Isle of Dogs  

Fox Searchlight  

This highly stylized stop-motion animation pushes the limits of writer-director Wes Anderson’s customary deadpan drollery, and the dark, lonely world he creates as its backdrop is most definitely not for small children. Feared as disease carriers, all dogs are banished from a Japanese city by its formidable and corrupt mayor (voice of Kunichi Nomura) and exiled to the aptly named Trash Island. There, surrounded by giant mountains of garbage, they compete for rotten food scraps. When the mayor’s 12-year-old orphaned ward (voice of Koyu Rankin) arrives, searching for his deported pet (voice of Liev Schreiber), he’s aided in his poignant quest by a quartet of other formerly pampered pooches (voices of Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban and Jeff Goldblum) and by the street mutt (voice of Bryan Cranston) with whom they have allied themselves in their struggle for survival. Well-grounded older teens can probably handle this weighty, grim fable that ultimately finds the animals threatened with mass extermination. Mature themes and images, fleeting surgical gore, a single instance of rough language. A-II; PG-13  

The Heart of Nuba 


Directed by Ken Carlson, this uplifting documentary follows Dr. Thomas Catena as he lives and works with the people of the Nuba Mountains region of Sudan. Guided by the faith passed on to him by his devout family, Catena volunteered to serve in Africa through the Catholic Medical Mission Board, becoming the only physician available for 200 miles and for a population of almost a million. The grim backdrop to his story is the violent oppression of the Sudanese regime led by indicted war criminal Omar al-Bashir. Graphic medical footage, images of gory wounds, a few crass terms. A-II. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.  


Bleecker Street  

Every word matters in this espionage thriller set in 1982 during the civil war in Lebanon. A U.S. negotiator (Jon Hamm) struggles with his emotional demons and a great deal of alcohol as he attempts to free an American hostage (Mark Pellegrino) held by Palestinian terrorists (including Idir Chender). A CIA field agent (Rosamund Pike) is assigned to the mediator to prevent from being taken hostage himself or going on an extended bender. Director Brad Anderson, working from a screenplay by Tony Gilroy, demands that the audience pay close attention to this extraordinarily rare drama for grown-ups in which gunfire, explosions and ethnic hatreds are secondary to matters of trust. Mature themes, gun violence, frequent rough language. A-III; R </span id=”9″>

The Devil and Father Amorth  

The Orchard  

William Friedkin, director of 1973’s “The Exorcist,” helmed and narrates this brief, mostly straightforward documentary about demonic possession. He follows the case of an Italian woman who was ministered to by Pauline Father Gabriele Amorth, chief exorcist of the Diocese of Rome from 1986 until his death in 2016, aged 91. The film’s selling point is the fact that Friedkin obtained permission to tape the rite itself, with predictably unsettling results. Though there’s an intrusive feeling about this apparently unique footage, it will certainly fascinate at least some viewers. What surrounds it is a look back at William Peter Blatty’s fact-based 1971 novel, the source of Friedkin’s famous feature, interviews with, among others, Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron, neurosurgeons and psychiatrists and a sketchy portrait of Father Amorth that asserts but does not explore his sanctity. At times, Friedkin appears slightly breathless with enthusiasm for his own material, and Christopher Rouse’s churning score also hints at sensationalism. But overall the tone is respectful and sober minded. Mature themes, potentially disturbing images, a rude gesture. A-II; Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.  

I Feel Pretty  


A thump to the head during a Soul Cycle workout gives a young, ambitious but out-of-shape woman (Amy Schumer) the illusion that she is suddenly slim and beautiful, and this supercharges her self-confidence, transforming her failing romantic life as well as her career at a cosmetics firm (led by Lauren Hutton and Michelle Williams). Though her fantasy alienates her from her closest pals (Aidy Bryant and Busy Philipps) for a time, it also lands her a sensitive new boyfriend (Rory Scovel). Co-writers and directors Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein have packaged an unbendingly cheerful girl-power fable that, despite its trite plot, conveys sound messages about self-esteem and showcases some good moral choices. A sequence in which the protagonist’s sudden boldness is shown to extend to sexual matters, however, may have the parents of teen girls, who are this film’s target audience, hesitating to give them the green light. An implied nonmarital sexual encounter, obscured rear nudity, a single instance each of scatological and anatomical humor. A-III; PG-13  


Warner Bros. 

Entertaining bit of outsized nonsense combining 1970s-style disaster movie spectacle with the even older altered-animal trope that gave the world Godzilla, and derived in part from the video arcade game of the same title. When a space station is destroyed, the DNA-changing chemical an evil corporation (led by Malin Akerman and Jake Lacy) was developing on board plummets to various localities around the world transforming and enraging, among other animals, a previously peaceful albino gorilla. To save the primate from running amok and being put down, his devoted trainer (Dwayne Johnson) teams with a geneticist (Naomie Harris) and an unconventional government agent (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). But the trio soon find themselves up against an enhanced wolf and a monstrous crocodile as well. Considered as campy fun, director Brad Peyton’s mayhem fest works well enough as a time-killer for grown-ups, though artistic or moral significance is entirely absent. Frequent monster violence, mostly stylized but with some gore, several uses of profanity and a couple of milder oaths, at least one rough and numerous crude terms, obscene gestures. A-III; PG-13 

You Were Never Really Here  


Writer-director Lynne Ramsay’s adaptation of the Jonathan Ames novella about a stressed-out, self-loathing hitman (Joaquin Phoenix) gets lost in a quagmire of immorality. Hired by a New York state senator (Alex Manette) whose 13-year-old daughter (Ekaterina Samsonov) is being held captive in a brothel of underage girls, the assassin sets out to rescue her through slaughter. The fact that Ramsay’s script presents this as an opportunity for him to recapture the spark of life and find redemption is as deplorable as it is twisted. Skewed values, much gory physical and gun violence, rear male nudity, mature references, including to suicide and the sexual exploitation of underage girls, and frequent rough language. O; 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