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New movie releases

Before I Fall

Samantha Kingston (Zoey Deutch) seems to have it all: popularity, a loving boyfriend (Kian Lawley) and a seemingly perfect future. Everything changes in the blink of an eye when she dies in a car crash but then magically wakes up to find herself reliving the same day over and over again. As Samantha tries to untangle the mystery of a life derailed, she must also unravel the secrets of the people closest to her and discover how the power of a single day can make a difference.

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Kedi

Impossible to resist (and 100 percent allergy-free for us afflicted souls), Kedi is almost shamelessly satisfying: a documentary about the thousands of scrappy wild cats that prowl Istanbul with insouciance. Whose streets? Their streets. This isn’t a documentary for disbelievers. Historically the ancient city has, for centuries, dealt with what might be termed a cat problem. Still, Ceyda Torun’s warm-hearted exposé definitely sees the army of felines as an asset. Sometimes captured in high-angle drone shots and elsewhere via a slinky roving camera, Kedi is The Shining, but with cats. We’re down on the ground with these animals, whose day-to-day impulsiveness finds a sinuous expression in some of the most elegant camerawork to ever 
grace a nature doc. Somewhat predictably, we follow seven especially brazen subjects, and it’s easy to get swept up in their individual dramas. There’s the little guy who paws every afternoon at the window of a café like he’s auditioning for a new production of Oliver! We also meet amorous alley strutters, psychotic yowlers and regally pampered pusses that know they have us gamed. Kedi is so likable that it would have benefited from a single voice of disapproval—some crank who we could laugh at for being humorless. (The cats are a serious health issue and, I’ve heard from Turks, a little scary.) But that presence is nowhere to be found, slightly reducing the film from what it might have achieved as a statement about urban coexistence. Glowing,

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Wonder Woman 3D

Before seeing Wonder Woman, I got a sinking feeling. It’s been more than a decade since a woman headlining a superhero film saved the world. I had visions of middle-aged male studio execs huddled together in a conference room Googling feminism and group-thinking how to make a lady-hero. Would the result feel like a two-and-a-half-hour tampon advertisement? Actually, no. Wonder Woman feels like the real deal, a rollicking action adventure in the tradition of Indiana Jones, with a fully functioning sense of humor and the year’s most lip-smackingly evil baddie. It has a wobbly opening on a women-only island where hot chicks in fabulous Ancient Greek sandals appear to have wondered in from a Dolce & Gabbana ad campaign. This is Themyscira where the Amazon tribe have lived in peace for thousands of years. Actress and former Miss Israel Gal Gadot (Gisele in the Fast & Furious franchise) is their princess, Diana (Wonder Woman), who was sculpted from clay and brought to life by Zeus. The island’s tranquility is broken by the arrival of a cocky American soldier played by Star Trekactor Chris Pine, who is adorable. He knows he’s here as eye-candy and does smoking-hot sexy sidekick with a good sense of humor. The plot is functional. It’s World War I and Pine is an American spy who has discovered that evil German chemist Dr Maru (Elena Anaya)—a.k.a. Doctor Poison—is cooking up a dirty bomb to wipe out Allied soldiers on the Front. Wonder Woman volunteers to save humankind, strapping on

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The Promise

This ambitious, sweeping, occasionally wobbly WWI-era epic arrives with the noble aim of raising awareness of the still-disputed Armenian genocide, in which 1.5 million people died at the hands of the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Turkey). Director and co-writer Terry George (Hotel Rwanda) goes for historical education by stealth, folding the chief milestones of this horror—the round-up of people in Constantinople, violent oppression and mass killings, the siege of Musa Dagh in 1915—into an English-language romantic melodrama that plays out across 1914 and 1915 and takes in city, village, forest and mountain. Oscar Isaac is an effective leading man, solid and troubled as Mikael, a go-getting ethnic-Armenian villager who arrives in the big city to study medicine. He's already committed to marry a girl back home, with some reluctance. A new friendship with Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), a dancer, complicates things, not least because she’s with Chris (Christian Bale, brash and brooding), a bullish American correspondent. But the outbreak of war and the beginning of a vicious official policy toward the Armenian community and its supporters sends all their lives in a far more complex and dangerous direction. You have to swallow some inadequacies to get the most out of The Promise. It is appealingly photographed and boasts some stunning location work, yet it’s also saddled with the tone of a biblical epic, invisibly watermarked with the label important. The fictionalized personal tragedie

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Baywatch

Everyone in Baywatch seems amused to be in a movie version of Baywatch—how could they not be? (Their expressions range from “Is this really happening?” to “This is really happening.”) The laughs in director Seth Gordon’s surprisingly fun and self-mocking comedy don’t sneak up on you so much as hail you from a mile off with an air horn and then bonk you over the head as you approach. This is a film in which lifeguard Dwayne Johnson leaps out of the water (in slo-mo) with a rescued paraglider in his arms, while porpoises flip behind him in celebration. That moment also brings the film’s title, text rising from the deep like a repressed giggle that won’t go away. The generous—radical?—thing about Hollywood’s version of the tush-ogling ’90s TV phenomenon is that, pretty quickly, it makes you feel in on the joke. Taking lessons from 2012’s wonderfully silly 21 Jump Street (in which Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill scientifically proved that bad television need not result in bad filmmaking), Baywatch owns its preposterousness with every barked line of self-serious dialogue and stuffed-to-bursting wet suit. The actors are what save it. Not only does Johnson build on his subversive 
persona of hulking, dim-witted likability, 
but he’s joined by Neighbors’ Zac Efron, today’s reigning king of the hazy one-liner, who plays cocky yet disgraced Olympic swimmer Matt Brody, nicknamed the Vomit Comet. (Confused by his bodacious lifeguard team’s role in routing out crime, Efron’s Brody says it

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge

Despite cries to abandon ship, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ has set sail yet again. We’re on film five now and this really is swashbuckling by numbers, with prison altercations, ghost crews, hangman’s high jinks and battle scenes that could have been lifted from earlier movies. But ‘Dead Men’ is clearly an attempt to return to the good old days of the franchise, with an actual plot – however wishy-washy – and two new young things, played by Kaya Scodelario and Brenton Thwaites.  

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Toni Erdmann

Running at nearly three hours, Toni Erdmann introduces us to a young workaholic woman, Ines (Sandra Hüller), assigned by her company to a position in Bucharest, Romania. Her shaggy, aging father, Winfried (Peter Simonischek), a relentless practical joker, decides to come and visit for the weekend. 

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Unlocked

Noomi Rapace continues her leading lady losing streak as Alice Racine, a CIA agent working undercover in a Hackney community centre and keeping her eyes peeled for terrorists. When she’s contacted by a London police station and asked to interrogate a suspect, Alice is thrown into the black ops quagmire.

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Alien: Covenant

It’s 2104, 10 years after the Prometheus’ crew members ended up as alien meat on their mission to find the origins of human life. A colony ship, the Covenant, is gliding through space on a voyage to a distant planet. Its cargo includes 2,000 people sleeping in hibernation pods, as well as a trove of embryos intended to populate their new home. 

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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Guy Ritchie’s way-over-the-top, frenzied spin on the legend of King Arthur, with a leaden Charlie Hunnam as the streetwise monarch-to-be and a much more fun Jude Law as his preening evil uncle King Vortigern, offers wall-to-wall testosterone, digital effects, fights and supernatural freak-outs. 

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