The Zookeeper’s Wife, directed by Niki Caro (PG-13, 2 hours, 7 minutes) This is a well-intentioned Holocaust drama. It was designed to showcase the talents of its star Jessica Chastain at the expense of a more adventurous script that concerns Chastain’s character Antonina Zabinska, who with her husband Dr. Jan Zabinski (Johan Heldenbergh), lovingly transforms the Warsaw Zoo circa 1939 into a thriving and well-run attraction.
When Poland is invaded by the Germans, the couple must report to newly appointed Reich zoologist Lutz Heck (Daniel Bruhl). That’s when they start working with the Resistance in order to save not only the animals but many of the Polish Jews who are seeking sanctuary from the murderous invaders. Warning: cute animals are in peril
here. Based on the book by Diane Ackerman.
Bloodrunners (not rated, 1 hour, 35 minutes) Appropriate for late-night viewing in the company of a few beers, snacks, and friends who are easily amused, this low-budget horror film is set in 1933, just as prohibition is about to end and corrupt cops getting paid off by bootleggers are in the market for a new way to make big bucks. Then a speakeasy opens in town, run by — surprise! — vampires. Now the cops are stuck with having to do their actual jobs and protect the townspeople from losing enormous amounts of blood. With Ice-T, Michael McFadden; directed by Dan Lantz.
Alienate (not rated, 1 hour, 30 minutes) When airplanes start falling out of the sky and cell towers fail across the country, David, a guy who already has enough problems, what with his marriage ending, suspects Earth is undergoing an alien invasion. With Blake Webb, Jaclyn Hales, Keith Hottinger. Tatum Langton; directed by Michael Shumway.
Awakening the Zodiac (R, 1 hour, 40 minutes) A few taut thrills here and there lead to an ultimately disappointing horror effort that concerns a couple who’ve overcome myriad troubles in their journey to happiness and joyfully move into a nice house where, while unpacking, they discover a box they don’t recognize. It’s full of videotapes. They’re the property of the house’s former resident, the Zodiac killer, and possess an evil power all their own. With Shane West, Leslie Bibb, Kenneth Welsh; directed by Jonathan Wright.
Song to Song (R, 2 hours, 9 minutes) An unstructured, nearly indecipherable and marginally plotted dramatic comedy in which two couples — songwriters Faye (Rooney Mara) and BV (Ryan Gosling) and music bigwig Cook (Michael Fassbender) and waitress Rhonda (Natalie Portman) employ seduction and double-crosses in pursuit of fame and fortune. With Holly Hunter, Cate Blanchett; directed by Terrence Malick.
Drone (not rated, 1 hour, 31 minutes) A mild-mannered family guy whose job involves guiding drones on deadly covert missions around the world is suddenly discovered and cornered by a Pakistani businessman intent on revenge. With Patrick Sabongui, Sean Bean, Mary McCormack, Joel David Moore; directed by Jason Bourque.
Straw Dogs (R, 1 hour, 53 minutes) Criterion is releasing a Blu-ray disc of this controversial, highly regarded 1971 meditation on what it means to be a man; a mild-mannered mathematician (Dustin Hoffman) and his British wife (Susan George), seeking to escape the uproar of Vietnam-era U.S. chaos, move to the isolated Cornish town where she grew up. Then they start to have run-ins the antagonistic local bullies, a situation that escalates to the point that action must be taken. With Peter Vaughan, T.P. McKenna; directed by Sam Peckinpah.