A rundown of select films currently playing in theaters

NEW IN THEATERS:

“If Beale Street Could Talk”
The lauded new film from Oscar-winning “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins, adapted from the 1974 James Baldwin novel of the same name, sets a love story against a backdrop of racism and injustice.

“Escape Room”
The plotline reads like the “Saw” mastermind has opened one of those team-building, trapped-in-a-room facilities. If that sounds like your bag, you still might want to keep expectations in check considering most quality horror flicks aren’t dumped quietly on the public in early January.

ALSO PLAYING: 

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”
This animated film opens by wisely fast-forwarding through the Spider-Man origin story, and then proceeds to take numerous inventive turns from there. Stylish, fast-paced and charming, it’s among the best-ever entries in the Marvel film universe. (Also, be sure to stick around through the end credits.) (5 stars) 

“Instant Family”
Just add water.

“Holmes & Watson”
Tag-team duo Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly apply their dumbed-down comic approach to the brainy pair of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson in the latest film from Etan Cohen (“Get Hard”), who has to have been confused with a Coen brother at some point in his career, no?

“Aquaman”
Not the sequel to Adam Sandler’s “The Waterboy,” but rather the latest superhero film to emerge from the DC universe, starring Jason Momoa’s chiseled torso.

“Bumblebee”
Oh, cool, the Transformers film universe is receiving its first spin-off, starring Hailee Steinfeld and budget Rock (aka John Cena). Critics have been calling this the best in the franchise, but, let’s be honest, that wasn’t exactly a high bar to clear.

ALIVE RECOMMENDS:

“The Favourite”
Watch the trailer for a good indication of the fast-paced farce in which “The Favourite” revels. The period itself sets up some sharp commentary on current events, but there’s a sense of whimsy throughout. And, yes, plenty of dark humor. (5 stars)