Movie recommendations from critics Justin Chang and Kenneth Turan.
Annihilation Natalie Portman plays a biologist who joins an all-female expedition into the heart of an environmental disaster zone in this eerily beautiful and hypnotically unsettling mind-bender from “Ex Machina” writer-director Alex Garland. (Justin Chang) R.
Big Fish & Begonia Visually dazzling and made very much in the mode of brilliant Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, but as co-directed by Xuan Liang and Chun Zhang, this surpassingly beautiful film marks a major step forward for Chinese feature animation. (Kenneth Turan) PG-13.
Come Sunday The story of the rise and fall of Pentecostal Bishop Carlton Pearson (a superb Chiwetel Ejiofor) is realized movingly and intelligently in Joshua Marston’s absorbing, spiritually curious drama about a crisis of faith. (Justin Chang) NR.
Love After Love Russ Harbaugh’s debut feature is rooted in the immediate, snatching snippets of life out of thin air, with Andie MacDowell luminous and raw as a woman grasping to put her life back together, while juggling her hapless, drunken and philandering sons. (Katie Walsh) NR.
A Quiet Place John Krasinski’s thrillingly intelligent post-apocalyptic horror movie, in which he stars with Emily Blunt as a couple trying to protect their family from monsters who hunt by sound, is walking-on-eggshells cinema of a very high order. (Justin Chang)
The Rider Brady Jandreau, a Lakota cowboy from South Dakota, enacts a version of his own harrowing story of loss and recovery in writer-director Chloé Zhao’s stunningly lyrical western, a seamless and deeply moving blend of narrative and documentary film techniques. (Justin Chang) R.
The Shape of Water Magical, thrilling and romantic to the core, a sensual and fantastical “Beauty and the Beast” tale with moral overtones, Guillermo del Toro’s film plays by all the rules and none of them, going its own way with fierce abandon. (Kenneth Turan) R.
Where Is Kyra? Michelle Pfeiffer gives one of her most finely chiseled performances as a divorced, unemployed New Yorker who descends into despair and petty criminality in Andrew Dosunmu’s bleakly compelling psychological portrait, beautifully shot by cinematographer Bradford Young. (Justin Chang) NR.
You Were Never Really Here This grim, artful New York crime thriller about a tormented thug-for-hire (a rivetingly contained Joaquin Phoenix) confirms writer-director Lynne Ramsay (“We Need to Talk About Kevin”) as one of the most exciting and exacting film stylists of her generation. (Justin Chang) R.