Ratings by the Motion Picture Association of America are: (G) for general audiences; (PG) parental guidance urged because of material possibly unsuitable for children; (PG-13) parents are strongly cautioned to give guidance for attendance of children younger than 13; ® restricted, younger than 17 admitted only with parent or adult guardian; (NC-17) no one 17 and younger admitted.

___

(Critics' Choices capsule reviews are by Kenneth Turan (K.Tu.), Justin Chang (J.C.) and other reviewers. Openings compiled by Kevin Crust and Matt Cooper.)

OPENING IN HOLLYWOOD THIS WEEK

"Against the Clock" _ A former CIA operative investigates after her husband, a CIA recruit, is injured. With Dianna Agron, Andy Garcia, Justin Bartha, James Frain. Written and directed by and co-starring Mark Polish. NR.

"Alone in the Dead of Night" _ A tormented art student faces horrors while at home in her apartment. With Katie O'Hagan. Written by Matty Castano, Kristine Castano. Directed by Matty Castano. (1:35) NR.

"Anthem of a Teenage Prophet" _ A teen isolates himself after foretelling his best friend's death. With Cameron Monaghan, Peyton List, Grayson Gabriel, Juliette Lewis. Written by Joshua Close, Andy Matic, Elisha Matic; based on a novel by Joanne Proulx. Directed by Robin Hays. (1:25) NR.

"Ashes in the Snow" _ When her family is deported to Siberia by Stalin during WWII, a teenager is sustained by her passion for art. With Bel Powley, Martin Wallstrom. Written by Ben York Jones; based on a novel by Ruta Sepetys. Directed by Marius Markevicius. (1:38) NR.

"The Aspern Papers" _ An editor travels to 19th century Italy seeking love letters written by a famous poet in this adaptation of Henry James' novella. With Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Joely Richardson, Vanessa Redgrave. Written by Julien Landais, Jean Pavans, Hannah Bhuiya. Directed by Landais. (1:30) R.

"Buffalo Boys" _ Two Javanese brothers forced to flee to the American West as children return home to avenge the murder of their father, the sultan. With Yoshi Sudarso, Ario Bayu. Written by Mike Wiluan, Raymond Lee, Rayya Makarim. Directed by Wiluan. In Indonesian and English with English subtitles. (1:42) NR.

"A Dog's Way Home" _ A canine travels 400 miles to reunite with her human. With Ashley Judd, Jonah Hauer-King, Alexandra Shipp, Wes Studi, Edward James Olmos and the voice of Bryce Dallas Howard. Written by W. Bruce Cameron, Cathryn Michon; based on the book by Cameron. Directed by Charles Martin Smith. (1:36) PG.

"Perfect Strangers" _ Secrets spill when seven friends play a game at a dinner party in this comedy. With Belen Rueda, Eduard Fernandez. Written by Jorge Guerricaechevarria, Alex de la Iglesia. Directed by de la Iglesia. In Spanish with English subtitles. (1:37) NR.

"Replicas" _ A scientist resorts to extreme measures after losing his family in a car crash. With Keanu Reeves, Alice Eve, Emily Alyn Lind. Written by Chad St. John; story by Stephen Hamel. Directed Jeffrey Nachmanoff. (1:47) PG-13.

"Rust Creek" _ A young woman faces a terrifying ordeal in the backwoods of Kentucky. With Hermione Corfield, Jay Paulson. Written by Julie Lipson; story by Stu Pollard. Directed by Jen McGowan. (1:48) R.

"Sgt. Will Gardner" _ Max Martini wrote, directed and stars in this drama about a troubled Iraq War veteran who undertakes a cross-country journey. With Dermot Mulroney, Elisabeth Rohm, Robert Patrick, Lily Rabe, Gary Sinise. (2:05) NR.

"Tall Tales" _ A traveling cricket finds adventure in this animated tale. With the voices of Kate Mara, Justin Long. Written by Antoon Krings, Arnaud Delelande, Christel Gonnard; based on a book by Krings. Directed by Krings, Delelande. (1:28) PG.

ENTER-UPSIDE-MOVIE-REVIEW-MCT

We can't judge "The Upside" based on the recent controversies surrounding Hart and his old offensive jokes, but we can judge it on the script, adapted by Jon Hartmere, which is clunky and dated. 

"The Upside" _ A paralyzed billionaire hires an ex-con to be his caretaker. With Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart, Nicole Kidman. Written by Jon Hartmere; based on the 2011 French film "The Intouchables" by Eric Toldedano and Olivier Nakache. Directed by Neil Burger. (2:05) PG-13.

CRITICS' CHOICES

"The Favourite" _ This viciously entertaining period comedy-drama from director Yorgos Lanthimos ("The Lobster") returns us to the 18th century court of Queen Anne (a magnificent Olivia Colman) and the intrigue swirling around two women (Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone) vying for her favor. (J. C.) R Limited

"Happy as Lazzaro" _ Alice Rohrwacher's enchanting, time-bending third feature, about a group of sharecroppers on an Italian tobacco farm, is a deceptively plain-looking portrait of downtrodden lives that by the end all but glows with wonderment and surprise. (J. C.) PG-13 Netflix

"If Beale Street Could Talk" _ Barry Jenkins' follow-up to his Oscar-winning "Moonlight" is a visually and musically gorgeous adaptation of James Baldwin's novel, a 1970s Harlem love story that beautifully mixes past and present, the personal and the political. (J. C.) R Limited

"The Other Side of the Wind" _ Shot between 1970 and 1976 and then left unfinished for decades, Orson Welles' long-awaited final feature is a cracked, corrosive vision, a cinematic hall of mirrors that fascinatingly reflects the fraught circumstances of its making. (J. C.) R Netflix

"Roma" _ An extremely quiet, even meditative picture played at the softer pitch of reality, rather than the higher frequency of drama by writer-director-producer Alfonso Cuaron, whose childhood experiences are the bedrock of this family story. (K. Tu.) R Limited/Netflix

"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" _ The creative brain trust of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller has thoroughly rejuvenated the Spider-Man myth in this quick-witted, formula-busting and visually gorgeous animated feature, which places a new kid named Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) behind the mask. (J.C.) PG

"A Star Is Born" _ No matter how many previous versions of "A Star Is Born" you've seen, the Bradley Cooper-Lady Gaga extravaganza about a star on the rise falling for a star on the way down should not be missed. (K. Tu.) R

"Widows" _ Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki and Michelle Rodriguez give superb performances as three very different, very desperate women executing a daring heist in this unusually gripping, meaty and politically charged thriller from director Steve McQueen. (J.C.) R

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(c)2019 Los Angeles Times

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