The Dark Tower  

Columbia  

Dull sci-fi fantasy in which a psychic teen (Tom Taylor) first dreams about, then travels to a distant world where he gets caught up in the cosmic battle between a villainous wizard (Matthew McConaughey) and the lone remaining member (Idris Elba) of a group of Old West-style gunmen still resisting him. Their struggle concerns the supernatural structure of the title which somehow keeps the evil lurking at the edges of the universe at bay. Awash in such high-flown hooey, director and co-writer Nikolaj Arcel’s film, which extends rather than adapts a series of novels by Stephen King, is inappropriate for the impressionable. As for grown viewers, should they slog through all the exposition of non-scriptural ideas, they may be touched by the bond that eventually develops between the fatherless lad and his initially gruff mentor. Occult themes, much gunplay and other violence, including torture, but with little gore, a few uses of profanity, a couple of crude terms. A-III; PG-13 

 

Detroit  

Annapurna  

A dark chapter of the Motor City’s history is revisited in this searing period drama about the so-called “12th Street Riot” during the summer of 1967. Director Kathryn Bigelow focuses on the notorious police raid of the Algiers Motel which resulted in the death of three unarmed black men and the brutal beating of several others. There, a trigger-happy cop (Will Poulter) unleashes a ruthless, demeaning interrogation of hotel patrons, including a decorated Vietnam vet (Anthony Mackie), two musicians (Algee Smith, Jacob Latimore), and a pair of prostitutes (Kaitlyn Dever, Hannah Murray). A security guard (John Boyega) is a key witness to the unfolding horror. Although not for the squeamish, the graphic portrayal of police brutality is never gratuitous. Coupled with the subsequent miscarriage of justice, the harrowing events on screen offer a powerful reminder for mature viewers of a sad but significant incident in America’s past. Intense bloody violence and torture, brief female nudity, pervasive profane and crude language. L; R 

 

A Ghost Story  

A24  

Casey Affleck’s recently deceased, silently querulous and shrouded spirit, looking like one of Charlie Brown’s trick-or-treaters with cut-out eyeholes, returns to stare at, though not haunt, his widow (Rooney Mara). Eventually, he needs to fulfill a task in order to set things right with someone or something and thus be released from his earthly bonds. Writer-director David Lowery hasn’t attempted a story about religion specifically or spirituality generally. Rather, he has made a reflection on loss. Visually fascinating, this falls a little short on the entertainment scale, but it demands thoughtful interpretation by discerning adults. Brief gore, fleeting rough and crude language. A-III; R 

 

Kidnap  

Aviron  

This compact thriller is less a story about a mother’s (Halle Berry) enduring love and sacrifice for her abducted young son (Sage Correa) than a long drive in an amazingly durable minivan. Director Luis Prieto and screenwriter Knate Lee have no interest in character development and motivation. Berry merely reverts to primeval maternal-warrior instinct, and the race is on to catch up with the cretinous kidnappers (Chris McGinn and Lew Temple). Gun and physical violence, considerable vehicular mayhem, fleeting profanity and rough language. A-III; R 

 


The Tribunal  

Freestyle  

Strong Catholic values are filtered through some faulty filmmaking in this romantic drama from screenwriter Michael C. Mergler and director Marc Leif. A divorced musician (Chris Petty) seeks an annulment so that he can wed his devout girlfriend (Laura Mock). But his case requires the testimony of his estranged former bandmate and best friend (Ryan Wesley Gilreath) who was also once the boyfriend of the bride-to-be, and still carries a torch for her. Though religious themes, including the countercultural message that sex before marriage is a damaging mistake as well as a sin, will resonate with viewers of faith, sometimes subpar acting and unlikely plot developments chip away at this small-scale project’s credibility. Possibly acceptable for older teens. Bedroom scenes, including a nongraphic premarital sexual encounter, some irreverent images, a mild oath, a few crass terms. A-III; PG-13 

 

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets 

STX  

Flashy but lightweight sci-fi adventure, set in the 28th century, in which a duo of intergalactic law enforcement agents (Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne) share romantic tension as well as a series of crime-busting exploits involving the legacy of a destroyed planet and the fate of the titular metropolis, a mega-space station under threat from an unidentified force. In adapting a series of graphic novels by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres, writer-director Luc Besson excels at such sequences as an interdimensional chase through an exotic bazaar. Yet his sometimes baroquely overwrought film is longer on style than ultimate impact. Though the love story sees DeHaan’s playboy character anxious to mend his ways in favor of marital commitment, moreover, his detour through the vast craft’s gritty red-light district suggests even most mature teens should skip this trip to the stars and instead stay safely earthbound. Gunplay and other stylized violence, a prostitution theme, scenes of sensuality with partial nudity, a mild oath, a couple of uses each of crude and crass language. A-III; PG-13

 

 Annabelle: Creation  

Warner Bros.  

Despite a pattern of irrational behavior from those confronting the figurine-haunting demon at the center of this horror prequel, there are some old-fashioned shivers awaiting those grown viewers willing to brave its fleeting scenes of graphic gore. In 1950s California, a group of displaced orphans (most prominently Talitha Bateman and Lulu Wilson) shepherded by a nun (Stephanie Sigman) are offered refuge in the spooky home of a dollmaker (Anthony LaPaglia) and his invalid wife (Miranda Otto) both of whom are still overcome by grief following the death of their young daughter (Samara Lee) in a tragic car accident a dozen years before. Along with the counter-scriptural concept that infernal fiends can steal human souls, director David F. Sandberg’s follow-up to the 2014 original itself a spinoff of “The Conjuring” franchise features an incidental portrayal of Catholicism so wildly inaccurate that it will annoy and distract the faithful. A distorted presentation of Catholic faith practices, mostly stylized but briefly very bloody violence, numerous gruesome images, at last one mild oath. 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