Movies: New and Noteworthy

Opening This Week

Bilal In this animated drama, a boy is kidnapped and taken to an evil land, where he eventually grows up to become a great warrior.

Winchester: The House that Ghosts Built An heiress to a firearms company (Helen Mirren) is haunted by the souls of those her family's wares killed.

Excellent (****)

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

Happy End Unfolding as a series of meticulously composed scenes held together with little or no exposition, this film is diffuse in its storytelling and serpentine in its construction. The Laurents are a multigenerational clan living in the French coastal city of Calais, and a sense of chilly, detached observation persists inside their home, where no tragedy seems capable of disrupting the family's routine. 1 hr. 47 R (language, sexuality) - W.S.

Lady Bird Funny, touching coming-of-age story about a Sacramento high school senior (Saoirse Ronan) who quarrels with her mother (Laurie Metcalf) about her determination to leave California for a more sophisticated life at an Eastern college. Written and directed with great affection, wisdom and skill by Greta Gerwig. With Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Beanie Feldstein. 1 hr. 33 R (language, sexuality) - G.T.

Very Good (***1/2)

Molly's Game Jessica Chastain stars in the true story of Molly Bloom, a world-class skier who ran a high-stakes illegal poker game for many years. With Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Michael Cera, and Kevin Costner. 2 hr. 20 R (language) - G.T.

Paddington 2 The family-friendly sequel to the 2014 film about a talking bear cub is a charmer from its first action-packed frames to its over-the-top jailhouse-musical scene during the end credits. Paddington 2 leans a little heavily on its simplistic message: There's good in everyone. Still, that's worth remembering during these divisive times. 1 hr. 43. PG - W.S.

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.

The Post The story of the Washington Post (and the New York Times) challenging a Nixon administration attempt in 1971 to block publication of the top-secret Pentagon Papers, which revealed that America's political leaders were pouring men and money into a Vietnam War they viewed as unwinnable. With Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep. 1 hr. 55 PG-13 - G.T.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri From writer-director Martin McDonagh, a timely if scabrous story about a small-town woman (Frances McDormand) taunting the cops (Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell) who have failed to solve her daughter's murder. Contains the brutal violence, savage humor, and surprising moments of warmth that make up McDonagh's unique voice, and good performances as well. With Peter Dinklage, Lucas Hedges and John Hawkes. 1 hr. 55 R (violence, language) - G.T.

Also on Screens

Call Me By Your Name *** Handsome production set in 1983 Italy, where a professor (Michael Stuhlbarg) is hosting a handsome student (Armie Hammer) who becomes involved with the professor's son (Timothee Chalamet). Sensitively told, coming-of-age story that is well-acted by Chalamet and Hammer. 2 hrs. 11 R (sex) - G.T.

Coco *** In Mexico, a fatherless boy crosses into the colorful land of the dead to learn more about his family, and to pursue his forbidden dream of being a musician. Steeped in the customs and rituals of the Day of the Dead celebration, which provide Pixar animators an opportunity to work with a new range of colors and visual ideas. The music is first-rate, as well, even if the story sometimes sputters. Not in a class with Pixar's best animation, but way better than Cars 3.Featuring the voice of Benjamin Bratt. 1 hr. 40 PG - G.T.

Darkest Hour *** Gary Oldman has great fun as Winston Churchill, and it's great fun to watch him play Britain's wartime prime minister, contending with political opposition while rallying his people and his king (Ben Mendelsohn) to the cause of opposing Germany in the face of the dire events at Dunkirk. 2 hrs. 5 PG-13 (language) - G.T.

Den of Thieves **1/2 Gang of efficient and highly motivated bank robbers is shadowed and surveilled by a mirror-image group of law-enforcement officers. A knowing knock-off of Michael Mann's 'Heat' that invites the audience to enjoy the way it riffs on Mann's classic, sort of a bro-movie version of a Sound of Music singalong. Some of the plotting also filches from another famous genre picture. Which one? We're never tell. Starring Gerard Butler, Pablo Schreiber and O'Shea Jackson Jr. 2 hrs. 0. R (violence) - G.T.

Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool**1/2 Based on the memoir of Peter Turner (Jamie Bell), an aspiring stage actor who had a brief affair with Hollywood star Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening). Offbeat romance with melancholoy tone, helped by first-rate performances from Bening and Bell, who has his most rewarding role since Billy Elliot. With Julie Walters, Vanessa Redgrave. 1 hr. 45 R (sex) - G.T.