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Short Takes: Movie listings and reviews for March 16

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The Belko Experiment.
Josh Bell, Mike D'Angelo, Jeffrey M. Anderson

Special screenings

Adult Film Festival Las Vegas

3/18-3/19, adult films, panels, seminars, porn star appearances, noon-7 p.m., passes $35-$60. Erotic Heritage Museum, 3275 Sammy Davis Jr. Drive, 702-794-4000. Info: afflv.com.

Banff Mountain Film Festival’s World Tour

3/16-3/17, short films and documentaries featuring outdoor adventure and action sports, 7 p.m., free. Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, 702-507-3459.

Bolshoi Ballet

3/19, broadcast of A Contemporary Evening program, 12:55 p.m., $15-$18. Theaters: COL, ORL, SF, SP, ST, VS. Info: fathomevents.com.

Cinemark Classic Series

Sun 2 p.m., Wed 2 & 7 p.m., $7.50-$10.75. 3/19, 3/22, Reservoir Dogs. Theaters: SF, ST

Nevada Women’s Film Festival

3/23-3/26, feature and short films, panel discussions, awards, more, $5-$15 per program, $20-$35 passes. Big Springs Theater at the Springs Preserve, 333 S. Valley View Blvd., nwffest.com.

Sci Fi Center

Mon, Cinemondays, 8 p.m., free. 3/21, The Warriors, 8 p.m., $5. 5077 Arville St., 855-501-4335, thescificenter.com.

Tuesday Afternoon at the Bijou

Tue, 1 p.m., free. 3/21, Tammy and the Bachelor. Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, 702-507-3400.

Windmill Movie Club

3/18, 2 p.m., classic movie followed by discussion, free. Windmill Library, 7060 W. Windmill Lane, 702-507-6036.

New this week

Beauty and the Beast Two and a half stars

Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans. Directed by Bill Condon. 129 minutes. Rated PG. This live-action/CGI remake of Disney’s classic animated musical drains much of the charm from the movie, rendering expressive cartoon designs as hyper-detailed, antiseptic computer effects, bloating a simple fairy tale into a plodding narrative complete with dead parents and placing some of Disney’s most memorable songs alongside mediocre new compositions. —JB

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

The Belko Experiment Two and a half stars

John Gallagher Jr., Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona. Directed by Greg McLean. 88 minutes. Rated R. Eighty employees trapped in an isolated Colombia office building are ordered to murder each other by an anonymous voice on the intercom, or be killed themselves. James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) wrote the script, but it basically amounts to an especially gory indoor Hunger Games. —MD

Theaters: AL, CAN, CH, COL, DI, ORL, PAL, RP, RR, SF, SP, ST, TS, TX

The Sense of an Ending Two and a half stars

Jim Broadbent, Harriet Walter, Billy Howle. Directed by Ritesh Batra. 108 minutes. Rated PG-13. Broadbent brings sensitivity and humor to his portrayal of Tony Webster, a sour retiree whose humdrum life is upended by secrets from his past. The eventual revelations are a bit underwhelming, and the movie is too subdued to make full use of Broadbent’s talents. —JB

Theaters: DTS, GVR, VS

Now playing

Badrinath Ki Dulhania (Not reviewed)

Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Gauahar Khan. Directed by Shashank Khaitan. 138 minutes. Not rated. In Hindi with English subtitles. A couple with opposite attitudes about gender roles attempt to get along.

Theaters: VS

Before I Fall Two and a half stars

Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Logan Miller. Directed by Ry Russo-Young. 99 minutes. Rated PG-13. Deutch plays a teenage mean girl who learns important lessons about tolerance and compassion in this clumsy, obvious drama based on a YA novel. Forced to live the same day over and over, Deutch’s Sam predictably reforms her bullying ways, albeit with some stylish scenes and a strong lead performance along the way. —JB

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

A Dog’s Purpose Two stars

K.J. Apa, Dennis Quaid, voice of Josh Gad. Directed by Lasse Hallström. 120 minutes. Rated PG. Gad cloyingly voices the thoughts of a dog who is reincarnated through several lives in this treacly combination of kid-movie animal antics and Nicholas Sparks-style romance. The pacing is uneven, the human characters are one-dimensional and the tone is sappy and manipulative, with multiple tearjerking dog deaths. —JB

Theaters: COL, SC, TC, TX

Fences Two and a half stars

Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson. Directed by Denzel Washington. 138 minutes. Rated PG-13. Washington’s adaptation of August Wilson’s 1983 Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a working-class African-American family in 1950s Pittsburgh feels entirely stage-bound and artificial, with set design and performances that might make sense for live theater, but which come across as stilted and ineffective onscreen. —JB

Theaters: VS

Fifty Shades Darker Two stars

Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Marcia Gay Harden. Directed by James Foley. 115 minutes. Rated R. The second movie based on E.L. James’ series of erotic novels immediately reunites billionaire sadist Christian Grey and naive college grad Anastasia Steele. The relative lack of conflict between the main characters is just one of the reasons that Darker ends up as possibly the most boring movie ever made about kinky sex. —JB

Theaters: SF, SHO, ST, TS, VS

Fist Fight One star

Ice Cube, Charlie Day, Jillian Bell. Directed by Richie Keen. 91 minutes. Rated R. There’s almost nothing to like about this comedy starring Cube as an angry history teacher who challenges Day’s nervous English teacher to a fight after a misunderstanding gets the former fired. It’s dreadful, with unpleasant characters, moronic jokes, a paper-thin plot and a disingenuous message that pretends to excuse the repetitive vulgarity. —JB

Theaters: AL, COL, DI, FH, ORL, PAL, SHO, ST

The Founder Three stars

Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch. Directed by John Lee Hancock. 115 minutes. Rated PG-13. The story of how businessman Ray Kroc essentially stole the McDonald’s empire has the makings of a fascinatingly dark drama. The filmmakers only get about halfway there, though, seemingly not quite sure whether they want to make a tribute to one of America’s most beloved brands or expose the dark underbelly of its origins. —JB

Theaters: COL

Get Out Three and a half stars

Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford. Directed by Jordan Peele. 103 minutes. Rated R. A black photographer (Kaluuya) encounters a sinister conspiracy when he visits the family of his white girlfriend (Williams). Peele is mostly successful at balancing comedy, horror and social commentary in his promising debut as a writer-director. The movie never lectures the audience, providing a grotesque exaggeration to highlight very real social problems. —JB

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

The Great Wall Two stars

Matt Damon, Tian Jing, Pedro Pascal. Directed by Zhang Yimou. 103 minutes. Rated PG-13. This American-Chinese co-production is carefully composed to provide an equally inoffensive balance for both markets, ending up with the worst of both worlds. Damon sports a terrible, constantly varying accent as an 11th-century European trader who comes to China and ends up in a fight against crappy CGI monsters. —JB

Theaters: CH, ORL, PAL, SC, SP, SS, ST, TS, TX

Hacksaw Ridge Two stars

Andrew Garfield, Teresa Palmer, Vince Vaughn. Directed by Mel Gibson. 131 minutes. Rated R. The first half of this biopic about nonviolent WWII hero Desmond Doss (Garfield) is an ultra-corny small-town family drama and romance, while the second half has excessively violent and gory battlefield action. The movie lays on the sentiment and the blood and guts in equal measure, and both drown out the genuine heroism. —JB

Theaters: TC

Hidden Figures Two stars

Taraji P. Henson, Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer. Directed by Theodore Melfi. 127 minutes. Rated PG. The story of three real-life black women who overcame prejudice while working at NASA in the early days of the space program is told with cheesy, crowd-pleasing moments that often simplify and diminish the struggles that the real people endured. Eventually its account of actual triumph over adversity becomes chintzy and disingenuous. —JB

Theaters: GVR, SC, VS

I Am Not Your Negro Three and a half stars

Directed by Raoul Peck. 93 minutes. Rated PG-13. This Oscar-nominated documentary takes text from writer James Baldwin (mainly an unfinished 1979 manuscript) as narration for an essay-style examination of race relations in America. Although Baldwin was writing decades ago, his words resonate strongly in the present day, and director Peck matches them up with some powerful imagery. —JB

Theaters: SC

John Wick: Chapter 2 Three stars

Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose. Directed by Chad Stahelski. 122 minutes. Rated R. Reeves returns as the weary, unstoppable assassin who just wants to retire in peace, this time drawn back into action by an Italian mob boss. The story lacks the laser focus of the original, and the increased emphasis on franchise-building is a distraction, but Stahelski still knows how to stage stunning action sequences. —JB

Theaters: AL, COL, DTS, FH, ORL, PAL, RP, SHO, SP, SS, ST, TS, TX, VS

Kong: Skull Island Three stars

Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson. Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts. 118 minutes. Rated PG-13. After gathering a motley crew for a trip to the previously uncharted Skull Island, the movie wastes little time in revealing its giant ape title character, delivering near-constant action on an island filled with brilliantly rendered monstrosities. Its social commentary, however, is mostly used just as superficially as its overqualified cast. —JB

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

La La Land Three and a half stars

Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend. Directed by Damien Chazelle. 128 minutes. Rated PG-13. Stone and Gosling are so terrific together, as an aspiring actress and a jazz pianist struggling to realize their respective dreams in cutthroat Los Angeles, that one can sort of forgive this being a throwback musical in which neither lead is a first-rate singer or dancer. ­—MD

Theaters: GVR, ST, VS

The Lego Batman Movie Three and a half stars

Voices of Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Zach Galifianakis. Directed by Chris McKay. 104 minutes. Rated PG. This animated spinoff of The Lego Movie, starring Arnett’s vain, arrogant version of Batman, retains much of its predecessor’s charm, packing in nonstop visual and verbal jokes while telling a simple, fun story with some solid lessons for the family audience. —JB

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

Lion Three stars

Sunny Pawar, Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman. Directed by Garth Davis. 118 minutes. Rated PG-13. Based on a true story, Lion stars Patel as a young man who was raised in Australia (Kidman plays his mom) after getting hopelessly lost at age 5, but who uses Google Earth in an effort to locate the tiny village in India where he was born. Sluggish at the start, moving by the end. —MD

Theaters: GVR, VS

Logan Three stars

Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen. Directed by James Mangold. 137 minutes. Rated R. Jackman makes his allegedly final appearance as mutant superhero Wolverine in this grim, violent future-set drama. The relationship among the central trio of Wolverine, Professor X and a young mutant girl is strong, but the lengthy plot heads off on too many detours, and the serious tone gets a bit numbing over time. —JB

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

Moana Three stars

Voices of Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House. Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. 113 minutes. Rated PG. Influenced by Polynesian mythology, Moana is a pleasant but not particularly distinctive addition to the Disney animated princess canon, with the title character (Cravalho) seeking out a buffoonish demigod (Johnson) in order to save her island home. The animation is lovely, but the songs and the plot are mediocre. —JB

Theaters: TC

Monster Trucks (Not reviewed)

Lucas Till, Jane Levy, Amy Ryan. Directed by Chris Wedge. 104 minutes. Rated PG. A teenager discovers a strange friendly creature inhabiting the souped-up truck he’s building.

Theaters: TC

Moonlight Three and a half stars

Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes. Directed by Barry Jenkins. 110 minutes. Rated R. Divided into three segments, Moonlight follows the introverted, gay Chiron as a kid, a teenager and a young man, coming to terms with his identity growing up in one of Miami’s poorest African-American neighborhoods. It’s rooted in real details, and each segment (even the slow-moving final third) achieves its own grace. —JB

Theaters: SC, TS

The Ottoman Lieutenant Two stars

Hera Hilmar, Michiel Huisman, Josh Hartnett. Directed by Joseph Ruben. 109 minutes. Rated R. This hokey World War I melodrama aims for old-fashioned glamour in its story of an American nurse (Hilmar) pursued by both a Turkish soldier (Huisman) and an American doctor (Hartnett) while working at a remote Anatolian hospital. But the acting is shaky, the writing is stilted and the overbearing score drowns out any historical analysis. —JB

Theaters: GVR, VS

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (Not reviewed)

Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Iain Glen. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. 106 minutes. Rated R. Alice (Jovovich) leads humanity’s last stand against the undead in the sixth movie based on the video-game series.

Theaters: TC

Rings One and a half stars

Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki. Directed by F. Javier Gutiérrez. 102 minutes. Rated PG-13. In this long-delayed third Ring movie, a bland teenager (Lutz) and a college professor (Galecki) encounter the cursed videotape and go in search of soggy ghost girl Samara’s horrific history. Apart from a standalone opening sequence set on an airplane, the film just traffics in the usual clichéd jump scares. —MD

Theaters: ST, TC

Rock Dog (Not reviewed)

Voices of Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard, J.K. Simmons. Directed by Ash Brannon. 80 minutes. Rated PG. A dog pursues his dream of becoming a rock star.

Theaters: COL, ST

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Three and a half stars

Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn. Directed by Gareth Edwards. 133 minutes. Rated PG-13. This Star Wars prequel/spinoff, set just before the events of the original 1977 movie, struggles between fan-pleasing callbacks and telling its own story, about a group of Rebels stealing the plans to the Death Star. Although the individual elements are uneven, they come together in an entertaining and satisfying way. —JB

Theaters: VS

The Shack One and a half stars

Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer, Avraham Aviv Alush. Directed by Stuart Hazeldine. 132 minutes. Rated PG-13. Based on the mega-selling Christian novel, The Shack follows bereaved father Mack (Worthington) as he meets literal representations of the Holy Trinity in the remote cabin where his daughter was murdered. As much a self-help book as a sermon, the movie fails as drama, offering up superficial, simplistic lessons for the ill-defined protagonist. —JB

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

Sing Two stars

Voices of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson. Directed by Garth Jennings. 110 minutes. Rated PG. In a city full of anthropomorphic animals, a koala stage impresario (McConaughey) mounts a singing competition to save his failing theater. The story evokes the “let’s put on a show” narratives of classic musicals, but the style is all crass 2016 Hollywood, with a soundtrack full of squeaky-clean, soulless versions of pop songs. —JB

Theaters: ST

Split Three and a half stars

James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley. Directed by M. Night Shyamalan. 117 minutes. Rated PG-13. Shyamalan’s tense thriller keeps up the suspense for its entire running time, telling the story of three teen girls abducted by a man with 23 personalities. It’s another step on Shyamalan’s comeback, telling a sometimes familiar horror story with confidence and a surprising amount of depth. —JB

Theaters: AL, GVR, SF, ST, TS, TX, VS

Sword Art Online the Movie: Ordinal Scale (Not reviewed)

Voices of Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Haruka Tomatsu, Ayana Taketatsu. Directed by Tomohiko Itō. 119 minutes. Not rated. In Japanese with English subtitles. Feature film based on the anime series about a group of teenagers immersed in a virtual reality game.

Theaters: TS

Table 19 Two stars

Anna Kendrick, Craig Robinson, Lisa Kudrow. Directed by Jeffrey Blitz. 87 minutes. Rated PG-13. Kendrick leads an overqualified cast as former maid of honor Eloise, one of the mismatched people exiled to a far-off table at a wedding. The cluttered, poorly paced and choppily edited movie clumsily veers from dopey slapstick to heavy seriousness, without succeeding at either. —JB

Theaters: FH, RR, SC, ST

A United Kingdom Two and a half stars

David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Jack Davenport. Directed by Amma Asante. 111 minutes. Rated PG-13. This drama based on the true story of the politcally charged marriage between a Botswanan royal heir (Oyelowo) and a white British clerk (Pike) in the 1940s is respectable and mostly dull, only slightly more stirring than a Wikipedia entry. The leads have strong chemistry, but the movie never brings the historical events to life. —JB

Theaters: SC, ST

XXX: Return of Xander Cage Two stars

Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Toni Collette. Directed by D.J. Caruso. 107 minutes. Rated PG-13. Diesel’s extreme sports-loving secret agent Xander Cage belatedly returns for this moronic and unnecessary action sequel. The story lazily throws in a few plot twists that allow Cage to team up with former associates and enemies, but it’s just an excuse for a series of over-the-top action sequences that mostly fail to deliver. —JB

Theaters: TC

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

(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

(ET) Eclipse Theaters

814 S. Third St., 702-816-4300

(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

(PAL) Brenden Theatres at the Palms

4321 W. Flamingo Road, 702-507-4849

(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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  • Everything in theaters this week, plus special screenings and movie reviews.

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