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BAD MOMS

Par­ent­ing can be an emo­tional trial, be­tween the end­less lo­gis­tics, the con­stant ex­pec­ta­tions of per­fec­tion, and the damn­ing judg­ment of mom-and-pop peers. This com­edy by Jon Lu­cas and Scott Moore (writ­ers of The Han­gover) sticks a pin in the cult of par­ent­ing, cast­ing Mila Ku­nis as Amy, a mother who is stretched so thin that she fi­nally snaps. Along with two friends (Kathryn Hahn and Kris­ten Bell), she takes a walk on the wild side of moth­er­hood, com­plete with reck­less­ness and ex­ces­sive drink­ing. This dis­mis­sive be­hav­ior even­tu­ally puts her at odds with an up­tight PTA pres­i­dent (the al­ways-great Christina Ap­ple­gate). The movie’s an­tics can get ob­nox­ious here and there (Hahn’s character, a pro­mis­cu­ous sin­gle mom, lays it on thick in par­tic­u­lar), but it’s still a kick to watch an R-rated movie about figuring out how to be the best mother you can be. Ku­nis is ter­rific — she and the screen­play ground all of the naughty be­hav­ior with a sur­pris­ingly strong emo­tional core, which makes the whole movie work. Rated R. 101 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; Dream Catcher. (Robert Ker)

CAFÉ SO­CI­ETY

Woody Allen’s lat­est teems with themes, plots, and sub­plots dear to his phi­los­o­phy and some­times close to his life — and does so with the kind of easy­go­ing sto­ry­telling rhythms and deft wise­cracks that have be­come a trade­mark of his style at its best. Here we have a crazy, funny con­coc­tion of in­ter­re­lated sto­ries built around Bobby Dorf­man (Jesse Eisen­berg), a Brook­lyn kid who tries his luck in the dream fac­tory of Hol­ly­wood in the ‘30s and then returns to the real en­chanted city of New York. He falls in love with a pretty sec­re­tary, Von­nie (Kris­ten Ste­wart) and gets shown the Hol­ly­wood ropes by his Un­cle Phil (Steve Carell), a name­drop­ping super-agent. Back in the Big Ap­ple, he goes into the night­club busi­ness with his hood­lum brother Ben (Corey Stoll). There’s ro­mance, be­trayal, fam­ily, re­li­gion, mur­der, and fab­u­lous mu­sic, and it’s all seen through the peer­less lens of cin­e­matog­ra­pher Vit­to­rio Storaro. Rated PG-13. 96 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Jon­athan Richards)

CAP­TAIN FAN­TAS­TIC

Orig­i­nal­ity of premise can only do so much for wri­ter­di­rec­tor Matt Ross’ strained hymn to nat­u­ral liv­ing. Viggo Mortensen is Ben, a bearded pa­tri­arch who has taken his fam­ily off the grid and deep into the woods, where they kill deer with hunt­ing knives and eat the bloody, still-warm liver

as a rite of pas­sage. Mom is ab­sent, and we learn early on that she has just com­mit­ted sui­cide. Her fa­ther (Frank Lan­gella, not quite as vil­lain­ous as we first sus­pect) for­bids his son-in-law to at­tend the fu­neral, which only eggs him on, so the tribe (six kids, home-schooled and bril­liant) piles into the fam­ily bus and heads for Dad’s Palm Springs-ish es­tate (some­where in New Mex­ico). It’s épa­ter la bour­geoisie all the way, but none of it rings true. And ul­ti­mately, it turns out good old civ­i­liza­tion isn’t the worst thing af­ter all. Rated R. 118 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Jon­athan Richards)

EAT THAT QUES­TION: FRANK ZAPPA IN HIS OWN WORDS

Frank Zappa, ir­rev­er­ent mu­si­cian and band­leader, didn’t shy away from the tele­vi­sion cam­eras and used the medium to dis­pel no­tions of him as a dirty hip­pie, deny­ing that he did LSD and claim­ing to be an ide­o­log­i­cal con­ser­va­tive rather than an­ar­chist. What the controversial com­poser wanted to be known for was the work that re­flected his broad tastes and early in­ter­est in 20th-cen­tury com­po­si­tion. Thanks to Thorsten Schütte’s smart film, even the most de­voted fans of Zappa will learn some­thing new about the very se­ri­ous man who gave us the nov­elty hit “Val­ley Girl.” Rated R. 93 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas. (Bill Kohlhaase)

GHOST­BUSTERS

Those who ag­o­nized that this sum­mer’s all-fe­male Ghost­busters re­boot would bring shame upon the fran­chise can rest easy — or they can stay home and miss out on all the fun. Helmed by di­rec­tor Paul Feig, the film stars Abby (Melissa McCarthy) and Erin (Kris­ten Wiig) as feud­ing sci­en­tists who are even­tu­ally united by their mu­tual love for ghost hunt­ing. They’re joined by a cou­ple of rel­a­tive new­com­ers: the mad­cap Kate McKinnon as weirdo en­gi­neer Dr. Jil­lian Holtz­mann and Les­lie Jones as Patty, a brassy MTA worker with an en­cy­clo­pe­dic knowl­edge of New York his­tory. Chris Hemsworth amus­ingly fills in as the team’s brawny but dumb blond sec­re­tary, who is shame­lessly ob­jec­ti­fied by the en­tire squad. The first half crack­les with the cast’s elec­tric­ity, but too much CGI and mul­ti­lay­ered ac­tion el­e­ments weigh down the fi­nale. The jokes (of­ten seem­ingly at the ex­pense of the movie’s sex­ist de­trac­tors) are fast and fu­ri­ous, many of the scares are gen­uinely eerie, and it’s easy to sit back and en­joy the mind­less ad­ven­ture in time-hon­ored sum­mer-movie fash­ion. Rated PG-13. 116 min­utes. Screens in 2-D only at Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Molly Boyle)

HUNT FOR THE WILDER PEO­PLE

Ricky Baker (new­comer Ju­lian Den­ni­son) is a very bad egg. We have this on the au­thor­ity of his child wel­fare of­fi­cer, Paula Hall (Rachel House). The movie opens with Paula de­liv­er­ing the pudgy, sullen thirteen-year-old into the hands of his last-chance foster fam­ily, the re­mote bush dwelling farm cou­ple Bella (Rima Te Wi­ata) and her hus­band, the grumpy old Hec (Sam Neill). Cir­cum­stances re­sult in Ricky run­ning away. He gets hope­lessly lost and is found by savvy woods­man Hec. But Hec is in­jured, and the two have to hole up in the woods while he heals. The au­thor­i­ties as­sume kid­nap­ping and worse, and a mas­sive manhunt en­sues for Hec and Ricky. The bulk of the movie fol­lows as the two tra­verse the New Zealand bush. All this is in the in­ven­tive hands of Kiwi wri­ter­di­rec­tor Taika Waititi. It’s the well-worn story of the grad­ual, grudg­ing bond­ing of a cur­mud­geon and a kid, but told with a deep reser­voir of charm and sur­prise. Rated PG-13. 101 min­utes. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Jon­athan Richards)

ICE AGE: COL­LI­SION COURSE

It’s now been 12 years since the orig­i­nal Ice Age film and four since Ice Age: Con­ti­nen­tal Drift, and the series is still go­ing strong de­spite the fact that Amer­i­cans are no longer ter­ri­bly pas­sion­ate about it (the last one did so-so state­side). The rest of the world, how­ever, made the last film a smash and still loves that an­i­mated mam­moth (Ray Ro­mano), saber­toothed tiger (De­nis Leary), and sloth (John Leguizamo), so the fran­chise keeps march­ing on. This time, their ad­ven­tures find them up against a me­teor on a crash course with the planet. Rated PG. 94 min­utes. Screens in 2-D only at Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Dream Catcher. (Not re­viewed)

THE INNOCENTS

In this tense and trou­bling drama, French di­rec­tor Anne Fon­taine re­vis­its a doc­u­mented horror from the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of World War II, when a re­mote Pol­ish con­vent was in­vaded by oc­cu­py­ing Soviet troops who re­peat­edly raped the nuns, leav­ing many of them preg­nant. Mathilde (Lou de Laâge), a young French Red Cross doc­tor, is sum­moned to the con­vent to de­liver a baby. Mathilde must sneak away from her du­ties at the Red Cross, and the Mother Abbess (Agata Kulesza) re­sists out­side in­ter­fer­ence in these con­vent mat­ters. Ex­po­sure of their sit­u­a­tion could re­sult in dis­grace and a clos­ing of the place. This is a story of choices and the ab­sence of choice, of night­mar­ish fun­da­men­tal­ist con­vic­tion, su­per­sti­tion, and the horror of phys­i­cal abuse. Only at the end does the film make a choice of its own that steers it into the shal­lows of screen­play con­trivance. The per­for­mances and the di­rec­tion are pow­er­ful, and Caro­line Cham­petier’s cin­e­matog­ra­phy, which paints the con­vent in chilly blues and lo­cates it in a baf­fling maze of for­est, is stun­ning. Rated PG-13. 115 min­utes. In Pol­ish, Rus­sian, and French with subti­tles. The Screen. (Jon­athan Richards)

JA­SON BOURNE

In 2012’s The Bourne Legacy, the stu­dio heads be­hind the Bourne fran­chise at­tempted to tran­si­tion it from Matt Da­mon (as Ja­son Bourne) and di­rec­tor Paul Green­grass to Jeremy Ren­ner (as Aaron Cross) and di­rec­tor Tony Gil­roy. Alas, the ef­fort met with a tepid re­sponse, and so Da­mon is Bourne again, once more with Green­grass in tow. This time, Bourne has most of his mem­ory in­tact, and he at­tempts to learn more about his past while be­ing pur­sued by a shadow or­ga­ni­za­tion called Iron­hand. Rated PG-13. 123 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas; Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; Dream Catcher. (Not re­viewed)

LIGHTS OUT

This horror film ap­peals very lit­er­ally to peo­ple’s fear of the dark, cen­ter­ing on a spirit who only ap­pears when you turn out the lights and who gets closer and closer ev­ery time you flick that switch. Re­becca (Teresa Palmer) dis­cov­ers that her lit­tle brother (Gabriel Bate­man) is be­ing haunted by this crea­ture, which also stalked her at a young age. She un­cov­ers a dark chap­ter in her mother’s past — and part of it might not be done with the fam­ily. Rated PG-13. 81 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Dream Catcher. (Not re­viewed)

THE MU­SIC OF STRANGERS: YOYO MA AND THE SILK ROAD EN­SEM­BLE

Cel­list Yo-Yo Ma, charis­matic and in­tro­spec­tive in this doc­u­men­tary, unites mu­si­cians from all over the world (with a par­tic­u­lar em­pha­sis on the Mid­dle East and Asia) as the Silk Road En­sem­ble. This en­gross­ing film high­lights Ma along with other mu­si­cians, in­clud­ing Chi­nese pipa player Wu Man and Ira­nian ka­mancheh player Kay­han Kal­hor — and ties it to­gether with out­stand­ing photography, crisp edit­ing, and pre­dictably won­der­ful mu­sic. Rated PG-13. 96 min­utes. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Robert Ker)

NERVE

This movie imag­ines a sprawl­ing vir­tual re­al­ity game that peo­ple play on their phones, in which “watch­ers” force “play­ers” to per­form a series of dares. A young woman named Venus (Emma Roberts) finds her­self com­pelled to pair up with a stranger named Ian (Dave Franco) in an in­creas­ingly dan­ger­ous mis­sion where their fi­nal goal might be their very sur­vival. Rated PG-13. 96 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Dream Catcher. (Not re­viewed)

NINE LIVES

The body-switch­ing movie, in which a character ex­changes bod­ies with an­other hu­man or an animal, learn­ing life lessons in the process, used to be a lot more pop­u­lar. This com­edy by di­rec­tor Barry Son­nen­feld (Men in Black) is a throw­back to those days. It stars Kevin Spacey as Tom Brand, a bil­lion­aire who has ne­glected his fam­ily while tend­ing to his busi­ness em­pire. En­ter a mys­ti­cal pet-store owner (Christo­pher Walken), who trans­forms Tom into a house cat so that he can use the ex­pe­ri­ence to grow closer to his fam­ily. Jennifer Garner also stars. Rated PG. 87 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Dream Catcher. (Not re­viewed)

THE SE­CRET LIFE OF PETS

In struc­ture, the lat­est en­try in the sum­mer an­i­ma­tion sweep­stakes is Toy Story adapted to do­mes­tic an­i­mals. What mis­chief goes on when the hu­mans aren’t around? What ad­ven­tures do these lov­able critters get up to? But Pets never rises to the Toy Story level of imag­i­na­tion. The first part of the movie is con­tent to imag­ine the shenani­gans your four-legged pals might ac­tu­ally be in­volved in when you close that door. But there are 90 min­utes to fill, and be­fore long, we’re off to car chases, phys­i­cal may­hem, and all sorts of rep­tiles and birds of prey, led by a rogue bunny who has it in for hu­mankind. There are some un­de­ni­ably funny mo­ments

but also long stretches where you can check your watch or make men­tal gro­cery lists. The movie is voiced by an all-star cast led by Louis C.K. and Kevin Hart. Rated PG. 90 min­utes. Screens in 2-D only at Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Re­gal DeVar­gas; Dream Catcher. (Jon­athan Richards)

STAR TREK BE­YOND

So far, 2009’s Star Trek (the first in the cur­rent fran­chise) and now Star Trek Be­yond (num­ber three) dis­prove the “rule” that even-num­bered Star Trek films are bet­ter than the odd-num­bered ones. The crew of the USS En­ter­prise launch a res­cue mis­sion to the planet Al­tamid, only to find them­selves caught in an am­bush. When alien tough guy Krall (Idris Elba) ran­sacks the En­ter­prise search­ing for a com­po­nent of an an­cient bioweapon he plans to use against the Star­base York­town, the crew aban­dons ship and they find them­selves trapped on Al­tamid. Chris Pine (Cap­tain James T. Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Mr. Spock), Karl Ur­ban (Doc­tor “Bones” McCoy), Zoe Sal­dana (Lieu­tenant Uhura), Si­mon Pegg (Scotty), and the late An­ton Yelchin (Chekov) all reprise their roles. Star Trek Be­yond bal­ances the ac­tion with more character de­vel­op­ment, in­trigue, and in­ter­nal con­flict than the pre­vi­ous films. Fans new and old should ap­pre­ci­ate this episodic en­try for its fo­cus on beloved char­ac­ters and a more orig­i­nal plot than the pre­vi­ous film, 2013’s Star Trek Into Dark­ness. Rated PG-13. 122 min­utes. Screens in 2-D only at Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Re­gal DeVar­gas; Vi­o­let Crown. (Michael Abatemarco)

SUI­CIDE SQUAD

Af­ter the di­vi­sive, dis­ap­point­ing Bat­man vs Su­per­man: Dawn of Jus­tice, the mas­ter­minds of the DC comics’ cine­matic uni­verse at­tempt to win fans back with this trashy (in a mostly good way) story of a bunch of dan­ger­ous crim­i­nals who are forced by the gov­ern­ment to fight su­per­pow­ered vil­lains. The movie nails its cast­ing with a di­verse ar­ray of ac­tors, es­pe­cially Will Smith (as the sharp­shoot­ing Dead­shot), Mar­got Rob­bie (as the Joker’s ni­hilis­tic girl­friend, Har­ley Quinn), and Vi­ola Davis (as the no-non­sense bureau­crat Amanda Waller), all of whom are ex­cel­lent. How­ever, di­rec­tor David Ayer (Train­ing Day) sends them on a mis­sion that isn’t ex­cit­ing and is ren­dered in a murky visual palette, lead­ing up to a for­get­table cli­max. Jared Leto’s blinged-out Joker is an ac­quired taste, and yes, Bat­man (Ben Af­fleck, un­cred­ited) also makes an ap­pear­ance. Ayer tries to usher the plot and too many character in­tro­duc­tions along by us­ing dozens of pop­u­lar rock and rap songs, but the re­sult is a mess. Still, there are healthy seeds planted for a su­pe­rior se­quel, and the box of­fice num­bers sug­gest that we’ll get one. Rated PG-13. 130 min­utes. Screens in 3-D and 2-D at Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; Dream Catcher. Screens in 2-D only at Jean Cocteau Cinema. (Robert Ker)

Nerve, at Re­gal Sta­dium 14 and DreamCatcher

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