A Wrinkle in Time

Disney 

New Age-style bromides dominate the script of this often eye-pleasing adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s 1962 novel for young adults. Four years after the unexplained disappearance of her father (Chris Pine), a NASA scientist who, together with his physicist wife (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), had developed an unorthodox method of time and space travel, a middle-school student (Storm Reid) is still devastated by his absence. She gets help in searching for Dad from an unlikely source: a trio of celestial guides (Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling) who mysteriously manifest themselves to her, her younger brother (Deric McCabe), a prodigy, and to her supportive would-be boyfriend (Levi Miller). With the women magi’s assistance, the kids set off on a cosmic quest to track pop down and bring him home. The ultimate message of Ava DuVernay’s film, that we should love ourselves even while acknowledging our faults, can be seen as promoting the Christian virtue of humility. And the youthful romance is a model of innocence and positive, if not always convincing, emotional interaction. But the uneasy combination of secularism and magical thinking that characterizes the underlying worldview of Jennifer Lee and Jeff Stockwell’s screenplay makes this inappropriate for very young viewers or for teens who are not well grounded in their faith. Occasional peril, possible momentary off-screen immodesty. A-II; PG  

Batman: Gotham by Gaslight  

Warner Home Video  

An adequate, if not outstanding, superhero tale, this direct-to-video animated film transports Batman (voice of Bruce Greenwood) and his supporting characters to a Victorian-era version of their home town. There, the Caped Crusader takes on Jack the Ripper, who is murdering prostitutes, just as his real-life counterpart did in London. Offended by the work of a nun (voice of Grey DeLisle) who runs an orphanage that also aids ladies of the night – and anyone else in need Jack sets out to stop her. In response to the evil he embodies, she offers not violent resistance, but forgiveness. Though this moment of grace is edifying, and will appeal especially to Catholic viewers, other considerations indicate this title is best for an audience of grownups. Bloody scenes of murder, sexually suggestive situations involving prostitution, two instances of crude language. A-III; R

The Hurricane Heist  

Entertainmet Studios  

Serviceable mash-up of the apocalyptic weather event and crime caper genres in which two estranged brothers, one a meteorologist (Toby Kebbell), the other a mechanic (Ryan Kwanten), join forces with an ATF agent (Maggie Grace) to foil the crime of the title, an inside job (led by Ralph Ineson) designed to take advantage of the compulsory evacuation of Gulfport, Alabama, to rob the local branch of the U.S. Treasury. Though the film’s feeble attempts to establish human interest fail entirely, viewers seeking nothing more than fast-paced action will find what they’re looking for in director Rob Cohen’s busy B movie. The closest thing to any moral dimension comes through the Afghan War vet repairman’s refusal to leave a comrade behind and the federal officer’s unswerving dedication to duty. Frequent stylized violence, about a half-dozen uses of profanity, a few milder oaths, at least one rough term, much crude and some crass talk. A-III; PG-13  

I Can Only Imagine  

Lionsgate  

Dennis Quaid brings his formidable talent to bear in this faith-driven drama, playing an abusive father whose conversion to evangelical Christianity inspired his son (John Michael Finley) to write the eponymous 2001 song, an unprecedented chart-topper that became popular even with nonbelievers. Essentially a biography of Finley’s real-life counterpart, Bart Millard, directors and brothers Jon and Andrew Erwin’s film, which Jon Erwin co-wrote with Brent McCorkle, also traces his on-again, off-again romance with a friend from childhood (Madeline Carroll) and his struggle to achieve musical success under the guidance of his group’s dedicated manager (Trace Adkins). While its primary appeal will be to religious pop fans who, like the protagonist, would be star-struck on meeting genre icons Amy Grant (Nicole DuPort) and Michael W. Smith (Jake B. Miller), the movie offers uplifting entertainment that parents and teens can share without worry. Mature themes, including marital discord and the physical abuse of a child. A-II; PG </span id=”13″>

Love, Simon  

Fox  

Good-hearted but morally misguided romantic comedy in which a closeted gay teen (Nick Robinson) strikes up a pseudonymous email exchange with a fellow student from his high school who is in the same situation, and gradually falls for his unidentified correspondent. When a callous classmate (Logan Miller) discovers his secret, and uses it to blackmail him, hoping to build up a romantic relationship with one (Alexandra Shipp) of the lad’s trio of best friends (rounded out by Katherine Langford and Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), it further complicates his furtive life. In adapting Becky Albertalli’s 2012 novel for young adults, “Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda,” director Greg Berlanti succeeds in delivering some enjoyable humor and moments of genuine pathos. But, as scripted by Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker, his film predictably fails to distinguish between the dignity to which everyone, of whatever inclination, is entitled and the acceptability of acting on urges that fall outside God’s revealed plan for human sexuality. A benign view of homosexual relationships, same-sex kissing, numerous references to sexuality, several uses of profanity, at least one rough term, considerable crude and crass language. O; PG-13  

Tomb Raider  

Warner Bros.  

Murky video-game adaptation in which, seven years after the disappearance of her business tycoon-turned-archeologist father (Dominic West), an heiress (Alicia Vikander), who prefers life as a London bicycle courier to enjoying her riches, follows clues he left behind to tack him to an almost uncharted island off the coast of Japan where an evil goddess lies buried, and must remain entombed for the welfare of the world. The resourceful lass gets help on her quest, and in her fight against the shadowy organization trying to locate and exploit the deity (served by Walton Goggins), from a hard-drinking Hong Kong sea captain (Daniel Wu). Director Roar Uthaug’s original story features the same main character played by Angelina Jolie in 2001’s “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” and 2003’s “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.” Whether this familiar figure, who is presented in Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons’ script as equally capable of holding her own in a kick-boxing match and quoting Shakespeare off-the-cuff, represents female empowerment or sophomoric male wish fulfillment may be debatable. But the high volume of nasty mayhem along her path is not. Occult themes, much harsh violence with some gore, a few gruesome images, at least one use of profanity and a couple of milder oaths, a stifled rough term, about a half-dozen crude words. A-III; PG-13  

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