British humorist Roald Dahl's beloved bedtime fable about a kindly giant who refuses to eat children comes to life courtesy of director Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Melissa Mathison (who teamed up on a little film called E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial). Oscar winner Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) gives voice to the titular (CGI-rendered) Big Friendly Giant. 117 minutes PG. (Opens Thursday 6/30)
Infamous Italian horror maestro Lucio Fulci (Zombie, City of the Living Dead, The Beyond) was close to the end of his 40-year career when he created this crazed "greatest hits" package. Fulci writes, directs and stars as a notorious horror film director who's being stalked by a crazed psychiatrist bent on killing people in the same manner as the filmmaker's gory death scenes. This winkingly self-referential, blood-soaked slice of cinema has been meticulously digitally restored by Grindhouse Releasing. 93 minutes R. (Opens Friday 7/1)
Piero Messina, assistant director on Paolo Sorrentino's The Great Beauty, shot this beautiful psychological story about a mother (Academy Award-winner Juliette Binoche) who meets her son's fiancée (Lou de Laage) for the first time at a villa in Tuscany. But where is her son, and what secrets are these two women hiding from one another? In French and Italian with English subtitles. 100 minutes Unrated. (Opens Friday 6/1)
Alexander Skarsgard ("True Blood") is our Tarzan and Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) is our Jane, returned to Africa after several years to investigate the suspicious goings-on at a mining encampment in the jungle. David Yates (director of the last four Harry Potter movies) helms this original story, loosely based on the books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. 109 minutes PG-13. (Opens Thursday 6/30)
Ewan McGregor, Naomie Harris and Stellan Skarsgard star in this adaptation of the John le Carré spy thriller written by Hossein Amini (The Wings of the Dove, Drive, Snow White and the Huntsman) and directed by Susanna White (Nanny McPhee Returns). In it a troubled married couple visiting Marrakesh find themselves lured into a Russian gangster's plans to defect. Soon everybody's stuck between the Russian Mafia and the British Secret Service--neither of which can be trusted. 107 minutes R. (Opens Thursday 6/30)
Writer-director-editor-actor-whatever Neil Breen, creator of the mind-boggling conspiracy "thriller" Fateful Findings, returns with another no-budget exercise in cult film befuddlement. In this one an artificial intelligence from the future visits Earth to eliminate all humans who have been harmful to other humans. Only Neil Breen can save the day. Fans of The Room are advised to pay attention. 90 minutes Unrated. (Opens Thursday 6/7)
The increasingly timely series of sci-fi-esque thrillers returns for a third outing. This time around it seems a United States Senator (Elizabeth Mitchell) is the front-runner to become the US President. Her first order of business? Eliminate the Purge, which allows Americans to commit any crime they want for one day each year. Naturally, this makes her a major target of anarchy-loving killers during this year's bloody Purge. Can Sergeant Barnes (Frank Grillo, a survivor from The Purge: Anarchy) keep her alive? 105 minutes R. (Opens Thursday 6/30)
The daughter of a cruelly religious Scottish farmer comes of age in the early 1900s in this meditative period drama from British writer-director Terence Davies (The Neon Bible, The House of Mirth, The Deep Blue Sea). Based on the1932 novel by Lewis Grassic Gibbon. 135 minutes R. (Opens Friday 6/1)
This exceedingly corporeal, existential comedy stars Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood) as a suicidal loser stuck on a deserted island. Hope arrives in the form of a dead body (Harry Potter himself, Danielle Radcliffe), which washes up on the shore. Our protagonist befriends the flatulent corpse, which proves incredibly useful as a jet ski, a firestarter, a grappling hook and other impossible, gas-powered tools. What starts out as a ridiculously gross joke continues to be one--but with an added layer of Spike Jonze-style surrealism. Think Cast Away crossed with Weekend At Bernie's with a dose of Being John Malkovich... then give up, because you still can't imagine where this oddly touching tale of love, friendship, mortality and farts is going. 95 minutes R. (Opens Friday 6/1)
This bizarre and controversial documentary follows New Zealand journalist/filmmaker David Farrier as he stumbles across a mysterious "endurance tickling competition" online and is soon sucked into a very strange--and highly litigious--subculture. Thanks to a number of unexpected twists and turns, Farrier's investigation gets progressively darker and weirder, highlighting the dangers of anonymity in the internet age and the lengths to which some people will go to justify their fetishistic desires. 92 minutes R. (Opens Tuesday 6/5)
The traditional crafts of crochet and knitting have apparently become one of the hottest movements in modern art. Starting in sheep-filled Iceland, this globe-hopping documentary follows several international artists and knitters as they bring yarn to the streets and into people's lives. 76 minutes Unrated. (Opens Tuesday 6/5)
Disney's re-jiggered, live-action Alice in Wonderland returns in another eye-boggling fantasy outing produced by (but not directed by) Tim Burton. This time around, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is forced to travel back in time to save the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) and defeat the evil machinations of Time himself (Sacha Baron Cohen). 113 minutes PG.
Century Rio Fri-Wed 1:15, 4:15, 7:15, 10:15; Thu call for showtimes
Marvel steps in to show DC how superhero conflict is done. This smartly written action flick bristles with contemporary moral quandaries. And yet it's fast, fun and light on its feet. Seems that the near disastrous events of the last Avengers movie have made many question the whole idea of superpowered heroics. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), for example, thinks heroes should now be regulated by the U.N. Captain America (Chris Evans), on the other hand, thinks otherwise. What follows is a head-to-head battle that forces a lot of familiar faces (and a few new ones) to choose sides. 146 minutes PG-13.
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Big, muscular Dwayne Johnson and tiny, motormouthed Kevin Hart are a couple of old high school pals reunited through Facebook for one of them buddy action-comedy adventures. Hart is a mild-mannered accountant and Johnson is an international superspy. Hijinks ensue. 114 minutes PG-13.
Director James Wan and actors Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson return for this follow-up to the cheap chiller hit of 2013. Based on (but incredibly hyped up from) the case files of real-life ghost hunters Lorraine and Ed Warren, this supernatural drama takes us to North London to investigate the infamous Enfield poltergeist incident. You know the drill: Floating kids, loud bumps in the night, spinning crosses, creepy voices and the occasional demonic nun. 133 minutes R.
This is the inspirational true story of a Welsh barmaid who talked her friends and customers into investing their hard-earned money into breeding a race horse. Like all uplifting sports documetaries, the outcome of this one is fairly predictable. But filmmaker Louise Osmond (Deep Water, The Blitz: London's Longest Night) uses interviews, archival footage and dramatic recreations to enliven her underdog narrative. 85 minutes PG.
Thirteen years after we went looking for Nemo, the CGI toonsters at Pixar take us on a quest to find Dory. Actually, Dory (the bubble-headed blue tang voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) is looking for her long-lost parents. Naturally, there's a lesson about family to be learned along the way. Albert Brooks, Ed O'Neill, Diane Keaton, Idris Elba and Bill Hader provide vocal support. FULL REVIEW:Simple but satisfying sequel follows its own motto and just keeps swimming by Devin D. O’Leary (6/23/2016). 97 minutes PG.
Matthew McConaughey and Gugu Mbatha-Raw star in this based-on-a-true-story historical drama about a poor farmer from Mississippi who leads a group of rebels against the Confederate army. This tale of racial liberation is certainly earnest, but the limited budget and pious tone make this more of a classroom lesson than a Civil War epic. 139 minutes R.
It's been 20 years since those national monument-destroying space aliens got destoryed by an Apple laptop computer virus. Now it seems they're back--and rather embarassed for having gone out like such punks. They've brought some even more humongous spaceships with them this time, capable of causing even more CGI destruction. It's up to a new generation of freedom fighters (Liam Hemsworth, Jessie T. Usher among them) as well as a few familiar faces (Bill Pullman, Brent Spiner, Vivica A. Fox) to kick alien ass once again. 120 minutes PG-13.
Idiosyncratic Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth) spins this absurdist comedy about a future dystopia in which romantic relationships are required by law. Lose your partner and you have 45 days to find a new one--or you'll be transformed into the lower animal of your choice. Colin Farrell plays a sad-sack singleton shipped off to a creepy, bureaucratic seaside hotel to pair up or get turned into a lobster. The humor (if you can label it that) is purely deadpan, but the eerie production design and gung-ho cast (including Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, Léa Seydoux and Ben Whishaw) go with the flow. A distinctly odd and strikingly romantic (or anti-romantic, depending on how you look at it) flight of fancy. FULL REVIEW:Absurdist romance makes monkeys out of us all by Devin D. O’Leary (6/2/2016). 119 minutes R.
Erudite American filmmaker Whit Stillman (Metropolitan, The Last Days of Disco, Damsels in Distress) finally finds a kinship in British author Jane Austen. Here, he adapts a long-lost and rather scandalous Austen novella about a gold-digging widow named Lady Susan (Kate Beckinsale, at her best) who shows up on the doorstep of her in-laws and proceeds to romance her sister-in-law's eligible young brother (Xavier Samuel)--that is until Lady Susan's teenaged daughter gets kicked out of boarding school. Now our sensibly unromantic protagonist has got two get herself and her daughter properly wed. The cast (also encompassing Chloë Sevigny, Stephen Fry and Morfydd Clark) is in tip-top shape and the script is hilariously cynical. FULL REVIEW:Jane Austen anti-romance adds the wit of a modern sophisticate by Devin D. O’Leary (5/19/2016). 92 minutes PG.
Jojo Moyes' 10-hankie tearjerker of a novel heads to the big screen. Emilia Clarke (significantly less Dragon Queeny here than on "Game of Thrones") plays a small-town English girl who forms an unlikely (and romantic, of course) bond with the recently paralyzed man she's hired to take care of (Sam Claflin from The Hunger Games and Snow White and the Huntsman). 110 minutes PG-13.
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The gang of gonzo magicians-turned-criminals led by Jesse Eisenberg returns for more unlawful shenanigans. This time around they're being blackmailed by a tech genius into pulling off their most impossible heist yet. Daniel Radcliffe and Lizzy Caplan join the already stuffed cast (Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine). 129 minutes PG-13.
Blake Lively (of "Gossip Girl") stars in this minimalist horror thriller for Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra (House of Wax, Orphan, Non-Stop). She plays a young surfer who is attacked and stalked by a great white shark a mere 200 yards off shore--touching off a contest of wills in which our harried heroine must marshal all of her strength and skills in order to survive. 87 minutes PG-13.
Producer Michael Bay's CGI TMNT sequel finds the quartet joining forces with sporty vigilante Casey Jones (Stephen Amell, uncontent to simply hero it up on "Arrow") and fighting off the combined threat of Bebop, Rocksteady and the dreaded alien invader Kraang. 112 minutes PG-13.
In the third video game adaptation of the summer (after Ratchet & Clank and Angry Birds), a peaceable kingdom stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces its greatest threat: an invasion of orc warriors. But are these creatures seeking destruction or refuge? It's up to one brave fighter (Travis Fimmel from "Vikings") to figure it out. There are a handful of real, live actors here, but the majority of this film's characters and background are pure CGI. David Bowie offspring Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) directs, based on the wildly popular MMO. 123 minutes PG-13.
The X-Men timeline (rebooted all to hell by 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past) heads into the 1980s with a handful of familiar faces (James McAvoy's Professor X, Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique) and a bunch of unfamiliar ones (Sophie Turner's Jean Grey, Alexandra Shipp's Storm). This time around an immortal mutant from ancient Egypt (The Force Awakens' Oscar Isaac) is back and trying to wipe out all of humanity. There's plenty of action to be had, but the script feels far too cliché-filled and retrograde explodey in today's post-Civil War MCU world. 144 minutes PG-13.
The gang (Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Anthony Anderson, Eve, Sean Patrick Thomas, Jazsmin Lewis) is all back in this fourth film in the Barbershop series (if you count 2005's Beauty Shop). This time around the shop is co-ed, and everybody's fighting against neighborhood violence. But it's pretty much just people standing around a barber shop bagging on one another. 112 minutes PG-13.
Batman and Superman duke it out in a grimdark setting that involves lots of glowering, real estate-flattening explosions and concrete-colored costumes. The action is frenetic, the production design is faithful to its comic book roots and there's plenty of fan service--but the film just doesn't differentiate its heroes enough for the long-awaited confrontation to feel particularly justified. Batman and Superman are now both dark, brooding, murderous vigilantes feared by polite society. This crowded, lengthy film wastes a lot of energy setting up future Justice League films, but doesn't spend enough time being fun or escapist or particularly entertaining. FULL REVIEW:Superheroes battle to see who can cause the biggest explosion in unnecessarily dour franchise filler by Devin D. O’Leary (3/24/2016). 153 minutes PG-13.
Melissa McCarthy ("Mike & Molly," Bridesmaids) stars as a famed business mogul/financial guru who is sent to prison after she's caught for insider trading. When she gets out of prison, she's forced to work off her community service by helping a Girl Scouts-esque organization with their annual baked goods-based fundraiser. Naturally, she seizes on the opportunity to rebuild her financial empire and get revenge on everyone who screwed her over--one brownie at a time. 99 minutes R.
DreamWorks Animation mashes together E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Lilo & Stitch in the hopes that wayward alien mascot Oh (voiced by Jim Parsons from "The Big Bang Theory") will become the next toy/video game/t-shirt-generating machine. It's safe to say he won't. The story, about a misfit alien who befriends a lonely Earth girl (Rihanna), feels awfully recycled. If you're an adult who doesn't find Parsons' voice grating, you might survive a screening with your kids. 94 minutes PG.
In the latest 3-D CGI cartoon from DreamWorks (Shrek, Kung Fu Panda), a dorky young Viking lad (voiced by She's Out of My League's Jay Baruchel) adopts a baby dragon, much to the chagrin of his dragon-hunting family. Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill and Christopher Mintz-Plasse provide additional voices. A smart script and some awesome visuals make this a treat for all ages. 98 minutes PG.
This sequel to 2012's Snow White and the Huntsman dumps lead princess Kristen Stewart and replaces her with most of the plot from Disney's Frozen (or Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," if you're a traditionalist). Seems that jealousy-prone queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) and her icy exiled sister Freya (Emily Blunt) are at war. Naturally, Chris Hemsworth's hunky huntsman is caught in the middle. As in the previous outing, the costumes and sets are visually stunning, but the convoluted fairy tale mash-up of a storyline is better suited for ABC's corny "Once Upon a Time." 114 minutes PG-13.
Jodie Foster directs this hot-button thriller about a distraught investor (Jack O'Connell from Angelina Jolie's Unbroken) who hijacks a financial TV show at gunpoint in order to get back at the host (George Clooney) whose flawed advice drove him into bankruptcy. Unfortunately for all involved, he ends up accidentally uncovering a conspiracy in the process. 98 minutes R.
Having successfully excised the hard-partying fraternity next door, husband and wife Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne find a hard-partying sorority taking up residence next. ... I'm thinking maybe a hard-partying youth hostel for Neighbors 3. 92 minutes R.
Ryan Gosling is a down-on-his luck single father/private eye and Russell Crowe is the muscleman-for-hire who teams up with him (reluctantly, of course) to solve the murder of a porn star in 1970s Los Angeles. The setting is evocative, and writer-director Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Last Action Hero, Iron Man 3) knows his way around buddy action comedies. It's painfully funny and brutally violent at times. Gosling and Crowe are clearly having a ball. But the Chinatown-esque plot is so convoluted (something about porn films, catalytic converters and the Department of Justice) that it's hard to completely swallow. R.
A plucky country rabbit (Ginnifer Goodwin) dreams of becoming a tough-as-nails cop in the teeming city of Zootopia. Unfortunately, the place is run by predators, who relegate the barrier-busting bunny to meter maid duty. But when a series of mysterious disappearances rocks the city, she teams with a self-serving con man of a fox (Jason Bateman) to crack the case. This funny animal take on sun-dappled L.A. noir manages to tackle some hot-button issues (racism, sexism) while still being a colorful, entertaining Disney romp. FULL REVIEW:Disney turns an animal utopia on its ear in this savvy, sociological crime caper by Devin D. O’Leary (3/3/2016). 108 minutes PG.