Movie recommendations from critics Kenneth Turan and Justin Chang.
Battle of the Sexes This enjoyable and entertaining film, with the gifted and innately likable actors Emma Stone and Steve Carell as Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, is most involving when it deals not with sports or society, but with the personal struggles both players, especially King, were going through in the run-up to their 1973 tennis match. (Kenneth Turan) PG-13.
Blade Runner 2049 You can quibble with aspects of it, but as shaped by Denis Villeneuve and his masterful creative team, this high-end sequel puts you firmly and unassailably in another world of its own devising, and that is no small thing. (Kenneth Turan) R.
Brad’s Status Mike White’s smart, empathetic new comedy of despair follows a middle-age man (Ben Stiller, giving one of his best performances) who can’t resist the urge to compare himself with his more successful friends. (Justin Chang) R.
Brawl in Cell Block 99 Starring Vince Vaughn in a transformative turn as a man on a mission behind bars, this grimly mesmerizing pulp powerhouse from S. Craig Zahler (“Bone Tomahawk”) takes its time steering us toward its violent and entirely satisfying destination. (Justin Chang) NR.
Dunkirk Both intimate and epic, as emotional as it is tension-filled, Christopher Nolan’s immersive World War II drama is being ballyhooed as a departure for the bravura filmmaker, but in truth, the reason it succeeds so masterfully is that it is anything but. (Kenneth Turan) PG-13.
The Florida Project Absorbing us in the day-to-day rhythms of life at a dumpy Florida motel complex, home to a wildly spirited 6-year-old girl named Moonee (the startling Brooklynn Prince), Sean Baker (“Tangerine”) goes to a place few of us know and emerges with a masterpiece of empathy and imagination. (Justin Chang) R.
Girls Trip Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah and a revelatory Tiffany Haddish play four women renewing the bonds of friendship on a New Orleans weekend getaway in this hilariously raunchy and sensationally assured new comedy from director Malcolm D. Lee (“The Best Man”). (Justin Chang) R.
The King’s Choice A dramatic tale about a pivotal World War II moment for Norway is a story infused with tension and psychological conflict that’s all the more engrossing for being fresh to us. (Kenneth Turan) NR.
Lucky As a small-town curmudgeon contemplating his own mortality, Harry Dean Stanton gives one of his final and greatest performances in this insistently low-key, dryly funny valentine to the actor’s life and career. (Justin Chang) NR.
mother! Jennifer Lawrence plays the young wife of a poet (Javier Bardem) besieged by a number of unexpected visitors in this darkly exhilarating house-of-horrors thriller written and directed by Darren Aronofsky. (Justin Chang) R.
Stronger Jake Gyllenhaal gives one of his most restrained, affecting performances as 2013 Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman in this straightforward but shrewd and perceptive recovery drama from director David Gordon Green. (Justin Chang) R.
Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton Even if surfing is not a major interest, Hamilton’s personal journey is extraordinary enough that we feel privileged to have such an intimate documentary glimpse into how it all went down. (Kenneth Turan) NR.
Wind River Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen star in the most accomplished violent thriller in recent memory, a tense tale of murder on a Native American reservation made with authenticity, plausibility and wall-to-wall filmmaking skill by writer-director Taylor Sheridan. (Kenneth Turan) R.