Movie recommendations from critics Kenneth Turan and Justin Chang.
Battle of the Sexes This enjoyable and entertaining film, with the gifted and innately likable actors Emma Stone and Steve Carell as Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, is most involving when it deals not with sports or society, but with the personal struggles both players, especially King, were going through in the run-up to their 1973 tennis match. (Kenneth Turan) PG-13.
Blade Runner 2049 You can quibble with aspects of it, but as shaped by Denis Villeneuve and his masterful creative team, this high-end sequel puts you firmly and unassailably in another world of its own devising, and that is no small thing. (Kenneth Turan) R.
Blood Stripe Made with passion, integrity and skill and starring Kate Nowlin as a Marine sergeant returning home with PTSD, this is American independent filmmaking at its most effective. (Kenneth Turan) NR.
Brawl in Cell Block 99 Starring Vince Vaughn in a transformative turn as a man on a mission behind bars, this grimly mesmerizing pulp powerhouse from S. Craig Zahler (“Bone Tomahawk”) takes its time steering us toward its violent and entirely satisfying destination. (Justin Chang) NR.
Dunkirk Both intimate and epic, as emotional as it is tension-filled, Christopher Nolan’s immersive World War II drama is being ballyhooed as a departure for the bravura filmmaker, but in truth, the reason it succeeds so masterfully is that it is anything but. (Kenneth Turan) PG-13.
Faces Places A participatory art project takes director Agnès Varda and photographer-artist JR on a tour of the French countryside in this wonderful documentary, which, like Varda’s other personal essays, becomes an exquisite trip down memory lane. (Justin Chang) PG.
The Florida Project Absorbing us in the day-to-day rhythms of life at a dumpy Florida motel complex, home to a wildly spirited 6-year-old girl named Moonee (the startling Brooklynn Prince), Sean Baker (“Tangerine”) goes to a place few of us know and emerges with a masterpiece of empathy and imagination. (Justin Chang) R.
Girls Trip Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah and a revelatory Tiffany Haddish play four women renewing the bonds of friendship on a New Orleans weekend getaway in this hilariously raunchy and sensationally assured new comedy from director Malcolm D. Lee (“The Best Man”). (Justin Chang) R.
Lucky As a small-town curmudgeon contemplating his own mortality, Harry Dean Stanton gives one of his final and greatest performances in this insistently low-key, dryly funny valentine to the actor’s life and career. (Justin Chang) NR.
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Funny, moving and psychologically complex, this is writer-director Noah Baumbach’s latest foray into the intricate paradoxes of dysfunctional family dynamics, and, starring Dustin Hoffman, Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller, it ranks with his best. (Kenneth Turan) NR.
mother! Jennifer Lawrence plays the young wife of a poet (Javier Bardem) besieged by a number of unexpected visitors in this darkly exhilarating house-of-horrors thriller written and directed by Darren Aronofsky. (Justin Chang) R.
Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton Even if surfing is not a major interest, Hamilton’s personal journey is extraordinary enough that we feel privileged to have such an intimate documentary glimpse into how it all went down. (Kenneth Turan) NR.
Walking Out Excellent performances by Matt Bomer and Josh Wiggins and a powerful sense of place distinguish this hauntingly beautiful father-son survival drama from directors Alex and Andrew J. Smith, set in the mountains of Montana. (Justin Chang) NR.