Matinee

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ALMOST CHRISTMAS: Not reviewed

A father (Danny Glover) has one wish for Christmas: that his family can be together and get along. It won’t be easy. The ensemble cast includes Kimberly Elise, Omar Epps, Romany Malco, Mo’Nique, Nicole Ari Parker, J.B. Smoove, Gabrielle Union, Jessie T. Usher and DC Young Fly. (Rated PG-13 for suggestive material, drug content and language)

ARRIVAL: Not reviewed

Amy Adams plays  a linguist brought in to try to communicate with an alien spacecraft in a sci-fi thriller with Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker.  (Rated PG-13 for brief strong language)

SHUT IN: Not reviewed

A widowed child psychologist (Naomi Watts) tries to rescue a young boy during a deadly winter storm in rural New England. (Rated PG-13 for terror and some violence / bloody images, nudity, thematic elements and brief strong language)

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THE ACCOUNTANT: C

Ben Affleck plays a paper-pushing CPA — roughly the exact opposite of Schwarzenegger or Stallone — who gets his shot at action hero stardom. If we pull out our calculators, we can deduce that the odds of this are slim. But “The Accountant” has much grander goals of implausibility. It’s about a secretive, autistic accountant for prominent criminals who’s a muscular, military-grade hit man by hobby, plagued by his father’s relentlessly militaristic parenting, who becomes embroiled in a robotic prostheses company’s bid to go public. If nothing else, it’s singular in lending an action-movie cliche an absurdly peculiar and elaborate backstory. (Rated R for strong violence and language throughout) (AG)

BAD MOMS: C-

The comedy “Bad Moms” fancies itself a “Hangover” for the PTA set. And, while a wild send-up of modern parental perfection is a fresh subject for a fun summer comedy, “Bad Moms” is ultimately rather conventional. It feels a little bit like a frat bro’s fantasy of “Mom’s Day Off.” Perhaps that’s because this film is from writer / directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, the screenwriters behind “The Hangover” and the party movie “21 & Over.” The saving grace of the movie is the oddball friendship that develops among the three mothers (played by Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn). But everything goes off the rails in the third act. (Rated R for sexual material, full frontal nudity, language throughout and drug and alcohol content) (AP)

DEEPWATER HORIZON: A-

We all know how the story ends. When the BP oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, 11 people died and millions of gallons of oil spewed into the waters and up against the Gulf shores in the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.  The how-did-it-happen is another thing, and the point of director Peter Berg’s intensely thrilling indictment of the greed and gross negligence that contributed to the horrific outcome. It rises above expectations of what a movie like this is capable of at every turn achieves that impossible balance of being a tribute to the workers who both perished and survived that day and a searing critique of the rotten system that put them there in the first place. (Rated PG-13 for prolonged intense disaster sequences and related disturbing images and brief strong language) (AP)

DOCTOR STRANGE: B

No affinity for superheroes or familiarity with Marvel mythology is required to enjoy the visual spectacle here. Being open to mysticism and the possibility of parallel dimensions might help, though. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the title character in this origin story, where plot is secondary to dazzling special effects that invert gravity, reverse time and twist buildings like blocks in a Rubik’s Cube. It’s worth it to watch the film in 3-D, and on an IMAX screen if possible (as this critic did), for an immersive, almost psychedelic experience. Two spectacular action sequences in the third act are enough to justify the ticket price. (Rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action throughout and an intense crash sequence) (AG)

DON’T BREATHE: B

Written by director Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues, “Don’t Breathe” pits a team of inept burglars against a homeowner who fights back. In that sense, it’s kind of like a twisted “Home Alone” for millennials. It is almost a throwback to older horror films. It’s meticulously planned and thrillingly satisfying with a camera always a step ahead — if you see an array of sharp tools near the beginning, bet on them being used at some point. The discordant soundtrack manages to capture dread beautifully. (Rated R for terror, violence, disturbing content and language including sexual references) (AP)

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN: C

Its old-school title may suggest Alfred Hitchcock or maybe David Fincher, but Tate Taylor’s adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ best-selling novel is nowhere near the league of either. Instead, it’s closer to the kind of early ’90s psychological thriller where bad things happen in slow motion and deadly instruments are drawn from kitchen drawers. Emily Blunt  can’t quite pull off the famously difficult task of believably playing drunk, but it’s her steely presence that gives “The Girl on the Train” the veneer of a film better than it is. But Taylor (“The Help”) isn’t able to believably blend the overlapping perspectives and “The Girl on the Train” comes across as a flat, predictable puzzle whose characters flip from one extreme to another. (Rated R for violence, sexual content, language and nudity) (AP)

HACKSAW RIDGE: B

Starring the goofily appealing Andrew Garfield as Desmond Doss (the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor), this may not be a perfect movie, but it strikes an unusual balance. It’s a violent film whose hero — and moral core — espouses non-violence. It’s a war film that will also appeal to a faith-based audience. It’s a film that at moments can feel relentlessly corny — and a second later, painfully, horribly real. Doss’ story is one you probably didn’t know and will be glad you did. Director Mel Gibson does well by it. (Rated R for intense prolonged realistically graphic sequences of war violence, including grisly bloody images) (AP)

INFERNO: C

The first two Robert Langdon movies (also starring Tom Hanks directed by Ron Howard) were cold, soggy soups of conspiracy that served up a very poor man’s Indiana Jones, minus the fun. This is a better, more simplified thriller than those films, trading less on the ancient mysteries of a shadowy organization than the familiar arch villainy of a megalomaniac — a billionaire (Ben Foster) who wants to fight overpopulation with a virus that will unleash a modern-day plague. The result is like a tweed-jacket version of Bond or Bourne. But if Langdon is distinguished from the other globe-trotting saviors by his Ph.D., why aren’t his movies smarter? (Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, disturbing images, some language, thematic elements and brief sensuality) (AP)

JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK: C

It’s the story that makes this sequel inferior to the original. The first film established the title character as a brilliant, brutal loner dedicated to justice. What makes an archetypal character like this fun to watch is an unpredictable story, where the audience and protagonist together uncover the mystery. The 2012 film achieved this beautifully. Here the bad guys are one-dimensional caricatures and Reacher is driven by protecting a teenager whom he insists from the start isn’t his daughter. This leaves the film riding on its action sequences and the charm of its central characters, played by Tom Cruise and Cobie Smulders. And while they’re incredibly appealing, they can’t do more than the story allows. (Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some bloody images, language and thematic elements) (AP)

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES: C

The modern studio comedy increasingly feels limp, suffocated by the financial imperatives of high-concept plots and desperately in search of signs of life. Greg Mottola’s film is, like many before it, fine enough. But it mostly goes down as another collection of funny people stuck in too narrowly cliched roles in an overly familiar story. Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher play a regular suburbanite couple whose lives are shaken up by the Joneses (John Hamm and Gal Gadot), a stylish couple that turns out to by elite government spies. The feeling never leaves that everyone here could do better if they were really let loose. (Rated PG-13 for sexual content, action / violence and brief strong language) (AP)

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN: B-

Since superhero movies are a lot more common than Westerns at the multiplex these days, maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that this movie feels less like a remake of a classic Western and more like an OK superhero movie. Director Antoine Fuqua creates a Western that is both revisionist and regressive. The rainbow coalition that makes up his “Magnificent Seven” (Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier) certainly has a modern feel; the storytelling sometimes is as formulaic as a 1950s Audie Murphy Western. (Rated PG-13 for extended and intense sequences of Western violence and for historical smoking, some language and suggestive material) (AG)

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS: B

Any pet owner who’s imbued their furry or feathered friends with deep thoughts and mysterious intentions will relate to the imagination behind this animated film. It may not have the emotional resonance of a Pixar movie, but with its playful premise, endearing performances and outstanding score by Alexandre Desplat, “Pets” is fun, family- (and animal-) friendly fare. People’s favorite nonspeaking companions are brought to life here by Illumination Entertainment (the studio behind “Despicable Me”) and given voice by an all-star cast that includes Louis C.K., Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate and Albert Brooks. (Rated PG for action and some rude humor) (AP)

SUICIDE SQUAD: C

This a movie that too often goes for the obvious choice, from its soundtrack choices to its story arc. It wants to be dark and push boundaries, but it lacks the gravitas of Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” films and the twisted wit of the R-rated “Deadpool.” Essentially, it’s a comic book version of “The Seven Samurai”/ “The Magnificent Seven.” Only this time, instead of a small town enlisting the help of a group of undesirables to defend it, it’s a shadowy government agency that may be more duplicitous than the criminals it recruits. Margot Robbie’s delightfully unhinged Harley Quinn and Will Smith’s Deadshot are the only characters who leave much of an impression. (Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, suggestive content and language) (AG)

SULLY: B-

In Clint Eastwood’s haunted and sterile docudrama of Capt. Chesley Sullenberger’s 2009 landing of Flight 1549 on the Hudson, he has drained away all the superficial, rah-rah heroism of Sullenberger’s great feat, but he has also sucked the life out of it. Instead of the rush of euphoria that the “Miracle on the Hudson” swept through a New York accustomed to only tragedy from the air, we get a weary parable that, as Eastwood has often done, pulls the curtain away from a celebrated public figure (played by Tom Hanks) and reveals the inner trauma and sense of responsibility that lies inside a regular man thrust into an unwanted spotlight. (Rated PG-13 for some peril and brief strong language) (AP)

TROLLS: B-

The movie is a sugary sweet confection of sights and sounds that will surely leave a fair share of adults with an aching stomach and bleeding ears from sensory overload. But, it’s not for them, is it? It’s for the kids, and fairly young ones too, who will no doubt be swept up by the neon, the sterilized cover songs of pop music past and present, and the goofy, big-hearted humor. Even the parents will find loads of charm from that last one. The script is quite clever, but it is too easily overshadowed by everything else that’s going on (which is a lot).(Rated PG for some mild rude humor) (AP)

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