Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Seth MacFarlane, Tori Kelly, Taron Edgerton, Nick Kroll, John. C. Reilly


The Story: Anthropomorphic animals voiced by various Hollywood talent compete for fortune and fame during an attempt to save a failing theater from foreclosure. The Lowdown: Bits of 45 popular songs from the 1940s to the present may make audiences smile, but there is little new or notable here.
Starring: Sonia Braga, Maeve Jinkings, Humberto Carrão


The Story: Sole tenant of a Brazilian apartment complex defies offers from construction company to relocate after living there for decades. The Lowdown: An introspective on aging and modern Brazil, this film seriously takes a long time to deliver its very serious commentary.
Starring: Joe Alwyn, Garrett Hedlund, Vin Diesel, Kristen Stewart, Steve Martin, Chris Tucker

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

The Story: A young Iraq War soldier reflects on his heroism and that of his comrades when their story is turned into a patriotic stage spectacle by groups wanting to both celebrate and exploit their service. The Lowdown: More than just a story about war, and the terrific ensemble cast forces audiences to grapple with difficult answers…
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Vince Vaughn, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffiths

Hacksaw Ridge

The Story: Biopic of Army medic and conscientious objector Desmond Doss, who refused to carry a gun during his training and the Battle of Okinawa. The Lowdown: Andrew Garfield is horribly miscast, and the story often unnecessarily veers away from the compelling true story to explore Doss’ nightmares. War is hell, but this film often is too.
Starring: Tyler Perry, Cassi Davis, Patrice Lovely, Diamond White

Boo! A Madea Halloween

The Story: Tyler Perry’s recurring characters must babysit teenage Tiffany and prevent her from sneaking out of the house to attend a Halloween frat party. The Lowdown: Fairly predictable seasonal TV special stretched into a big-screen special for stereotypical middlebrow laughs.
Starring: Ben Winchell, Josh Brener, Maria Bello, Andy Garcia, Ana Villafañe

Max Steel

The Story: Teenager awakens his superpowers and embarks on a quest to find out what happened to his deceased father and the scientific work that killed him. The Lowdown: Predictable, almost humorless superhero movie that is neither super nor heroic.
Starring: Griffin Gluck, Andy Daly, Lauren Graham, Adam Pally, Alexa Nisenson, Rob Riggle.

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life

The Story: Artistic teen dealing with the death of his brother rebels against the oppression of his creativity by the principal at his new middle school. The Lowdown: Like the age it attempts to chronicle, this film is too juvenile and immature to fully embrace some of the issues it creates to be considered fully formed.
Starring: Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Jackie Earl Hayley, Aunjanue Ellis, Penelope Ann Miller.

The Birth of a Nation

The Story: Literate-slave-turned-preacher Nat Turner orchestrates a violent uprising against Virginia slave masters in 1831. The Lowdown: While the subject matter still reverberates today, the director’s attempt at artistry often detracts from the story’s otherwise powerful narrative.
Starring: Andy Samburg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammer, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Danny Trejo, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele.


The Story: Anthropomorphic bird species stops delivering babies to become the equivalent of until one of their own must intervene in a boy’s request for a baby brother. The Lowdown:  The non-Pixar animation eschews anything cerebral for physical comedy, but one can only look at goofy cartoon faces for so long before wondering why.
Starring: Hillsong United

Hillsong: Let Hope Rise

The Story:  Australia’s “biggest band you never heard of” prepares for a big Christian pop show at The Forum in Los Angeles. The Lowdown: If you like the music of Hillsong United, you are predisposed to enjoy this bland documentary. If not, you still get to hear about it and its ministry.
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Zachary Quinto, Nicolas Cage, Rhys Ifans, Timothy Olyphant


The Story: Patriotic serviceman-turned-NSA-employee Edward Snowden wrestles with the decision to leak thousands of classified documents to the press when he discovers his government is complicit in questionable cybersurveillance tactics. The Lowdown: Though Joseph Gordon-Levitt initially struggles to find his footing as the lead, he and his excellent supporting cast overcome Oliver Stone's political bent to tell…
Starring: Rachel Weisz, Michael Shannon, Kathy Bates, Danny Glover

Complete Unknown

The Story: As a man contemplates moving to a new state with his wife when an old flame (under a new identity) reenters his life at a birthday dinner party. The Lowdown: A decidedly ponderous film with an intriguing premise, it takes forever to get going and never delivers much beyond that conceit.
Starring: Morris Chestnut, Regina Hall, Jaz Sinclair, Romany Malco, Michael K. Williams

When the Bough Breaks

The Story: A surrogate mother for a couple becomes obsessed with the soon-to-be father and threatens to upset their happy New Orleans home. The Lowdown: Very few surprises or inventive performances make this a tepid TV-movie blown up for the big screen.  
Starring: Miles Teller, Jonah Hill, Ana de Armas, Kevin Pollak, Bradley Cooper

War Dogs

The Story:  Miami Beach bros in their early 20s make millions exploiting military contracts with shady business partners during the Iraq War. The Lowdown: Miles Teller is almost ready to be a leading man. But, like much of this film, he falls short of his grown-up goal.
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Garner, Robbie Amell, Chrisopher Walken, Mark Consuelos, Malina Weissman.

Nine Lives

The Story: A CEO consumed by his ego and a project to build North America’s tallest skyscraper finds his consciousness trapped in the body of his daughter’s new pet cat. The Lowdown: Nine Lives smartly avoids the easy cat-centric puns, blandly entertaining with actors trading in prestige for quick cash, but the result is not as bad…