Movie Listings for Nov. 4-10



‘THE BIRTH OF A NATION’ (R, 2:00) The director Nate Parker’s film about Nat Turner, who led a bloody slave rebellion in Virginia in 1831, is an ambitious attempt to bring history to the screen. Mr. Parker, who also stars, relies a little too heavily on genre conventions and Hollywood revenge clichés, muddying the film’s political impact. But the movie also has a blunt emotional force, and glimmers of insight into the awful realities of 19th-century American slavery. (Scott)

‘TYLER PERRY’S BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN’ (PG-13, 1:43) Tyler Perry’s boisterous creation brooks neither tricks nor treats as she tries to inhibit a teenage girl from dressing as “Sexy Anything” for a fraternity costume party. (Glenn Kenny)

‘CAFÉ SOCIETY’ (PG-13, 1:36) Woody Allen wanders back into the worlds of 1930s Hollywood and New York, patching together an intermittently amusing, visually elegant collage of familiar themes. Steve Carell is a powerful movie agent, Jesse Eisenberg is his ambitious nephew from the Bronx, and Kristen Stewart is the young woman they both love. She’s too good for either one of them, and also for this tired movie. (Scott)

‘CERTAIN WOMEN’ (R, 1:47) Three stories by Maile Meloy, gracefully adapted by Kelly Reichardt, who respects the reticence of the characters and the emptiness of the Western landscape. Laura Dern plays a lawyer dealing with a difficult client. Michelle Williams is a woman dealing with a difficult family. And in the film’s most perfect and haunting vignette, Kristen Stewart is a night-school teacher who becomes the focus of an intense student crush. (Scott)

‘CHRISTINE’ (R, 2:00) Rebecca Hall’s great, humanizing performance is the reason to see this biopic about the life and horrifying death of Christine Chubbuck, a television reporter who committed suicide on live TV. (Manohla Dargis)

‘CROSSCURRENT’ (No rating, 1:56) Spectacular to look at and a devil to decode, Yang Chao’s mournful meditation on China’s painful economic rebirth follows a cargo boat up the Yangtze River in a journey crammed with fantasy and mysticism, faith and history. (Jeannette Catsoulis)

‘DEEPWATER HORIZON’ (PG-13, 1:47) Peter Berg’s minute-by-minute rendering of the disaster on a BP oil rig off the coast of Louisiana is a true crime story disguised as an action movie, with Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Gina Rodriguez and a hammily villainous John Malkovich. (Scott)

‘DENIAL’ (PG-13, 1:50) No courtroom fireworks detonate in “Denial,” a sober, methodical recounting of a 1996 libel suit brought by David Irving, a discredited British historian, against Deborah E. Lipstadt, the author of the 1993 book “Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory.” The absence of an emotional catharsis in the film, which has a screenplay by the British playwright David Hare, leaves a frustrating emptiness at its center. (Holden)

★ ‘DON’T CALL ME SON’ (No rating, 1:22) The 17-year-old protagonist of this Brazilian movie, about teenage identity in an age of bewildering choices, is a sexually uncertain youth who proves to be a powder keg of conflicting drives. For a topic this fraught, “Don’t Call Me Son” is surprisingly breezy and matter-of-fact. (Holden)

‘MR. DONKEY’ (No rating, 1:53) This bleak farce from Zhou Shen and Liu Lu (adapted from their play) concerns a rural Chinese school in the 1940s and its faculty members’ efforts to raise funds by convincing a visiting official that an illiterate local bumpkin is an English teacher. What begins as a somewhat manic and sentimental comedy eventually morphs into a bitter and piercing parable about China’s past and perhaps its present. (Andy Webster)

‘THE EAGLE HUNTRESS’ (G, 1:27) A lovely, inspiring documentary about a 13-year-old girl in Kazakhstan who defies tradition and captures and trains a golden eagle. (Scott)

★ ‘FIRE AT SEA’ (No rating, 1:48, in Italian) Set on the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, Gianfranco Rosi’s new documentary (Italy’s official Oscar submission) divides its attention between the life of a young boy and the plight of migrants from Africa and the Middle East who arrive in crowded, perilous boats. Without voice-over narration or expert testimony, the film creates a sense of moral and sensory alertness that is qualitatively different from the literal-minded, journalistic “awareness” that most socially conscious documentaries try to instill in their viewers. (Scott)

★ ‘GIMME DANGER’ (R, 1:48) The spine of this documentary is an in-depth interview with Iggy Pop, 69, who tells his story in a deep, almost feral growl. Occasionally, his face lights up with a demonic grin, and you glimpse the soul of a proudly unrepentant wild man who, even more than Frank Sinatra, did it his way, and lived to tell the tale. (Holden)

‘THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN’ (R, 1:52) Based on the best seller, this preposterous but not unenjoyable melodrama stars Emily Blunt as an alcoholic who peers into other people’s lives from her commuter train, voyeurism that leads to mystery and murder. (Dargis)

‘HACKSAW RIDGE’ (R, 2:11) Superior hackwork from Mel Gibson, who turns the true story of Desmond Doss (played by Andrew Garfield) — the first conscientious objector ever awarded the Medal of Honor — into a bloody, pious, bluntly effective combat drama. (Scott)

★ ‘THE HANDMAIDEN’ (No rating, 2:24) The art of the tease is rarely as refined as in Park Chan-wook’s amusing story of an heiress, her sadistic uncle, her devoted maid and the rake who’s trying to pull off a devilishly elaborate con. (Dargis)

★ ‘INTO THE INFERNO’ (No rating, 1:44) Few filmmakers make the world seem more wondrous than Werner Herzog. In this beautiful documentary, he travels the world to peer into the abyss and talk to those drawn to the fire. (Dargis)

‘KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES’ (PG-13, 1:45) This pedestrian comedy almost seems intended to feed the scourge of “TV is better than film” articles. The plot invites comparisons with “The Americans”; the presence of Jon Hamm prompts wistful memories of “Mad Men”; and the visual vocabulary shows the indifference of a hasty live broadcast. (Ben Kenigsberg)

★ ‘KEVIN HART: WHAT NOW?’ (R, 1:36) The comedian muses on the title question in front of an adoring crowd of more than 50,000 in this concert film, which showcases Mr. Hart’s energetic and sometimes inventive performing chops. (Kenny)

‘KING COBRA’ (No rating, 1:42) Christian Slater and James Franco play rival producers of gay porn movies in Justin Kelly’s “King Cobra,” a sleazy dark comedy that aspires to be a low-budget, all-male answer to “Boogie Nights.” (Holden)

‘BY SIDNEY LUMET’ (No rating, 1:43) Movies about great directors rarely live up to their subjects. Still, Nancy Buirski’s documentary gives you a chance to hang out with Sidney Lumet; it also makes you want to revisit his films. (Dargis)

‘THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN’ (PG-13, 2:12) Denzel Washington looks good riding high in the saddle in what is essentially a remake of the 1960 reduction of the Japanese classic “Seven Samurai.” (Dargis)

‘A MAN CALLED OVE’ (PG-13, 1:56) This tale of a cranky old man made less cranky by his new neighbors proves that Swedish movies can be as conventionally heartwarming as Hollywood products. It gets its tear-jerking work done, thanks to excellent performances. (Kenny)

‘MICHAEL MOORE IN TRUMPLAND’ (No rating, 1:13) Mr. Moore, whose previous documentaries have often been provocative and insightful, takes on the current presidential campaign rather toothlessly here. It’s a film of a live show he performed in a Trump-leaning town in Ohio in which he poked some fun at the Republican presidential candidate but only as a prelude to lavishing praise on Hillary Clinton. (Genzlinger)

‘MIDDLE SCHOOL: THE WORST YEARS OF MY LIFE’ (PG, 1:32) The latest entry in the revenge-on-the-educator genre — extending at least as far back as “Matilda” — is this slick, harmless adaptation of a novel out of the James Patterson book factory. The movie borrows an animated trick or two from the Disney XD series “Kirby Buckets” and adds a dollop of “A Beautiful Mind” for dramatic heft but fails to rise above the generically inspirational. (Webster)

★ ‘MISS HOKUSAI’ (PG-13, 1:33) A beguiling Japanese animated film extrapolating on the life of a daughter of the famed 19th-century Japanese painter Katsushika Hokusai. The combination of beautiful imagery and deep character study is unusually potent here. (Kenny)

★ ‘MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN’ (PG-13, 2:07) Based on the young-adult book by Ransom Riggs, this new Tim Burton fantasy follows the curious and curiouser adventures of a teenager (Asa Butterfield). It takes a while for Mr. Burton to get his kink on, but he does. (Dargis)

★ ‘MOONLIGHT’ (R, 1:50) This quiet, lyrical film, chronicling three chapters in the life of a young man named Chiron, can be fairly described as a movie about growing up poor, gay and black in America. It is a great deal more than that, but it is also exactly that. Directed by Barry Jenkins and based on a play by Tarell Alvin McCraney, the movie treats its characters with an empathy that feels radical, and renders their lives with an aesthetic care that is exquisite and exciting. (Scott)

★ ‘OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL’ (PG-13, 1:39) If you’re looking for a scary movie for the Halloween season, this one works quite well, thanks in large part to an unsettling performance by Lulu Wilson, who plays a 9-year-old named Doris. It’s 1967, and a Ouija board has come into her family’s home. The game seems to speak to Doris in scarily direct terms, and Ms. Wilson embodies “otherworldly” perfectly. The film, a prequel to the 2014 movie “Ouija,” is much better than that offering. Not all films based on Hasbro games and toys have worked, but this one accomplishes what it sets out to do. (Genzlinger)

★ ‘QUEEN OF KATWE’ (PG, 2:04) An irresistible underdog sport movie, based on the true story of Phiona Mutesi (Madina Nalwanga, in her first film role), a chess prodigy from a poor section of Kampala, Uganda. The director, Mira Nair, infuses a familiar genre with a vibrant and complex sense of place. Lupita Nyong’o (as Phiona’s mother) and David Oyelowo (as her coach) are excellent, as ever. (Scott)

‘JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK’ (PG-13, 1:58) This is the second time Tom Cruise has played this character. Let’s hope it’s the last. (Dargis)

‘STORKS’ (PG, 1:29) In this animated film aimed at younger children, storks have been out of the baby-delivery business for years, but some shenanigans at stork headquarters produce a baby that needs delivering, and a stork named Junior (the voice of Andy Samberg) takes it upon himself to do the job with the help of a human sidekick (Katie Crown). The plot becomes fairly convoluted, given the intended audience, and there’s no irresistible character or song to latch onto. (Genzlinger)

★ ‘SULLY’ (PG-13, 1:35) Clint Eastwood’s latest is about a man who is excellent at his job. Specifically, it is about Capt. Chesley Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) and how in 2009 he came to land a plane on the Hudson River. The movie is economical and solid, and generally low-key when it’s not freaking you out. (Dargis)

‘UNDER THE SHADOW’ (PG-13, 1:24) Set in Tehran at the end of the Iran-Iraq war, this quietly nerve-pricking, smart horror flick centers on a young mother struggling against male oppression and perhaps supernatural forces: There’s no horror like home. (Dargis)

Film Series

BRESSON ON CINEMA (through Nov. 15) Robert Bresson (1901-99) is one of only a few directors who could legitimately claim to have invented their own cinematic language. His clipped editing rarely shows more than is needed; his use of sound is so precise that it attunes the viewer to every footstep. His Spartan approach perfectly suits his studies of physical or spiritual isolation, including “Pickpocket” (Friday through Sunday), “A Man Escaped” (Nov. 12) and “Diary of a Country Priest” (Nov. 13). But if Bresson’s austere style sets him apart, this Brooklyn Academy of Music series aims to show that he was also engaged in a dialogue with other filmmakers; it puts Bresson’s own films alongside some of his personal favorites by other directors and additional movies that might be seen as having influenced his theories. BAM Rose Cinemas, 30 Lafayette Avenue, at Ashland Place, Fort Greene, 718-636-4100, (Kenigsberg)

NEW IN TOWN (through Nov. 13) To celebrate the opening of the Alamo Drafthouse Downtown Brooklyn, this series puts a spotlight on films about strangers in new places. Jason Voorhees and the Muppets both take Manhattan, though not in the same movie, thankfully. (“Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan” played last week; “The Muppets Take Manhattan” will show on Saturday and Sunday.) Other featured newcomers include Patrick Swayze in “Road House” (Nov. 13) and Eric Roberts as a soda executive gone to Australia in Dusan Makavejev’s “The Coca-Cola Kid” (Sunday). 445 Albee Square West, near DeKalb Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-513-2547, (Kenigsberg)

POP! GOES CINEMA: KADOKAWA FILM AND 1980S JAPAN (Tuesday through Dec. 17) This retrospective puts a spotlight on Kadokawa, a publishing company that four decades ago branched into film production and became known in Japan for its blockbusters and genre efforts. The series opens Tuesday with a restoration of “Sailor Suit and Machine Gun,” about a girl who becomes a leader in a yakuza war against a drug cartel, and also features “Virus” (Nov. 22), a spectacle from Kinji Fukasaku, whose “Battle Royale” is, to some, “The Hunger Games” before there was “The Hunger Games.” Set in Antarctica, “Virus” focuses on the survivors of an apocalyptic outbreak. The eclectic cast includes Sonny Chiba, George Kennedy, Edward James Olmos and the former professional athlete Chuck Connors. Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, Manhattan, 212-832-1155, (Kenigsberg)

TO SAVE AND PROJECT: THE 14TH MOMA INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF FILM PRESERVATION (through Nov. 23) The Museum of Modern Art’s annual compendium of restored rarities includes “The Brat” (showing on a double bill Sunday and Nov. 17), from 1931, said to be the last of John Ford’s surviving sound films to be returned to availability; a director’s cut of “Legend of the Mountain,” a ghost story of sorts from King Hu, known for his martial-arts epics; and “Behind the Door” (Nov. 20 and 21), an eerie World War I story from 1919 starring Hobart Bosworth as a German-American who is ostracized by his neighbors and ultimately goes off to sea with his wife in tow. The chilling outcome retains its power after nearly a century. Museum of Modern Art, Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters, 11 West 53rd Street, 212-708-9400, (Kenigsberg)

TOTAL VERHOEVEN (Wednesday through Nov. 23) When “Showgirls” opened in 1995 and critics competed to deliver the nastiest barbs, it might have seemed absurd to call Paul Verhoeven a director of movies about strong women. But that’s the impression left by his latest provocation, “Elle,” an ostensible rape-revenge thriller in which the victim, a video game executive played by Isabelle Huppert, refuses to let that act of violence define her. Showing in a sneak preview on Wednesday before opening later this month, it suggests that women taking charge of men has always been Mr. Verhoeven’s great subject. That theme resurfaces throughout this comprehensive retrospective, whether it’s in “Basic Instinct” (Wednesday, Nov. 15 and Nov. 19), the bracingly classical World War II story “Black Book” (Nov. 14 and 18) or the 1983 thriller “The 4th Man” (Thursday and Nov. 13). Mr. Verhoeven’s other early films and his science fiction outings — including the tellingly titled “Hollow Man” (Nov. 18 and 20) — are also present. “Showgirls” plays Nov. 11, 12, 16 and 18, with an introduction by Mr. Verhoeven on Nov. 16. Walter Reade Theater, Lincoln Center, 165 West 65th Street, 212-875-5601, (Kenigsberg)

Correction: November 8, 2016

A movie entry in the Listings pages on Friday about “Hacksaw Ridge” erroneously attributed a distinction to Desmond Doss, the subject of the film. Although he was the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor, he is not the only one to have received it.

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