the tiger (Idris Elba) and the other jungle “people” provide thrills, comedy and the modern conviction that this threatened environment and these endangered species deserve humankind’s protection. Pulling material from both Kipling’s texts and the more familiar (to modern audiences) 1967 Disney cartoon, the movie is at its best when it reproduces the formal speech and respectful intent of the original stories; it’s less gripping when director Jon Favreau (“Iron Man”) allows the fantasy to succumb to Disney shtick, as in the characterization of Baloo the bear (Bill Murray) as a wisecracking lazybones. The scariest and most elegant episode depicts Mowgli’s encounter with slithery, seductive Kaa (Scarlett Johansson), the python; the weirdest involves a postKipling creation, King Louie (Christopher Walken), a “gigantopithecus” presented as an anthropoid Col. Kurtz Bartlett 10. Kubo and the Two Strings (PG, 101 min.) HHH ½ Set in ancient Japan, this unusual fable about a young boy (voiced by Art Parkinson) accompanied on a quest by a talking snow monkey (Charlize Theron) and a Gregor Samsa-style samurai beetle (Matthew Mcconaughey) is ideally suited for Laika Entertainment, a studio that has struggled since “Coraline” — its 2009 debut release — to find material worthy of the uncanny effect of the computer-enhanced stop-motion animation that is the company’s signature. Visually striking at every turn and occasionally even eerie (the floating witch sisters deserve their own stopmotion horror movie), the film conjures a fantasy logic that is more beholden to myth and folklore than to comic books and Hollywood (in fact, Laika is based near Portland); the box-office profit won’t approach Pixar levels, but cult reverence is assured. The debuting director is Travis Knight, lead animator on the previous Laika films, which also include “Paranorman” and “The Boxtrolls.” Collierville Towne 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema (in 3-D), Palace Cinema, Paradiso. The Legend of Tarzan (PG-13, 109 min.) HHH The first major live-action Tarzan movie in three decades rehabs the problematic and elides omits the indefensible aspects of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ story about a white baby raised by apes who proves to be the natural lord of both jungle animals and black-skinned Africans; at the same time, the film embraces the seductive “noble savage” fantasy of a new century-old Western pop myth that — as with “Frankenstein,” “Moby Dick” and “King Kong” — offers endless, thorny avenues for sexual, racial, political and historical analysis. Set in the 1880s, this “Legend” introduces the clothing-constricted John Clayton, Lord Greystoke (an appropriately lithe and sculpted Alexander Skarsgaard) at a meeting at Number 10 Downing Street, where the former Tarzan — eight years out of Africa — sips tea with splay-knuckled hands (“I grew up running on all fours”) while listening to condescending government reports on “the poor natives” of the Belgian Congo. Before long, Greystoke and his proudly modern non“damsel”wife, Jane (Margot Robbie), are on a mission that takes them back to Africa, where they shed their inhibitions (and clothes) while joining real-life reformer George Washington Williams (a fun if anachronistic Samuel L. Jackson) and various tribespeople — as adept at vine-swinging as Tarzan — in a battle against slave traders and the merciless Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz), a dandy so sinister he garrotes his enemies with a rosary made from Madagascar spider silk. Like Brewer’s previous features (which involved pimping, radiator-chained captivity and illegal dancing), this is essentially a portrait of love in extremis that uses a fantastical premise to challege and rejuvenate its lovers; unlike most current “superhero” sagas, which traffic in moral ambiguity, the movie is staunchly uncynical, with an entirely admirable Tarzan and Jane whose unconditional love for each other spills over to the animal kingdom: Tarzan nuzzles lions, reveres elephants and chooses surrender over violence in a ceremonial battle with a great ape (the script affirms current thinking about the “humanity” of non-human primates). Also welcome: The movie’s episodic, riverchase story structure and old-school action-adventure are relatively modest for a would-be franchise-igniting blockbuster; only the too frequently substandard digital effects — surprising for such an expensive project — break the spell. Bartlett 10. The Light Between Oceans (PG-13, 133 min.) A lighthouse keeper and his wife raise a baby they rescue from an adrift rowboat. The cast includes Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander and Rachel Weisz. Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8. Lights Out (PG-13, 81 min.) HH ½ A metaphor for abusive codependency and its sidekick repercussions, shame and secrecy, director David F. Sandberg’s fairly effective feature debut imagines an angry ghost with a baleful longtime influence on a fractured family that includes a self-medicating mess of a mother (Maria Bello), a sweet-natured young son (Gabriel Bateman) and a relationship-wary daughter (Teresa Palmer, whose Goth attire and glower can’t hide her California-by-way-ofAustralia surfer-girl glow). On the scale of scary, the movie ranks well above such recent fizzles as “The Gallows” and “The Forest,” but well below “Green Room” and “Don’t Breathe”; its overreliance on jump scares is regrettable, but its concept of a darkness-dwelling entity that steadily approaches with each on-and-off flick of a light switch is genuinely creepy. Bartlett 10, Cineplanet 16, Cordova Cinema, Desoto Cinema 16, Majestic, Palace Cinema. Mechanic: Resurrection (R, 99 min.) Jason Statham returns as uber-assassin Arthur Bishop. Desoto Cinema 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Palace Cinema, Paradiso, Summer Quartet Drive-in, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8. Nerve (PG-13, 96 min.) Emma Roberts and Dave Franco participate in a mobile online game even more dangerous than “Pokemon Go.” Bartlett 10, Cineplanet 16. No Manches Frida (PG-13, 114 min.) A Spanish-language comedy about a ditzy bank robber who poses as a teacher to access the loot buried beneath a school. Paradiso. Now You See Me 2 (PG13, 129 min.) HH “The Four Horsemen” are recruited by a vengeful tech prodigy (Daniel Radcliffe) to pilfer the privacy-erasing software of a corrupt capitalist. Bartlett 10. Pete’s Dragon (PG, 82 min.) HHH ½ “Be open to looking” is both metaphysical counsel and practical advice in director David Lowery’s powerful film about a literally warm and fuzzy fire-breather with a prognathic jaw (a 1960s-70s Disney atavism: see also Bagheera, Tigger, O’malley the alley cat and the original “Pete’s Dragon”), functional wings and a power — invisibility — that literalizes the story’s message that “just because you don’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not there.” Oakes Begley stars as a wild orphan boy living in the forest with the help of Elliott, the friendly dragon (the premise links the boy to two of this year’s other movie heroes, Mowgli and Tarzan); Bryce Dallas Howard and Robert Redford are the sympathetic park ranger and old-timer, respectively, who become not just discoverers but protectors of Pete and Elliott after lumberjack Karl Urban and his crew realize a monster might be more profitable than timber. A remake of a 1977 Disney film that combined live action with traditional animation (replaced here by realistic if stylized digital animation), the movie marks an entirely successful transition to the big (studio) leagues for director/co-writer David Lowery, a multitasking stalwart of micro-budget cinema who has worked as an editor, cinematographer and sound recordist on such notable films as “Upstream Color,” “Sun Don’t Shine” and Kentucker Audley’s madein-memphis “Open Five.” Indie Memphis Film Festival regulars may recognize the connection between this “Dragon” and Lowery’s 2009 feature “St. Nick,” a much smaller-scale story about children surviving on their own in a woodsy environment; both movies dramatize the so-called magic and innocence of childhood with imagination and without condescension. Cineplanet 16, Forest Hill 8, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Olive Branch Cinema, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8. The Purge: Election Year (R, 105 min.) HH ½ With the tag line “Keep America Great”) inspired by the season’s scariest serial (the Trump campaign), the third “Purge” film is more a grindhouse “Hunger Games” chapter than the sharpfocused terror exercise of the 2013 original, as returning writer-director James Demonaco pursues cable television-style longform storytelling and overt sociopolitical messaging over the anthology horror format that would have been an ideal fit for the series’ ingenious foundational conceit (in the near-future U.S., all crime is legal for 12 hours on the day of “The Purge,” a new civic tradition that allows citizens to let off steam, however lethal). . Bartlett 10. Sausage Party (R, 83 min.) HHH The latest project from writing/producing partners Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffer. Summer Quartet Drive-in, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8. The Secret Life of Pets (PG, 90 min.) An animated cats-and-dogs-and-more comedy from Illumination Entertainment (the “Minions” studio). Cineplanet 16, Desoto Cinema 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Olive Branch Cinema, Summer Quartet Drive-in, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8. Southside With You (PG-13, 84 min.) HH ½ Imagine the first date of the future First Couple. Paradiso. Star Trek Beyond (PG-13, 122 min.) HHH Can-do outerspace optimism of the late Gene Roddenberry’s longrunning science-fiction saga. Collierville Towne 16. Suicide Squad (PG13, 130 min.) HH A DC Comics origin saga about a team of ruthless, brutish and deranged supervillains.cineplanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, Desoto Cinema 16, Forest Hill 8, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Olive Branch Cinema, Palace Cinema, Paradiso, Stage Cinema, Summer Quartet Drive-in. Sully (PG-13, 96 min.) Clint Eastwood directs Tom Hanks in the story of airline pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who in 2009 landed US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River. Cineplanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, Desoto Cinema 16, Forest Hill 8, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Olive Branch Cinema, Paradiso, Ridgeway Cinema Grill, Stage Cinema, Studio on the Square, Summer Quartet Drive-in. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (PG-13, 112 min.) A hard-shell sequel. Bartlett 10. War Dogs (R, 114 min.) Jonah Hill and Miles Teller are hotshot arms dealers in this fact-based political comedy. Summer Quartet Drive-in. When the Bough Breaks (PG-13, 107 min.) A surrogate mother goes psycho in a thriller starring Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall. Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, Desoto Cinema 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Olive Branch Cinema, Palace Cinema, Paradiso, Stage Cinema, Summer Quartet Drive-in. The Wild Life (PG, 90 min.) More animated animals: This time, the story of Robinson Crusoe is told through the eyes of a witness parrot. Cineplanet 16, Collierville Towne 16 (in 3-D), Cordova Cinema (in 3-D), Desoto Cinema 16 (in 3-D), Hollywood 20 Cinema (in 3-D), Olive Branch Cinema (in 3-D), Paradiso (in 3-D), Stage Cinema (in 3-D).