In the last, waning days of World War II, a tiny Hungarian village celebrating a local wedding is thrown into a tizzy when two Jewish strangers show up at the train station. What looks like garden variety anti-Semitism slowly reveals itself to be the fear that Holocaust survivors are returning to claim family property, seized by greedy villagers after the local Jewish population was shipped off to concentration camps. This naturalistic looking, beautifully shot (in deeply shadowed black and white) postwar drama uses a slow-building tension and an expert ensemble cast to expose Europe's Dirty Little Secret.FULL REVIEW:Stark drama tackles postwar Europe’s Dirty Little Secret by Devin D. O’Leary (5/24/2018). 91 minutes Unrated. (Opens Friday 5/25)
This shot-in-New-Mexico neo-Western short stars Ama Zathura as a young Mexican woman who must fight for her life and freedom when murderous cowboys (Justin Reichert, Dominic Martinez) attempt to sell her like livestock. Director Antonio Marquez and several of the actors will be on hand for a post-film Q&A.45 minutes Unrated. (Opens Saturday 5/26)
The romantic thriller genre gets an indie film makeover courtesy of this engrossing British drama. While living on an isolated island, an intense young woman (Jessie Buckley) finds herself drawn to an enigmatic outsider (Johnny Flynn)—who may or may not be a serial killer. The setup sounds like a cliché, but the story's actually inspired by a real-life British tabloid story. First-time writer-director adds a lot of flair to the proceedings, and there's some dangerously good chemistry between the two leads (both young London stage vets).107 minutes R. (Opens Friday 5/25)
From the Broken Lizard comedy team (makers of Super Troopers and ... The Dukes of Hazzard, but we'll ignore that for now) comes this raucous 2005 laugher about a team of determined drinkers that travels to Oktoberfest in Germany. There, they uncover a centuries-old secret competition, the Olympics of beer guzzling. And these boys aren't leaving until the crown rests in American hands. Boobies and substance abuse--how can you go wrong?110 minutes R. (Opens Thursday 5/31)
Steve Carell gives good voice to this CGI toon about a scheming supervillain plotting to steal the moon. When a nerdy rival (Jason Segel) usurps some of his villainous thunder, our main bad dude adopts a trio of cute orphan girls as part of his evil plan. Of course, the twist in the tale is he turns out to be a fine father. The film is in danger of becoming terminally cute, but it's saved by some genuinely sweet characterization, plenty of funny jokes and a bunch of scene-stealing sidekicks who look like little yellow jelly beans. Part of "Illumination Week." (That's the company that made it.)95 minutes PG. (Opens Friday 5/25)
The French animators who gave us Despicable Me return with another imaginative effort. Of course, screenwriters scribble madly to flesh out Dr. Seuss' slim ecological fable. Fans can debate these additions to their heart's content. At the end of the day, the tale of a young lad (Ed Helms) trying to get rich quick by denuding a forest while being harangued by a "mystical and slightly annoying guardian of the forest" (Danny DeVito) is a solid one. Part of "Illumination Week." (That's the company that made it.)94 minutes PG. (Opens Friday 5/25)
You can't go wrong with this nostalgic 1978 musical featuring John Travolta in a leather jacket and—ultimately—Olivia Newton-John in leather as well. Feel free to sing along to "There Are Worse Things I Could Do."110 minutes PG-13. (Sunday 5/27)
Juliette Binoche (hey, it's either her or Isabelle Huppert) stars in this romantic sorta-comedy for noted French director Claire Denis (Chocolat, I Can't Sleep, Beau Travail, White Material). She plays an unhappily divorced artist navigating the pitfalls of midlife dating. It's light, loose and romantic—but underneath the surface is some pointed, painful commentary on how men treat women and how women treat themselves. 96 minutes Unrated. (Opens Friday 5/25)
This feature-length film, set within a series of "dreamscapes," takes viewers through a 13-part narrative set in the Mountain West and Southwest. The mixture of experimental and documentary filmmaking, music video and silent film comes from Denver-based artist/musician/writer/poet/filmmaker Adrian H. Molina and writer/herbalist/Afrofuturist Sheree Brown. 60 minutes Unrated. (Opens Sunday 5/27)
In this manic, animated comedy, a New York City terrier named Max regularly invites his animal friends to hang out at his place while their owners are away at work. Max's happy life is interrupted one day, though, when his owner adopts a stray mutt whom Max instantly dislikes. The slim story is borrowed from any number of Warner Bros. cartoons in which evil dogcatchers chase innocent animals around the city. But the characters are funny and engaging. Part of "Illumination Week." (That's the company that made it.)90 minutes PG. (Opens Friday 5/25)
When a fast-talking, showbiz-loving koala finds his once-glorious theater threatened with foreclosure, he comes up with the idea of hosting an amateur singing competition. Although "American Idol" would seem like slight inspiration for a family film, the script conjures up quite a bit of sympathy for its anthropomorphic pigs, hedgehogs, gorillas and mice. Amid the comedy hijinks and the rather impressive songs, we get a lot of compelling backstory, telling us what brings each of these animalistic contestants to this particular grab at glory. Part of "Illumination Week." (That's the company that made it.)108 minutes PG. (Opens Friday 5/25)
Here we are treated to the first solo (so to speak) origin story for a Star Wars character. Alden Ehrenreich (Stoker) stars as the cocky young flyboy Han Solo, meeting his future copilot Chewbacca and acquiring the Millennium Falcon from suave gambler Lando Calrissian (a perfectly cast Donald Glover). This tries to explain a lot of things that didn't really need explaining and can't possibly be all things to all fans—nevertheless, its an entertaining romp full of energy and action.135 minutes PG-13. (Opens Thursday 5/24)
Marvel Studios folds together characters from just about every comic book franchise it's got for one giant-sized, free-for-all brawl. When power-mad alien conquerer Thanos (Josh Brolin) tries to unite the six Infinity Gems, The Avengers, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy must join forces to stop him from using them to wipe out half the life in the universe. Anything you can say about this counts as a spoiler. It's certainly not the best entry point for the Marvel Cinematic, relying on 10 years of backstory and setup. But it is a surprising, satisfying and shockingly dark capper to this second phase of the MCU.149 minutes PG-13.
Three teenage girls make a pact to lose their virginity on prom night in what is essentially a reworking of every teen sex comedy since Porky's. However, by concentrating on the panicked parents (Leslie Mann, John Cena, Ike Barinholtz) scouring the town to prevent their daughters' deflowering, the film finds a fresh outlet for the raunchy outlandishness. There's all the usual sex, drugs and booze on display, but it's aimed sharply at the hypocritical (and mostly misplaced) Puritanism of the adults in the room. 102 minutes R.
Everybody loves a movie about sassy old ladies! … Especially other old ladies. … Well, mostly just other old ladies. Here, an A-list group of seniors (Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen) reads 50 Shades of Grey at its monthly book club meeting, inspiring several comic sexual shenanigans. Relax, ladies, it's a terrible, terrible book. PG-13.
For whatever contrived reasons, a mother with two children can't contact the police or get help when violent home invaders break into her "impenetrable" high-tech house and take her kids hostage. So she's got to go all Liam Neeson on their asses. Gabriel Union (Bring it On, Almost Christmas) stars, James McTeigue (V for Vendetta, Ninja Assassin) directs.88 minutes PG-13.
Foul-mouthed (and frequently ultraviolent) vigilante Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) returns for another R-rated outing. This time around, stung by tragedy, our anti-hero decides he needs a family. He fast-tracks it by "adopting" a hot-headed young mutant kid (Julian Dennison from Hunt for the Wilderpeople), who is being hunted down by a pissed-off cyborg from the future (Josh Brolin). The plot is much less important than the wacky asides and rude jokes, which are amped up even from the 2016 original.FULL REVIEW:The Merc With a Mouth comes again by Devin D. O’Leary (5/17/2018). 119 minutes R.
Armando Iannucci (creator of such biting political satires as In the Loop and "Veep") transplants his trademark style to 1950s Russia in this unexpected black comedy. Terrifying autocratic Soviet leader Joseph Stalin has died, leaving a coterie of greedy, amoral and generally incompetent ministers to squabble like kindergartners over the future of their country. Among the ensemble cast are Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, Michael Palin and Jason Isaacs—none of whom seem remotely Russian. But that's not the point. Iannucci instead revels in the beautifully vulgar dialogues between frenemies and the idea that petty bureaucrats never change—no matter time or place.FULL REVIEW:Stalin meets slapstick in brutally funny political satire by Devin D. O’Leary (3/29/2018). 107 minutes R.
A woman (Rachel Weisz) returns to her orthodox Jewish community in London after being shunned for her sexual preferences—but soon finds herself attracted to a childhood friend (Rachel McAdams). Sebastián Lelio (Gloria, A Fantastic Woman) directs his first English language effort with this melancholy romantic drama about faith and sexuality.114 minutes R.
Amy Schumer stars in this romantic comedy about an ordinary, insecure woman who conks her head in spin class and suddenly develops the self-confidence of the most beautiful woman on Earth—even though she's still ordinary looking. It's all about, you know, how appearances don't matter. Multigenerational supermodels Emily Ratajkowski, Naomi Campbell and Lauren Hutton are there to drive home the point.110 minutes PG-13.
When her husband abruptly asks for a divorce, a middle-aged wife and mother (Melissa McCarthy) goes all Old School, reenrolling in college to complete her degree. There, her out-of-date hijinks become a source of much embarrassment for her daughter.105 minutes PG-13.
Anna Faris ("Mom") and Spanglish comedy star Eugenio Derbez (Instructions Not Included, How to Be a Latin Lover) star in this gender-flipped remake of the 1987 Goldie Hawn/Kurt Russell rom-com. This time around she's the poor, mistreated contractor and he's the spoiled rich yacht owner suffering from amnesia. That counts as clever in today's Hollywood.112 minutes PG-13.
For some reason avant-garde German filmmaker Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire, Until the End of the World) directs this documentary about Pope Francis traveling the world delivering his "message of hope." In English, Italian, French, Spanish and German with English subtitles.96 minutes Unrated.
Normally comedic actor John Krasinski ("The Office") directs this emotional, eerily minimalist horror thriller (and stars in it alongside wife Emily Blunt). After the Earth is invaded and nearly decimated by creatures that hunt by sound, a tight-knit family is forced to live on the run (and in total silence). When mom gets pregnant, the terrified parents' (rather justified) overprotectiveness is tested to the limit.90 minutes PG-13.
Rampage, the plotless 1986 arcade game in which a giant lizard, a giant wolf and a giant ape smash up various generic cityscapes, gets the feature film treatment. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (who starred in 2005's videogamer Doom) headlines as a primatologist (sure, why not?) who befriends an extraordinarily intelligent ape who grows to giant size, meets up with some other oversized monsters and destroys stuff.107 minutes PG-13.
Much-admired Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg gets the biopic treatment with this look into her life and work. Not just a tribute to the energetic life of one tough, smart, even-tempered lady, the documentary also stands as a monument to her legacy of precedent-setting legal writing.98 minutes PG.
On the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, a young horse trainer and wannabe rodeo star suffers a life-threatening, career-ending brain injury. And yet, economic realities and the macho attitude of friends pressure him to get back in the saddle (literally and figuratively). This intimate, brutally honest drama is remarkable for the painful empathy it displays for its characters—and for the fact that star Brady Jandreau is a non-actor playing a role that is at least 60 percent inspired by his own true-life brush with death.See also:An interview with the writer-director and the star of The Rider by Devin D. O’Leary (5/10/2018). 104 minutes R.
Max, a "macho" Rottweiler police dog is ordered to go undercover as a primped-up show dog at a prestigious dog show in order to avert a disastrous crime. … Yes, this live-action comedy—from the director who gave us Home Alone 3, Big Momma's House and Beverly Hills Chihuahua—is basically Miss Congeniality with a canine instead of Sandra Bullock. Ludacris, Alan Cumming, Stanley Tucci, Gabriel Iglesias, Shaquille O'Neal and RuPaul provide various dog voices.92 minutes PG.
Charlize Theron stars in this comedy-drama for director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody (who teamed up on Juno and Young Adult). Theron is a desperately overworked mother of three who is gifted a night nanny by her newly rich brother. Initially, she's hesitant to accept the extravagance, but she soon forms a unique bond with the thoughtful, surprising and seemingly too good to be true young nanny named Tully (Mackenzie Davis, "Halt and Catch Fire").94 minutes R.
Prince T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns to the high-tech African nation of Wakanda to ascend its throne in the wake of his father's death (as seen in Captain America: Civil War). But a usurper to the throne (Michael B. Jordan) and a bad guy with a sonic claw (Andy Serkis) stand in his way. Good thing our hero's got a vibranium-powered suit of armor to fall back on. Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed) directs this magnificently designed, Shakespearian-style superhero epic.FULL REVIEW:Afrofuturist epic takes superheroics in a fresh direction by Devin D. O’Leary (2/22/2018). 134 minutes PG-13.
Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Jesse Plemons, Michael C. Hall, Chelsea Peretti and Kyle Chandler star in this fast and funny action comedy (from the makers of Horrible Bosses) about a group of friends who meet regularly for an adult game night. One evening the host decides to up the excitement with a murder mystery party. Unfortunately things turn unexpectedly real and the host is kidnapped, leaving his guests to figure out what the heck is going on. 100 minutes R.
Only grown-up hipster nerds play board games now, so this belated sequel to 1995's Jumanji finds a bunch of teens discovering an ancient, mystical video game version of Jumanji. Naturally, they try it out and get transported inside the game itself. The joke this time around is that they end up in the "bodies" of some stereotypical video game avatars (played by Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan) and must use their three allotted lives to escape. 119 minutes PG-13.
It's been 10 years since the events of the original Pacific Rim (cinematically speaking). Now it's up to Jake Pentecost (John Boyega from Star Wars: The Last Jedi), son of hard-nosed hero Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba, who ate it in the original), to save the world with his giant robot. Seems a mysterious (and presumably evil) organization has reopened the Breach to the giant, city-smashing Kaiju and has stolen a robot Jaeger of their own. Longtime writer Stephen S. DeKnight ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Spartacus: Blood and Sand") takes over for director Guillermo del Toro.111 minutes PG-13.
These days "faith-based" filmmakers have a lot more luck with modern-day religious movies (see for example: I Can Only Imagine). But if you're one of those old-fashioned Christians who prefer their religious films unabashedly Biblical, here's a straight-up New Testament costume drama. James Faulkner ("Game of Thrones") is the man, the myth, the epistle-writer himself. Jim Caviezel (Jesus in The Passion of the Christ) is herein demoted to Luke the Evangelist.108 minutes PG-13.
I know you don't remember, but there was, in fact, a 2011 film called Gnomeo & Juliet. It was financed by Disney, but made through Canada's Starz Animation. It had songs by Elton John (old ones, but still). Ozzy Osbourne played a ceramic deer. This is the sequel. Johnny Depp provides the voice for Sherlock Gnomes, a ceramic detective hired to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a bunch of garden gnomes. Chiwitel Ejiofor is his sidekick, Gnome Watson. (Huh, guess they ran out of puns.)86 minutes PG.
The popular video game character last embodied by Angelina Jolie gets a reboot in this "prequel" starring Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Danish Girl). Here, the young Lara Croft goes looking for her fortune-hunting father after he disappears on a mysterious, trap-filled island. Vikander is a talented actress, and the action is far more grounded in this version—but is that what we really want out of a Tomb Raider movie?118 minutes PG-13.
Paula Patton and Omar Epps star in this throwback exploitation thriller (from Codeblack Films) about an urban couple who head out to the mountains for a romantic weekend and end up accosted by a vicious biker gang. Roger Corman (The Wild Angels, Devil's Angels, Naked Angels, Angels Die Hard) would be proud.96 minutes R.
A group of young people (Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane among them) get caught up in a seemingly harmless game of Truth or Dare—only to find that someone, or something, is punishing those who refuse to tell a lie or refuse the dare. A dose of PG-13 supernatural horror for the teens from the studio that gave us the Insidious, Paranormal Activity and Sinister franchises.100 minutes PG-13.
Madeleine L'Engle's beloved junior sci-fi novel gets adapted by the fine folks at Disney and director Ava DuVernay (Selma). Newcomer Storm Reid stars as Meg, a stubborn 13-year-old whose astrophysicist father (Chris Pine) is sucked into a kind of "tesseract" and disappears somewhere into the vast cosmos. With the help of her brainy brother, a new schoolmate and a trio of wise supernatural beings (played by Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling), our underage heroine embarks on a trippy quest through time and space. It certainly looks shiny, with plenty of glitter and sequins, but the story comes across as pedantic and preachy when it should be filled with awe and wonder.109 minutes PG.