Animated dogs rule this week, with Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs” opening wide, and also with the generally unheralded “Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero,” about a dog’s heroics in World War I. But Dwayne Johnson’s “Rampage” and “Truth or Dare,” the new horror flick from Blumhouse, likely will draw bigger crowds. Documentary fans get to explore the work of sculptor Andy Goldsworthy in “Leaning Into the Wind,” while “Paul: Apostle of Christ” continues the recent run of religious-themed dramas. “The Miracle Season” is a a new drama based on a true-life story about a high school volleyball team that overcome tragedy.
The Darkside Cinema in Corvallis marks its 13th anniversary on Friday with showings of the 1988 Italian classic (and love letter to movies) “Cinema Paradiso.” It’s an appropriate choice.
(Drama, R, 155 minutes, playing Friday at the Darkside in Corvallis) The Darkside celebrates its 13th anniversary with screenings of the 1988 Italian classic. A young Sicilian boy strikes up a friendship with an aging projectionist; eventually, the boy takes over his mentor’s job and becomes a filmmaker himself — but loses the love of his life.
ISLE OF DOGS
3 ½ stars
(Animated adventure, PG-13, 94 minutes, playing at the Pix in Albany and the Regal 4 in Corvallis) In a work of stunning stop-motion animation, a boy tries to rescue his pet from an island of garbage where a Japanese mayor has quarantined all dogs. It's smart and different and sometimes deliberately odd and really funny — rarely in a laugh-out-loud way, more in a smile-and-nod-I-get-the-joke kind of way. In other words, it's a Wes Anderson movie. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
LEANING INTO THE WIND
(Documentary, PG, 93 minutes, playing at the Darkside Cinema in Corvallis) This documentary follows British sculptor and environmentalist Andy Goldsworthy as he uses his natural surroundings to create works of art in San Francisco, St. Louis, New England, Brazil, Scotland and France.
THE MIRACLE SEASON
(Drama, PG, 99 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) Helen Hunt and Erin Moriarty star in this flick, based on a true story about Iowa City’s West High volleyball team, which reached the state championships after the death of teammate Caroline “Line” Found.
PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST
(Drama, PG-13, 106 minutes, playing at the Regal 4 in Corvallis) This Bible story is an impressively staged, well-acted, thoughtful and faithful telling of the last days of the Apostle Paul — and how Luke (Jim Caviezel) risked his life again and again to visit his mentor in prison and record his teachings. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
(Action-adventure, PG-13, 107 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12) A silverback gorilla, a wolf and a reptile grow to monstrous size after a genetic experiment goes wrong. Can Dwayne Johnson save the day in this new flick, based on an old video game?
SGT. STUBBY: AN AMERICAN HERO
(Animated, PG, 80 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) This new animated flick tells the story of Stubby, a mutt who made his way from a training base in Connecticut to the trenches of France during World War I. The story is undeniably inspiring, but the treatment it gets here is much too lightweight. (Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service)
TRUTH OR DARE
(Horror, PG-13, 100 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12) A harmless game of “Truth or Dare” turns deadly when someone (or something) begins to punish those who tell a lie or refuse the dare. Lucy Hale and Tyler Posey star.
2 ½ stars
(Comedy, R, 100 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany, the Regal 4 in Corvallis and the AMC Corvallis 12) Three sets of parents do everything they can to prevent their daughters from having sex on the night of the prom. This often-gross comedy takes a while to rev up, but it’s often laugh-out-loud funny, thanks to the cast. You just wish they had a little more to work with. John Cena and Leslie Mann lead the cast. (Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service)
2 ½ stars
(Drama, PG-13, 101 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) Director John Curran’s drama examines the 1968 scandal that marred Ted Kennedy’s political career and killed 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne. It’s a low-key, generally absorbing if somewhat lackluster procedural that ominously reflects on the darker shadows that loom behind even the brightest shining political hopes. Jason Clarke and Kate Mara star. (Jake Coyle, Associated Press)
THE DEATH OF STALIN
3 ½ stars
(Historical satire, R, 97 minutes, playing at the Darkside in Corvallis) Director Armando Iannucci delivers an audacious and hilarious send-up of the grab for power that followed the Soviet leader's demise in 1953. But as in the case of all satires that resonate, "The Death of Stalin" goes deeper than balloon-popping punch lines. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
THE LEISURE SEEKER
(Drama-comedy, R, 112 minutes, playing at the Darkside in Corvallis) An English professor grappling with dementia and his wife hop into their aging Winnebago for a road trip to Key West. Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren star, but the movie is an uneasy and undercooked combination of breezy humor and moments of painful realism. (Rafer Guzman, Newsday)
A QUIET PLACE
(Horror, PG-13, 90 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the Regal 4 in Corvallis) John Krasinski is the director, co-writer and co-star (with his wife, Emily Blunt) of this neatly spun and well-crafted thriller about a family that must maintain complete silence to avoid stirring deadly monsters. That's a pretty nifty setup to keep the tension going from moment to moment. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
READY PLAYER ONE
3 ½ stars
(Sci-fi adventure, PG-13, 140 minutes, playing at Regal 7 in Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12) In a dystopian future, everyone spends as much time as they can in a virtual-reality universe where events can have lasting and serious real-world consequences. Adapting Ernest Cline's sci-fi novel, Steven Spielberg has created an eye-popping, mind-blowing, candy-colored, fantastically entertaining (albeit slightly exhausting) virtual-reality fantasy adventure. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
I CAN ONLY IMAGINE
(Drama, PG, 110 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12) This true story follows the life of Bart Millard, lead singer of the Christian band MercyMe, who loses his father to cancer. The lose inspires Millard to write the hit song “I Can Only Imagine.” J. Michael Finley stars, but the cast also includes Dennis Quaid, Trace Adkins and Cloris Leachman.
(Animated, PG, 86 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) In this sequel to “Gnomeo and Juliet,” the gnomes move to London. But when gnomes mysteriously start disappearing, it’s a case for the famous detective Sherlock Gnomes. Style points at least for the title pun.
(Comedy, PG-13, 109 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) A senior in high school comes out as gay in this fantastic high school comedy that’s grounded, funny and heartwarming, tonally located somewhere between “Lady Bird” and “Mean Girls.” Nick Robinson stars, with Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Garner, Katherine Langford and Alexandra Shipp, in this film that occupies some of the middle ground between to terms with his simply a fantastic high school comedy that’s grounded, funny and heartwarming. (Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service)
(Action adventure, PG-13, 118 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) Star Alicia Vikander is absolutely terrific in this stripped-down origin story of the video game heroine. But the special effects sequences aren't all that special, and many seem designed to distract us from the hokey, dopey, paper-thin plot. (Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)
3 ½ stars
(Sci-fi action-adventure, PG-13, 134 minutes, playing at the Regal 7 in Albany and the AMC Corvallis 12) Director Ryan Coogler delivers a flick that somehow lives up to the hype, as he brings Marvel’s black superhero to the big screen. Chadwick Boseman, Daniel Kaluuya, Michael B. Jordan, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira and Letitia Wright star, but it’s Coogler who electrifies the comic-book movie with a new perspective and a rare talent for marrying naturalistic character development with spectacle muscle. (Jake Coyle, Associated Press)
2 ½ stars
(Animated, PG, 93 minutes, playing at the AMC Corvallis 12) James Corden, Domhnall Gleeson, Rose Byrne, Sam Neill star in this animated adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s books. The animation technology is top-notch, but the gentle spirit of Potter’s books is subsumed into a chaotic, violent mayhem, manically soundtracked to the day’s hits. (Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service)