Movie guide: 'The Grinch,' 'The Girl in the Spider's Web' & more open this weekend

 
Updated 11/9/2018 10:18 AM
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  • Bricklebaum (voiced by Kenan Thompson) gives some advice to the Grinch (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) in "The Grinch."

    Bricklebaum (voiced by Kenan Thompson) gives some advice to the Grinch (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) in "The Grinch." Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Movies opening the weekend of Nov. 9:

Rating guide: Four stars: superior. Three stars: good. Two stars: average. One star: poor. D (drug use), L (language), N (nudity), S (sexual situations, references), V (violence). Ratings by Film Critic Dann Gire, unless otherwise noted.

New this week

"Boy Erased" -- Lucas Hedges gives a soulful performance as a conflicted gay teen whose religious parents (Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe), believing homosexuality is a sin, send him to a conversion therapy center in writer-director-actor Joel Edgerton's empathetic fact-based drama. Reviewed by Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press. (R) D, L, S. 114 minutes. ★ ★ ★

"The Deliquent Season" -- Two couples in suburban Dublin face cracks in their relationships. Not reviewed. (NR) 104 minutes.

"The Girl in the Spider's Web" -- Claire Foy ably takes over the role of conflicted Lisbeth Salander from Rooney Mara in Fede Alvarez's misconceived sequel, which recasts the tough feminist heroine as a goth superhero. This time, she's hunting a man with a mysterious spider web tattoo and facing off against her evil sister. (R) L, N, S, V. 117 minutes. ★ ★

"The Grinch" -- Benedict Cumberbatch offers up a disappointingly wishy-washy interpretation of the supposedly mean titular character, leaving the great Boris Karloff's 1966 TV film short based on Dr. Seuss' classic poem as the No. 1 screen adaptation of the holiday classic. (PG) 86 minutes. ★ ★½

"Here and Now" -- Sarah Jessica Parker stars as singer/songwriter who reevaluates her priorities after receiving life-changing news. Not reviewed. (R) L, S. 96 minutes.

"In a Relationship" -- One couple starts a new romance while another couple struggles over a single summer. Not reviewed. (NR) 92 minutes.

"Outlaw King" -- Chris Pine (in a really bad mullet) stars as 14th Century Scottish warrior Robert the Bruce, who takes up arms against England in a bloody -- and bloody awful -- historical epic. In limited theatrical release and available via Netflix. Reviewed by Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post. (R) L, N, S, V. 121 minutes.

"Overlord" -- American paratroopers carrying out a mission in Nazi-occupied France discover a mysterious lab and a serum being used to create a whole new enemy. Not reviewed. (R) L, S, V. 109 minutes.

"A Private War" -- Rosamund Pike delivers the toughest, most uncompromising and vanity-free performance of her career as real-life war correspondent Marie Colvin, with Matthew Heineman's drama toggling between the reporter's stints in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan and her well-heeled life in England. Reviewed by Ann Hornaday, Washington Post. (R) L, N, S, V. 106 minutes. ★ ★ ★½

"Prospect" -- A hunt for gems on a remote alien moon turns into a battle for survival for a teenage girl and her father. (R) V. Not reviewed. 97 minutes.

"River Runs Red" -- A judge (Taye Diggs) and a mechanic (George Lopez) whose sons were killed by corrupt cops team up to seek revenge. With John Cusack. Not reviewed. (NR) 84 minutes.

Picks

"Can You Ever Forgive Me?" -- In one of her best performances, Plainfield native Melissa McCarthy stars as real-life writer Lee Israel, an embittered, hard-drinking curmudgeon who turns to forging celebrity letters to pay the rent. With Richard E. Grant as her drinking buddy. Reviewed by Jake Coyle, Associated Press. (R) D, L, S. 107 minutes. ★ ★ ★½

"First Man" -- Ryan Gosling gives an understated performance as quiet, stoic astronaut Neil Armstrong in Damien Chazelle's surprising, anti-epic, historical drama, a tightly coiled study of the first human to set foot on the moon. With Claire Foy and Jason Clarke. (PG-13) L. 141 minutes. ★ ★ ★ ½

"Free Solo" -- The often breathtaking adventure documentary chronicles the exploits of champion climber Alex Honnold, who sets out to be the first person ever to solo climb El Capitan, a sheer, 3,000-foot-high rock face in Yosemite National Park. And he plans to do it without a harness. Reviewed by Ann Hornaday, Washington Post. (PG-13) L. 100 minutes. ★ ★ ★½

"The Hate U Give" -- After witnessing the shooting death of her friend, a teen (the remarkable Amandla Stenberg) is pushed and pulled in multiple directions over the course of this powerful, timely and deeply moving tale. Impeccably directed by George Tillman Jr., the drama defies expectation at every turn. Reviewed by Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post. (PG-13) D, L, V. 132 minutes. ★ ★ ★ ★

"Mid90s" -- Jonah Hill's directorial debut stars winningly vulnerable Sunny Suljic as a 13-year-old kid adopted by a group of ragtag L.A. skateboarding teens in the mid-1990s. In lieu of a standard Hollywood plot, Hill concentrates on the too-common bonds that tie these characters together: alienation, frustration and a lack of family support. (R) D, L, V. 84 minutes. ★ ★ ★

"The Old Man & The Gun" -- Robert Redford picked the perfect character for what he says is his last acting role -- that of charming real-life bank robber and frequent prison escapee Forrest Tucker. Sissy Spacek co-stars as his love interest and Casey Affleck plays the Texas police sergeant piecing together Tucker's crimes. Reviewed by Jocelyn Noveck, Associated Press. (PG-13) L. 93 minutes. ★ ★ ★

"A Star is Born" -- In his moving directing debut, actor Bradley Cooper remakes a stodgy Hollywood classic, giving it gritty, relevant new life. Cooper stars as a hard-drinking musician who discovers and falls for a young singer (a transporting Lady Gaga) whose career soars as his implodes. (R) D, L, N, S. 135 minutes. ★ ★ ★ ★

"Wildlife" -- Carey Mulligan gives a powerful performance as a wife in 1960 who gets a job and goes after another man when her toxically insecure husband (Jake Gyllenhaal) loses his job. Actor Paul Dano makes his directorial debut in this deeply moving drama about a fracturing marriage and the teenage son witnessing it all. Reviewed by Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press. (PG-13) D, L, S. 104 minutes. ★ ★ ★

Passables

"Bad Times at the El Royale" -- In Drew Goddard's pulpy but artificial thriller, a motley crew of travelers (Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Chris Hemsworth), all with secrets in tow, meet at the rundown El Royale motel in Lake Tahoe. While this slow-burn thriller looks terrific, the payoff is less than. Reviewed by Jake Coyle, Associated Press. (R) D, L, S, N. 140 minutes. ★ ★

"Beautiful Boy" -- Timothée Chalamet's profound performance as a young man grappling with addiction helps elevate this fact-based melodrama, a harrowing and frustrating tale of how a child of privilege became hostage to drugs. Steve Carell, however, is not as convincing as his desperate dad. Reviewed by Ann Hornaday, Washington Post. (R) D, L, S. 112 minutes. ★ ★

"Bohemian Rhapsody" -- Rami Malek's sinuous, fully inhabited performance as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury is the best thing about Bryan Singer's slavishly conventional rock biopic, a remarkably bland movie about a deliciously vibrant performer. Reviewed by Jake Coyle, Associated Press. (PG-13) D, L, S. 134 minutes. ★ ★

"Halloween" -- Forty years after John Carpenter's seminal horror tale "Halloween" scared audiences, Jamie Lee Curtis reprises her role as Laurie Strode, the sole surviving baby sitter of crazed killer Michael Myers' original massacre. Michael is once again on the loose, and Laurie must protect her daughter and granddaughter. (R) D, L, N, V. 109 minutes. ★ ★

"The Happy Prince" -- Fine performances help offset the maudlin script in writer-director-star Rupert Everett's account of the older Oscar Wilde. The drama charts the author's life from his release from a British prison to his 1900 death in Paris. Reviewed by Mark Jenkins, Washington Post. (R) D, L, N, S. In English, French and Italian with some subtitles. 104 minutes. ★ ★ ½

"The House With a Clock in Its Walls" -- As far as kid-centric comic horror goes, Eli Roth's film has everything going for it, outside of originality and cleverness. A young orphan aids his magical uncle (Jack Black) in locating a clock with the power to bring about the end of the world. Cate Blanchett is superb as the stylish sorceress Mrs. Zimmerman. (PG) 104 minutes. ★ ★½

"Hunter Killer" -- Gerard Butler stars in yet another frenetic, cliche-ridden thriller -- this time as a rogue Navy guy called in when an American submarine disappears in Russian waters. It's laughable at times, but never, ever boring. With Gary Oldman, Common and Glen Ellyn's Ryan McPartlin. Reviewed by Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press. (R) 120 minutes. L, V. ★ ★

"In Search of Greatness" -- Wayne Gretsky, Jerry Rice and others weigh in on what makes athletes great in Gabe Polsky's documentary, which features too many talking heads and not enough of a key ingredient of greatness: imagination. Reviewed by Pat Padua, Washington Post. (PG-13) L, N. 80 minutes. ★ ★

"Johnny English Strikes Again" -- The inept secret agent must return to duty after a cyberattack exposes the identities of far more capable agents in the third chapter of the spy spoof franchise. Slapstick rules as Rowan Atkinson delivers a brand of charming buffoonery that is a balm for these troubled times. Reviewed by Pat Padua, Washington Post. (PG) 88 minutes. ★ ★ ½

"Night School" -- A smooth-talking salesman (Kevin Hart) seeking his GED joins a group of misfits in a class presided over by a no-nonsense teacher (Tiffany Haddish). The crude comedy has heart and an important message, but the road to knowledge here passes through bodily fluids. Reviewed by Pat Padua, Washington Post. (PG-13) D, L, S, V. 111 minutes. ★ ★ ½

"The Nutcracker and the Four Realms" -- Young Clara (the adorable Mackenzie Foy) finds out her late mother was a queen of the Realms -- and now Clara must save them with help from the Sugar Plum Fairy (Keira Knightley) and others. Disney's music-filled holiday film gifts audiences with magical, fantastic scenes, yet the emotional bonds between the characters feel thin and scripted. (PG) 99 minutes. ★ ★ ½

"Smallfoot" -- A Yeti (voiced by Channing Tatum), raised in a community where government deceit has kept his massive fellow creatures from knowing that humans exist, befriends a "smallfoot" (James Corden) in a needlessly complicated animated tale that delivers an unexpected lesson in integrity. (PG) 109 minutes. ★ ★ ½

"Suspiria" -- Luca Guadagnino's remake doesn't live up to the terror and suspense of the 1977 cult classic original. The story, about an American dancer (Dakota Johnson) at a mysterious German school, features a spellbinding performance by Tilda Swinton in three different roles, but the film itself is a confusing if beautiful mess. Reviewed by Michael O' Sullivan, Washington Post. (R) L, N, S, V. 152 minutes. ★ ★

"Venom" -- Tom Hardy plays an investigative TV journalist whose body is invaded by an alien organism in a destabilizing mix of intentional and unintentional comedy that for better and worse returns the superhero movie to its natural state: camp. Reviewed by Jake Coyle, Associated Press. (PG-13) V, L. 112 minutes. ★ ★

Unpreviewed

"Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween" -- Slappy is back to wreak more havoc this Halloween in this sequel based on the "Goosebumps" books by R.L. Stine. With Jack Black. (PG) 90 minutes.

"Indivisible" -- The marriage between an Army chaplain and his wife is strained when he is deployed to Iraq and she must care for three kids on her own in this fact-based drama. (PG-13) V. 119 minutes.

"Nobody's Fool" -- A wild ex-con (Tiffany Haddish) turns to her uptight sister (Tika Sumpter) for help in Tyler Perry's comedy. With Whoopi Goldberg. (R) D, L, S. 110 minutes.

Foreign language

"Andhadhun" -- In Hindi

"Baazaar" -- In Hindi

"Badhaai Ho" -- In Telugu

"First Love" -- In Tagalog

"Sarkar" -- In Tamil

"Thugs of Hindostan" -- In Hindi

"To Love Some Body" -- In Tagalog

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