Maya Eshet, Zoey Deutch and Dylan Gelula in "Flower." 

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


"Allure" _ A troubled young woman develops an intense relationship with a teenage pianist. With Evan Rachel Wood, Julia Sarah Stone, Denis O'Hare. Written and directed by Carlos and Jason Sanchez. (1:45) NR.

"Apartment 212" _ After relocating to New York from a small town, a young woman starts noticing tiny wounds on her body each morning. With Penelope Mitchell, Sally Kirkland, Chris Johnson, Kyle Gass. Written by Jim Brennan, Kathryn Gould and Haylar Garcia. Directed by Garcia. (1:37) NR.

"Augie" _ Twelve years after being diagnosed with ALS, fitness entrepreneur Augie Nieto works for a cure in this documentary. Directed by James Keach. (1:24) NR.

"Benji" _ Update of the 1974 family film features two children and their adventures with an intrepid stray dog in New Orleans. With Kiele Sanchez, Gabriel Bateman, Darby Camp. Written and directed by Brandon Camp, son of the original's director, Joe Camp. NR.

"Dear Dictator" _ An American teen bonds with her pen pal, a refuge-seeking British-Caribbean dictator who teaches her lessons in dealing with "mean girls." With Michael Caine, Odeya Rush, Katie Holmes, Seth Green, Jason Biggs. Written and directed by Lisa Addario, Joe Syracuse. (1:30) NR.

"Demon House" _ An Indiana house identified as a "Portal to Hell" is purchased by paranormal investigator Zak Bagans, and he and his crew then become its next victims in this horror documentary. With Bagans, Jay Wasley, Billy Tolley. Written and directed by Bagans. (1:51) NR.

"Flower" _ Feeling overwhelmed at home, an angry San Fernando Valley teen acts out with her friends by revealing a teacher's dark secret. With Zoey Deutch, Kathryn Hahn, Tim Heidecker, Adam Scott. Written by Max Winkler, Matt Spicer, Alex McAulay. Directed by Winkler. (1:30) R.

"Furlough" _ A young female prison guard accompanies a wild-eyed inmate to see her dying mother on an out-of-control road trip. With Tessa Thompson, Melissa Leo, Whoopi Goldberg, Anna Pauqin, Edgar Ramirez, La La Anthony. Written by Barry Strugatz. Directed by Laurie Collyer. R.

"The Happys" _ A young Los Angeles woman deals with her imploding relationship by getting to know her eclectic neighbors. With Amanda Bauer, Jack DePew, Janeane Garofalo. Directed by Tom Gould, John Serpe. (1:27) NR.

"I Can Only Imagine" _ Faith-based drama based on the life of MercyMe singer Bart Millard. With J. Michael Finley, Madeline Carroll, Trace Adkins, Priscilla Shirer, Cloris Leachman, Dennis Quaid. Written by Jon Erwin & Brent McCorkle, based on the song by MercyMe. Directed by the Erwin Brothers. (1:50) PG.

"In the Land of Pomegranates" _ Documentary on young Palestinians and Israelis participating in a "Vacation from War" retreat in Germany. Directed by Hava Kohav Beller. In Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles. (2:05) NR.

"Itzhak" _ Documentary on renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman, a polio survivor whose parents immigrated from Poland to Israel. Directed by Alison Chernick. (1:22) NR.

"Josie" _ A mysterious young woman's arrival casts a dark shadow in a small Southern town. With Sophie Turner, Dylan McDermott, Jack Kilmer. Written by Anthony Rangone II. Directed by Eric England. (1:27) NR.

"Journey's End" _ British officers face the horrors of war in the trenches of northern France near the end of World War I. With Sam Claflin, Asa Butterfield, Paul Bettany, Toby Jones, Tom Sturridge, Stephen Graham. Written by Simon Reade, based on the play and novel by R.C. Sherriff. Directed by Saul Dibb. (1:47) R.

"Love, Simon" _ A teenager frets about coming out to his family and friends and over the identity of the unknown classmate for whom he has fallen for online. With Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel. Written by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger. Directed by Greg Berlanti. (1:49) PG-13.

"Maineland" _ Documentary follows two affluent Chinese "parachute students" as they settle into life at an American prep school. Directed by Miao Wang. (1:30) NR.

"Opera House" _ The history of New York's Metropolitan Opera and its move to Lincoln Center in the 1960s are chronicled in this documentary. Written and directed by Susan Froemke. (1:51) NR.

"Ramen Heads" _ Documentary explores the secrets of recipes of six prestige noodle shops,. Featuring chef Osamu Tomita. Directed by Koki Shigeno. (1:33) NR.

"7 Days in Entebbe" _ The 1976 hijacking of an Air France flight leads to a diplomatic standoff in Uganda as the Israeli government races the clock to rescue the passengers. With Rosamund Pike, Daniel Bruhl, Eddie Marsan, Ben Schnetzer. Written by Gregory Burke. Directed by Jose Padilha. (1:46) PG-13.

"Souvenir" _ A new co-worker encourages a woman who once competed in a European singing competition to make a comeback. With Isabelle Huppert, Kevin Azais. Written by Bavo Defurne & Jacques Boon & Yves Verbraeken; story by Defurne. Directed by Defurne. In French with English subtitles. (1:30) NR.

"Tomb Raider" _ Alicia Wickander stars as Lara Croft, who searches for her long-missing father in this reboot of the action adventure series based on the video game. With Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, Derek Jacobi, Kristin Scott Thomas. Written by Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons. Directed by Roar Uthaug. (2:02) PG-13.

"Us and Them" _ A working-class British lad's plan to terrorize the economic elite goes awry when he takes a banker and his family hostage. With Jack Roth, Sophie Colquhoun, Tim Bentinck. Written and directed by Joseph Martin. (1:23) NR.


"Annihilation" _ Natalie Portman plays a biologist who joins an all-female expedition into the heart of an environmental disaster zone in this eerily beautiful and hypnotically unsettling mind-bender from "Ex Machina" writer-director Alex Garland. (J.C.) R.

"Black Panther" _ Chadwick Boseman stars as the King of Wakanda faces external threats to his peaceful home. With Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman. Written by Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole. Directed by Coogler. (2:14) PG-13.

"Call Me By Your Name" _ Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer give superb performances as two young men falling in love in the northern Italian countryside in this rapturously beautiful collaboration between director Luca Guadagnino and screenwriter James Ivory. (J.C.) R.

"Early Man" _ Four-time Oscar-winning director Nick Park, the creator of Wallace and Gromit, is back with a droll romp through prehistoric times that will put a smile on your face. (K.Tu.) PG.

"A Fantastic Woman" _ Chilean writer-director Sebastian Lelio's follow-up to "Gloria" is a compassionate and captivating portrait of a young transgender woman (a superb Daniela Vega) dealing with hostility and intolerance in the wake of her lover's death. (J.C.) R.

"Foxtrot" _ An intricate, dazzling cinematic dance starring top Israeli actor Lior Ashkenazi, Samuel Moaz's drama is profound and moving and wild and crazy at the same time, telling a specific story and offering an emotional snapshot of the toll war can take on a nation's psyche. (Kenneth Turan) R.

"Loveless" _ A story about a broken marriage and a missing child becomes a withering snapshot of Russian social malaise in this bleak and beautifully shot drama from the gifted Andrey Zvyagintsev ("Leviathan"). (J.C.) R.

"The Post" _ Director Steven Spielberg and stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks combine for a thriller cum civics lesson showing the value of newspapers hanging together and holding government accountable for deception. (K.Tu.) PG-13.

"The Shape of Water" _ Magical, thrilling and romantic to the core, a sensual and fantastical "Beauty and the Beast" tale with moral overtones, Guillermo del Toro's film plays by all the rules and none of them, going its own way with fierce abandon. (K.Tu.) R.

"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" _ Uncommon writer-director Martin McDonagh and a splendid cast top-lined by Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell present a savage film, even a dangerous one, the blackest take-no-prisoners farce in quite some time. (K.Tu.) R.

(c)2018 Los Angeles Times

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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