Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Miles Morales isn’t upset, he’s just a little disappointed that ‘Spider Man: Into The Spider-Verse’ didn’t win best picture at the Academy Awards when it totally should have.

“ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL” (PG-13) 2.5 STARS

Though amazing special effects are sometimes better than the story being told, this tale of a battle cyborg reborn as a young girl works just well enough to get by. Its effects are truly eye-popping, with some critics saying that it may well be the first film of its kind to successfully mix anime with live action. Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language. 122 min. [MC, PV, RF]

“GREEN BOOK” (PG-13) 3.5 STARS



This film manages to be poignant, funny and meaningful as it explores issues ranging from racism to friendship. It’s the tale of a working-class Italian–American bouncer who becomes the driver for an African–American classical pianist on a tour of the 1960s American South. Rated PG-13 for thematic content, language including racial epithets, smoking, some violence and suggestive material. 130 min. [PV, RF]

“HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U” (PG-13) 2.25 STARS

This sequel to the surprise hit about a college girl stuck in a “Groundhog Day” loop of getting killed doesn’t work as well as the first, but still has its moments. Rated PG-13 for violence, language, sexual material and thematic elements. 100 min. [MC]

“HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD” (PG-13) 3 STARS

The third and what seems to be final film in this animated franchise does what it needs to please a young audience by mixing a hint of danger with some inherent silliness in this tale of a dragon and his friend coming of age. Rated PG for adventure action, some mild rude humor. 104 min. [MC, PV, RF]

“ISN’T IT ROMANTIC” (PG-13) 2.5 STARS

It’s no small feat to make a movie that ridicules romantic comedies while also becoming one, but with a fun performance from comic actor Rebel Wilson and a smart script, this manages to mock the worst tropes of rom-coms even while using a few. Rated PG-13 for language, some sexual material, and a brief drug reference. 88 min. [PV]

“THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART” (PG) 3 STARS

This film works because the creators have locked in to a silliness that keeps you giggling. The plot about the kidnapping of a character by Lego Duplo invaders is secondary to the offbeat fun of watching Lego characters do silly things. Rated PG for some rude humor. 106 min. [MC, PV]

“RUN THE RACE” (PG) 2.5 STARS

Though this faith-based film struggles to overcome several sports and family clichés, it’s got a story and characters that make you care about what happens as two brothers are tested by life’s challenges. Rated PG for thematic content and some teen partying. 101 min. [MC]

“A STAR IS BORN” (R) 3 STARS

This tale, which relies on the trope about the potentially debilitating effect of stardom and success, works some magic in this latest retelling. That happens mainly in the music and the scenes where the characters played by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga connect while performing. Rated R for language throughout, sexuality/nudity and substance abuse. 135 min. [PV]

“SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE” (PG) 3 STARS

This movie is exciting, funny and heartfelt. More than that, it offers a sense of inclusion, with a superhero who’s both dark-skinned and Hispanic. And if that isn’t inclusive enough, eventually Spider-people arrive from other planets. One is even a little cartoon piglet. Rated PG for frenetic sequences of animated action violence, thematic elements, and mild language. 117 min. [PV]

—Rob Hedelt

Rob Hedelt: 540/374-5415

rhedelt@freelancestar.com

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