Ratings by the Motion Picture Association of America are: (G) for general audiences; (PG) parental guidance urged because of material possibly unsuitable for children; (PG-13) parents are strongly cautioned to give guidance for attendance of children younger than 13; (R) restricted, younger than 17 admitted only with parent or adult guardian; (NC-17) no one 17 and younger admitted.
(Critics’ Choices capsule reviews are by Kenneth Turan (K.Tu.), Justin Chang (J.C.) and other reviewers. Openings compiled by Kevin Crust.)
OPENING IN HOLLYWOOD THIS WEEK
“Abe & Phil’s Last Poker Game” — Comedy-drama with Martin Landau, Paul Sorvino, Maria Dizzia. Written and directed by Howard Weiner.
“Azad” — Futuristic indie thriller. Directed by Farasat Khan.
“Blur Circle” — Drama with Cora Vander Broek, Matthew Brumlow, Ryan Artzberger. Written by Brian Elliott & Christopher J. Hansen. Directed by Hansen.
“The Commuter” — An insurance salesman stumbles upon a deadly conspiracy during his evening train ride home. With Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Jonathan Banks, Elizabeth McGovern, Sam Neill. Written by Byron Willinger & Philip de Blasi and Ryan Engle. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra.
“In Between” — Drama. Written and directed by Maysaloun Hamoud.
“The Insult” — Lebanese drama with Adel Karam and Kamel El Basha. Directed by Ziad Doueiri.
“Paddington 2” — The popular bear and the Brown family search Windsor Gardens for a book thief. With Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Hugh Grant, Brendan Gleeson and the voices of Ben Whishaw, Imelda Staunton. Written by Paul King, Simon Farnaby; based on the children’s stories by Michael Bond. Directed by King.
“Proud Mary” — Taraji P. Henson stars as a Boston hit woman. Written by John Stuart Newman & Christian Swegal and Steven Antin. Directed by Babak Najafi.
“Saturday Church” — Musical drama with Luka Kain, Margot Bingham, Regina Taylor. Written and directed by Damon Cardasis.
“Vazante” — Brazilian drama. Written by Daniela Thomas & Beto Amaral. Directed by Thomas.
“What Lies Upstream” — Political documentary. Written and directed by Cullen Hoback.
“Call Me By Your Name” — Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer give superb performances as two young men falling in love in the northern Italian countryside in this rapturously beautiful collaboration between director Luca Guadagnino and screenwriter James Ivory. (J.C.) R.
“The Disaster Artist” — James Franco’s shrewd, affectionate and frequently hilarious comedy re-creates and deconstructs the making of Tommy Wiseau’s cult landmark “The Room,” with Franco giving a fully committed, even haunted performance as Wiseau. (J.C.) R
“The Florida Project” — Absorbing us in the day-to-day rhythms of life at a dumpy Florida motel complex, home to a wildly spirited 6-year-old girl named Moonee (the startling Brooklynn Prince), Sean Baker (“Tangerine”) goes to a place few of us know and emerges with a masterpiece of empathy and imagination. (J.C.) R.
“Happy End” — Another guilty-as-sin bourgeois family is at the heart of Austrian writer-director Michael Haneke’s diabolically playful new movie, which borrows narrative and thematic elements from his earlier films (“Cache,” “Amour”) and pulls them in a thoughtful, blisteringly funny new direction. (J.C.) R.
“Hostiles” — Written and directed by Scott Cooper and powered by a dynamic trio of interwoven performances by Christian Bale, Wes Studi and Rosamund Pike, this latest example of the Western revival grabs you by the throat and holds on for the duration. (K.Tu.) R.
“Lady Bird” — As warm as it is smart, and it is very smart, this portrait of a high school senior year marks actor-screenwriter Greta Gerwig’s superb debut as a solo director and yet another astonishing performance by star Saoirse Ronan. (K.Tu.) R.
“Mudbound” — Carey Mulligan, Jason Mitchell, Mary J. Blige and Rob Morgan are part of a superb ensemble in writer-director Dee Rees’ sweeping epic of World War II-era Mississippi, the rare film that grants its white and black characters the same moral and dramatic weight. (J.C.) R.
“1945” — A lean, unadorned parable about guilt and the nature and consequences of evil. A quietly furious Hungarian film that puts a particular time and place under a microscope, revealing hidden fault lines and differences that have been ineffectively papered over. (K.Tu.) NR.
“The Post” — Director Steven Spielberg and stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks combine for a thriller cum civics lesson showing the value of newspapers hanging together and holding government accountable for deception. (K.Tu.) PG-13.
“The Shape of Water” — Magical, thrilling and romantic to the core, a sensual and fantastical “Beauty and the Beast” tale with moral overtones, Guillermo del Toro’s film plays by all the rules and none of them, going its own way with fierce abandon. (K.Tu.) R.
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” — Building and improving on “The Force Awakens,” writer-director Rian Johnson’s grand space opera is the first flat-out terrific “Star Wars” movie since “The Empire Strikes Back,” full of dramatic echoes of George Lucas’ original trilogy but also rich in surprise and imagination. (J.C.) PG-13.
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” — Uncommon writer-director Martin McDonagh and a splendid cast top-lined by Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell present a savage film, even a dangerous one, the blackest take-no-prisoners farce in quite some time. (K.Tu.) R.
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