OPENING THIS WEEK
2.5 chiles - THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE 2
Rated PG. 96 minutes. Screens in 3D and 2D at Regal Stadium 14. Screens in 2D only at Regal Santa Fe 6. See review.
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT
The title of this movie suggests a biopic about Bruce Springsteen, but what it offers instead is an homage to the Boss, coming in the form of a teenager of Pakistani descent (Viveik Kalra) living in 1987 England who discovers Springsteen’s music. Journalist Sarfraz Manzoor co-wrote the script based on his own experience, and on how this music taught him to follow his dreams and talk to his domineering dad (Kulvinder Ghir). Co-written and directed by Gurinder Chadha (Bend it Like Beckham). Rated PG-13. 117 minutes. Regal Stadium 14 and Violet Crown. (Not reviewed)
A FAITHFUL MAN
Real-life married couple Louis Garrel (who also directs) and Laetitia Casta play Abel and Marianne, whose relationship falls apart when Marianne informs Abel that she is pregnant by another man — and that she’d like Abel to move out so she can marry Paul, the father of her unborn child. After eight years, the two enter each other’s orbit once more. Paul has passed away, but his sister Ève (Lily-Rose Depp) is hoping to land Abel before he and Marianne can reconnect. Not rated. 75 minutes. In French with subtitles. The Screen. (Not reviewed)
47 METERS DOWN: UNCAGED
This sort-of sequel to the 2017 horror film, in which Mandy Moore and Claire Holt played sisters stuck in a shark cage as great whites drew near, has scrapped the stars of the original. This time, four scuba-diving teenagers (led by characters played by Sistine Rose Stallone and Nia Long) are led to a submerged Aztec city, where human sacrifices once took place. Soon, they realize they’ve been served up on the altar for human-eating sharks and must try to survive. Rated PG-13. 89 minutes. Regal Stadium 14. (Not reviewed)
The raunchy high-school comedy comes to middle school with this film that casts Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, and Brady Noon as a trio of friends who aim to rise above their status of the dorkiest kids in school. In an effort to get to a party that will elevate their cool quotient, they run afoul of some teenage girls (Molly Gordon and Midori Francis, among others), accidentally co-opt some illegal drugs, and get into untold hijinks. Rated R. 89 minutes. Regal Santa Fe 6 and Regal Stadium 14. (Not reviewed)
MIKE WALLACE IS HERE
This documentary looks at the life and career of Mike Wallace, the journalist famed for his no-pulled-punches interviews throughout a seven-decade career that included a long-standing, prominent position as a founding correspondent on 60 Minutes. Filmmaker Avi Belkin probes his daring interview style alongside his troubled personal life, while also exploring the evolution of the journalism industry and the public’s opinion of the news during his life and after his 2012 death. Rated PG-13. 90 minutes. Center for Contemporary Arts. (Not reviewed)
Based on a book by author Roberto Saviano (Gomorrah), who also co-wrote the script, this crime movie by director Claudio Giovannesi centers on a heavily armed teenager named Nicola (Francesco di Napoli), who experiences his adolescence working for mob bosses in Naples. Nicola initially enters this world hoping to make the local mafia stop extorting protection money from his mother’s dry-cleaning business, but soon he and his friends rise to minor power. With that rise, inevitably, comes a fall. Not rated. 105 minutes. In Neapolitan with subtitles. Center for Contemporary Arts. (Not reviewed)
READY OR NOT
A young bride named Grace (Samara Weaving) prepares for the special day of marrying her husband (Adam Brody) and joining his wealthy family, but nothing could have prepared her for his family’s tradition of playing hide and seek with the bride. She quickly surmises that the game involves the family hunting her with the intent to kill, and she turns the tables, making it a blood-soaked free-for-all with everyone fighting to survive. Opens Wednesday, Aug. 21. Rated R. 95 minutes. Regal Stadium 14. (Not reviewed)
THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING
Cate Blanchett, Rosario Dawson, Geena Davis, Natalie Portman, Meryl Streep, Marisa Tomei, Reese Witherspoon, and many more women in this documentary offer narration and firsthand accounts of their experiences of gender disparity in Hollywood. The film addresses concerns over representation and the challenges facing women in the industry — and imagines how impactful it would be if equality were realized. Not rated. 96 minutes. Jean Cocteau Cinema. (Not reviewed)
WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE
The bestselling book by Maria Semple finally comes to the big screen courtesy of co-writer and director Richard Linklater. Cate Blanchett stars as Bernadette Fox, an architect who sets her career aside to focus on motherhood. Her restlessness leads to some comic results (at the expense of a neighbor played by Kristen Wiig), and she decides to recommit to her craft, taking on a mysterious project in Antarctica. Billy Crudup and Emma Nelson play Bernadette’s husband and daughter, respectively. Rated PG-13. 130 minutes. Regal Stadium 14 and Violet Crown. (Not reviewed)
NOW IN THEATERS
2 chiles - THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN
In most movies, an expression like “sometimes I hate who I am” is to be expected from the lips of a troubled teen. But in this overheated (yet undercooked) melodrama, those thoughts belong to a dog, voiced by Kevin Costner, who articulates the frustration that his character can’t communicate with the struggling racecar driver (Denny Swift, played by Milo Ventimiglia) who is his caregiver. We first meet aging golden retriever Enzo when he’s sick and dying. The rest of the movie proceeds as a series of canine flashbacks, beginning with the puppy farm where Enzo was picked out and including the racetrack where Denny skillfully maneuvers his vehicle on a wet track. Through all Denny’s triumphs and struggles, Enzo is by his side: falling in love; marriage (to Amanda Seyfried); the arrival of a baby; a crippling illness; and a bitter family dispute. But while Ventimiglia and Seyfried are appealing actors, the story’s human element just isn’t that interesting. And despite its mild charms, it feels like another nail in the coffin of Costner’s career. Rated PG. 109 minutes. Regal Stadium 14 and Violet Crown. (Pat Padua/The Washington Post)
In 2013, linebacker Brian Banks signed with the Atlanta Falcons. It was the final step in a long comeback for Banks; while he was a star player in high school in 2002, he was falsely accused of rape and spent the next decade in prison or on strict parole. Aldis Hodge plays Banks in this film adaptation of his ordeal, and Greg Kinnear plays his lawyer, Justin Brooks. Rated PG-13. 99 minutes. Regal Stadium 14. (Not reviewed)
DORA AND THE LOST CITY OF GOLD
The animated TV series Dora the Explorer has, for eight seasons, been a bilingual cash cow for Nickelodeon. Spinning the adventures of an intrepid 6-year-old Latina girl into a feature-length film could have been a way for Dora — known for going on quests and solving problems with little more than a monkey, a talking backpack, and a map — to seek out a new frontier. This movie picks up the show’s premise: Dora (Madelyn Miranda) lives in a jungle with her cousin Diego (Malachi Barton), and her parents (Michael Peña and Eva Longoria), professors who have been searching for an ancient Incan city. Fast-forward 10 years. Dora’s parents are ready to head to Peru for the final search, and our now 16-year-old heroine (Isabela Moner) is sent to live with Diego in Los Angeles. Dora and Diego (Jeff Wahlberg) are kidnapped, and it seems that bad guys want to use Dora to track her parents, so it’s back to the jungle they go. Dora’s oblivious cheerfulness makes her wonderfully out of place in the big-city high school, but Lost City can’t seem to make up its mind: Is it an homage to the animated show? A straight-faced live-action version? An affectionate mockery? The movie’s tone is all over the map. Rated PG. 102 minutes. Regal Santa Fe 6, Regal Stadium 14, and Violet Crown. (Kristen Page-Kirby/The Washington Post)
Lulu Wang wrote and directed this dramedy about a young Chinese-American woman named Billi (Awkwafina) who learns that her grandmother (Zhao Shuzhen) is dying of cancer and only has a few months to live. In accordance with her family’s Chinese cultural beliefs, her whole family refuses to inform the matriarch of this diagnosis, instead flying everyone to Changchun, China, to stage a fake wedding for Billi’s cousin (Chen Han), with the understanding that it’s one last gathering around grandma — provided a conflicted Billi doesn’t spill the beans. Rated PG. 100 minutes. Violet Crown. (Not reviewed)
2.5 chiles - FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW
A spin-off of the popular action franchise The Fast and the Furious featuring two of its recurring characters — Dwayne Johnson’s lawman Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham’s mercenary Deckard Shaw — this film is far from prestige fare, yet more often than not, it hits that summer sweet spot between the silly and the satisfying. It’s also pretty funny and watchable, in just enough measure to counteract its unabashedly far-fetched plot, which pairs Hobbs, a straight-arrow agent on loan to the CIA, with Shaw, a disgraced former member of the British military, to apprehend an MI6 agent (Vanessa Kirby) who is believed to have absconded with a “programmable bioweapon” code-named Snowflake. This is complicated by the fact that a cybernetically enhanced supervillain named Brixton (Idris Elba) also wants the weapon. But really, Hobbs & Shaw is about the action, which takes place in the context of constant trash-talking between its mismatched heroes as they go about their globe-trotting business. It works best if you don’t just come in blind, but if you lower all your expectations. Rated PG-13. 135 minutes. Regal Santa Fe 6, Regal Stadium 14, and Violet Crown. (Michael O’Sullivan/The Washington Post)
Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, and Elisabeth Moss play three women in 1970s Hell’s Kitchen whose husbands are serving time for a low-rent robbery. Unhappy with the money they’re receiving from the men’s mob bosses, they decide to strike out on their own, offering genuine protection to local businesses and, eventually, taking over even more territory. Adapted by writer-director Andrea Berloff from a comic book series by Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle, this reality-adjacent version of the period plays the brutality both for vicarious, vengeful pleasure and few mildly amusing laughs. Berloff, who makes her directorial debut here, has assembled an A-1 cast and establishes a believably grungy sense of atmosphere, but her scenes have a choppy, perfunctory quality that fights the story at every turn. Tonally, too, The Kitchen is all over the place: although there are genuine moments of humor, they’re at odds with the increasingly ghastly measures taken by the three protagonists, as they succumb to power hunger, paranoia, and overkill. The visceral excitement has been left offscreen in a film that portrays the diseased thrill of violence, but never truly interrogates it. Rated R. 102 minutes. Regal Santa Fe 6, Regal Stadium 14. (Ann Hornaday/The Washington Post)
2 chiles - THE LION KING
There is considerable technical prowess at work in this remake of the 1994 animated film The Lion King, which replaces the cartoony visuals of the original with ultra-realistic CGI animation. The animals are so realistic, and the environments so stunning, that it often looks like a nature documentary. Unfortunately, the animals look so real that they struggle to convey any emotion or personality. The sad moments completely miss, as does much of the humor (only Seth Rogen’s Pumbaa, of “Hakuna Matata” fame, ekes out laughs). The story centers on a young lion named Simba (voiced by JD McCrary as a cub and Donald Glover as an adult) who must face the evil Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) after Scar kills his father (James Earl Jones) and exiles him. Nearly every beat of this plot replicates the 1994 film, and many shots from the original movie are recreated exactly. Coupled with the less-evocative characters, this makes for a boring experience, if one that’s beautiful to look at. Beyoncé, John Oliver, and Alfre Woodard also lend their voices. Rated PG. 118 minutes. Screens in 3D and 2D at Regal Stadium 14, and Violet Crown. Screens in 2D only at Regal Santa Fe 6. (Robert Ker)
In 1985, sailor Tracy Edwards left behind a role as cook on charter boats to compete in the Whitbread Round the World Race. Noting the lack of women onboard her boat and those of her competitors, she put together an all-female crew to compete in 1989, hurdling gender bias in sailing culture and becoming the first woman to receive the Yachtsman of the Year trophy in the process. This documentary by Alex Holmes utilizes footage of the event and invites Edwards and much of her crew to tell their stories. Rated PG. 97 minutes. The Screen and Violet Crown. (Not reviewed)
3.5 chiles - ONCE UPON A TIME … IN HOLLYWOOD
The most nuanced and arguably the most accomplished movie in Quentin Tarantino’s oeuvre, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood finds the filmmaker utilizing exceptional art direction and sketching crisscrossing stories across 1969-era Tinseltown. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Rick Dalton, a past-his-prime, alcoholic actor who once starred in a TV Western and spirals through decreasingly attractive job opportunities in search of his mojo. The eternally cool Brad Pitt plays Cliff Booth, his stunt double, a man content as a sidekick close in orbit to Dalton’s stardom. This delightful depiction of male friendship finds minor conflict when Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and her husband Roman Polanski (Rafal Zawierucha) move in next door to Dalton, drawing the cult led by Charles Manson (Damon Herriman) near. The movie doesn’t serve this particular story so much as evoke an evolving Hollywood, which is shifting slowly from its Golden Era to something more shaggy and wild, while losing little of its allure to dreamers and grifters alike. Unlike many Tarantino films, there is no heist to score, no villain to vanquish, and the relaxed nature of the plot suits the director, who is allowed to invest himself deeply in the individual scenes and subvert expectations at every turn. Rated R. 161 minutes. Regal Santa Fe 6, Regal Stadium 14, and Violet Crown. (Robert Ker)
3 chiles - PAVAROTTI
When Luciano Pavarotti died of pancreatic cancer in 2007, many opera lovers had mixed feelings. The tenor was only 71 and it hadn’t been so long since he was the reigning star of his generation, still giving magnificent performances of his core repertoire into the 1990s. And he had always seemed to have a great lust for life, happy to indulge his love of food and, when he wanted to, his love of people, crowds, and all the adulation that came with being the most celebrated tenor since Caruso. The best thing about Ron Howard’s polished new documentary is its compassion for the man, who emerges frail but not hollow, merely human and not the pathetic clown he so often seemed in his last decade. Using previously unseen video clips made by Pavarotti’s second wife, Nicoletta, and interviews with his first wife and their adult daughters, Howard encourages viewers to give Pavarotti the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his love life. It was always messy, as his first wife knew, and yet she seems to have forgiven him. Despite omissions, Pavarotti is still an occasion for reflection, and the picture it presents of the tenor is sufficiently rounded that those new to his artistry will likely be beguiled. Rated PG-13. 114 minutes. Center for Contemporary Arts. (Philip Kennicott/The Washington Post)
SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK
This adaption of the children’s horror book series centers on a small town in 1968 and the kids who live there. One young girl in particular (Kathleen Pollard) has an axe to grind with the town. She writes a book of scary stories that soon manifest themselves as creepy scarecrows, bloated hospital patients, and similarly sinister forces, which become unleashed on the locals. Rated PG-13. 111 minutes. Regal Stadium 14. (Not reviewed)
2.5 chiles - SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME
After Iron Man (spoiler alert!) died at the end of Avengers: Endgame, Marvel Studios had a massive void to fill. They filled it by making Spider-Man (Tom Holland) into Iron Man, with all of the technology, global threats, and relationships with Stark Industries’ Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Nick Fury (Samuel Jackson) that such a distinction implies. In the process, the film strays too far from the web-slinging, New York-living, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, ending up in a mess of half-baked ideas. Peter Parker (Spidey’s alter-ego) is sent on a school trip to Europe, where the villain Mysterio (a note-perfect Jake Gyllenhaal) shows up among a series of grandiose illusions — some of which are great fun. The jokes are hit and (mostly) miss, but the subplot with Parker and Mary Jane (Zendaya) offers the sweetest romantic core of any Marvel movie. They should have focused on these basic elements — cramming everything into a massive, multi-movie Marvel universe is starting to feel more like a curse than a blessing. Rated PG-13. 129 minutes. Screens in 2D only at Violet Crown. (Robert Ker)
3 chiles - THAT PÄRT FEELING: THE UNIVERSE OF ARVO PÄRT
Most of what we learn from Paul Hegeman’s sweet, understated documentary comes from the music itself. The music is the work of the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. If you’re familiar with his music, you know you’re in for a treat. But chances are you’re not familiar with the reclusive Mr. Pärt himself. And on that front, this film has very little to offer. When we’re not hearing the music (and sometimes when we are) we’re listening to an assortment of conductors, soloists, choreographers, and other admirers as they try to describe what Pärt’s music means to them. But music is the language in which Pärt is comfortable explaining himself, it’s the world he lives in, it’s the faith he follows. And as far as this film is concerned, if you want to know about the world’s most performed living composer, his music is where you’ll find it. Not rated. 75 minutes. In English, Dutch, German, and French with subtitles. The Screen. (Jonathan Richards)
3.5 chiles - TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM
The appeal of this stirring documentary is the pleasure it affords in the spending of a couple of hours in the world of the great Toni Morrison, who died on Aug. 5. It’s always interesting to learn the background story of a major cultural icon — how, from where she started, did she reach such lofty heights in the literary world? Director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders takes us on that journey. Morrison’s vision originates determinedly and unapologetically from the black experience. It’s informed by her perspective as a woman
battling sexism in society and literature, and it’s driven by her love of language and the power of words. The Pieces I Am features extensive interviews with a number of Morrison’s friends and colleagues. But by far the most commanding presence here is the 88-year-old Nobel Prize-winner herself, an imposing figure who sits comfortably and forthrightly facing the camera, recalling the circumstances and trajectory of her career, and laughing a lot. Sometimes the laughter comes from pure enjoyment, and sometimes it’s driven by her wry reflection on what fools we mortals be. Rated PG-13. 120 minutes. Center for Contemporary Arts. (Jonathan Richards)
PERFORMANCE AND OTHER SCREENINGS
Jean Cocteau Cinema
▼ 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17: I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians.
▼ 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17: Enter the Dragon (1973).
▼ 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20: New Mexico School for the Arts Movie Night presents Royal Wedding (1951).
Regal Stadium 14
▼ Mission Mangal.
▼ 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18: Old Boyfriends (1979) with director Joan Tewkesbury in person.
▼ 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21: One Child Nation sneak peek presented by the National Organization for Women.
▼ 11 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 18: Measure for Measure from the Royal Shakespeare Company.
▼ 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18: A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969).
▼ 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22: Into the Canyon with an introduction by author Hampton Sides and Q&A with director Peter McBride, followed by reception and book signing from Collected Works Bookstore.
▼ 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22: Being There (1979). Presented as part of the Auteurs Film Series spotlighting director Hal Ashby in the month of August.