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THE BIG SICK

This warm ro­man­tic com­edy is drawn from the real life story of its screen­writ­ers, Emily V. Gor­don (played by the de­light­ful Zoe Kazan) and her hus­band Ku­mail Nan­jiani, a Pak­istani ac­tor who plays a ver­sion of him­self. They meet at a Chicago club where he’s do­ing stand-up, and a feisty and fit­ful re­la­tion­ship en­sues. Ku­mail’s cul­ture is one of ar­ranged mar­riage, and when Emily dis­cov­ers he has never told his par­ents about her, she breaks off the re­la­tion­ship. Shortly there­after she suf­fers a med­i­cal emer­gency that dom­i­nates most of the rest of the picture. The cast, which in­cludes ter­rific in­put from Ray Ro­mano and Holly Hunter as Emily’s par­ents, is uni­formly good. The Big Sick is a smart ro­man­tic com­edy with a richness of cul­tural in­sights, a beat­ing heart, and gen­uine laughs. Rated R. 119 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards)

DE­SPI­CA­BLE ME 3

With two movies and a Min­ions spinoff now un­der its belt, this an­i­mated com­edy se­ries has its hero, Gru — the das­tardly mas­ter­mind with a heart of gold — meet­ing his long-lost brother, Dru. In voic­ing both char­ac­ters, Steve Carell man­ages once more to con­vey a sur­pris­ing amount of per­son­al­ity for some­one shout­ing in a weird East­ern Euro­pean ac­cent, but the real stars are once more the yel­low, one-eyed Min­ions, as well as the vil­lain — a 1980s-ob­sessed rogue voiced by Trey Parker. The story un­furls in a lively enough fash­ion, but the movie has too many un­re­lated sub­plots for a rel­a­tively scant run­ning time, sug­gest­ing that the fran­chise is run­ning low on ideas and sim­ply cob­bling to­gether what­ever they’ve got. Rated PG. 90 min­utes. Screens in 2-D only at Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Robert Ker)

THE EMOJI MOVIE

In what could be a sign of the ubiq­uity of smart­phone cul­ture or a sign that Hol­ly­wood is out of ideas, emo­jis — those lit­tle faces that you can add to text mes­sages — now get their very own an­i­mated com­edy. The story cen­ters on Gene (T.J. Miller) an emoji with mul­ti­ple ex­pres­sions who yearns to have just one, like ev­ery­one else. Pa­trick Ste­wart, ac­claimed thes­pian and a Royal Shake­speare Com­pany vet­eran, voices the emoji for ex­cre­ment. Rated PG. 86 min­utes. Screens in 2-D only at Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Not re­viewed)

THE HIT­MAN’S BODY­GUARD

This odd-cou­ple ac­tion-com­edy flashes back to a movie for­mula that was pop­u­lar in decades past with films such as Lethal Weapon and 48 Hours — a white man and African-Amer­i­can man team up for a few yuks and some hard-hit­ting ac­tion of the guns-and-cars va­ri­ety. Sa­muel L. Jack­son, no stranger to this genre, plays a tal­ented hit­man who is needed as a wit­ness in a trial. Ryan Reynolds plays an elite body­guard as­signed to make sure he makes the court date alive. The two men now find that they must rely on each other to stay alive. This in­volves sev­eral ex­cit­ing chase scenes and a lot of male bond­ing, which de­fies cred­i­bil­ity but works within the film’s in­ter­nal logic and through the chem­istry shared by the two lead ac­tors. Not ev­ery­thing works, the vi­o­lence can get un­pleas­ant, and there is more plot than needed, but the movie is sat­is­fy­ing and fre­quently more cre­atively ad­ven­tur­ous than the ma­te­rial re­quires. Rated R. 118 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Robert Ker)

HOME AGAIN

Reese Wither­spoon plays Alice Kin­ney, a di­vorced mother of two. While out cel­e­brat­ing her for­ti­eth birth­day, she meets three as­pir­ing film­mak­ers (Pico Alexan­der, Nat Wolff, and Jon Rud­nit­sky) and in­vites them to move in with her. Her new liv­ing sit­u­a­tion sends her life spinning in odd direc­tions as po­ten­tial romance bub­bles up. This com­edy is the fea­ture de­but for writer and di­rec­tor Hal­lie Mey­ers-Shyer, daugh­ter of rom-com film­mak­ing le­gend Nancy Mey­ers, who pro­duced the movie. Michael Sheen and Candice Ber­gen also star. Rated PG-13. 97 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Not re­viewed)

IT

In what feels like a limp ef­fort to cap­i­tal­ize on the to­tally-’80s retro-re­vival in pop cul­ture, Stephen King’s novel about a cir­cle of child­hood friends men­aced by an evil clown in the late 1950s has been moved to the Rea­gan era in this adap­ta­tion. This gives the tone-deaf film­mak­ing team of di­rec­tor Andy Muschi­etti and three screen­writ­ers the op­por­tu­nity to stylis­ti­cally crib from The Goonies and other ‘80s hits. (In­con­gru­ously, the young char­ac­ters rib each other with raunchy jibes that seem bet­ter suited to a post

South Park world.) The scari­est parts are the un­com­fort­ably re­al­is­tic por­tray­als of bul­ly­ing and a con­trol­ling fa­ther’s sex­u­ally charged re­la­tion­ship with his daugh­ter; the jump-scare scenes with the vil­lain­ous clown Pen­ny­wise (Bill Skars­gård) are laugh­able and an­noy­ingly pro­tracted. The cred­its sug­gest that a se­quel — pre­sum­ably telling the part of King’s tale that con­cerns the adult ver­sions of the kids — is in the works. Oh goody. Rated R. 135 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Jeff Acker)

LEAP!

This an­i­mated com­edy from French di­rec­tors Éric Sum­mer and Éric Warin came out over­seas un­der the name Bal­le­rina, and now reaches Amer­i­can shores as Leap! The story cen­ters on an or­phan girl in the 1880s (voiced by Elle Fan­ning) who dreams of be­com­ing a bal­le­rina. She steals the iden­tity of an­other girl in or­der to train at the Paris Opera Bal­let, where she runs into a se­ries of set­backs en route to achiev­ing her dream. Pop star Carly Rae Jepsen voices her men­tor. Rated PG. 89 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Not re­viewed)

LET­TERS FROM BAGH­DAD

A spec­tac­u­lar trove of archival footage from early 20th-cen­tury Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and other Mid­dle East­ern lo­cales pro­vides the vis­ual back­drop for the re­mark­able story of Gertrude Bell, an English ar­chae­ol­o­gist, au­thor, and diplo­mat who worked fer­vently to es­tab­lish an in­de­pen­dent Arab state (which be­came Iraq) af­ter the First World War. The words are Bell’s own, taken di­rectly from her cor­re­spon­dence with her fam­ily and friends and spo­ken by Tilda Swin­ton (who also served as an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer). Tes­ti­monies from those who knew Bell are wo­ven in as “in­ter­views” with ac­tors who ad­dress the cam­era (their words, too, are lifted from sur­viv­ing let­ters and other sources). A few ti­tle cards rep­re­sent the soli­tary in­tru­sion of the film­mak­ers, who need not ed­i­to­ri­al­ize — the con­flict that has plagued the re­gion and the per­sis­tence of dilem­mas that kept Bell up at night speak for them­selves. This is a beau­ti­ful el­egy for a world that seems long gone. Not rated. 95 min­utes. In English and Ara­bic with sub­ti­tles. The Screen. (Jeff Acker)

LO­GAN LUCKY

In 2013, di­rec­tor Steven Soder­bergh dra­mat­i­cally an­nounced that he was re­tir­ing from mak­ing movies, shift­ing his fo­cus to tele­vi­sion. Now, he’s made a come­back with a new film, and it’s the kind of star-stud­ded ca­per he en­joyed great suc­cess with the Ocean’s Eleven films. Adam Driver and Chan­ning Ta­tum play the Lo­gan brothers, who at­tempt a heist at a NASCAR race. In do­ing so, they rope in char­ac­ters played by Katie Holmes, Seth Mac­Far­lane, Daniel Craig, and oth­ers. Rated PG-13. 119 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Not re­viewed)

MAR­JORIE PRIME

At some point in the fu­ture, a pro­gram al­lows peo­ple to res­ur­rect a loved one through holo­grams at what­ever age they pre­fer them. In her late eight­ies, Mar­jorie (vet­eran ac­tress Lois Smith) has cho­sen to bring back her hus­band Wal­ter (Jon Hamm) at the age they first met, which means that they both have a foggy idea of the past. Her son-in-law (a wel­come Tim Rob­bins) helps to “pro­gram” Wal­ter, while her daugh­ter (a very good Geena Davis) is skeeved out by the whole propo­si­tion. Though the film sur­ren­ders to too much talk­i­ness as the fam­ily tries to work out this bizarre sce­nario, there’s real poignancy in its mem­o­rable re­flec­tion on in­ti­macy and mor­tal­ity. Di­rected by Michael Almereyda, who wrote the sim­i­larly weird fu­tur­is­tic cult clas­sic Cherry 2000 (1987). Not rated. 98 min­utes. The Screen. (Molly Boyle)

MAUDIE

Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky) is one of those Bri­tish ac­tors who is so good most peo­ple here don’t even know who she is. In this film, in­spired by the life of Maud Lewis (1903-1970), she gives an Os­car-cal­iber per­for­mance as the Nova Sco­tia folk artist whose hand-painted cards sell for nick­els and dimes, mostly to the clients of her fish-ped­dler hus­band (a very good Ethan Hawke). Even­tu­ally she moves on to paint­ings, and her price rock­ets to $5, and then $10. Lo­cal tele­vi­sion does a story on her, and ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing Lewis, be­gins to show her a lit­tle re­spect. Gnarled and scrunched from child­hood rheuma­toid arthri­tis, Maudie main­tains a cheer­ful de­meanor. As much as it is the story of her paint­ing, di­rec­tor Ais­ling Walsh’s biopic is about sur­vival and pos­i­tiv­ity in the face of crip­pling ad­ver­sity. The real Maud Lewis died in poverty, but her paint­ings now sell for tens of thou­sands of dol­lars. Not rated. 115 min­utes. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Jonathan Richards)

ME­NASHE

Me­nashe (Me­nashe Lustig) is a bum­bling gro­cery clerk in Brook­lyn’s Bor­ough Park Ha­sidic com­mu­nity, a sad sack, a schlemiel, a tubby, di­sheveled man who gets no re­spect. He’s a re­cent wid­ower, strug­gling to re­tain cus­tody of his son Rieven (Ruben Ni­borski), who, by the de­cree of his rabbi, can­not be raised in a sin­gle-par­ent home. The story is closely based on Lustig’s own cir­cum­stances, and he and Ni­borski cre­ate a close and cred­i­ble bond. Aside from their re­la­tion­ship, the most rec­og­niz­ably hu­man in­ter­ac­tion is be­tween Me­nashe and his two His­panic co-work­ers at the kosher gro­cery. It’s not ex­actly a crit­i­cism of the rigid re­li­gios­ity of the Ha­sidic com­mu­nity, but it does sug­gest a wist­ful peek over the fence at the wider world be­yond. In his first fea­ture, doc­u­men­tar­ian

Joshua Z. We­in­stein’s skills are most ev­i­dent in the film’s al­most stealthy ob­ser­va­tion of a com­mu­nity that does not en­cour­age ex­po­sure to the out­side world. Not rated. 82 min­utes. In Yid­dish with sub­ti­tles. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Jonathan Richards)

THE OATH

Ice­land’s great­est film­maker, Bal­tasar Kor­mákur, re­turns with an­other ex­plo­sive ac­tion film that will sat­isfy fans of his chill­ing Nordic noir, seen in such ear­lier hits as The Deep, The Sea and Ever­est. What’s new here? Kor­mákur stretches out and plays the lead role him­self – a highly re­spected heart sur­geon who has to get down and dirty af­ter find­ing out his teenage daugh­ter is hang­ing around with a scuzzy drug dealer. It’s a tough bal­anc­ing act, but Kor­mákur seems to thread the nee­dle well. As al­ways, the vi­su­als here are stun­ning, ow­ing to the crisp cin­e­matog­ra­phy of Ot­tar Gud­na­son. Not rated. 103 min­utes. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Jon Bow­man)

SPI­DERMAN: HOME­COM­ING

In this first solo film for the new Spi­der-Man reboot, the char­ac­ter is a high-school stu­dent (played with ex­u­ber­ance by Tom Hol­land), hang­ing with his pals and wait­ing for the call to of­fi­cially join the Avengers. Mean­while, a lo­cal crook called the Vul­ture (a mag­nif­i­cent Michael Keaton) is scoop­ing up alien tech and sell­ing it on the black mar­ket, prompt­ing Spidey to in­ves­ti­gate. Marvel Stu­dios’ mar­quee draw, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), also el­bows his way in as a men­tor fig­ure. Mov­ing Spi­der-Man into the Marvel sta­ble should have pro­pelled the char­ac­ter to greater sto­ries, but the movie feels con­fined by this tran­si­tion: The Avengers tie-in bogs the movie down, and Spidey’s ad­ven­tures — once vis­ually thrilling as di­rected by the sin­gu­lar Sam Raimi — now look and feel like ev­ery other Marvel movie. Rated PG-13. 133 min­utes. Screens in 2-D only at Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Robert Ker)

THE TRIP TO SPAIN

It’s Bri­tish co­me­di­ans Rob Bry­don and Steve Coogan’s third out­ing in the se­ries di­rected by Michael Win­ter­bot­tom, wherein the stars moon­light as food crit­ics at fine restau­rants all over Europe. As usual, the cui­sine takes a back­seat to Bry­don and Coogan’s con­ver­sa­tional chem­istry at the din­ner ta­ble, whether it’s giv­ing Coogan’s Mick Jag­ger im­pres­sion a work­out or re­vis­it­ing the pair’s com­pet­i­tive Michael Caine mimicry. As Coogan and Bry­don play Don Quixote and San­cho Panza at haute ho­tels across Spain, the land­scape is ut­terly lovely to be­hold, the be­hindthe-scenes restau­rant in­ter­sti­tials are well shot, and as usual, Coogan’s messy per­sonal life threat­ens to over­shadow the fun. Aside from the hi­lar­i­ous ver­bal joust­ing, the plea­sure of

The Trip films lies in watch­ing the men wind their way through any­one’s dream va­ca­tion while con­tend­ing with the real-world prob­lems of (not enough) fame, love, and fam­ily. Not rated. 108 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Molly Boyle)

TULIP FEVER

Di­rec­tor Justin Chad­wick (The Other Bo­leyn Girl) and co-screen­writer Tom Stop­pard (Shake­speare in Love) adapt Deb­o­rah Mog­gach’s novel about love and ex­tra­mar­i­tal af­fairs in 17th­cen­tury Am­s­ter­dam dur­ing the height of tulip ma­nia. Ali­cia Vikan­der plays Sophia, a young woman who is mar­ried to a wealthy older man named Cor­nelis (Christoph Waltz). When Cor­nelis com­mis­sions a dash­ing young painter (Dane DeHaan) to cre­ate a por­trait of his wife, artist and sub­ject soon fall in love and make plans to run away to­gether. Judi Dench also stars. Rated R. 107 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Not re­viewed)

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES

The third pre­quel to 1968’s Planet of the Apes takes place in a world in which hu­mans have been wiped out by the simian flu and mon­keys are evolv­ing at a rapid rate. Ape leader Caesar (per­formed once more by a mo­tion-cap­tured Andy Serkis) must travel north on a revenge mis­sion to find a crazed Army colonel gone rogue (Woody Har­rel­son). Di­rec­tor Matt Reeves tack­les the story with a com­mit­ment to ex­cel­lence across the tech­ni­cal com­po­nents of the film, in­clud­ing some of the best spe­cial ef­fects you’ll ever see, won­der­ful sound ef­fects, a com­pelling score, and an eye for mem­o­rable images. The story can feel bleak and emo­tion­ally ma­nip­u­la­tive at times. It’s also un­com­monly rich for a sum­mer block­buster. Rated PG-13. 140 min­utes. Screens in 2-D only at Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Robert Ker)

WIND RIVER

Film­maker Tay­lor Sheri­dan (screen­writer of Hell or

High Wa­ter) has crafted an in­tel­li­gent genre film that is re­plete with ten­sion, sen­si­tiv­ity, and enough sud­den out­bursts of vi­o­lence to re­mind us that the West can be a very dan­ger­ous place to live. Jeremy Ren­ner crafts a nu­anced per­for­mance as a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice tracker who finds him­self chan­nel­ing his grief into a man­hunt to find the cul­prits be­hind the death of a Na­tive Amer­i­can teen. His team­mates are a novice F.B.I. agent (El­iz­a­beth Olsen) and a savvy, com­mon-sense tribal po­lice of­fi­cer (Gra­ham Greene, who is ter­rific). The trio are up against the cold, iso­lated ex­panse of a land that shapes men into killers and leaves the in­no­cent to die. The film is marred by one too many script­ing flaws, but it de­liv­ers a strong emo­tional pay­off and in­cludes some fast-paced and un­ex­pected shoot-outs. Rated R. 107 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Robert Nott)

THE WOMEN’S BAL­CONY

When the women’s bal­cony of a gen­der-seg­re­gated Jerusalem sy­n­a­gogue col­lapses dur­ing a bar mitz­vah, it pro­duces far-reach­ing con­se­quences. But the full force of the col­lapse falls on the con­gre­ga­tion. A charis­matic ul­tra-con­ser­va­tive young rabbi en­ters the vac­uum. He be­lieves the col­lapsed bal­cony is a sign from God, and in­sists on things be­ing done strictly by the book. The men are putty in Rabbi David’s hands, but the women re­sist. This deft, ac­com­plished first fea­ture from tele­vi­sion vet­eran Emil Ben-Shi­mon is about gen­der pol­i­tics, re­li­gious fun­da­men­tal­ism, and the value of rea­son and com­mon sense in mod­ern life. It’s funny, touch­ing, and per­ti­nent, and it packs a punch. Not rated. 96 min­utes. In He­brew with sub­ti­tles. The Screen. (Jonathan Richards)

The look of love: Humphrey Bog­art and Lau­ren Ba­call in The Big Sleep, at Jean Cocteau Cin­ema

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