Movies: New and Noteworthy

"Woodshock": Kirsten Dunst stars as Theresa, a young woman torn between her fractured emotional state and the reality-altering effects of a potent drug.


By Gary Thompson

Battle of the Sexes. The story behind the famous 1973 "Battle of the Sexes" tennis exhibition pitting male star Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) against female champ Billie Jean King (Emma Stone). With Sarah Silverman. PG-13

American Made. Based on the true story of TWA pilot Barry Seal (Tom Cruise), who was recruited by the CIA to spy on communists in Central America, where he ends up involved in the inception of the Medellin drug cartel. R

Victoria and Abdul. Based on the true story of the friendship between an aging Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) and the young Indian servant (Ali Fazal) who becomes her confidant and adviser, to the consternation of the stuffy staff. PG-13

Opening This Week

Flatliners Medican students experiment with near-death experiences in this horror remake that stars Ellen Page.

Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards Portrait of legendary fashion designer Manolo Blahnik and how he became the world's most famous luxury shoemaker, revered by celebrities, stylists, and industry icons.

Welcome to Willits A group of vacationing teens pick the wrong site on which to camp in this thriller.

Woodshock A young woman (Kirsten Dunst) loses her grip on reality after taking an extremely powerful drug.

Excellent (****)

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

Beach Rats An aimless Brooklyn teen splits his time between his girlfriend, his friends, and the older men he meets on the internet. 1 hr. 35 R (sex, drugs, and homophobic violence) - W.S.

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.

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.

California Typewriter What began as a brief look at a struggling typewriter repair and sales shop was expanded to explore the heart and soul of the device as well as to profile a cross-section of aficionados, from the famous (actor Tom Hanks, musician John Mayer, author David McCullough, playwright-actor Sam Shepard) to the lesser-known (a sculptor who uses typewriter parts, the Boston Typewriter Orchestra). 1 hr. 44 No MPAA rating - W.S.

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.

Trophy Documentary exploring the worlds of big-game hunting and conservation should come with two warnings - the movie is unflinching about showing creatures being killed or slaughtered and it may complicate your viewpoints about saving animals from extinction and killing them for sport. 1 hr. 48 No MPAA rating - W.S.

Also on Screens

American Assassin *1/2 Dylan O'Brien as Mitch Rapp - trained for a special-ops commando unit under an ex-Navy SEAL (Michael Keaton) - comes across as a poor man's Jason Bourne in the first of what might or might not be a string of movies based on Vince Flynn's series of pulpy spy novels. 1 hr. 51 R (strong violence, some torture, crude language, brief nudity) - W.S.

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, all owned by 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.

Brad's Status ** A man (Ben Stiller) takes his teen son (Austin Abrams) on a tour of prestigious university, prompting comic introspection. A few laughs and some insights, but in the end it's a movie examining the problems of a man who really doesn't have any. With Jenna Fischer, Michael Sheen, Luke Wilson. Written and directed by Mike White. 1 hr. 40 R (language) - 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.

Dolores *** Documentary on Dolores Huerta, a cofounder of the United Farm Workers union, demonstrates how amazing this Latina activist is, while not shying away from showing her flaws. 1 hr. 35 No MPAA ratin

Elizabeth Blue (Not previewed) A woman being treated for mental illness works at recovery while planning for her wedding. 1 hr. 35 PG-13 (mature thematic content, a scene of sensuality)

First They Killed My Father (Not previewed) Angelina Jolie's film based on the memoir of Loung Ung, whose family fled the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh when the Khmer Rouge army stormed the city in April 1975 and settled in a labor camp. 2 hr. 16 No MPAA rating

Friend Request (Not previewed) A popular college woman (Alycia Debnam-Carey) accepts a social media friend request from a disturbed individual who begins to target actual friends for harm. 1 hr. 32 R (horror violence, disturbing images, language)

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.

Home Again **1/2 A woman (Reese Witherspoon) separates from her husband (Michael Sheen) and moves back into her childhood home, which doubles as a shrine to the movies her parents made. She invites three young filmmakers to move in and shenanigans begin. (some thematic and sexual material) 1 hr. 37 PG-13 - G.T.

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 Jr. 1 hr. 37. R (language) - G.T.

It **1/2 Stephen King's thriller about a killer clown gets a new big-screen adaptation with a Philly kid at the helm. Jaeden Lieberher stars. 2 hrs. 15 R (violence, bloody images, profanity) - G.T.

Kingsman: Golden Circle **1/2 A blue-collar British lad (Taron Egerton) recruited to a posh spy service journeys to the U.S. where he links up with his American counterparts (Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, Halle Berry) to pursue a cheerfully demented drug dealer (Julianne Moore). Has some of the wit and energy of the original, but has come down with a case of sequel-itis - it's too long and overstuffed with CGI and cameos. 2 hr. 20 R (language, sexuality) - G.T.

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.

The Lego Ninjago Movie **1/2 This latest Lego installment maintains the silly and irreverent tone of The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie but isn't as thick with the verbal and visual gags that made them deliriously fun. 1 hr. 41 PG (some mild action and rude humor) - 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.

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

Mother! *** Part psychological thriller, part anarchic horror flick, Darren Aronofsky's latest stars Jennifer Lawrence as the long-suffering muse of her husband, a writer's-blocked poet played by Javier Bardem. Their creepy old mansion fills inconveniently with guests who overstay their welcome as the movie becomes an all-out carnival of chaos. 2 hr. 1 R (disturbing violence, some sexuality, nudity, language) - N.V.

The Nile Hilton Incident (Not previewed) A noir thriller set amid the unrest in Cairo weeks before the 2011 Egyptian revolution. In Arabic and Dinka with subtitles. 1 hr. 40 No MPAA rating (violence)

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 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.

Polina *** A dancer accepted into the Bolshoi Ballet impulsively moves with her boyfriend to France to join a brilliant choreographer (Juliette Binoche). It's a pretty little fairy tale about what it means to be more than pretty and is almost too gorgeous for its own good. In Russian and French with subtitles. 1 hr. 44 PG - W.S.

Rebel in the Rye ** What's revealed about the early years of ultra reclusive author J.D. Salinger (Nicholas Hoult) in this movie, written and directed by Danny Strong and based largely on Kenneth Slawenski's biography, poses some interesting questions but doesn't live up to the power of the mystery around the man itself. 1 hr. 46 PG-13 (sexual references, violence) - W.S.

Red Trees (Not previewed) Marina Willer directs a filmic essay about her father's journey, including his status as a member of one of the 12 Jewish families to survive the Nazi occupation of Prague during World War II. 1 hr. 27 No MPAA rating

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.

Stronger *** When a man (Jake Gyllenhaal) suffers the loss of his legs at the Boston Marathon terror bombing, his fiercely determined girlfriend (Tatiana Maslany) helps him become the hero the city wants him to be. Unusual spin on familiar themes, with top-notch performances by the two leads. Based on a true story, directed by David Gordon Green. 1 hr. 56 R (language, sexuality) - G.T.

The Tiger Hunter (Not previewed) In 1970s Chicago, a young Indian immigrant strives to succeed to impress his father and prospective girlfriend back home. With the help of misfit friends, he fulfills his ambitious in unexpected ways. 1 hr. 34 No MPAA rating

Trip to Spain *** The third movie featuring actor-comedian friends Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan taunting each other throughout a restaurant and sightseeing 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.

Viceroy's House **1/2 Hugh Bonneville is Lord Louis Mountbatten, who as the last viceroy of India is entrusted to end British control in 1947 and partition the nation to create Pakistan, at the same time that violence between Muslims and Hindus escalated. The true story is more affecting than the fiction of this drama. 1 hr. 46 No MPAA rating (limited language, riots) - W.S

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.

Wetlands (Not previewed) A disgraced Philadelphia police officer joins the Atlantic City police department as a way to reconnect with his estranged daughter. 1 hr. 38 No MPAA rating

The Wilde Wedding (Not previewed) John Malkovich and Glenn Close reunite - joined by Patrick Stewart - for this familial romp about a film actress (Close) about to marry husband No. 4 (Stewart) and the hijinks that ensue during her wedding weekend. Malkovich plays Close's ex, a great stage actor. 1 hr. 35 R (language, sexual content and drug use)

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.

Year by the Sea ** Karen Allen brings warmth and buoyancy to the predictable plot of a 60-ish empty-nester who takes off on a journey of self-discovery (to Cape Cod) after her husband neglects to tell her that they are moving from New York to Kansas. 2 hr. 2 No MPAA rating (brief strong language, adult situations) - W.S.