SHARE
Accompanied by a fleet of drones loaded with Italian food, Garfield rides to the rescue in "The Garfield Movie." Courtesy DNEG Animation

OPENING

 

Farki Farki (NR) This Nepalese romantic film stars Anmol KC and Jassita Gurung as two lovers caught in an infinite time loop. Also with Ravi Kafle and Samriddhi Aryal. (Opens Friday at Cinepolis Euless)

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (R) George Miller’s prequel to Mad Max: Fury Road stars Anya Taylor-Joy as the young version of the rig-driving warrior. Also with Chris Hemsworth, Tom Burke, Alyla Browne, Lachy Hulme, Angus Sampson, John Howard, Charlee Fraser, George Shevtsov, and Elsa Pataky. (Opens Friday)

LONGHORN-DIGITAL-BANNERS

The Garfield Movie (PG) And still filmmakers haven’t deciphered how to make a good movie about the comic-strip cat. This animated version stars Chris Pratt as the fat orange kitty, whose long-lost father (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson) comes back into his life because he’s in debt to a cat mob boss (voiced by Hannah Waddingham) with a personal grudge. I would say Pratt is the wrong actor to voice such a sardonic character, but the generic adventure that follows doesn’t have much to do with Garfield at all, nor does it show much understanding of what made him popular in the first place. Some of the sequences in this Sony Animation film showcasing Garfield’s obsession with Italian food feel like outtakes from the studio’s Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs movies, but that’s not enough to lift this. Odie (voiced by Harvey Guillén) is the real hero here, which maybe cinches the idea that these filmmakers don’t know Garfield. Additional voices by Ving Rhames, Cecily Strong, Nicholas Hoult, Brett Goldstein, Bowen Yang, and Snoop Dogg. (Opens Friday)

Hit Man (R) Glen Powell stars in and co-writes Richard Linklater’s comic thriller about a hit man who falls for a client (Adria Arjona). Also with Austen Amelio, Mike Markoff, Evan Holtzman, Sanjay Rao, Morgana Shaw, and Kate Adair. (Opens Friday at Alamo Drafthouse Denton)

I Love You to the Moon and Back (NR) This Chinese romantic drama stars Zhang Zifeng and Hu Xianxu as two young people who try to meet again after an enforced separation. Also with Ren Ke, Huang Xiaolei, Zhao Xiaotang, and Sheng Gangshuai. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

Love Me (NR) Not to be confused with an American movie with the same title that’s yet to be released, this Indian romantic horror film stars Ashish, Vaishnavi Chaitanya, Simran Choudhury, and Ravi Krishna. (Opens Friday)

Sight (PG-13) This drama stars Terry Chen as the real-life eye surgeon and Chinese refugee who confronts his past while trying to save the vision of a young girl (Mia SwamiNathan). Also with Greg Kinnear, Natasha Mumba, Raymond Ma, Wai Ching Ho, Leanne Wang, and Fionnula Flanagan. (Opens Friday)

Three Old Boys (NR) This Chinese crime thriller stars Chen Duling, Jiang Wu, Han Geng, Ou Hao, Huang Lu, Bao Beier, Huang Zhizhong, and Huang Xiaolei. (Opens Friday at AMC Grapevine Mills)

Turbo (NR) Mammootty stars in this Indian comedy as a driver newly arrived in Chennai who’s caught up in a crime plot. Also with Raj B. Shetty, Sunil, Anjana Jayaprakash, Kabir Duhan Singh, Bindu Panicker, Janardhanan, and Sunny Wayne. (Opens Friday)

 

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. 

Back to Black (R) This Amy Winehouse biopic has so little to say about its subject that it’ll actually make you angry. Marisa Abela portrays the ill-fated singer and does the singing on the soundtrack. Her vocals are easily the most impressive thing in the movie. Unfortunately, director Sam Taylor-Johnson gives a hackneyed and one-paced take on the story and doesn’t even seem that interested in Winehouse’s music or her career. Writer Matt Greenhalgh neglects to tackle the cruel reaction of the press and public to Winehouse’s transparent need for help, and that is the biggest missed opportunity here. The portrayals of Amy’s cabdriver dad (Eddie Marsan) and faithless husband (Jack O’Connell) are too generous by half, too. This is yet another boilerplate music biopic whose soundtrack album is a better use of your time than the film. Also with Lesley Manville, Sam Buchanan, Juliet Cowan, Anna Darvas, Harley Bird, Ryan O’Doherty, and Therica Wilson-Read.

The Blue Angels (G) Paul Crowder’s documentary profiles the Navy and Marine pilots who seek to join the elite squadron of fliers.

Boksi Ko Ghar (NR) Sulakshyan Bharati stars in his own drama as a journalist investigating false claims of witchcraft against a village woman. Also with Keki Adhikari, Shupala Sapkota, Swechchha Raut, and Rama Thapalia. 

Challengers (R) Even though the cast is young, this is the sort of grown-up romance that they supposedly don’t make anymore. Luca Guadagnino’s sports drama is about the love triangle between a six-time Grand Slam winner (Mike Faist), his wife and coach (Zendaya), and the tennis player whom she dated (Josh O’Connor) before a catastrophic knee injury brought her own playing career to an end. Guadagnino takes infectious joy in filming the tennis players’ bodies in motion as they strain their muscles to serve and run in for drop shots. The sport of tennis has never been filmed in such ecstatic terms. Justin Kuritzkes’ script gives all the characters juicy lines to work with, and Zendaya is truly stellar both as a teen champion who twists boys around her finger and the older coach who’s more uncertain as her life on the sidelines goes on. Her concluding scream of “Come on!” is well earned. Also with Darnell Appling, Nada Despotovich, and Hailey Gates.

Civil War (R) Pulls the old bait-and-switch. The film is set during a second American civil war that takes place during the present day, but rather than comment on the cultural and political divisions that might lead to that, Alex Garland’s war movie instead tries to get inside the heads of combat photographers documenting the conflict. A nicely deglamorized Kirsten Dunst stars as a photojournalist traveling with a small party of other reporters from New York to Washington to get an interview with the president (Nick Offerman) before his government falls. Garland does generate some nice set pieces from the setup, including a hair-raising cameo by Jesse Plemons as a thug with a gun who shoots whoever he damn well pleases, but this isn’t much more than a higher-minded version of Olympus Has Fallen or White House Down. Also with Wagner Moura, Cailee Spaeny, Nelson Lee, Evan Lai, Karl Glusman, Jin Ha, Sonoya Mizuno, and Stephen McKinley Henderson.

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 Fall Guy (PG-13) This big-screen version of the 1980s TV show is catnip for anyone who thinks stunt performers should be able to win Oscars. Ryan Gosling plays a Hollywood stuntman who’s called in to investigate the disappearance of a movie star (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) from the set of a blockbuster that’s filming in Australia. Director David Leitch is a former stuntman himself, and while he’s had trouble handling humor in his past projects as a director, here the laughs sit easily on the story as the stuntman has to deal with his ex-girlfriend (Emily Blunt), who happens to be directing the movie. The climax features so many stunts that it turns out to be too much of a good thing. The movie is better when focusing on the little details that help stunt performers do their job, making this an endearing tribute to the profession. Also with Hannah Waddingham, Winston Duke, Stephanie Hsu, Teresa Palmer, Ben Knight, Adam Dunn, Kalkida China, Heather Thomas, Lee Majors, and an uncredited Jason Momoa.

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.

Guruvayoor Ambalanadayil (NR) Prithviraj Sukumaran stars in this Indian dramedy as a man whose arranged wedding sees him married to the wrong woman. Also with Basil Joseph, Yogi Babu, Nikhila Vimal, Anaswara Rajan, Jagadish, Irshad, Baiju Santhosh, and Gokul Suresh. 

I Saw the TV Glow (PG-13) Whether you think of this as a movie about being trans or a movie about being a fan of a TV show, it’s a work of unsettling power. Justice Smith and Dallas native Brigette Lundy-Paine portray outcast teens who grow up in the 1990s and bond over their love for a supernatural teen drama called The Pink Opaque. Filmmaker Jane Schoenbrun is transfeminine and non-binary, and relates to the deep disconnect of their characters. They also extensively reference Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and their tube-lit glow of suburban America is punched up by striking visuals like a soft-serve ice cream monster in the TV show. Our lead actors also conjure up some fearsome conviction as teens so seduced by fiction that they become unmoored from reality. This won’t satisfy fans of more conventional horror films, but those open to its alienated point of view may find this movie following them home and staring at them balefully from the darkness. Also with Ian Foreman, Helena Howard, Lindsey Jordan, Amber Benson, Emma Portner, Fred Durst, and Danielle Deadwyler.

IF (PG) John Krasinski the writer comes up with a great premise, and then John Krasinski the director immediately squanders it. John Krasinski the actor portrays a widowed father who’s having heart surgery in a New York hospital, so his 12-year-old daughter (Cailey Fleming) moves in with her grandma (Fiona Shaw) in the city. When she acquires the ability to see and talk to kids’ imaginary friends whose children have outgrown them, she has to team up with the grandmother’s shut-in neighbor (Ryan Reynolds) to rehome them with new kids. The pacing is slack, the movie takes forever to get Reynolds on the screen, the director yanks at our heartstrings in exhausting fashion, and worst of all, a stacked voice cast is wasted. Also with Alan Kim, Liza Colón-Zayas, and Bobby Moynihan. Voices by Steve Carell, Emily Blunt, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bradley Cooper, Blake Lively, Awkwafina, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Sam Rockwell, Jon Stewart, Bill Hader, Amy Schumer, Keegan-Michael Key, Matthew Rhys, Maya Rudolph, Richard Jenkins, Sebastian Maniscalco, and the late Louis Gossett Jr.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (PG-13) The latest installment in the series is proficient and stubbornly unexciting. Decades after Caesar’s death, ape civilization has gone to hell, with a king (Kevin Durand) enslaving tribes of apes to glorify himself. The lone survivor of one captive tribe (Owen Teague) resolves to free his people with the help of a starving human (Freya Allan) who has her own agenda. Director Wes Ball (from the Maze Runner films) is more comfortable with these CGI simians than he is with human beings, and the action sequences are legible without ever raising the pulse. It’s all eminently watchable, and it exists at entirely too comfortable a remove. Also with Peter Macon, Eka Darville, Lydia Peckham, Sara Wiseman, Travis Jeffery, and William H. Macy. 

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.

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. 

The Strangers: Chapter 1 (R) It’s the same movie! This is the same movie as the 2008 slasher flick! Madelaine Petsch and Froy Gutierrez play a couple who rent an Airbnb in the remote Oregon countryside and then are stalked by the trio of masked killers. This is intended as the first in a trilogy of horror films, but did they have to repeat the original so slavishly? And where does the series go from here? Neither the killers nor the protagonist victims are interesting enough to merit their own cinematic universe. Neither the acting nor Renny Harlin’s direction are enough to make this movie stand on its own. Also with Richard Brake, Rachel Shenton, Gabriel Basso, Ema Horvath, and Ella Bruccoleri. 

Tarot (PG-13) A bunch of stupid young people get their horoscope readings from a cursed tarot deck despite numerous warnings about what might happen, then they start dying mysteriously. That is not the end of the dumb decisions that they make in this horror movie. Newcomer Harriet Slater has the only semi-developed character here, and she gives it everything she has, but she can’t begin to overcome the relentless idiocy of this affair. To top it all off, the movie falls victim to the Kill Your Gays trope. The original title of this movie was Horrorscope, which would have been an improvement, but not enough to save this. Also with Jacob Batalon, Avantika, Adain Bradley, Humberly González, Larsen Thompson, Wolfgang Novogratz, and Olwen Fouéré.

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. Joel portrays his own father as an angry, depressive man who’s too proud to accept charity or other people’s ideas. That’s interesting, but the rest of the movie is reduced to inspirational pablum, as the musical career of his daughter Rebecca St. James (Kirrilee Berger) is carelessly smooshed out of shape to give the story a neat little cap. There’s a better movie trapped inside this one, and it never threatens to escape. Also with Daisy Betts, Jonathan Jackson, Paul Luke Bonenfant, Diesel La Torraca, JJ Pantano, Terry O’Quinn, Hillary Scott, Lucas Black, and Candace Cameron Bure. 

 

NORTH TEXAS EXCLUSIVES

 

The American (NR) Talia Ryder stars in this dance film as an American ballerina accepted into Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet Academy. Also with Diane Kruger, Oleg Ivenko, Natasha Alderslade, Natalia Osipova, Tomasz Kot, and Charlotte Ubben.

Evil Does Not Exist (NR) Ryūsuke Hamaguchi’s follow-up to Drive My Car is this drama about a village outside Tokyo that’s facing the possibility of being torn down to provide city-dwellers with a countryside getaway. Starring Hitoshi Omika, Ryô Nishikawa, Ryūji Kosaka, Ayaka Shibutani, Hazuki Kikuchi, Hiroyuki Miura, and Yoshinori Miata. 

Hazard (NR) This Belgian action-comedy stars Dimitri “Vegas” Thivalos as a racer who’s forced to choose between his family and his car. Also with Jennifer Heylen, Frank Lammers, Jeroen Perceval, Mila Rooms, Monic Hendrickx, and Alice Toen. 

You Can’t Run Forever (R) This thriller stars Fernanda Urrejola as a traumatized teenager who’s hunted in the woods by a psychopathic killer (J.K. Simmons). Also with Allen Leech, Isabelle Anaya, Graham Patrick Martin, Andres Velez, Kevin Quinn, Michael Spears, and Olivia Simmons. 

LEAVE A REPLY