A rundown of select films currently playing in theaters
NEW IN THEATERS
*“Mortal Kombat” voice* “MORTAL ENGINES!” OK, with that out of the way, this futuristic film from director Peter Jackson is set in a world where entire cities are mobilized, riding on wheels and consuming one another to survive, like “Mad Max: Fury Road” on a greatly magnified scale.
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”
This animated Spider-Man flick is being celebrated for its inventiveness and exuberance, which isn't something one reads about many superhero movies these days. Color me intrigued.
Michael B. Jordan does his part to elevate things both in and out of the ring, and having an actor of this caliber is what makes me want more sequels. The biggest drag on “Creed II” is, well, it's predictably everything you expect. (3 stars)
“Green Book” has been criticized for flattening issues of race, burying a shameful national history of segregation beneath a flimsy, feel-good comedy. I fully expect it to get an Oscar nod.
Director Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”) takes on a more straightforward heist thriller that features a screen-devouring performance from Viola Davis. It's only a shame the ending feels so rushed, because the movie takes such pleasure in those lingering moments that lead to it. (3 stars)
“Ralph Breaks the Internet”
This sequel to the children's film “Wreck-It Ralph” takes its title from a phrase once printed on a magazine cover below Kim Kardashian-West's bare butt and finds its titular character exploring some of the darker corners of the worldwide web.
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”
While there are moments of drama and twists worthy of a gasp or two, “Grindelwald” still feels like an appendix (the book kind, although this one also might need to be removed). (2 stars)
“Ben Is Back”
Though it sometimes borders on melodrama, I'm a fan of how Peter Hedges tells a family's story compressed into a tight timeframe. Plus, Julia Roberts gives one of her finest performances in years as a doting mother who wants to believe her son is in recovery but can get tough when she must. (4 stars)