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(Clockwise from top left) Paul Luke Bonnenfant, Daisy Betts, Kirrilee Berger, Joel Smallbone, Diesel La Torraca, Angus K. Caldwell, JJ Pantano, and Tenz McCall arrive in America to make music in "Unsung Hero." Courtesy Lionsgate Studios

OPENING

 

Babylicious (NR) This Pakistani romantic comedy stars Shehroz Sabzwari as a man who moves heaven and earth to disrupt the wedding of the woman he loves (Syra Yousuf) to another man. Also with Ankur Rathee, Shehzeen Rahat, Mohi Abro, Sabeena Syed, Adnan Jaffar, and Pippa Hughes. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

The Beast (NR) Bertrand Bonello’s latest film stars Léa Seydoux and George MacKay as lovers carrying on a forbidden romance in a future dystopia ruled by AI. Also with Dasha Nekrasova, Elina Löwensohn, and Guslagie Malanda. Voices by Bertrand Bonello and Xavier Dolan. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

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Bloodline Killer (R) Shawnee Smith stars in this horror film as a woman trying to recover from her family’s mass murder at the hands of a disturbed relative. Also with Taryn Manning, Tyrese Gibson, Drew Moerlein, James Gaudioso, Sal Rendino, and Bruce Dern. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Breathe (PG-13) This science-fiction thriller stars Jennifer Hudson and Quvenzhané Wallis as a mother and daughter whose survival in a dystopian world may be threatened or helped by visitors. Also with Milla Jovovich, Sam Worthington, Raúl Castillo, and Common. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Cash Out (R) John Travolta stars in this action thriller as a bank robber who’s trapped in the bank when his heist goes awry. Also with Kristin Davis, Lukas Haas, Noel Guglielmi, Demián Castro, and Quavo. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Cinderella’s Revenge (NR) Lauren Staerck stars in this fractured fairy tale as a bullied orphan who takes revenge on her evil stepmother and stepsisters. Also with Natasha Henstridge, Stephanie Lodge, Beatrice Fletcher, Megan Purvis, and Darrell Griggs. (Opens Friday at Regal Fossil Creek)

Coup de Chance (PG-13) Woody Allen’s French-language comedy is about two young lovers (Niels Schneider and Lou de Laâge) whose romance ensnares them in a criminal plot. Also with Melvil Poupaud, Anna Laik, Yannick Choirat, William Nadylam, Arnaud Viard, Valérie Lemercier, and Elsa Zylberstein. (Opens Friday in Dallas)

Dancing Village: The Curse Begins (NR) This Indonesian horror film stars Maudy Effrosina as a woman who must return a cursed jewel to a remote village harboring secrets. Also with Aulia Sarah, Jourdy Pranata, Mohammed Iqbal Sulaiman, Ardit Erwandha, and Claresta Taufan Kusumarina. (Opens Friday)

Escape From Germany (PG) Based on a true story, this drama is about a group of Mormon missionaries who must escape Germany before the Nazi regime takes over. Starring Sebastian Barr, Joseph Batzel, Ischa Bee, Zechariah Combs, Scarlett Hazen, Landon Henneman, and Adam Colvin. (Opens Friday at Cinemark North East Mall)

Rathnam (NR) Vishal stars in this Tamil-language thriller as a man determined to protect a woman (Priya Bhavani Shankar) from vicious gangsters. Also with Samuthirakani, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Yogi Babu, Hareesh Peradi, Vijayakumar, and Murali Sharma. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine MIlls)

Ruslaan (NR) This Indian action-thriller stars Aayush Sharma, Sushrii Shreya Mishraa, Jagapathi Babu, Vidya Malvade, Nawab Shah, and Suniel Shetty. (Opens Friday at Cinemark North East Mall)

Unsung Hero (PG) Joel Smallbone co-writes, co-directs, and co-stars in this biography of his Australian family’s struggle to succeed in America as Christian singers. Also with Daisy Betts, Jonathan Jackson, Kirrilee Berger, Paul Luke Bonenfant, JJ Pantano, Terry O’Quinn, Hillary Scott, Lucas Black, and Candace Cameron Bure. (Opens Friday)

We Grown Now (PG) This low-budget drama stars Blake Cameron James and Gian Knight Ramirez as two Black boys facing upheaval in their friendship while growing up in Chicago’s Cabrini Green in 1992. Also with Jurnee Smollett, S. Epatha Merkerson, Avery Holliday, Charles Jenkins, and Lil Rel Howery. (Opens Friday)

We 12 (NR) This Hong Kong action-comedy is about two feuding units of cops who must team up to prevent a mad scientist from causing a global catastrophe. Starring Sebastian Mok, Wong Tak-Bun, Anson Lo, Keung To, Anson Ip-Sang Kong, Lok Man Yeung, Edan Lui, Stanley Sze-Chuan Yau, and Yoyo Kot. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

 

NOW PLAYING

 

Abigail (R) The horror-comedy team called Radio Silence worked their magic to great effect in Ready or Not. Some of that talent is in evidence here, but it feels like the joke goes on too long. A high-end fixer (Giancarlo Esposito) gathers together a crew of small-time criminals to kidnap a rich little girl (Alisha Weir) for ransom, but then the criminals discover that she’s a vampire. The movie does have quite a few funny bits in its first half, and Weir (the Irish actress who starred in Matilda the Musical) delivers a star-making performance as the vamp who can impersonate a cowering little girl who loves ballet. This movie might have been tremendous as a 90-minute yarn, but at almost two hours, it drags on too long. Also with Melissa Barrera, Dan Stevens, Kathryn Newton, Kevin Durand, William Catlett, Matthew Goode, and the late Angus Cloud. 

Arthur the King (PG-13) Mark Wahlberg stars in this Americanized drama based on the real-life story of a Swedish adventure racer who picked up and adopted a stray dog while trekking with his team over 500 miles of rough terrain in the Dominican Republic. The film has some breathtaking shots of the rainforest and a great sequence where our protagonist and one of his teammates (Nathalie Emmanuel) become stuck on the cable while ziplining over a chasm. This, though, can’t help the story escape the formula of big-time movie star + cute dog. The film’s stretches of watchability don’t compensate for its unbearable moments. Also with Simu Liu, Juliet Rylance, Ali Suliman, Cece Valentina, Oscar Best, Paul Guilfoyle, and Bear Grylls. 

Crew (NR) Tabu, Kareena Kapoor Khan, and Kriti Sanon star in this Indian comedy as three international flight attendants who are frustrated with their job when their boss suddenly dies in mid-flight and they discover gold bars strapped to his body. Rather than steal the gold for themselves, they find out who was supplying him with the gold and take over his job smuggling the stuff out of India. The heist plot is done quite well when the movie can be bothered with it, especially the part with the women melting down the gold into balls, dipping them in chocolate, and disguising them as foil-wrapped truffles. However, there’s too much extraneous musical numbers and dull romance getting in the way. Also with Diljit Dosanjh, Rajesh Sharma, Saswata Chatterjee, Kapil Sharma, and Kulbhushan Kharbanda.

Degree Maila (NR) This Nepalese comedy stars Dayahang Rai as a university graduate tasked with setting up an English-language school in his village. Also with Aanchal Sharma, Bijay Baral, Maotse Gurung, Prakashi Ghimire, Buddhi Tamang, and Kamal Mani Nepal.

Dune: Part Two (PG-13) Not only a better movie than the first part, this sequel makes the original look better in retrospect. Timothée Chalamet reprises his role as the scion of a fallen family who takes up with revolutionaries to help them overthrow their oppressors, while also wrestling with the widely held belief that he’s the chosen one sent to liberate them. The supporting characters come off as more rounded, and while Chalamet is swallowed up for much of the film, he takes charge unambiguously and disturbingly when he goes full cult leader to rally the natives in their climactic battle. Denis Villeneuve does not disappoint in the movie’s two big set pieces, and the movie says some keen things about the advantages and booby traps of religious faith. The film features great turns by Austin Butler as a shaven-headed psychopathic villain and Zendaya as the love interest who is cruelly betrayed. Also with Rebecca Ferguson, Javier Bardem, Florence Pugh, Dave Bautista, Josh Brolin, Léa Seydoux, Charlotte Rampling, Stellan Skarsgård, Roger Yuan, Babs Olusanmokun, and an uncredited Anya Taylor-Joy.

The First Omen (R) This piece of nunsploitation is a fine horror film on its own, and its weakest points are where it joins up with the 1976 movie that it’s a prequel to. The awesomely named Nell Tiger Free stars as an American nun who comes to Rome to take holy orders and instead becomes impregnated with Satan’s spawn. On her first feature, director/co-writer Arkasha Stevenson shows some tantalizing talent behind the camera, creating striking visuals and drawing creditable performances out of much of her cast. Also with Sonia Braga, Nicole Sorace, Ralph Ineson, Tawfeek Barhom, Maria Caballero, Ishtar Currie-Wilson, Andrea Arcangeli, Charles Dance, and Bill Nighy.

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (PG-13) Hate to say it, but it’s the old Ghostbusters (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson) who do the most to drag down this fifth film in the series. The family from the previous film relocates from Oklahoma to New York City and the Ghostbusters’ old firehouse headquarters, and the move does nothing for the story, nor do the characters acclimate to the place in an interesting way. The most interesting plotline has 15-year-old Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) befriending a sullen teenage ghost (Emily Alyn Lind), but there are too many plotlines going on in this scattered film, and the supernatural hijinks don’t sing like they used to. The supporting cast is packed with added talent, but this movie feels like the smallest of the franchise. Also with Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Annie Potts, Kumail Nanjiani, Patton Oswalt, Logan Kim, Celeste O’Connor, and William Atherton. 

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (PG-13) At this point, why bother with the humans at all? Just have the massive beasts act out the drama, and we won’t miss the dialogue. King Kong and Godzilla are awakened by a new threat to life on Earth, which forces our scientists (Rebecca Hall and Brian Tyree Henry) to undertake a journey into uncharted reaches of the hollow Earth. Dan Stevens turns up as a veterinary dentist with an Australian accent, Hawaiian shirt, and blond highlights, and he’s the only one who’s remotely having fun. Everything else is swallowed up by the special effects. It’s all just exquisitely boring. Also with Kaylee Hottle, Fala Chen, Alex Ferns, Rachel House, and Greg Hatton.

Housekeeping for Beginners (R) Lacking the magic of Goran Stolevski’s better work, but still interesting as an LGBT anthropological study. Anamaria Marinca plays a lesbian in North Macedonia whose partner (Alina Şerban) gets sick and dies, leaving her to raise her daughters (Mia Mustafa and Džada Selim). She enters into a sham marriage with a gay man (Vladimir Tintor) to keep custody of the kids, since anyone who’s openly gay in the Balkan country is in a dicey legal position. Seeing this close-knit circle of gays and lesbians operate in a hostile territory provides more food for thought than the story of a woman becoming a mother to someone else’s family. Writer-director Stolevski inserts too many dreamy longueurs, but the Australian-based filmmaker knows this territory well. Also with Samson Selim, Sara Klimoska, Rozafë Çelaj, Ajse Useini, Nedjat Kanberi, and Irena Ristić.

Kung Fu Panda 4 (PG) If this is the last installment of the animated series, it’s ending at the right time. Po (voiced by Jack Black) has to choose a successor for the title of Dragon Warrior while also teaming up with a street criminal of a fox (voiced by Awkwafina) to take down a villainous chameleon (voiced by Viola Davis) who wishes to steal the souls and kung fu skills of every villain Po has ever faced. The martial arts sequences are still well-filmed and capture stunts that couldn’t be done by human performers, but the wit in the script and the humor in the original premise have leaked away over the years. The film still has a few cinematic references to Stephen Chow’s films and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but it’s time for the warrior panda to lay down his weapons and spend his retirement eating all the dumplings he wants. Additional voices by Dustin Hoffman, Bryan Cranston, James Hong, Ian McShane, Lori Tan Chinn, Ronny Chieng, Seth Rogen, Harry Shum Jr., and Ke Huy Quan.

Late Night With the Devil (R) This found-footage horror film made $666,666 at the box office on the Sunday that it opened, and it deserves considerably more. The movie purports to be the lost footage of a 1977 live TV talk show whose desperate host (David Dastmalchian) invites a girl (Ingrid Torelli) on the show who might be demonically possessed. Australian brothers and filmmakers Cameron and Colin Cairnes have their American pop culture references in line, which helps to preserve the illusion that we’re watching a talk show from the period. The black-and-white interludes supposedly showing us the behind-the-scenes footage at the show is too smooth by half, but the fakery involved in creating the show itself is amazing. Often cast as creepy types in Hollywood, Dastmalchian here looks in his element mugging through corny comedy sketches and then becoming a figure of pathos. Also with Laura Gordon, Ian Bliss, Fayssal Bazzi, Rhys Auteri, Josh Quong Tart, Steve Mouzakis, and Georgina Haig. Narrated by Michael Ironside.

The Long Game (PG) This film is based on the true story of five Mexican golf caddies who built their own course in South Texas in the 1950s. Starring Jay Hernandez, Dennis Quaid, Gillian Vigman, Brett Cullen, Oscar Nuñez, Julian Works, José Julián, Gregory Diaz IV, and Cheech Marin. 

Mahajatra (NR) This Nepalese thriller is about a group of friends who find and hide an illegal cache of money. Starring Hari Bansha Acharya, Bipin Karki, Rabindra Singh Baniya, Rabindra Jha, Barsha Raut, and Divya Dev. 

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare (R) Guy Ritchie films this based-on-real-life World War II drama like it’s one of his gangster larks, so why does this thing stubbornly refuse to take flight? Cary Elwes plays a British brigadier general who promises to kneecap the Nazi U-boat fleet by hiring an ex-con (Henry Cavill) who gathers together a group of other lowlifes with special espionage skills who can be disposed of if they’re caught. We get Eiza González as a British Jewish actress-singer and Alan Ritchson as a Danish muscleman, and the plot is sufficiently twisty to keep you watching. Somehow it all feels more rote than fun, like a spinoff of the Kingsmen series. Also with Alex Pettyfer, Babs Olusanmokun, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Til Schweiger, James Wilby, Freddie Fox, Danny Sapani, Henrique Zaga, Henry Golding, and Rory Kinnear. 

Monkey Man (R) Dev Patel stars in his own directing debut, an ass-kicking action-thriller that’s heavily stylized in a John Wick sort of way, but the more interesting stuff is around the edges. He stars as a wrestling heel in an underground Mumbai fight club who’s taking aim at a conspiracy of sex traffickers, crooked cops, a power-mad Hindu guru (Makarand Deshpande), and a Narendra Modi-like candidate for prime minister. That last bit is probably why the film has yet to be released in India, as Modi’s government would certainly bristle at this movie’s show of poverty in the country and sympathetic depiction of hijras (an accepted third gender in Indian culture). Still, Patel’s long-striding presence dominates the fight sequences, and his combination of Western techniques with Indian subject matter creates something spine-tinglingly new. Also with Sobhita Dhulipala, Sikandar Kher, Pitobash, Vipin Sharma, Ashwini Kalsekar, Aditi Kalkunte, Zakir Hussain, and Sharlto Copley. 

Sasquatch Sunset (R) The Zellner brothers try to make a dialogue-free movie out of a family of sasquatches with no direct contact with humans, and they don’t crack it. The brothers have considerable strengths as filmmakers that are on display here: The northern California natural setting looks amazing, the music by The Octopus Project is appropriately strange and rustic, and the creature design by Steve Newburn holds up to the extremities of the weather and the drama. And still the Zellners seem to have little point of view on these endangered creatures, who don’t work as an allegory about Native Americans nor about unreached peoples. If you see this, you may want to bring a book to read during its dull stretches, or be really high. Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Riley Keough, Christophe Zajac-Denek, and Nathan Zellner.

Someone Like You (PG-13) A snoozefest. Jake Allyn plays a man whose best friend (Sarah Fisher) gets sick and dies, and then discovers that she has a separated-at-birth sister (Fisher again) whom he falls in love with. It should be the platform for some lathery drama, but instead it gives way to predictable story beats and dull acting. Even the Hallmark Channel would reject this as being too white-bread. Also with Lynn Collins, Robyn Lively, Bart Johnson, Scott Reeves, Austin Robert Russell, Mary Marguerite Hall, and Brandon Hirsch.

Spy x Family Code: White (NR) If you’re not a fan of the anime series, this big-screen version occasionally shows why it has its fans. The family’s mind-reading adopted daughter (voiced by Atsumi Tanizaki and Megan Shipman) trying to win a cooking contest to save her superspy parents, who don’t know about her ability, nor that the other is working for the other side in a war, nor that the family dog can predict the future. Maybe they’re just bad parents. The combination of spy thriller and food movie sometimes takes the movie into transcendently odd territory, but not often enough to snag moviegoers who aren’t already on board. Additional voices by Takuya Eguchi, Alex Organ, Saori Hayami, Natalie van Sistine, Natsumi Fujiwara, Dani Chambers, Emiri Kato, and Noucky Andriansyah. 

Wicked Little Letters (R) For all the profanity in this British comedy, it still isn’t nasty enough. Olivia Colman plays a prim Christian spinster in a small Sussex seaside town in the 1920s who starts receiving anonymous letters in the mail filled with vicious insults, and the suspicion immediately falls on the foul-mouthed Irish widowed mother (Jessie Buckley) who lives next door. The acting is irreproachable, especially from Colman as a case study in poorly repressed rage and Anjana Vasan as a South Asian police officer who thinks there’s more to the case. Somehow, though, the drama is too buttoned-up and too British to ever truly take flight. The cast deserved a director unafraid to cut loose, but Thea Sharrock isn’t that person. Also with Timothy Spall, Joanna Scanlan, Paul Chahidi, Hugh Skinner, Lolly Adefope, Tim Key, Malachi Kirby, Alisha Weir, Jason Watkins, Gemma Jones, and Eileen Atkins. 

 

DALLAS EXCLUSIVES

 

Blood for Dust (R) Scoot McNairy stars in this thriller as a traveling salesman whose chance encounter with an old friend (Kit Harington) results in him becoming a drug courier. Also with Josh Lucas, Ethan Suplee, Nora Zehetner, Chris Mullinax, Amber Rose Mason, and Stephen Dorff. 

Refuge (NR) This film stars Jason Flemyng as a traumatized war veteran who comes home a danger to his family. Also with Sophie Simnett, Raza Jaffrey, Johanna Harlin, Atanas Srebrev, Shervin Alenabi, and Max Kraus. 

The Three Musketeers — Part II: Milady (NR) The second part of this adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ novel has D’Artagnan (François Civil) teaming up with Milady de Winter (Eva Green) to save the woman he loves (Lyna Khoudri). Also with Vincent Cassel, Pio Marmaï, Romain Duris, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd, Vicky Krieps, and Louis Garrel. 

 

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