Escape Room


Routine thriller in which, lured by a $10,000 reward, a seemingly random group of people (most prominently troubled slacker Logan Miller and shy college student Taylor Russell) participate in what purports to be an immersive game but turns out to be a deadly struggle for survival. Though the victims of the deception generally bond and Bragi Schut and Maria Melnik’s script attempts, halfheartedly, to weigh the consequences of selfishness against the fruits of altruism, director Adam Robitel’s film is ultimately little more than a less disturbing take on the “Saw” franchise. Since the mayhem is mostly nongraphic and everyone on screen is too preoccupied to think about romance, much less lust, it’s mainly the exclamations to which their panic gives rise that put this out of reach for kids and may that be distasteful for many grown-ups. Brief but sometimes harsh violence with little gore, occasional sexual jokes and references, frequent profanities, a milder oath, at least one rough term, pervasive crude and crass language. A-III; PG-13

The Favourite

Fox Searchlight

This costume comedy-drama, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, purports to tell the true story of a royal love triangle involving 18th-century British monarch Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) and two of the women in her life: Lady Sarah Churchill, duchess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz), and Sarah’s ambitious cousin, Abigail Hill (Emma Stone). Playing fast and loose with the facts, and assuming the close friendships recorded by history were actually passionate lesbian romances, the film ramps up the sex, vulgarity and scheming in a perverse spin on the 1950 classic “All About Eve” as Sarah, a veritable puppeteer telling the sovereign what to say and do, is challenged by Abigail, a devious woman who has fallen on hard times and whose veneer of innocence masks her determination to restore her station in society, whatever the cost. Strong sexual content, including homosexual activity, full nudity and masturbation, adult themes, occasional profane and rough language. O; R

The Upside


Odd-couple mix of comedy and drama in which Kevin Hart is a recent parolee for various crimes who desperately needs employment to avoid returning to prison and Bryan Cranston is an uber-wealthy quadriplegic who requires a caregiver. Director Neil Burger and screenwriter Jon Hartmere have remade a popular 2011 French film “Les Intouchables,” itself taken from Philippe Pozzo di Borgo’s 2001 book, “Le Second Souffle” (The Second Wind), based on a real-life relationship. But there’s more than a whiff of the “white savior” formula to the stereotyped proceedings, which also trade in such dubious humor as that surrounding the changing of a catheter. Benignly viewed marijuana use, sexual humor and references, fleeting rough and crude language. A-III; PG-13

A Dog’s Way Home


Canine cuteness abounds in this quest-based adventure, adapted by director Charles Martin Smith from the novel by W. Bruce Cameron (who co-wrote the screenplay with his wife, Cathryn Michon). But various elements make the film unsuitable for the youngsters at whom it’s partially aimed. Adopted by an affectionate Denver-based medical student (Jonah Hauer-King) and his psychologically scarred veteran mom (Ashley Judd), a stray Pitbull-mix puppy (voice of Bryce Dallas Howard) settles into a happy domesticated life. But a local animal control officer (John Cassini) has it in for the pooch, and she is sent away to prevent her being impounded and euthanized. Not realizing the arrangement is temporary, she resolves to make her own way back home. Along the grueling 400-mile journey, she faces various dangers. Grown-ups with a soft spot for cuddly creatures will take all this in stride, though there’s little on offer here beyond a lovable face, a waggly tail and some droll dog’s-eye-view commentary on human behavior. Considerable peril, a benignly viewed homosexual relationship. A-III; PG



Long on eerie atmosphere but wanting in coherence, director M. Night Shyamalan’s thriller reunites characters from two of his previous films, 2000’s “Unbreakable” and “Split” from 2016, for a prolonged meditation on the possible real-life existence of superheroes. Firmly opposed to the idea is a therapist (Sarah Paulson) who claims to specialize in treating those with delusions of DC or Marvel-style grandeur. She gets the opportunity to try to convince a security expert who moonlights as a vigilante (Bruce Willis) and a schizophrenic murderer (James McAvoy) that they are merely human when they join a former comic-book gallery owner, rare disease victim and true believer in extraordinary capabilities (Samuel L. Jackson) under confinement at the asylum where she works. Many of the grown-ups will find the debate on which it hinges pointless. Much violence with considerable gore, including an off-screen act of cannibalism, a few gruesome images, a couple of uses of profanity, occasional crude language, an obscene gesture. A-III; PG-13

If Beale Street Could Talk


Faithful, evocative and reverent adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel about a struggling young African-American couple (KiKi Layne and Stephan James), with many of the attendant weaknesses such careful film realizations can bring with them. Much of the dialogue, scripted by director Barry Jenkins, is wooden and stilted, and it’s a bit of a slog to sit through. But the enduring love and strong family ties survive all manner of hardships, including James’ character being framed by a racist police officer (Ed Skrein) on a rape charge (the victim played by Emily Rios). Two nonmarital sexual encounters, brief upper female nudity, momentary domestic abuse, a few racial slurs, fleeting rough language. A-III; R

The Kid Who Would Be King


The Arthurian legend gets an inventive updating in this thrilling adventure that casts schoolchildren as latter-day Knights of the Round Table, destined to save the world. A 12-year-old boy (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) finds a sword stuck in a pile of rubble and pulls it out, unaware that the mythical Excalibur is now in his grasp, making him the new “king.” The fabled wizard Merlin, a shapeshifter (Angus Imrie in one guise, Patrick Stewart in another), promptly appears and warns that an army must be raised since the lad’s success with the storied weapon has brought about the resurrection of the evil Morgana le Fay (Rebecca Ferguson). Three schoolmates (Dean Chaumoo, Tom Taylor, Rhianna Dorris) agree to join the quest. Writer-director Joe Cornish serves up that treasured Hollywood rarity: an entertaining, family-friendly film that skillfully blends in strong messages, in this case about truth, justice and caring for others. Potentially scary fantasy violence, two mild oaths. A-II; PG


Entertainment Studios

After his wife (Alice Eve) and children (Emily Alyn Lind, Emjay Anthony and Aria Lyric Leabu) are killed in a car accident, a scientist (excruciatingly earnest Keanu Reeves) who has been experimenting with injecting human consciousness into robots secretly teams with a colleague (Thomas Middleditch) who specializes in cloning to create copies of the deceased using their DNA and their mental data. He runs into a number of stumbling blocks, including the dilemma of only having the capacity to replicate two of his three kids and the pressure exerted on him by his hard-driving boss (John Ortiz) to devote his attention to his so-far unsuccessful work or face having the multi-million-dollar project defunded. Emotions are shallow and moral themes underdeveloped in director Jeffrey Nachmanoff’s dull sci-fi misfire. Brief violence with little gore, obscured rear and partial nudity, a few uses of profanity, at least one milder oath, much crude language. 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