Joel Schumacher (D.C. Cab, St. Elmo's Fire, Batman & Robin) directed this controversial, blackly comic 1993 thriller about a unemployed, tie-wearing defense worker (Michael Douglas) who goes nuts one day and embarks on a violent odyssey across modern-day Los Angeles. It's sort of like Taxi Driver crossed with the knee-jerk talk radio screeds of the early '90s. Or the conservative, middle-aged white guy predecessor to Fight Club.112 minutes R. (Opens Saturday 6/16)
John Travolta gobs on the makeup to play infamous mob boss John Gotti in this long-delayed, made-for-TV-movie-esque biopic for director Kevin Connolly (better known as Eric on "Entourage"). Go watch The Godfather for the fifteeth time instead.105 minutes R. (Opens Thursday 6/14)
After 14 years Pixar returns to the Parr family, the clan of superpowered folks who fought off enforced retirement. Now it seems superheroes are legal again. But the family is thrown for a loop when mom Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) is recruited by a high-profile, Avengers-style team, leaving dad Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) to play Mr. Mom to his superpowered kids—including wonder baby Jack-Jack.118 minutes PG-13. (Opens Thursday 6/14)
The year is 1425 and, in the midst of the Hundred Years' War, an 8-year-old is growing up on a sheep farm in rural France, unaware of her future destiny. Oddly enough this film—based on the stage play by Charles Peguy—is a musical filled with electro-rock tunes and head-banging kids. Directed to the point of self-parody by French provocateur Bruno Dumont (Humanité, Twentynine Palms, Slack Bay) this bizarre outing ain't your typical historical biopic. In French with English subtitles.115 minutes Unrated. (Opens Friday 6/15)
Halfway between a high-altitude sports documentary and a Koyaanisqatsi-style image-and-music meditation, this arty film is directed by Australian filmmaker Jennifer Peedom and narrated by Willem Dafoe. Helicopter shots of towering mountain peaks and slow-motion footage of snowdrifts cascading off vertiginous peaks are punctuated by the Australian Symphony Orchestra's loudest timpanis and Dafoe's pseudo-poetic voiceover. ("The mountains we climb are not just make of rock and ice … but dreams and desires.") Occasionally we see some white guys scaling these mountaintops. The footage (shot by noted mountaineer and photographer Renan Ozturk) is frequently arresting. But the lack of information and purpose makes this outdoor doc rather vague.FULL REVIEW:This mountain is certainly high, but not very deep by Devin D. O’Leary (6/14/2018). 74 minutes PG. (Opens Friday 6/15)
Easily the oddest film to come out of Japan's legendary Studio Ghibli, this animated feature from 1994 concentrates on a magical, shape-shifting family of raccoon dogs (tanuki) who try to prevent their forest home from being destroyed by urban development. This is accomplished primarily through the use of the most traditional tanuki power: magical testicles. Yup. Magical testicles. But seriously, it's great. Part of the 2018 Studio Ghibli Fest. Shown in English dubbed and English subtitled versions.119 minutes PG. (Opens Sunday 6/17)
Like a grisly supernatural reimagining of Lady Bird, this horror drama finds an angst-ridden teenage girl (Nicole Muñoz from "Defiance") awakening something in the woods when she naively performs an occult ritual to evoke an ancient witch to kill her mother (Laurie Holden from "The Walking Dead").88 minutes R. (Opens Friday 6/15)
In this Indian romance, an unexpected encounter leads a young cartoonist (Sudheer Babu Posani), who despises actors, to fall in love with a cute actress (Aditi Rao Hydari). In Telugu with English subtitles.135 minutes Unrated. (Opens Thursday 6/14)
In this manic, animated comedy from 2016, a New York City terrier named Max (voiced by the now blacklisted Louis C.K.) 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. 90 minutes PG. (Opens Wednesday 6/20)
Evidently we're down to the "S"es on remakes. Here, the 1972 blaxploitation classic from Gordon Parks Jr. gets a modern-day update. (We got Shaft back in 2000.) Brought to life by noted hip hop music video guru "Director X," this one transfers the story of slick cocaine dealer Youngblood Priest (singer/dancer/actor Travis Jackson) from Harlem to Atlanta. Our antihero wants to make one last score before retiring to Montenegro with his two girlfriends—but we all know how that sort of thing works out. Go watch Scarface for the fifteenth time instead.116 minutes R. (Opens Thursday 6/14)
A small group of former classmates organize an elaborate, annual game of tag—the same one they've been playing since they were kids. The game is threatened, though, when the as-yet-untagged champion threatens to quit after 30 years. Among our overly competitive adults are Jake Johnson, Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Hannibal Burress and Jeremy Renner. Weirdly enough, this raunchy comedy is based on a true story.100 minutes R. (Opens Thursday 6/14)
Shailene Woodley (the Divergent movies) and Sam Claflin (the Hunger Games movies) star in this "true" survival tale about a young couple who fall in love and decide to go on the adventure of a lifetime sailing across the Pacific Ocean. They quickly drift into "one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history" and struggle, wounded and without resources, to make their way to Hawaii. 120 minutes PG-13.
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.
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.
Simon Baker from "The Mentalist" writes, directs and stars in this sporting drama based on Tim Winton's award-winning Australian novel. Two teenage surfers, hungry for discovery, form an unlikely friendship with a mysterious older adventurer who pushes them to take risks that will have a lasting impact on their lives. Think Point Break, but with fewer bank robberies.115 minutes Unrated.
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.
Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, Hardcore) writes and directs this ham-handed melodrama-cum-thriller which remixes the "angry white man" vibe of his previous films to odd effect. Ethan Hawke is a conflicted, drunken priest at a historic church in upstate New York. More of a guide to tourists than a spiritual advisor to his shrinking congregation, he jumps at the chance to help a young parishioner (Amanda Seyfried, Mamma Mia!) with a troubled husband. Turns out the hubby's a gung-ho environmental activist who wants very much to blow something up. Weirdly, our priest listens to all the internet-derived global warming statistics and decides maybe he should blow something up. Conveniently, the person paying for his church's upcoming 200th anniversary celebration owns one of the most polluting companies in America. Also, the priest is dying of cancer. Subtle this ain't.113 minutes R.
An overly emotional wife, mother and artist (Toni Collette, The Sixth Sense) dreams of getting out from under the thumb of her unstable, domineering mother. But when mom finally dies, our protagonist finds her family (distracted teenage son, seemingly autistic daughter and confused hubby Gabriel Bryne) plagued by a string of horrific tragedies. Haunted by the ghosts of Sirk, Bergman, Tarkovsky, Greenaway and Lynch, first-time filmmaker Ari Aster displays a strong visual eye and a flair for the shocking in this art house thriller—which slowly transmogrifies from dark domestic drama to pitch-black, cosmic horror.127 minutes R.
In riot-torn, crime-riddled, near-future Los Angeles, Jodie Foster (well, Jodie Foster playing a crazy, hard-ass nurse) runs a secret emergency hospital for criminals. Sterling K. Brown, Dave Bautista, Jeff Goldblum, Sophia Boutella, Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto and Charlie Day are among the oddball cast of this blood-and-bullet-soaked exercise in over-the-top, '80s-style action.94 minutes R.
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.
Through their inspiring personal histories encompassing over 3000 years of experience, 40 people share their secrets and insights into living a long, meaningful life. Everyone interviewed in this likable documentary is between the ages of 75 and 100—and is damn proud of it.72 minutes Unrated.
An eccentric, timid teacher (Isabelle Huppert, who—by law—must appear in every French film) is disrespected by colleagues and students alike. That is until she's struck by lightning and wakes up as a much different person. Loosely inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale, this oddball farce doesn't exploit its source material quite enough—but Huppert seems to be having fun. In French with English subtitles.95 minutes Unrated.
In this "side-quel" to the previous Ocean's trilogy, Danny Ocean's sister (Sandra Bullock) gets out of jail and immediately plots an impossibly complex heist to steal a fortune in diamonds from the Met Gala. Naturally, this involves recruiting a team of (female) thieves, cons and scam artists to pull off. Kate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Helena Bonham Carter, Dakota Fanning and Rihanna are among the star-studded cast.110 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.
Elisabeth Moss, Saoirse Ronan and Annette Bening headline this drama based on the Chekhov play. An aging actress (Bening) pays a visit to her brother's lakeside estate. She brings with her a successful and charismatic novelist (Corey Stoll from Ant-Man). He proceeds to seduce and reject an innocent neighbor girl (Ronan), much to the delight of his bitter host. Don't worry, there are plenty of other messy love affairs to go around. Although the script pares away much of Chekhov's weighty dialogue for modern audiences, the whole thing remains a stodgy and stagebound affair. 98 minutes
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.
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.FULL REVIEW:The now-divisive franchise has fun with a propulsive prequel by Devin D. O’Leary (5/31/2018). 135 minutes PG-13.
In this gleefully violent action flick, a technophobic grease monkey (Logan Marshall-Green, Spider-Man: Homecoming) and his wife are attacked and left for dead in near future America. Our hero is left widowed and paralyzed. But an experimental computer chip implant from a Steve Jobs-like genius turns him into a RoboCop/Terminator-style killing machine. This low-budget, but highly bonkers '80s-style throwback comes to us from the director of Saw and Insidious.95 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.
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.
John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Bobby Cannavale, Gina Rodriquez and Peyton Manning provide the voices for this CGI toon about a kindhearted, flower-sniffing bull, who is mistaken for a dangerous beast and taken from his idyllic home. Based on the popular 1936 picture book by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson.106 minutes PG.
This drama relates the "inspiring and unknown true story" behind the beloved, chart-topping song that I've totally never heard of. If you're a big listener of Christian rock radio, maybe you have. The "unknown" story behind the 1999 song is that it was written by the band MercyMe's lead vocalist, Bart Millard, after his father died. First time actor J. Michael Finley stars as Bart. Dennis Quaid stars as his dad. Who dies. The film is directed by Andrew and Jon Erwin, who gave us previous Jesus-based flicks October Baby, Woodlawn and Moms' Night Out.110 minutes PG.
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.
In this prefab, uplifting, "based in a true story" sporting drama, the members of a high school girls' volleyball team in small town Iowa City try to cope with the sudden loss of their star player and team leader, Caroline Found, in a deadly moped crash. (Spoiler alert: They rally up and win the state championship anyway.) Helen Hunt stars as the inspirational coach.99 minutes PG.
Ernest Cline's retro-minded sci-fi novel comes to life with no less than Steven Spielberg in the director's chair. In near future America, people spend most of their time living in the virtual reality world of The Oasis. But when the reclusive creator of the game dies, he leaves behind a series of clues. The first player to solve them will gain control of The Oasis. Now it's up to one impoverished teen (Tye Sheradan) and his pals to crack it. This computer-generated Willy Wonka riff was made by nerdy suburban white kids obsessed with '80s films, music and video games for nerdy suburban white kids obsessed with '80s films, music and video games. As such, I'm definitely catching what they're pitching. But even I'm forced to admit this is less a well-reasoned story and more a checklist of groovy pop culture references.140 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.
A solid 17 years after its first cult hit, the Broken Lizard comedy troupe returns with this rude, drug-laced sequel. This time around our gang of undisciplined state troopers are involved in a border dispute between the US and Canada, which finds them patrolling the streets of a formerly peaceable (now antagonistic) Canadian town and occasionally throwing down with Mounties. Rob Lowe, Brian Cox, Fred Savage, Tyler Labine, Will Sasso and Lynda Carter (again) are among the guest stars.100 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.