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Animatronic entertainers are coming to eat you in "Five Nights at Freddy's." Photo by Patti Perret

OPENING

 

After Death (PG-13) Stephen Gray and Chris Radtke’s documentary interviews people who have had near-death experiences. (Opens Friday)

Among Wolves (NR) Trace Adkins and Jeff Fahey star in this Western as two bootleggers in the waning days of Prohibition. Also with James Russo, Spencer Locke, Victoria Pratt, Kelly Lynn Reiter, and Tom Berenger. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

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Anatomy of a Fall (R) The winner of the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival, Justine Triet’s thriller stars Sandra Hüller as a woman accused of murdering her husband. Also with Swann Arlaud, Milo Machado Graner, Antoine Reinartz, Samuel Theis, Saadia Bentaleb, Jehnny Beth, and Camille Rutherford. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Bad Blood (NR) Not based on the Taylor Swift song, this Vietnamese action-comedy stars Tuan Minh Kieu as an ex-gangster who must turn to his former employees for help when his wife (Anh Thua Tuan) is kidnapped by a rival gang. Also with Khoa Mac Van, Truong Quoc, Trang Van, and Lan Manh. (Opens Friday)

Boudica: Queen of War (R) Olga Kurylenko stars in this historical drama as the Celtic queen who leads her people against the Roman conquerors. Also with Clive Standen, Peter Franzén, Lucy Martin, Nick Moran, James Faulkner, Harry Kirton, and Rita Tushingham. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Five Nights at Freddy’s (PG-13) Adapted from the horror video game, Emma Tammi’s film stars Josh Hutcherson as a man who takes a job as a security guard at a deserted pizzeria and arcade. Also with Lucas Grant, Elizabeth Lail, Christian Stokes, Bailey Winston, Piper Rubio, Kat Conner Sterling, Matthew Lillard, and Mary Stuart Masterson. (Opens Friday)

Freelance (R) John Cena stars in this comic thriller as an ex-Special Forces soldier tasked with providing security for a disgraced reporter (Alison Brie) in a Third World nation. Also with Alice Eve, Juan Pablo Raba, Marton Csokas, and Christian Slater. (Opens Friday)

How Is That for a Monday? (NR) This comic thriller is about a series of coincidences that happen to Indian-American immigrants and their friends over a single day. Starring Joseph Covino, Kaushik Ghantasala, Keegan Guy, Sai Karthik Movva, Candido Carter, and Megan Barlow. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

Inspector Sun (PG) This Spanish animated film is about a detective (voiced by Jesús Barreda) who’s forced to take on another case while on vacation. Additional voices by Andrea Villaverde, Catherina Martínez, Txema Moscoso, Fernando Cabrera, Pedro Tena, and Ana Jiménez. (Opens Friday)

The Killer (R) David Fincher’s latest thriller stars Michael Fassbender as a contract killer trying to stay alive while he’s being hunted across the globe. Also with Tilda Swinton, Charles Parnell, Kerry O’Malley, Sophie Charlotte, and Arliss Howard. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

The Mission (PG-13) Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss’ documentary profiles John Chau, the American missionary who was killed trying to convert an isolated community in India to Christianity. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

My Heavenly City (NR) Yu Sen-I’s drama tells the interlocking stories of Taiwanese immigrants living in New York City. Starring Vivian Sung, Yao Chun-Yao, Mandy Wei, Jessica Lee, Logan Cheng, Lu Yu, Cherry Fu, Roland Dean, and Rae-Shan Barclift. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

Sajini Shinde Ka Viral Video (NR) This Indian crime thriller stars Nimrat Kaur as a police inspector investigating the disappearance of a teenage girl (Radhika Madan). Also with Bhagyashree, Subodh Bhave, Chinmay Mandlekar, and Sumeet Vyas. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

Tejas (NR) Kangana Ranaut stars in this biography of Tejas Gill, the first woman to become an Indian Air Force pilot. Also with Anshul Chauhan, Varun Mitra, Rohed Khan, Anuj Khurana, and Veenah Naair. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

To Kill a Tiger (NR) Nisha Pahuja’s documentary is about an Indian farmer who crusades for justice for the men who gang-raped his 13-year-old daughter. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

12th Fail (NR) Vikrant Massey stars in this biography of Manoj Kumar Sharma, who overcame school failures to become one of India’s most distinguished police officers. Also with Pallak Lalwani, Medha Shankar, Priyanshu Chatterjee, Sanjay Bishnoi, and Harish Khanna. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

World’s Greatest Dad (NR) This Chinese remake of Bobcat Goldthwait’s 2009 black comedy stars Yu Hewei as a failed writer who becomes famous by forging his son’s suicide note. Also with Guo Qilin. (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.

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.

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 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)

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.

Dicks: The Musical (R) The gayest movie musical ever made. Josh Sharp and Aaron Jackson play two hotshot salesmen who discover that they’re separated-at-birth identical twins (even though they look nothing alike) and decide to get their parents (Nathan Lane and Megan Mullally) back together. The film is based on an extended improv sketch that our lead actors worked on for Upright Citizens Brigade, and the movie noticeably loses some of its zest as it proceeds with its story. The movie’s so hellbent on testing even the most shockproof sensibilities that neither the story nor the music flies off in any zany directions once the premise is established. Even so, the strength of the songwriting (by Sharp and Jackson along with Karl Saint Lucy) and the conviction of the musical performances carries this movie a good long while. I could stand another foul-mouthed musical from this creative team. Also with Megan Thee Stallion, Bowen Yang, Sonya Eddy, and Nick Offerman.

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

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)

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. 

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.

Leo: Bloody Sweet (NR) This Indian remake of David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence ventures into territory that many Indian films won’t. Vijay portrays a chocolatier in a remote village in the Himalayas who kills five armed robbers who try to shoot the employees in his coffee shop. This attracts the attention of the mob, who know him as a ruthless killer hiding out as an ordinary citizen. The movie has the wit to show our hero re-traumatizing his family over and over as he keeps killing gangsters who come after him for revenge. The resulting film fits uneasily together, but that’s precisely why this action thriller stands out from other Bollywood fare. Also with Sanjay Dutt, Arjun, Trisha, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Madonna Sebastian, Mathew Thomas, Iyal, Mansoor Ali Khan, and Babu Anthony.

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

 

DALLAS EXCLUSIVES

 

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. 

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.

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