Matinee

Starts Friday

INCARNATE: Not reviewed

Aaron Eckhart plays a scientist trying to exorcise a demon from a young boy in a horror film co-starring Carice van Houten and David Mazouz. (Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of horror violence, terror, disturbing images, brief strong language, sensuality and thematic elements)

MOONLIGHT: A

See review on page 9D. (Rated R for some sexuality, drug use, brief violence, and language throughout) (AP)

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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)

ALLIED: B-

Deeply nostalgic moviemaking is rendered with digital precision in Robert Zemeckis’ highly manicured World War II romance. With Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, he has resurrected the espionage thriller in all its classical glamour with a knowingness that’s both impressively grand and stiffly hollow. Big and sturdy, it always fills the screen. But its gleaming surfaces are missing something underneath. (Rated R for violence, some sexuality / nudity, language and brief drug use) (AP)

ARRIVAL: B

This is a sluggish, naturalistic meditation on loss and time that also happens to have lumbering spidery, squid-like aliens who arrive in a spacecraft that resemble massive watermelon seeds. It tries to straddle the line between serious sci-fi that examines Big Ideas and the kind of popcorn-munching, go-get-those-slimy-critters summer blockbusters. It doesn’t always succeed and ends on such a muddled philosophical note that you may need a whiteboard for a quick explanation to be mapped out. Amy Adams, as a linguist enlisted to help communicate with the aliens, delivers a heart-wrenchingly beautiful performance using her ability to communicate a half-dozen emotions just standing still. Wonder, sorrow and anguish are written all over her face. (Rated PG-13 for brief strong language) (AP)

BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK: B

This is not a war movie in the traditional sense. There are battle scenes, and brothers in arms banter, sure, but it also pushes the boundaries of what we can expect from this genre. Adapted from Ben Fountain’s 2012 novel, “Billy Lynn’s” chronicles a day in an all-too-brief victory tour of a unit of soldiers who faced a particularly harrowing skirmish in Iraq that resulted in the death of one of their own. The film isn’t perfect, and certainly not director Ang Lee’s strongest. But there’s also a looking-down-at-your-own-life quality to the entire experiment. (Rated R for language throughout, some war violence, sexual content and brief drug use) (AP)

BLEED FOR THIS: B-

Ben Younger’s film, starring Miles Teller, distinguishes itself by doubling down on some of the tried-and-true formulas of boxing movies. It’s a comeback times two. Teller plays Vinny Pazienza (“Paz” or “the Pazmanian Devil”), a lightweight and middleweight champ whose career was stopped by a car crash that nearly breaks his spine.  Told he might not walk again, let alone fight, Vinny resolutely embarks on an almost quixotic comeback. It’s ultimately a straightforward, well-acted parable about taking a punch. (Rated R for language, sexuality / nudity and some accident images) (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)

THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN: B

This is a charmingly sardonic coming-of-age story from the promising writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig in her feature debut. Hailee Steinfeld carries the movie effortlessly as Nadine  a sarcastic, often inappropriate, occasionally blue and perpetually aggrieved young woman who exists on the peripheries of the high school ecosystem. Hayden Szeto is charismatic as the sweetly dorky love interest. Sure, some of it is cliche, but it also has enough good that it might just become a new classic in the high school comedy genre. (Rated R for sexual content, language and some drinking, all involving teens) (AP)

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM: B

There’s definitely some darkness here (J.K. Rowling has said the screenplay was inspired by the rise of populism around the globe) despite its being a family film, complete with the sweetest little beasts imaginable — expect to see your kid melt forthwith over the lovable jewelry-imbibing Niffler. But there’s also a refreshingly light tone competing with the sinister themes, thanks especially to two exceedingly appealing supporting characters headed for a sweet confection of a romance. It’s all entertaining, lovely, expertly done. Why then does it feel as if something’s missing? Perhaps it’s our inescapable urge to compare it to the Harry Potter phenomenon. (Rated PG-13 for some fantasy action violence) (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)

MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN: B

After a year filled with superheroes, it’s time now for a group of kids who float, are invisible, who spark fire, manipulate plants, control bees and give life to inanimate objects. Not really, X-Men exactly. Call them X-Tweens. They’re the unlikely young heroes and heroines of this Tim Burton-directed 3-D film that is loosely based on the novel of the same name by Ransom Riggs. Sweet, with some mind-blowing visual effects, it’s the perfect film for your young disaffected mutant friends. It has all the making of a super franchise — the call of destiny, the making of heroes and the embrace of kinship. Plus, of course, coming to terms with your inner freak. (Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and peril) (AP)

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