Greta

Maika Monroe distracts Chloë Grace Moretz with eye contact as she tries to steal her arm.

“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]

“GRETA” (R) 2.25 STARS



This drama about a young woman stalked by a deranged lady who wants to be her mother benefits slightly from the actresses playing them: Chloë Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert. But not even the solid performances they turn in can overcome the core problem here: It’s a story not worth telling. Rated R for some violence and disturbing images. 98 min. [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. [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]

“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, RF]

“A MADEA FAMILY FUNERAL” (PG-13) 1.75 STARS

While there’s still enough silly, low-brow laughs to be had here, many viewers will leave thinking it’s a good thing this franchise is being put to bed, because what was once hilarious has become painfully dull and dirty. Rated PG-13 for crude sexual content, language, and drug references throughout. 102 min. [MC, PV, RF]

“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]

“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. [MC]

“THE UPSIDE” (PG-13) 2 STARS

Though Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston have a few nice moments in this film about an unqualified guy who ends up caring for a paraplegic man, they’re not enough to carry this movie that can’t decide if it wants to be serious or funny. Rated PG-13 for suggestive content and drug use. 126 min. [RF]

—Rob Hedelt

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