How to Be a Latin Lover

Pantelion

Scattershot comedy with too many plot threads and an uncertain tone that wavers between warm family fare and a sex farce. Dumped by the heiress (Renee Taylor) he long ago married for her money, and left penniless by a prenuptial agreement, a lazy ne’er-do-well (Eugenio Derbez) moves in with his estranged sister (Salma Hayek), a hardworking widow with a 10-year-old son (Raphael Alajendro). This is where the pathos and life lessons are presumably supposed to begin. Instead, director Ken Marino and screenwriters Chris Spain and Jon Zack chart an uneven course between crass gags and their protagonist’s inner change, a partial conversion that doesn’t prevent him from setting his sights on an even wealthier potential mate (Raquel Welch). Long stretches of exposition wind up being deadly dull for the audience, making the film a difficult slog. Brief sensuality, fleeting crude and crass language. A-III; PG-13

The Dinner

The Orchard

This trenchant morality tale about the nature of evil and mankind’s savage underpinnings turns out to be as infuriatingly dense and labyrinthine as Dutch author Herman Koch’s 2009 novel. Director Oren Moverman, who co-wrote the screenplay with Koch, has Americanized the settings. But he has kept intact the central conflict between an ambitious congressman planning to run for governor (Richard Gere) and his brother (Steve Coogan), a schizophrenic and embittered high school history teacher. As the siblings and their wives (Rebecca Hall and Laura Linney) share the titular meal, a horrific crime involving the next generation of the family (Charlie Plummer and Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) also becomes part of the plot. The film is not meant to be comfortable viewing, but neither does it preach. Rather, the script addresses moral challenges straight on and recognizes that humans are complicated never more so when parents are confronted by the worst thing they could discover about their children. Physical violence, mature themes, some profane and rough language. A-III; R

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Warner Bros.

Ponderous action fantasy in which, once grown, the monarch of the title (Charlie Hunnam) who was dispossessed of his rights as a child and raised as a brawling street urchin by the inhabitants of a London brothel, uses Excalibur to battle the evil uncle (Jude Law) who long ago usurped his throne. Together with his script collaborators, Joby Harold and Lionel Wigram, director and co-writer Guy Ritchie works the occasional witty exchange into the dialogue. But otherwise his film is a grueling ordeal of nonstop noisy fighting. Possibly acceptable for mature teens. Pervasive combat and other violence with little blood, a prostitution theme, brief partial nudity, fleeting sexual humor, at least one rough term, occasional crass language A-III; PG-13

Everything, Everything

Warner Bros.

Director Stella Meghie’s adaptation of Nicola Yoon’s young adult novel bears more than a little resemblance to one of those fairy tales involving a princess locked up in a castle who needs a handsome prince to rescue her. In this case, a bright and literate teen (Amandla Stenberg) has long been confined by a rare illness to the hermetically sealed house specially designed for her by her protective mother (Anika Noni Rose). Then a sensitive lad (Nick Robinson) moves in next door and becomes her instant soul mate (via texting and handwritten placards held up to windows). Aware of the target audience, screenwriter J. Mills Goodloe sustains the romantic fantasy without letting any harsh real-life consequences intrude. The result is a gentle, tasteful film. A bedroom scene shared by its barely-of-age main couple, however, makes it doubtful fare even for mature adolescents. Brief sensuality as part of a mostly off-screen nonmarital encounter, a single instance of rough language. A-III; PG-13

Snatched

Fox

This mother-daughter comedy, directed by Jonathan Levine, has a kernel of goodness at its heart. But the minority of grown viewers for whom it’s acceptable will have to wade through a veritable cesspool of bad taste to approach it. A self-centered young woman (Amy Schumer) is dumped by her boyfriend (Randall Park) on the eve of a romantic getaway. With a nonrefundable vacation package, and no one else to go with, she takes pity on her estranged mom (Goldie Hawn). Together they embark on a South American adventure with unexpected results, including the daughter’s misguided hookup with a handsome stranger (Tom Bateman) that leads to their kidnapping (by Oscar Jaenada). Their eventual escape is aided by a mysterious guide (Christopher Meloni) and two fellow vacationers (Wanda Sykes, Joan Cusack). A slapdash, cliche-ridden send-up of exploitation movies, the film’s only redeemable feature is a message about a mother’s unconditional love and the enduring family bond, which manages to shine through a very dirty exterior. Brief female nudity, persistent sexual humor and innuendo, pervasive rough language. L; R

Alien: Covenant

Fox

Competently shocking addition to the longstanding sci-fi horror franchise that dates back to 1979’s “Alien.” After a spacecraft on its way to colonize a distant planet is damaged in an incident that also kills several crew members, including the captain (James Franco), the vessel’s new commander (Billy Crudup) decides to divert to a closer world which seems equally suitable for settlement. But the landing party (Katherine Waterston and Carmen Ejogo, among others) soon discovers that welcoming appearances can be deceptive. As director Ridley Scott, who originated the series, unleashes his trademark eat-’em-up-from-the-inside extraterrestrials, the plot eventually turns on a duel between two androids (both played by Michael Fassbender). Grown viewers with a strong tolerance for gore will note an undeveloped theme regarding the religious motivations of Crudup’s character, as well as the virtual disappearance of some gay material tipped in pre-release publicity. Intervals of gruesome bloody violence, brief graphic marital lovemaking, a same-sex kiss, about a half-dozen uses each of profanity and milder swearing, pervasive rough and some crude language. L; R

USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting  classifications:

A-I – General patronage

A-II – Adults and adolescents

A-III – Adults

A-IV – Adults, with reservations

L – Limited adult audience

O – Morally offensive

Motion Picture Association of America ratings:

G – General audiences; all ages admitted

PG – Parental guidance suggested; some material may not be suitable for children

PG-13 – Parents are strongly cautioned to give special guidance for attendance of children under 13; some material may be inappropriate for young children

R – Restricted; under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian

NC-17 – No one under 17 admitted