Birth of the Dragon  

BH Tilt  

Fictional retelling of a real 1964 kung-fu confrontation between future martial arts legend Bruce Lee (Philip Ng) and an older Chinese master (Yu Xia). Set in San Francisco, and adapted from an article by Michael Dorgan, the film hits all the usual chopsocky notes, but dully. Director George Nolfi and screenwriters Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen J. Revele show Lee, who died at only 32 in a 1973 accident, as cocky and engaging. Most of the screen time, though, is taken up by a student of Lee’s (Billy Magnussen) whose earnest goofiness ties all the plot threads together. Relatively restrained language and a low level of mayhem makes this probably acceptable for at least some mature adolescents. Much nonlethal violence, fleeting rough language. A-III; PG-13 </span id=”2″>

Tulip Fever  


Deborah Moggach’s 1999 novel is the basis for this period drama set in 17th-century Amsterdam, directed by Justin Chadwick. The abbess (Judi Dench) of a convent arranges a marriage between a young orphan (Alicia Vikander) and a wealthy merchant (Christoph Waltz), eager for a son and heir. Their union is childless, and made more complicated by the arrival of a struggling artist (Dane DeHaan), who falls for the comely subject of his painting. Despite a handsome cast, lavish sets, and a script by no less than Tom Stoppard, the film never transcends above a bodice-ripping soap opera, venturing dangerously close to soft-porn territory. Mercifully, some consciences do prevail in the end. Frequent premarital, marital and adulterous sex scenes, full nudity, unflattering references to religion. L; R  

The Good Catholic  

Broad Green  

Awkward romantic comedy about an earnest young priest (Zachary Spicer), already undergoing a crisis of faith, who finds himself in turmoil after a vaguely bohemian and religiously indifferent coffee house singer (Wrenn Schmidt) appears in the confessional claiming she is terminally ill and seeking not absolution in preparation for death but funeral arrangement advice. The unlikely pair embarks on a friendship made tense by mutual attraction, a relationship that eventually forces the cleric to reassess his commitment to the church. His experienced and by-the-book pastor (Danny Glover) tries to reinforce his sense of vocation while the mildly eccentric Franciscan friar (John C. McGinley) who rounds out the rectory household is mostly on hand to provide comic relief, though little of the humor works. While free of sensationalism, writer-director Paul Shoulberg’s film, inspired by his parents’ marital history, predictably portrays celibacy as a burdensome shackle and erotic love as a necessary ingredient in self-realization. Since the background story casts doubt on the legitimacy of the main character’s call in the first place, some Catholic viewers may be accepting of – if hardly comfortable with – the movie’s outcome. Religious themes requiring mature discernment, at least one rough and several crude and crass terms, an obscene gesture. A-III; PG-13  


Warner Bros.  

Set in a small Maine town in the late 1980s, this horror adaptation finds an ensemble of kids (most prominently Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis and Jeremy Ray Taylor) being preyed on by a demonic clown (Bill Skarsgard) and by other manifestations of evil. Director Andy Muschietti’s screen version of Stephen King’s 1986 novel emphasizes the camaraderie uniting the youngsters as they battle their occult opponents, and moviegoers looking for nothing more than to be unsettled will likely be satisfied. But some grisly sights and nasty details make this suitable for few. Mature themes, including implied incestuous child sexual abuse, occasional bloody violence and disturbing images, intermittent sexual humor, a few uses of profanity, pervasive rough and frequent crude language, obscene gestures. L; R </span id=”13″>

Home Again  

Open Road  

Morally mixed romantic comedy in which a recently separated New Yorker (Reese Witherspoon) returns to the lavish Los Angeles home she grew up in, crosses paths with a trio of promising but broke filmmakers (Pico Alexander, Nat Wolff and Jon Rudnitsky) and, after falling for one of them (Alexander), allows all three to live rent-free in her guest house. Though the polite and considerate lads manage to bond with their landlady’s two young daughters (Lola Flanery and Eden Grace Redfield), the novel domestic arrangement troubles her husband (Michael Sheen). There’s a gentle spirit to writer-director Hallie Meyers-Shyer’s debut, which also features Candice Bergen as Witherspoon’s mother, an arthouse movie star of the 1970s. But the script presents marital breakup as a form of liberation and, though it coyly avoids having the romantic leads sleep together within hours of meeting each other, takes their subsequent fling as a given. Additionally, the girls’ accidental exposure to the relationship is milked for laughs. A benign view of divorce and cohabitation, momentary semi-graphic and brief nongraphic sexual activity, comic brawling, a few uses of profanity, at least one rough and about a half-dozen crude terms. A-III; PG-13 


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