the program. Swift’s sturdy sense of songcraft underscores all of this. What more could you wish from a concert movie?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (PG) This animated reboot of the cartoon series scores its laughs, recasts its origin story, and then gets off the screen. Bless it for that. A mad scientist (voiced by Giancarlo Esposito) loses his magic ooze down the city drain, which creates Splinter (voiced by Jackie Chan), our mutant heroes (voiced by Micah Abbey, Shamon Brown Jr., Nicolas Cantu, and Brady Noon), and the gang of criminal half-humans whom they’re trying to foil. The turtles are voiced by actual kid actors, some of whose voices haven’t changed yet, and they’re very funny, particularly in the frequent spots when all of them are talking at once. Co-writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg make sure that a good share of the humor appeals to the adults in the audience as well. This isn’t as deep as the other Hollywood blockbusters, but it’s enjoyable. Additional voices by Ayo Edebiri, Ice Cube, Post Malone, Hannibal Buress, Rose Byrne, Maya Rudolph, Seth Rogen, John Cena, and Paul Rudd. 

 

DALLAS EXCLUSIVES

 

Dear David (R) Justin Long stars in this horror film as a man inexplicably haunted by the ghost of a murdered boy named David (Cameron Nicoll). Also with Andrea Bang, Augustus Prew, Rachel Wilson, Tricia Black, René Escobar Jr., and Ethan Hwang. 

Joan Baez: I Am a Noise (NR) Miri Navasky, Maeve O’Boyle, and Karen O’Connor’s documentary profiles the folk music legend and political activist.

 

LEAVE A REPLY