COMING THIS WEEK
By Gary Thompson
Blade Runner 2049. In the dystopian future, a policeman (Ryan Gosling) seeks another (Harrison Ford) to solve a riddle whose answer has enormous consequences for their post-apocalyptic world. R
The Mountain Between Us. A small plane crashes, leaving two strangers (Kate Winslet, Idris Elba) in a desperate fight for survival In a snowy mountain wilderness. PG-13
Lucky. Near the end of his life, an old man (the late, great Harry Dean Stanton) searches for meaning in his small desert town. Not rated
Also Opening This WeekThe Force Documentary examines the Oakland, Calif., Police Department as it struggles to confront federal demands for reform, the popular uprising after events in Ferguson, Mo., and a scandal within the department.
Loving Vincent An animated film of 65,000 frames created by 125 specially trained painters explores the complicated life and controversial death of Vincent van Gogh.
My Little Pony: The Movie The Mane 6 battle a dark force to save Ponyville from desruction in this animated family feature.
Two Trains Runnin' Documentary details the search by two groups of young men, during the summer of 1964 in Mississippi, for blue musicians Son House and Skip James.
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.
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.
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 ScreensAmerican 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.
American Made *** Tom Cruise stars in this fun but heavily fictionalized portrait of Barry Seal, a drug smuggler who found himself at the intersection of drug cartels and CIA adventurism in Central and South America in the 1970s and 1980s. With Sarah Wright and Caleb Landry Jones. Directed by Doug Liman. 1 hr. 55 R (violence) - G.T.
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.
Battle of the Sexes **1/2 Women's tennis champ Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and aging male star Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) square off in a publicity stunt tennis match that ends up proving King's point about the value of female athletes. Some fun moments, but aside from the two leads, is given to caricature and some on-the-nose dialogue. With Andrea Riseborough, Sarah Silverman, and Bill Pullman. 2 hrs. 1 PG-13 (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.
Flatliners (Not previewed) Medical students (including Ellen Page, Nina Dobrev, and Diego Luna) start to experience spooky, terrifying things after playing a game where they revive each other from near-death experiences. Based on the 1990 Joel Schumacher thriller. 1 hr. 48 PG-13 (violence, terror, sexual content, language, thematic material, some drug references)
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.
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.
Let's Play Two *** Footage of two sold-out Pearl Jam concerts at Wrigley Field last year is interwoven with a recounting of the Chicago Cubs' travails and the enduring fandom of band leader Eddie Vedder. Philadelphia sports fans might wonder who wants to hear more about the endlessly romanticized suffering in another city, but for the subset of humans who are both Cubs fans and are really into Pearl Jam, this will probably be the greatest movie ever. 2 hr. 0 No MPAA rating - D.D.
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.
Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes For Lizards *** As a boy in the Canary Islands, Manolo Blahnik - the fashion icon whose career has spanned London in the 1960s to New York in the 1980s to global fame in the 2000s - molded foil into slippers for reptiles. The documentary lets us spend time with a true artist in an albeit loosely chronological but otherwise haphazard structure. 1 hr. 29 No MPAA rating - W.S.
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.
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.
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 Unknown Girl *** Adèle Haenel, with subtly and empathy, plays a smart, uncompromising young doctor in nearly every frame as she seeks the identity of a young woman found dead near her office, after not answering an after-hours doorbell. What she uncovers in her investigation are the deep layers of everyday apathy and injustice in and around the Belgian factory town she calls home. In French with subtitles. 1 hr. 46 No MPAA rating - W.S.
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
Victoria & Abdul *** Judi Dench stars as Queen Victoria, who late in life develops a rejuvenating friendship with an Indian servant (Ali Fazal) who teaches her about the customs of his native land, to her delight and to the consternation of her scandalized staff. With Eddie Izzard, Olivia Williams. Directed by Stephen Frears. 1 hr. 52 PG-13 (language) - 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.
Welcome to Willits (Not previewed) A group of teens make the bad decision of setting up their campsite on the property of drug-addled pot farmer, who is convinced he's being attacked by aliens. Dolph Lundgren stars in this comedy-slasher hybrid. 1 hr. 22 No MPAA rating
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.
Woodshock **1/2 Kirsten Dunst plays Theresa, an introspective and withdrawn and constantly sad woman who works at a pot dispensary, helps her ill mother commit suicide, and uses marijuana as both catalyst and salve. This first movie from Rodarte fashion house founders Kate and Laura Mulleavy would be easy to write off as pretentious weirdness for the sake of weirdness, but there's something universal about Theresa. 1 hr. 40 R (strong language, violence, pervasive drug use, nudity) - W.S.