The phrase “a city on the move” is usually just an expression. Not so in “Mortal Engines” (Universal), director Christian Rivers’ screen version of Philip Reeve’s novel for young adults.
Somebody over at 20th Century Fox — or, perhaps, someone in Marvel Comics’ real-life universe — came up with the following idea: Let’s slightly rework this year’s “Deadpool 2” in order to have it qualify for a less restrictive rating from the Motion Picture Association of America than the original R, let’s market it to a broader audience over the holidays and let’s give away a portion of the proceeds to charity.
This innovative but noisy and frenetic animated take on the Marvel Comics saga features one novice web-slinger and a quintet of alternate versions of the title character who arrive on Earth from other dimensions. The resulting adventure is not for the easily jangled or the littlest tots. But it is otherwise suitable for a wide audience.
To reinforce the proposition that Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were, and still are, sacred icons of film comedy, the pitch-perfect, affectionately nostalgic “Stan & Ollie” (Sony Classics) reproduces their 1953 arrival in Cobh, Ireland, during what would be their last tour of British music halls.
If you take a job working the night shift at a morgue, the least you can expect is a little peace and quiet. According to the dreary horror tale “The Possession of Hannah Grace” (Screen Gems), however, such tranquility is not necessarily guaranteed.
The burly demolition specialist who lent his name to 2012’s “Wreck-It Ralph” returns to the big screen in the sweet animated follow-up “Ralph Breaks the Internet” (Disney). So too does the best friend he acquired in the first outing, diminutive race car driver Vanellope von Schweetz.
Someone behind “Robin Hood” (Summit) — presumably one or both of the screenwriters, Ben Chandler and David James Kelly — has mommy issues with Holy Mother Church. As a result, vicious anti-Catholicism permeates this otherwise merely dopey take on the classic legend.
For a film about magic, 2016’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” was strangely lacking in enchantment. So it’s welcome news that the follow-up, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” (Warner Bros.) is sharper and more engaging, though defects remain.
Well-crafted but gritty, the Chicago-set heist drama “Widows” (Fox) would be acceptable for at least a few adults if it did not ultimately send the message that, at least when the stakes are sufficiently high, the ends justify the means.
What “Beautiful Boy” (Amazon) captures best about the raw pain of drug dependency is the sheer randomness of it.
When it comes to disturbing sights, “Overlord” (Paramount), let it be said from the start, sometimes goes overboard. This weird, wild but surprisingly effective blend of war story and chiller from director Julius Avery is thus far too gory and gruesome for most moviegoers.