Movies: Started Wednesday

THE FIRST PURGE: C

See review on page 6D. (Rated R for strong disturbing violence throughout, pervasive language, some sexuality and drug use)

Starts Friday

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP:

See review on page 8D. (Rated PG-13 for some sci-fi violence)

Currently playing

ADRIFT: B-

Woman vs. nature. It certainly has a ring to it, especially when woman wins. Enter “Adrift,” based on the harrowing, real-life story of Tami Oldham, who sailed off on a romantic voyage from Tahiti to San Diego in 1983 with her fiance, Richard Sharp, and ran into a brutal hurricane. The movie has several things going for it. Director Baltasar Komakur shoots the film on the open ocean, lending the proceedings an obvious visual urgency. Second, the story is simple and thrilling — because it’s true. And third, Shailene Woodley, one of the most naturalistic young actresses working today. Where the film could do better is in painting the characters with nuance and complexity. (Rated PG-13 for injury images, peril, language, brief drug use, partial nudity and thematic elements) (AP)

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR: B-

It’s really the simple pleasure of seeing so many good actors together that makes “Infinity War” work. And it rarely feels as overstuffed as such a superhero smorgasbord ought to, a testament to the filmmakers’ adept plate-spinning skills. But this really is Josh Brolin’s film. Already an actor who can appear chiseled from granite, his Thanos is an imposing boulder of a villain, the immovable object around which the gaggle of superheroes orbits. The movie’s ending will be the major talking point. But for me, its power only lasts as long as a commercial break. Who lives and who dies? It’s hard to fret too much with an eternity of sequels and spinoffs lined up. (Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action throughout, language and some crude references) (AP)

BLOCKERS: B

The teen sex comedy gets a very overdue and very funny update in Kay Cannon’s movie a gleeful, gross-out farce about the absurdities of gender bias. It begins with a sex pact. Three high-school friends are determined to lose their virginity on prom night. The twist is that they aren’t an assortment of randy, pimpled guys. They’re a trio of curious, self-confident girls, already too wise to lose anything like their “innocence.” The antic chemistry among Leslie Mann, John Cena and Ike Barinholtz as the girls’ parents is stellar. They capture the panic, embarrassment and sentimentality of young-adult parenthood as they scramble after their kids, none of whom need saving. (Rated R for crude and sexual content and language throughout, drug content, teen partying and some graphic nudity) (AP)

BOOK CLUB: B-

The women of the “Book Club” (Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen) always seem to have a wine glass in hand. Come to think of it, that’s not a bad idea for the viewer as well. If you have access to wine while you’re seeing this film, go for it — it’ll smooth out the rough edges. The script often is so heavy on the corn that it strains credulity and leaves you groaning. But then, darn it, suddenly it makes you tearful, with an unexpectedly genuine moment, or laugh out loud. It’s a credit to the cast, and the cast only. (Rated PG-13 for sex-related material throughout and for language) (AP)

HEREDITARY: B

Ari Aster’s intensely nightmarish feature-film debut is relentlessly unsettling and pitilessly gripping. It was a midnight sensation at Sundance, and the hype is mostly justified. “Hereditary” is a strikingly accomplished debut that heralds the arrival of a new, brashly manipulative filmmaking talent. It might be littered with horror cliches — candle-lit seances, creepy attics, satanic symbols, dogs that know something’s up — but the frightful power of “Hereditary” comes less from its genre framework than the menacing exactitude of its Greek tragedy tale about the horror of what “runs in the family.” (Rated R for horror violence, disturbing images, language, drug use and brief graphic nudity) (AP)

HOTEL ARTEMIS: D

This sci-fi thriller offers us a look at what Jodie Foster might look like as a little old lady and what Sterling K. Brown can look like when he’s a studly, gun-slinging action hero and not perpetually unsure like he is on “This Is Us.” Good as these two are, they can’t conceal the fact that writer and director Drew Pearce has made an uneven feature film directorial debut. He flaps around for a consistent tone, stunts some potential story lines and kicks out a bunch of cliches. Then, clearly unable to find a rational way to end his film, he adds two massive doses of nonsensical ultra-violence. (Rated R for violence and language throughout, some sexual references and brief drug use) (AP)

INCREDIBLES 2: B

Fourteen years later, this buoyant and quick-witted romp picks up right where we left off, in that parking lot after Dash’s track meet where a new threat emerges from underground. The sequel offers a bit of a corrective to the first film’s gender politics — mom off to work and making dad stay home — and the animation is a heck of a lot better. It gets off to a slow start, but ultimately it’s quite a bit of fun, from the absurd (Jack Jack’s burgeoning powers) to the grounded (Dad helping Dash with his math homework). It’s still fun to watch smart storytellers like Brad Bird working within the system and using his platform to self-evaluate or comment on what’s going on, even if the conclusion is a little flimsy. (Rated PG for action sequences and some brief mild language) (AP)

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM: B-

Here’s the good news: “Fallen Kingdom “ is more fun than “Jurassic World.” It’s not exactly a high bar, but still a welcome surprise. In the hands of a new director, J.A. Bayona, with Chris Pratt’s high-wattage charisma on full blast and a fair amount of self-aware humor intact, there are certainly worse ways to spend a couple hours in the air-conditioned multiplex this summer. Mind you, this movie is pretty ridiculous and the script (from Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly) is not very clever — I found myself rolling my eyes almost as frequently as I found myself smiling with genuine delight. The franchise’s desperation is starting to show. It’s time to evolve or go extinct. (Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril) (AP)

LIFE OF THE PARTY: D

Do laundry. Clean the fish tank. Re-grout the bathroom. What do these things have in common? They are much better ways to spend your time than sitting through Melissa McCarthy’s uninspired and forced “Life of the Party.” The film represents the third time the comedian has teamed up with her writer / director husband Ben Falcone, but not only is the new one the weakest, it also may raise questions about the continued viability of McCarthy starring in these solo films. Wandering aimlessly in the well-worn corridors of 1980s puerile frat flicks, “Life of the Party” wobbles to a predictable end and then sort of finishes without a bang. (Rated PG-13 for sexual material, drug content and partying) (AP)

OCEAN’S 8: B-

Audiences won’t miss George Clooney and Brad Pitt, but they might miss Steven Soderbergh. Taking the concept of the 2001 heist story, itself a remake of a 1960 Frank Sinatra-Dean Martin “Rat Pack” favorite, and building it around a crew of women is better than many of the recycled ideas being turned out by the major studios. “Ocean’s 8” pulls off the heist, but director Gary Ross doesn’t always do it with the same electricity. Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Awkwafina and Helena Bonham Carter make up the crew that conspires to steal a $150 million necklace from the Met Gala. (Rated PG-13 for language, drug use and some suggestive content) (AG)

OVERBOARD: C-

Anna Faris is a gifted comedian, and the gender-flipping seemed as viable an excuse as any to dust off the story of an amnesia-stricken billionaire who gets a karmic taste of working class life and learns some stuff along the way. Plus, they decided to diversify, casting Eugenio Derbez, a star in Latin America, as the wealthy jerk. But the 2018 “Overboard” pales in comparison to the 1987 original. Not only do its two stars have zero chemistry with each other, but the story goes out of its way to over-explain and over-justify the preposterous premise. The result is a sterilized sitcom full of forgettable characters that makes poverty look like a Target ad and romance as fun as a drugstore greeting card. (Rated PG-13 for suggestive material, partial nudity and some language) (AP)

SICARIO 2: DAY OF THE SOLDADO: B-

There’s an oppressive bleakness to this brutal action-thriller. Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) and his cartel lawyer turned undercover pal Alejandro Gillick (Benicio del Toro) are again called into action in a black-ops operation along the Mexico border, this time without the benefit of Emily Blunt, who starred in Denis Villeneuve’s 2015 film. Without them and cinematographer Roger Deakins, it could be seen as a cheaper knock-off of the original. It’s better than that, but not by much. Stefano Sollima (“Gomorrah”) steps in to direct a script by Taylor Sheridan, whose neo-Westerns (“Hell or High Water,” “Wind River”) have made him the genre’s best new hope. (Rated R for strong violence, bloody images and language) (AP)

UNCLE DREW: C

For a few shining minutes, “Uncle Drew” is the movie it surely intended to be: funny and clever, quick and snappy, and most of all, fun — all infused with love for the great sport of basketball. Unfortunately, those minutes come during the closing credits, a sequence entertaining enough to be its own viral video. what comes before it falls into a disappointingly formulaic lull for large stretches, squeezing all spontaneity from the proceedings. Don’t fault the talented cast, which includes a squad of hard-working NBA luminaries in heavy aging makeup, and comedy stars including the delightful Tiffany Haddish and Lil Rel Howery. Fault the unimaginative script they’ve been given. (Rated PG-13 for suggestive material, language and brief nudity) (AP)

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