James McAvoy is a psychologically damaged man with 24 different personalities in “Split.” In the film, he kidnaps and confines three teenage girls in an underground lair. Universal Pictures 

Movies playing in town for Feb. 17

A A DOG’S PURPOSE          

PG. 100 minutes.

Based on the best-selling novel by W. Bruce Cameron. Comedic actor Josh Gag gives a human voice (that only the audience can hear) to Bailey, the dog that morphs into three other canines over the course of the film. In this universe, dogs return as other dogs after death. Directed by Swedish filmmaker Lasse Hallstrom; with Dennis Quaid, Peggy Lipton and Bryce Gheisar. – Michael Heaton       

C+ FENCES      

PG-13; for thematic elements, language and some suggestive references. 133 minutes.

A Pulitzer and Tony-winning work by August Wilson who finished the screenplay before he died in 2005. Directed by and starring Denzel Washington who plays a former Negro League baseball player, ex-convict and current 1950s-era garbage man. He’s a loud-mouthed narcissist and a bully who is bitter about the hand life has dealt him. With Viola Davis. – Michael Heaton     


PG; for thematic elements and some language. 126 minutes.

At the start of the Space Race in the 1950s, the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics, a precursor to NASA, needed “human computers” with the ability to do advanced calculations in their minds. A number of black math teachers made significant contributions to the Mercury missions. “Hidden Figures” focuses on three of these women, played by Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae, each with her own challenges and goals. – Julie E. Washington       

A I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO              

PG-13; for disturbing violence images, thematic material, language and brief nudity. 95 minutes.

Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, this documentary by Raoul Peck uses only the words written by novelist, poet, playwright and civil rights activist James Baldwin in his unfinished manuscript and copious film clips of the writer and his three subjects (Medgar Everts, Malcolm X and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) to create a fascinating and compelling narrative of black history. It includes the Civil War, the civil rights movement and the recent Black Lives Matter protests. – Michael Heaton       

C+ JOHN WICK CHAPTER 2            

R; for strong violence, some language and brief nudity. 122 minutes.

When we left Mr. Wick (Keanu Reeves) in the original movie, he was beset by sorrow due to the theft of his Mustang, and the deaths of his wife and dog. In this new movie, he is retired from the killing-people business and mostly spends time mourning the loss of his wife. He replaced the dog. An Italian mobster wants Wick to kill his sister so he can move up in the family business. Wick makes the mistake of refusing the assignment and someone is out to get him. – Michael Heaton       

A LA LA LAND      

PG-13; for some language. 128 minutes.

Writer-director Damien Chazelle is unapologetic about having his actors suddenly break into song and movements to express their thoughts. He also cast two of Hollywood’s hottest young stars, sexy-girl-next door Emma Stone and brooding Ryan Gosling, who both have music and dance credentials. Stone is an aspiring actress who is enduring audition hell, Gosling is a jazz musician who dreams of opening a jazz club for serious musicians and jazz aficionados. – Julie E. Washington       


PG; For rude humor and some action. 104 minutes.

Directed by Chris McKay, “Lego Batman” is much in the vein of “The Lego Movie,” from which this was spun off. Will Arnett’s growly, sarcastic, heavy metal-loving “Batman was such a hit in that movie that he deserved his own project. It was always going to be a fun Lego property, but no one probably expected this to be one of the best and most refreshing Batman movies. – Tribune News Service    

B+ LION      

PG-13; for thematic material and some sensuality. 121 minutes.

“Lion” tells the story (based on true events) of 5-year-old Saroo, who lives in poverty in India in the mid-1980s. One night, he falls asleep on a train and winds up in an orphanage and is adopted by an Australian couple (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham). Flash-forward 25 years and life seems good for Saroo until he begins obsessing about finding his biological family in India. – Michael Heaton     


R; for language and some sexual content. 135 minutes.

A beautiful film that is tragic and moving. Directed by Kenneth Lonergan, a working-class man (Casey Affleck) is forced to care for his dead brother’s son (Lucas Hedges) in a New England fishing town. – Laura DeMarco


PG; for action, peril, brief scary images and some rude humor. 104 minutes.

Aimed at the under-10 set, “Monster Truck” has several good things going for it, including a couple of big-name actors, exciting car chases and a handful of laughts. Flawless special effects allow the computer-generated squid-thing to interact realistically with humans and trucks. On the other side of the scales, mediocre acting and writing kept the film in the so-so zone. -Julie E. Washington       


R; for violence, depictions of drug use and sexual content. 111 minutes.

A coming-of-age story like no other, is already being called one of the year’s best movies. It unfolds in three distinct sections that illuminate stages in Chiron’s growth living in Miami. Writer-director Barry Jenkins cast three mostly unknown actors – Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes – to portray Chiron over two decades. Throughout the film, he still longs for meaningful connections, identity and acceptance. – Julie Washington  

A PATERSON        

R; for language. 118 minutes.

Directed by Jim Jarmusch, Paterson (Adam Driver) wakes up every morning and checks the time on his watch. He pours a bowl of Cheerios and heads out to work with his lunch pail, with sandwiches made by his wife. All day long he drives a city bus, in Paterson, New Jersey. In the evening, he takes the dog for a walk, stops for a beer and chat at the corner bar. Paterson is a man out of his time, but his quest is timeless. – Laura DeMarco       


PG; for mild action/peril and some rude humor. 133 minutes.

“Rogue One’s” fast-moving, action-filled story line strikes the right balance between familiar touchstones and new worlds, characters, weapons and spaceships. Set before the events of 1977’s “Star Wars: Episode IV – a New Hope” is heavy on action and moves at a breathless pace. Jyn (Felicity Jones) is valuable to both the Rebel Alliance and the Empire. She is the daughter of a reluctant genius who was forced by the Empire to develop the planet-eating Death Star. She has been on her own when Imperial troops killed her mother and took her father prisoner. – Julie

B+ SPLIT          

PG-13; for disturbing thematic content and behavior, violence and some language. 117 minutes.

The performance of James McAvoy, as a psychologically damaged man who contains 24 different personalities, is worth seeing. He is malevolently magnificent in the role of a severely mentally ill man who kidnaps and confines three teenage girls in an underground lair. Written and directed by M. Night Shayaalan; with Betty Buckley, Anya Taylor-Joy, Jessica Sula and Haley Lu Richardson. – Michael Heaton       

C 20th CENTURY WOMEN          

R; for sexual material, language, some nudity and brief drug use. 118 minutes.

Writer/director Mike Mills’s tribute to his divorced mother who raised him with the help of a couple other women. Annette Bening plays Dorothea Fields, a quirky, 50-something, chain-smoking single mom struggling to raise her adolescent son. The characters renting rooms in Fields’ large dilapidated house aren’t bad or deplorable in any moral sense. Their intentions are good, but they haven’t the slightest idea how to implement them. Simply put, they are not very interesting people. – Michael Heaton       



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