Starring: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache, Olwen Fouéré, Richard Brake, Bill Duke

Mandy


The Story: After a cult leader murders his wife, a logger takes brutal and bloody revenge. The Lowdown: Oh Mandy — well you came and you gave psycho Cagey — and I need you today, oh Mandy.
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding, Andrew Rannells, Linda Cardellini, Jean Smart, Rupert Friend

A Simple Favor


The Story: An overachieving single mom befriends the sophisticated mother of one of her son's classmates, but when her new bff goes missing a sinister plot emerges. The Lowdown: A pulpy neo-noir with a heavy dose of satire and a ridiculously serpentine plot that deftly balances its trash thriller themes and comedic sensibilities, thanks in no small part…
Starring: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Alfie Allen, Thomas Jane

The Predator


The Story: A group of dysfunctional veterans must battle extra terrestrial big game hunters to retain possession of alien weaponry taken from a downed spacecraft that holds a secret of its own. The Lowdown: Director Shane Black and co-writer Fred Dekker reunite for a predictably flawed but satisfyingly splatter-adled sequel.
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Richie Merritt, Bel Powley, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Brian Tyree Henry, RJ Cyler, Eddie Marsan, Bruce Dern, Piper Laurie

White Boy Rick


The Story: The misguided teen son of an affable gun dealer in 1980s Detroit finds himself entangled in an FBI scheme to take down large-scale players in the crack cocaine trade. The Lowdown: What should have been an entertainingly grimy adaptation of a true story becomes an overwrought melodrama dragged down by its award bait ambitions.
Starring: Douglas Booth, Jerome Flynn, Robert Gulaczyk, Helen McCrory, Chris O’Dowd, Saoirse Ronan

Loving Vincent


In Brief: Classic World Cinema is revisiting one of the most visually engaging films of 2017, Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman's incomparably ambitious Loving Vincent. In my review from last October, I expounded further: "The very fact that a film like Loving Vincent exists is a noteworthy achievement in and of itself. Composed entirely of oil paintings in the…
Starring: Danny Robertshaw, Ron Danta

Life in the Doghouse


The Story: A documentary profile of Danny and Ron's Rescue, a nonprofit dog shelter housed in a couple's South Carolina home. The Lowdown: A touching — and at times, disturbing — look at the world of animal rescue as seen through the eyes of two men who have dedicated their lives (and retirement funds) to helping dogs in…
Starring: Taissa Farmiga, Demian Bichir, Jonas Bloquet, Bonnie Aarons, Charlotte Hope

The Nun


The Story: A priest and a young nun are sent by the Vatican to determine if a Romanian convent is still consecrated ground following the suicide of one of the sisters, only to uncover a much greater evil than a lack of mental health resources. The Lowdown: An odd mashup of Hammer-style high camp and modern jump scare…
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, Will Poulter, Liv Hill, Charlotte Rampling

The Little Stranger


The Story: A country doctor in the postwar English countryside encounters mysterious events at the crumbling manor home of a dwindling family of aristocrats. The Lowdown: A reasonably creepy and atmospheric piece of supernatural (or is it psychological?) suspense cinema that suffers in comparison to its director's previous films.
Starring: John Cho, Debra Messing, Michelle La

Searching


The Story: A widower searches for his missing daughter by delving into her digital life to retrace her steps before she disappeared. The Lowdown: Yet another entry in the "takes place entirely on a computer screen" genre, somewhat slight in the character and story departments and hamstrung by its gimmick but more suspenseful and affective than one…
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Ben Kingsley, Mélanie Laurent, Haley Lu Richardson, Joe Alwyn, Nick Kroll, Greta Scacchi

Operation Finale


The Story: Historic drama recounting the 1960 Mossad operation to capture former SS officer Adolph Eichmann, who had been living under an assumed identity in Argentina. The Lowdown: A disappointing dramatization of a fascinating subject that benefits from the strong performances of Ben Kingsley and Oscar Isaac, but ultimately fails to settle on a cohesive narrative strategy.
Starring: Michael Greer, Marianna Hill, Joy Bang, Anitra Ford, Royal Dano, Elisha Cook Jr.

Messiah of Evil


In Brief: Have you ever wondered what would happen if the husband-and-wife screenwriting team that penned the scripts for American Graffiti, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Howard the Duck decided to co-write, produce and direct a movie about cannibalistic ghoul vampires inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and George Romero? Well they did, and…
Starring: Alexander McQueen,Isabella Blow, Gary James McQueen, Detmar Blow, Kate Moss

McQueen


The Story: A look at the life, work and untimely death of transgressive fashion designer Alexander McQueen. The Lowdown: A deeply personal documentary with a stunning visual aesthetic that will leave even deliberate anti-fashionistas moved and affected.
Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane, Forrest Goodluck, John Gallagher Jr., Jennifer Ehle

The Miseducation of Cameron Post


The Story: A young girl is sent to a Christian conversion camp that seeks to rid her of her same-sex attraction. The Lowdown: A compelling story hamstrung by poor execution and a tendency to sugarcoat its deeply disturbing subject.
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Bill Barretta, Joel McHale, Maya Rudolph, Leslie David Baker, Elizabeth Banks

The Happytime Murders


The Story: In a world in which puppets and humans coexist, a grizzled private investigator teams up with his ex-partner to solve a series of violent murders. The Lowdown: Almost unfathomably dumb, undeniably offensive and more fun than it has any right to be.
Starring: Nadine Labaki, Yasmine Al Masri, Gisele Aouad, Sihame Haddad, Joanna Moukarzel

Caramel


In Brief: Few things could seem so incongruous as writer/director/star Nadine Labaki's 2008 feature debut Caramel, not because of its relatively standard plot surrounding a group of women who patronize a beauty parlor, but because this light romantic dramedy is set in previously war-torn Beirut. Labaki avoids dealing with the religious and political turmoil that engulfed much of Lebanon…
Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Johannes Haukur Johannesson, Natassia Malthe

Alpha


The Story:  Somewhere in Europe, circa 18,000 B.C., a young hunter-gatherer must find his way home with the help of an unlikely friend — the first wolf to enter into a symbiotic relationship with humans. The Lowdown: This loosely structured story of the domestication of Canis lupus is a visually spectacular adventure tale that, while clearly geared toward younger…
Starring: Masaharu Fukuyama, Kôji Yakusho, Shinnosuke Mitsushima

The Third Murder


The Story: A jaded lawyer uncovers a web of conflicting stories and motivations as he tries to keep a convicted murderer — who has confessed to a third killing — off death row. The Lowdown: A decent film were it to come from an average director, but a disappointing miss for acclaimed Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda.
Starring: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Awkwafina, Tan Kheng Hua

Crazy Rich Asians


The Story: An Asian-American economics professor meets her boyfriend's family only to discover that he has hidden their extravagant wealth from her, leading to conflict with his disapproving mother and competitors vying for his hand. The Lowdown: A film that makes great strides toward mainstream cinematic inclusivity for ethnically diverse casts and crews while rehashing a tired rom-com…
Starring: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace, Michael Buscemi, Harry Belafonte, Alec Baldwin

BlackKklansman


The Story: A black detective cons his way into the good graces of the KKK with the help of a white frontman, dealing a devastating blow to the white supremacist terror organization. The Lowdown: Spike Lee's best film in years is potentially his most cogent commentary on contemporary race relations, striking both a delicate balance between comedy and drama…
Starring: Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson, Jake Ryan, Luke Prael, Catherine Oliviere

Eighth Grade


The Story: In her last days of eighth grade, a quiet wallflower grapples with anxiety and insecurity. The Lowdown: An impressive debut from writer/director Bo Burnham that packs a surprisingly big heart and a wickedly sardonic wit into classic adolescent cringe-comedy format.