Movies: New and Noteworthy


By Gary Thompson

It. A new adaptation of the Stephen King horror story about a homicidal sewer clown menacing children in a small Maine town. R

Home Again. A woman (Reese Witherspoon) on the verge of divorce invites three young men to her guesthouse. Hijinks ensue. PG-13

Moscow Never Sleeps. Contemporary multicharacter drama set against the backdrop of the teeming city's annual anniversary celebration. Not rated

Also Opening This Week

Beach Rats An aimless teenager on the outer edges of Brooklyn struggles to escape his bleak home life and balance his time between delinquent friends, a potential new girlfriend, and older men he meets online.

The Nile Hilton Incident A modern-day noir thriller set amid the unrest in Cairo weeks before the 2011 Egyptian revolution.

Viceroy's House Lord Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) , the final British viceroy of India, faces difficulties while overseeing the transition to Indian independence. With Gillian Anderson.

Excellent (****)

Reviewed by critics Tirdad Derakhshani (T.D.), Dan DeLuca (D.D.), and Gary Thompson (G.T.). W.S. denotes a wire-service review.

Columbus Two lonely, lovely young strangers - part-time librarian Casey (Haley Lu Richardson) and stuck-in-town son of an ill father Jin (John Cho) - strike up a friendship over several days spent walking and talking around Columbus, Ind., long celebrated as an improbable architectural enclave of Midwestern modernism. 1 hr. 44 No MPAA rating - W.S.

Step A soaring, heart-bursting portrait of the dancers of a Baltimore high school step team that will lift audiences to their feet, whether out of vicarious triumph, overpowering pure emotion, or simply to pay tribute to the superheroines at the core of its infectiously inspiring story. 1 hr. 23 PG (some mature elements) - W.S.

Very Good (***1/2)

The Big Sick Based on comedian Kumail Nanjiani's life, a funny, touching comedy of a Pakistani American caught between his religious family and the American woman (Zoe Kazan) he loves. With Holly Hunter, Ray Romano. 1 hr. 59. R (sexual references) - G.T.

Dunkirk Christopher Nolan's visually sweeping, stirring account of the way ordinary citizens, in the early days of World War II, effected the massive evacuation of stranded British troops from a French port surrounded by Germans. With Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy, and Harry Styles. 1 hr. 47 PG-13 (violence) - G.T.

Also on Screens

Annabelle: Creation *** Director David F. Sandberg has taken familiar components of a ghost story - orphans living in a remote house with balky electricity, secret crawl spaces, a dead child, a reclusive invalid who wears a Phantom of the Opera-style half-mask, a retired dollmaker whose magnum opus is the titular, demented-looking puppet - and created something uncommonly, nerve-wrackingly satisfying. 1 hr. 49 R (violence and terror) - W.S.

Atomic Blonde **1/2 Charlize Theron is a rampaging British agent in Berlin as the wall comes down in 1989, teaming with another agent (James McAvoy) to help a defector and find a traitor. Works well as actioner, not so well as espionage thriller. 1 hr. 55 R (violence, nudity) - G.T.

Brigsby Bear *** Kyle Mooney is James, a young man raised in captivity in an underground bunker who obsessively watches his parents-produced kiddie show starring a bear named Brigsby. After his liberation, he struggles in the real world, but the real world is more than willing to meet him halfway. 1 hr. 37 PG-13 (drug use) - G.T.

Carl Jackson's The Jesus Freak (Not previewed) Devout and devoted friends and a youth pastor from Texas set out on a cross-country trip to Las Vegas to win souls for Jesus. Kristen is honest, loyal, and faithful to her husband, but she and her friends are tempted and tested in Sin City. 1 hr. 30 No MPAA rating

Crown Heights **1/2 Poetic but muted true story of a man (former Eagle-turned-actor Nnamdi Asomugah) who devotes his life to freeing a friend (LaKeith Stanfield) wrongly convicted of murder. 1 hr. 39 R (language) - G.T.

Girls Trip *** Malcolm Lee's vulgar but good-natured comedy about four women (Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Tiffany Haddish) reuniting for a wild weekend in New Orleans. Lots of star cameos, including Kevin Hart for a split second. 2 hr. 2 R (nudity, obscene language) - G.T.

The Glass Castle ** An adaptation of Jeannette Walls' best-selling memoir about growing up in extreme poverty and parents who both inspired and damaged her. Events she could convey through the eyes of a child whose instincts reordered reality to create the illusion that she was safe instead come across as flat and messy. With Brie Larson, Naomi Watts, and Woody Harrelson. 2 hr. 7 PG-13 (mature thematic content involving family dysfunction, language, smoking) - G.T.

Good Time ** Gritty heist-gone-wrong movie starring Robert Pattinson as a bank robber trying to protect his brother (Ben Safdie) and recover stolen loot. Looks for darkly comic laughs amid escalating real-time mayhem, but the movie has a streak of cruelty that's hard to ignore. 1 hr. 40 R (violence) - G.T.

The Hitman's Bodyguard *** An uptight security pro (Ryan Reynolds) is assigned to guard an assassin (Samuel L. Jackson) scheduled to testify against a genocidal dictator (Gary Oldman). Not great filmmaking, but these days, even the sophomoric spectacle of racial solidarity in the form of a buddy comedy is way better than nothing. 1 hr. 41 R (violence, language) - G.T.

I Do . . . Until I Don't ** In this meandering rom-com, a cynical documentarian trying to prove the obsolescence of marriage - she's a proponent of a seven-year contract, with an option to renew - finds unhappy couples to film. Cliches overwhelm any good acting. 1 hr. 43 R (sexual situation, strong language) - W.S.

Ingrid Goes West *** Inventive satire of social media culture starring Aubrey Plaza as a mentally fragile woman moving to Los Angeles to indulge her obsession with an Instagram star (Elizabeth Olsen). Funny supporting role for O'Shea Jackson. 1 hr. 37. R (language) - G.T.

Kidnap **1/2 Halle Berry plays a single mother who creates havoc driving her minivan to rescue her 6-year-old son, abducted from a playground by a stranger driving a green 1980s-vintage Ford Mustang GT. 1 hr. 21 R (violence, child in jeopardy, vehicular mayhem) - W.S.

Leap **1/2 The animated tale of a determined 11-year-old orphan named Felicie (voiced with girlish pluck by Elle Fanning) pursuing ballet in 1870s Paris is more of a hop than a grand jete in an already competitive cartoon arena. 1 hr. 43 PG (action) - W.S.

Logan Lucky *** Steven Soderbergh comes out of retirement for this "hillbilly heist" movie about a blue-collar man (Channing Tatum) who decides (along with Adam driver, Riley Keough, and Dan Craig) to rob the NASCAR track that fired him. A little long, but rewards you with laughs and surprises if you stick around. 1 hr. 59 PG-13 (language) - G.T.

Maudie *** Sally Hawkins plays Canadian artist Maud Lewis, who turned a loveless life into a career as a beloved painter of happiness and color. 1 hr. 55 PG-13 (adult themes) - G.T.

Menashe **1/2 Hasidic comedian Menashe Lustig plays a version of himself in this docudrama about a single Hasidic man caught in an unresolvable conflict between devotion to his son and devotion to his faith. Rare glimpse inside a closed-off culture, though constrained visual presentation (some footage shot with hidden camera) hurts the film. 1 hr. 22 No MPAA rating - G.T.

The Midwife *** Catherine Frot plays a serious-minded midwife, and Catherine Deneuve is the extravagant and frivolous mistress of her now-deceased father who surfaces, suffering from a brain tumor, after disappearing 30 years before. The film jolts to life whenever its two great Catherines are sharing the screen, whether driving each other crazy or collapsing in tears. In French with subtitles. 1 hr. 57 No MPAA rating - W.S.

The Only Living Boy in New York *1/2 An insufferable, privileged young man (Callum Turner) discovers that his distant, demanding father (Pierce Brosnan) is cheating on his emotionally fragile mother (Cynthia Nixon) with a beautiful, mysterious woman (Kate Beckinsale). The movie fails to convince as a character study, romance, or love letter to the CBGB-era New York City, and the toward-the-end plot bombshell isn't plausible. 1 hr. 28 R (language and some drug material) - W.S.

Patti Cake$ *** Aussie Danielle Macdonald does an impressive job as a North Jersey teen who wants to be a rapper, with the help of a misfit band of buddies. A gritty but good-natured fable that doesn't take its follow-your-dreams formula too far. With Cathy Moriarity. 1 hr. 48 R (drug use) - G.T.

Rumbles: Indians Who Rocked the World *** Documentary explores how Native Americans - their musical style and their musicianship - have fed the great river of American popular song, from rock to blues, jazz, country and funk. 1 hr. 43 No MPAA rating - W.S.

Sidemen: Long Road to Glory. (Not previewed) Narrated by Marc Maron and directed by Scott Rosenbaum, this documentary explores the legacy of blues musicians Pinetop Perkins, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, and Hubert Sumlin. 1 hr. 17 Not rated

Trip to Spain *** The third movie featuring actor-comedian friends Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan taunting each other throughout a restaurant and sight-seeing trip. Still funny, and a little more poignant, with a nod to their growing acknowledgment of mortality. 1 hr. 41 No MPAA rating - G.T.

The War for the Planet of the Apes *** Top-notch special effects highlight this adventure story about a contingent of apes (motion-captured Andy Serkis, Steve Zahn) attempting to free captured apes from a labor camp run by a demented Army officer (Woody Harrelson). Unusually inventive and effective score by Michael Giacchino. 2 hrs. 20 mins. PG-13 (violence) - G.T.

Tulip Fever (Not previewed) In 17th-century Amsterdam, an unhappy woman (Alicia Vikander) in a stifling marriage (to Christoph Waltz) embarks on a dangerous affair with a painter (Dane DeHaan). 1 hr. 47 R (thematic elements, disturbing images, brief suggestive material)

Valley of Bones (Not previewed) A paleontologist (Autumn Reeser) struggling to raise her son runs into trouble working at a dig in the Badlands also used by a drug cartel. 1 hr. 30 R (thematic elements, disturbing images, brief suggestive material)

Wind River **1/2 Taylor Sheridan's screenplay has smart dialogue, likable neo-western heroes in cowboy hats, sudden open-carry shootouts, a capable woman navigating a man's world, and some searing social commentary, but, as a rookie director, Sheridan gets lost trying to assemble these elements into a tight package. 1 hr. 41 R (strong violence, disturbing images including a rape, language) - G.T.