Screen

Short takes: This week’s movie listings and reviews

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The Birth of a Nation.
Josh Bell, Mike D'Angelo, Jeffrey M. Anderson

Special screenings

Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders

10/10, animated movie plus bonus features, 2, 7:30 & 10 p.m., $10.50-$15. Theaters: CAN, COL, RR, SF, SP, ST, TS, VS. Info: fathomevents.com.

Harry Potter IMAX Week

10/13-10/19, all eight Harry Potter movies presented in IMAX plus preview of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, times and prices vary. Theaters: AL, PAL, RR, SS, TS. Info: imax.com.

Let’s Play Live

10/8, live broadcast of Rooster Teeth-sponsored event featuring YouTube stars, 5 p.m., $16-$18. Theaters: COL, ORL, SP, ST, VS. Info: fathomevents.com.

The Metropolitan Opera HD Live

10/8, Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde live, 9 a.m., $18-$27. Theaters: COL, ORL, SF, SP, ST, VS. 10/12, Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde encore, 6:30 p.m., $16-$24. Theaters: COL, SP, ST, VS. Info: fathomevents.com.

Reel Rock 11 Film Tour

10/13, touring festival of outdoor sports films, 7 p.m., free. Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, 702-507-3400.

Saturday Movie Matinee

10/8, Captain America: Civil War, 2 p.m., free. Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, 702-507-3400. 10/8, 1 p.m., free. Windmill Library, 7060 W. Windmill Lane, 702-507-6036.

Sci Fi Center

Sun, Westworld viewing party, 7 p.m., free. Mon, Cinemondays, 8 p.m., free. 10/8-10/9, Stranger Things marathon, Sat 5 p.m., Sun 3 p.m., free. 5077 Arville St., 855-501-4335, thescificenter.com.

Tuesday Afternoon at the Bijou

Tue, 1 p.m., free. 10/11, Here Comes Mr. Jordan. Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, 702-507-3400.

New this week

The Birth of a Nation Three stars

Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King. Directed by Nate Parker. 120 minutes. Rated R. As writer, director, producer and star, Parker has complete control over this drama about Nat Turner’s 1831 Virginia slave rebellion. It’s a shame, then, that he’s not a better filmmaker. Birth is often powerful but just as often clumsy and heavy-handed, with lazy movie shorthand, one-dimensional supporting characters and awkward symbolism. —JB

Theaters: AL, BS, CAN, FH, GVL, GVR, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SC, SF, SHO, SP, SS, ST, TS, TX, VS

Come What May Two and a half stars

August Diehl, Olivier Gourmet, Mathilde Seigner. Directed by Christian Carion. 114 minutes. Rated R. In French with English subtitles. This French World War II drama, about the residents of a small town displaced during the German invasion, focuses on sentiment over suspense, and lacks the emotional power necessary to make up for its slow pace. It has some nice quiet moments, but mostly it just meanders without a clear purpose. —JB

Theaters: VS

The Girl on the Train Three stars

Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux. Directed by Tate Taylor. 112 minutes. Rated R. For all its misdirections, at heart this thriller based on Paula Hawkins’ bestselling novel is a pretty conventional mystery with a fairly predictable outcome. But what it lacks in innovative thrills, it makes up for in engrossing, well-drawn characters, led by Blunt as an alcoholic divorcee fixated on a missing woman. —JB

Theaters: AL, BS, CAN, CH, DTS, FH, GVL, GVR, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SC, SF, SHO, SP, SS, ST, TS, TX, VS

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life (Not reviewed)

Griffin Gluck, Thomas Barbusca, Lauren Graham. Directed by Steve Carr. 92 minutes. Rated PG. Fed up with his strict school, a sixth-grader enlists his friends to help him break every rule.

Theaters: AL, BS, CH, COL, DI, FH, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SC, SF, SHO, SP, SS, TS, TX

Now playing

The Age of Shadows (Not reviewed)

Song Kang-ho, Gong Yoo, Han Ji-min. Directed by Kim Jee-woon. 139 minutes. Not rated. In Korean with English subtitles. In the 1920s, Korean resistance fighters work to overthrow the Japanese occupation.

Theaters: VS

Anthropoid Two and a half stars

Jamie Dornan, Cillian Murphy, Charlotte Le Bon. Directed by Sean Ellis. 120 minutes. Rated R. This noble but somewhat rote WWII drama tells the true story of the Czech resistance’s efforts to assassinate a high-ranking Nazi official. While the real events are worthy of attention, the movie struggles to create compelling characters, and its drama is poorly paced, with long lulls around two suspenseful set pieces. —JB

Theaters: SC

Bad Moms Two stars

Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn. Directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. 101 minutes. Rated R. This disappointingly tame comedy is really just about one mom (Kunis), who finds herself questioning her priorities after she catches her husband cheating on her. The plot is aimless and disjointed, and the humor is mild and clichéd. —JB

Theaters: COL, SC

Barcelona: A Love Untold (Not reviewed)

Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla, Aiko Melendez. Directed by Olivia Lamasan. 100 minutes. Not rated. In Filipino with English subtitles. Two young Filipino expatriates fall in love in Barcelona.

Theaters: ORL, VS

Ben-Hur Two stars

Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Nazanin Boniadi. Directed by Timur Bekmambetov. 124 minutes. Rated PG-13. This remake amps up the violence and focuses on the revenge story, as Roman centurion Messala (Kebbell) betrays his adopted Jewish brother Judah (Huston). Both the running time and the overt religious message have been cut way back, leaving a truncated, plodding drama with minimal excitement and nothing worthwhile to say. —JB

Theaters: TC

Blair Witch Two and a half stars

James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Corbin Reid. Directed by Adam Wingard. 89 minutes. Rated R. Seventeen years after The Blair Witch Project galvanized and frustrated audiences, along comes a sequel that’s really more of a remake, supplying the traditional frights and jolts that the original deliberately withheld. It’ll appeal to those who hated the 1999 film, but annoy those who prefer horror that’s left to the imagination. —MD

Theaters: DI, RR, TX

Bridget Jones’s Baby Two and a half stars

Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey. Directed by Sharon Maguire. 122 minutes. Rated R. The third Bridget Jones movie finds the rom-com icon (Zellweger) unsure of who’s fathered her unborn child: American tech mogul Jack (Dempsey) or onetime love Mark (Firth). Baby takes Bridget in a few new directions, but it’s still mostly redundant, dragging the predictable story over two full hours. —JB

Theaters: COL, FH, PAL, RR, SC, SP, VS

Deepwater Horizon Three stars

Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Gina Rodriguez. Directed by Peter Berg. 107 minutes. Rated PG-13. Wahlberg demonstrates plausibly low-key heroism in this dramatization of the 2010 oil-rig explosion that killed 11 workers and dumped some 5 million barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico. Apart from a cartoonishly detestable BP rep played by John Malkovich, the nightmare feels distressingly accurate. —MD

Theaters: AL, CH, DI, FH, GVR, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SF, SHO, SP, SS, ST, TS, TX, VS

Don’t Breathe Two stars

Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Stephen Lang. Directed by Fede Alvarez. 88 minutes. Rated R. Teens break into an isolated house, only to be confronted by the owner, a blind veteran who’s more dangerous than he appears. At first, Don’t Breathe is admirably gritty and visceral, but it’s ruined by increasingly gross and unbelievable twists. What started as an intense, gripping thriller becomes a ridiculous cartoon. —JB

Theaters: BS, CH, COL, DI, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SC, SS, TX

The Dressmaker (Not reviewed)

Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Liam Hemsworth. Directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse. 118 minutes. Rated R. In the 1950s, a woman returns to her small Australian home town to face up to a scandal from her past.

Theaters: SP, VS

Finding Dory Three and a half stars

Voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Hayden Rolence. Directed by Andrew Stanton. 103 minutes. Rated PG. Forgetful fish Dory decides to track down her long-lost parents in this animated sequel to Pixar’s Finding Nemo. While Dory is thoroughly charming and enjoyable, with funny supporting characters and often gorgeous animation, it’s also a bit formulaic and repetitive, especially during the drawn-out third act. —JB

Theaters: TC

Florence Foster Jenkins Two stars

Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg. Directed by Stephen Frears. 110 minutes. Rated PG-13. Streep plays the title character, a 1940s New York City heiress who was able to mount lavish private concerts despite her complete inability to sing. Jenkins’ life makes for a great Wikipedia entry, but Frears’ movie makes her into the butt of a single repetitive joke, and then tries to pivot for sympathy. —JB

Theaters: SC

Ghostbusters Three stars

Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones. Directed by Paul Feig. 116 minutes. Rated PG-13. This remake of the 1984 movie about a group of misfits fighting a supernatural infestation in New York City features strong comedy with an impressively talented cast, but eventually ends up overwhelmed by the demands of its large-scale action storyline. —JB

Theaters: TC

Hell or High Water Four stars

Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges. Directed by David Mackenzie. 102 minutes. Rated R. A craggy Texas Ranger (Bridges) tracks two small-time bank-robber brothers (Pine, Foster) across Texas in this consistently entertaining movie, which mines new humor, depth and eloquence from a very old genre. The script is full of flavorful dialogue, and the plotting is air-tight, methodically revealing more details about the brothers’ plan. —JB

Theaters: GVR, SF, ST

Ice Age: Collision Course One and a half stars

Voices of Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo. Directed by Mike Thurmeier. 94 minutes. Rated PG. The fifth installment in the animated series is easily the worst, a lazy, unfocused, cluttered mess, with no reason for existing other than perpetuating the absurdly successful franchise. What was once the simple story of three prehistoric mammal friends has ballooned into a never-ending family saga featuring more than a dozen characters. —JB

Theaters: TC

Jason Bourne Three stars

Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones. Directed by Paul Greengrass. 123 minutes. Rated PG-13. Damon and Greengrass return to their signature super-spy character after nine years away, but they haven’t quite brought the same creative inspiration with them. Greengrass delivers several excellent action sequences, but the script fails to come up with a compelling reason to bring Bourne out of his well-earned retirement. —JB

Theaters: SC, ST

Kubo and the Two Strings Four stars

Voices of Art Parkinson, Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey. Directed by Travis Knight. 101 minutes. Rated PG. Directed by Laika CEO Knight, the stop-motion animation studio’s latest wonder draws from Japanese folklore in its tale of the title character and his quest through a mystical realm. It’s a simple story, but the filmmakers give it nuance and resonance in the small character moments and the rich visual detail. —JB

Theaters: COL, DI, RR, ST

The Light Between Oceans Two and a half stars

Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz. Directed by Derek Cianfrance. 132 minutes. Rated PG-13. Set just after World War I, this adaptation of M.L. Stedman’s novel stars Fassbender and Vikander as a married couple living on a small island who choose to keep a baby that washes ashore, being unable to have one of their own. Weisz plays the child’s actual mother; an overly grim custody battle ensues. —MD

Theaters: COL, SC

Lights Out Two and a half stars

Teresa Palmer, Maria Bello, Gabriel Bateman. Directed by David F. Sandberg. 81 minutes. Rated PG-13. Director Sandberg has a tough time expanding his dialogue-free, ultra-short horror film (about a malevolent entity that only appears when lights are turned off) into a feature. Still, Sandberg proves that he’s decent at creating scares, and audiences just looking for a handful of jump moments may find Lights Out satisfactory. —JB

Theaters: ST

The Magnificent Seven Two and a half stars

Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke. Directed by Antoine Fuqua. 132 minutes. Rated PG-13. Seven badasses (including Washington, Pratt and Hawke) band together to save a small town from a sadistic villain, each demonstrating his own specialized variant of combat-related magnificence. It’s such a durable scenario that not even a director as ham-handed as Fuqua (Southpaw, Shooter) can completely screw it up. —MD

Theaters: AL, CAN, CH, DTS, FH, GVR, GVL, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SF, SHO, SP, SS, ST, TX, VS

Masterminds (Not reviewed)

Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig, Owen Wilson. Directed by Jared Hess. 94 minutes. Rated PG-13. A bumbling armored-car guard attempts to pull off a massive heist.

Theaters: AL, BS, CAN, CH, DI, FH, GVL, GVR, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SC, SF, SHO, SP, SS, ST, TX, VS

Max Rose Two and a half stars

Jerry Lewis, Kerry Bishé, Kevin Pollak. Directed by Daniel Noah. 83 minutes. Not rated. In his first starring role in 20-plus years, Lewis plays a retired musician dealing with the death of his wife and a potentially major secret from their marriage. The story is slight and the production is threadbare, with the only real interest coming from Lewis’ return to the big screen. —JB

Theaters: VS

Mechanic: Resurrection One and a half stars

Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Sam Hazeldine. Directed by Dennis Gansel. 99 minutes. Rated R. No one asked for a sequel to 2011’s The Mechanic, and this generic action movie does nothing to justify its existence. Statham delivers his typical punching and kicking as an assassin lured back into the game, but the plot is moronic and convoluted, the effects are cheap-looking, and the characters are less than one-dimensional. —JB

Theaters: ORL, ST

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Two stars

Asa Butterfield, Ella Purnell, Eva Green. Directed by Tim Burton. 127 minutes. Rated PG-13. Based on a popular series of young-adult novels, Peculiar Children is a tedious mash-up of familiar teen-fantasy tropes, starting with the ordinary kid who learns that he’s part of a secret, magical world. Burton displays none of his trademark dark creativity, and even the special effects are lackluster. —JB

Theaters: AL, BS, CAN, CH, COL, DI, DTS, FH, GVL, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SC, SF, SHO, SP, SS, ST, TX, VS

M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story (Not reviewed)

Sushant Singh Rajput, Kiara Advani, Anupam Kher. Directed by Neeraj Pandey. 190 minutes. Not rated. In Hindi with English subtitles. Biopic about legendary Indian cricketer M.S. Dhoni.

Theaters: VS

Nerve Two stars

Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Emily Meade. Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. 96 minutes. Rated PG-13. Roberts plays a teenager who gets caught up in an all-encompassing online game of increasingly dangerous dares. While Joost and Schulman do their best to add some of-the-moment visual flair, the dull story ends up saying very little about the perils of trolling for likes on social media. —JB

Theaters: TC

Nine Lives (Not reviewed)

Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Garner, Robbie Amell. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. 87 minutes. Rated PG. A workaholic business executive must reconnect with his family while trapped in the body of their pet cat.

Theaters: TC

No Manches Frida (Not reviewed)

Omar Chaparro, Martha Higareda, Monica Dionne. Directed by Nacho G. Velilla. 100 minutes. Rated PG-13. In Spanish with English subtitles. An ex-con poses as a substitute teacher in order to access his hidden loot.

Theaters: BS, TX

Pete’s Dragon Two and a half stars

Oakes Fegley, Bryce Dallas Howard, Karl Urban. Directed by David Lowery. 102 minutes. Rated PG. This Disney remake is pleasant and entirely forgettable, with a bland hero (young orphan Pete, played by Oakes Fegley) and his bland CGI dragon sidekick (named Elliot) befriending some bland adults in a bland small town and overcoming a villain who’s barely even villainous. —JB

Theaters: CH, COL, DI, VS

Queen of Katwe Three stars

Madina Nalwanga, David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o. Directed by Mira Nair. 124 minutes. Rated PG. Based on the true story of young Ugandan chess champion Phiona Mutesi (Nalwanga), who rose up from a slum outside Kampala to compete in international tournaments, Queen meticulously follows the beats of the inspirational sports movie. But its strong performances and unique setting offer a pleasant variation on a comfortable formula. —JB

Theaters: AL, CAN, DTS, GVR, ORL, SP, ST, TX, VS

Sausage Party Two stars

Voices of Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Michael Cera. Directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon. 89 minutes. Rated R. With its rudimentary computer animation, talking foodstuffs and relentless, heavy-handed messages about religion, Sausage Party is the atheist equivalent of a VeggieTales movie. Rogen voices a hot dog who tries to enlighten his fellow groceries about human eating habits. While there are occasional amusing puns, the nonstop gross-out humor gets tiresome quickly. —JB

Theaters: CH, PAL, FH, GVR, SC, SF, SP, SS, ST, TX

The Secret Life of Pets Three stars

Voices of Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Jenny Slate. Directed by Chris Renaud. 90 minutes. Rated PG. The hyperactive animated story, with loyal dog Max (C.K.) and his dog frenemy Duke (Stonestreet) lost in New York City, isn’t nearly as sophisticated as something from Pixar or even DreamWorks Animation, but it’s good for a few laughs and is entirely kid-friendly, with plenty of cute characters and madcap set pieces. —JB

Theaters: COL, TX

Snowden Two and a half stars

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Rhys Ifans. Directed by Oliver Stone. 134 minutes. Rated R. Edward Snowden (Gordon-Levitt) took enormous risks to expose U.S. government domestic spying programs, but Stone plays it pretty safe with his biopic. Mostly lacking in Stone’s flashy filmmaking style, Snowden is a straightforward retelling of its title character’s time as a government analyst and contractor, and his subsequent disillusionment and whistle-blowing. —JB

Theaters: CH, COL, PAL, RP, RR, SF, SP, ST, VS

Star Trek Beyond Three and a half stars

Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban. Directed by Justin Lin. 120 minutes. Rated PG-13. The third movie in the rebooted sci-fi series has a comparatively smaller-scale plot than its predecessors, returning Trek a bit closer to its episodic TV origins—in only the best way. It works well as a rousing adventure story that celebrates the power of capable, dedicated people working together. —JB

Theaters: TC

Storks Two and a half stars

Voices of Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Anton Starkman. Directed by Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland. 89 minutes. Rated PG. Set in a world where storks magically create and deliver actual babies, Storks gets points for weirdness, but writer and co-director Stoller mostly glosses over it in favor of kid-friendly animal antics. There are some vague lessons about family and togetherness, but the plot is too incoherent to make any of them stick. —JB

Theaters: AL, CAN, CH, COL, DI, FH, GVL, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SF, SP, SS, ST, TX, VS

Suicide Squad Two and a half stars

Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Joel Kinnaman. Directed by David Ayer. 130 minutes. Rated PG-13. This super-villain team-up features a slightly more streamlined narrative than previous DC movies. But it’s still overstuffed, an ensemble piece with nearly a dozen main characters, telling origin stories for half of them, bringing them together into a new team and facing them off against two different antagonists. —JB

Theaters: AL, BS, CH, COL, DI, ORL, PAL, SC, SF, SS, TX

Sully Two and a half stars

Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney. Directed by Clint Eastwood. 96 minutes. Rated PG-13. When pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Hanks) landed a passenger jet on the Hudson River following dual engine failure, saving everyone on board, the incident lasted just 208 seconds. Stretching that into 96 minutes proves difficult for this true-life drama, which adds in narrative filler to build a few heart-stopping minutes into feature length. —JB

Theaters: AL, BS, CH, DI, DTS, FH, GVR, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SC, SF, SHO, SP, SS

War Dogs Three stars

Jonah Hill, Miles Teller, Ana de Armas. Directed by Todd Phillips. 114 minutes. Rated R. War Dogs tells the true story of unlikely arms dealers Efraim Diveroli (Hill) and David Packouz (Teller), who leveraged low-level military contracts into a massive deal that found them in over their heads. Director and co-writer Phillips deploys just enough comedy to entice the audience while treating the story with appropriate seriousness. —JB

Theaters: ST

When the Bough Breaks (Not reviewed)

Morris Chestnut, Regina Hall, Jaz Sinclair. Directed by Jon Cassar. 107 minutes. Rated PG-13. A couple hires a surrogate mother who turns out to be dangerous and obsessive.

Theaters: AL, BS, DI, TX

JMA Jeffrey M. Anderson; JB Josh Bell; MD Mike D’Angelo

Theaters

(AL) Regal Aliante

7300 Aliante Parkway, North Las Vegas, 844-462-7342 ext. 4011

(BS) Regal Boulder Station

4111 Boulder Highway, 844-462-7342 ext. 269

(PAL) Brenden Theatres at the Palms

4321 W. Flamingo Road, 702-507-4849

(CAN) Galaxy Cannery

2121 E. Craig Road, North Las Vegas, 702-639-9779

(CH) Cinedome Henderson

851 S. Boulder Highway, Henderson, 702-566-1570

(COL) Regal Colonnade

8880 S. Eastern Ave., 844-462-7342 ext. 270

(DI) Las Vegas Drive-In

4150 W. Carey Ave., North Las Vegas, 702-646-3565

(DTS) Regal Downtown Summerlin

2070 Park Center Drive, 844-462-7342 ext. 4063

(FH) Regal Fiesta Henderson

777 W. Lake Mead Parkway, Henderson, 844-462-7342 ext. 1772

(GVR) Regal Green Valley Ranch

2300 Paseo Verde Parkway, Henderson, 844-462-7342 ext. 267

(GVL) Galaxy Green Valley Luxury+

4500 E. Sunset Road, Henderson, 702-442-0244

(ORL) Century Orleans

4500 W. Tropicana Ave., 702-889-1220

(RP) AMC Rainbow Promenade

2321 N. Rainbow Blvd., 888-262-4386

(RR) Regal Red Rock

11011 W. Charleston Blvd., 844-462-7342 ext. 1756

(ST) Century Sam’s Town

5111 Boulder Highway, 702-547-1732

(SF) Century Santa Fe Station

4949 N. Rancho Drive, 702-655-8178

(SHO) United Artists Showcase

3769 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 844-462-7342 ext. 522

(SP) Century South Point

9777 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702-260-4061

(SC) Century Suncoast

9090 Alta Drive, 702-869-1880

(SS) Regal Sunset Station

1301-A W. Sunset Road, Henderson, 844-462-7342 ext. 268

(TX) Regal Texas Station

2101 Texas Star Lane, North Las Vegas, 844-462-7342 ext. 271

(TS) AMC Town Square

6587 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702-362-7283

(TC) Regency Tropicana Cinemas

3330 E. Tropicana Ave., 702-438-3456

(VS) Regal Village Square

9400 W. Sahara Ave., 844-462-7342 ext. 272

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