‘Queen of Katwe’
(PG; 124 minutes; Walt Disney): Based on the book by UNC-Chapel Hill lecturer Tim Crothers, “Queen of Katwe” is the critically acclaimed true story of Phiona Mutesi, a 9-year-old girl (Madina Nalwanga) in rural Uganda whose world changes when she meets a missionary (David Oyelowo) who introduces her to the game of chess. The support she receives from her family and community instills the confidence and determination she needs to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion. If you want a feel-good movie with excellent performances that transcends the typical cliches of the genre, this is it. Directed by Mira Nair and also stars Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”).
‘Jack Reacher: Never Go Back’
(PG-13; 118 minutes; Paramount): Maybe Tom Cruise should have never gone back to this franchise. But here he is, again playing Jack Reacher in this sequel based on Lee Child's bestselling novel “Never Go Back.” In this installment, Reacher is accused of murder and on the run with an Army major framed for espionage (Colbie Smulders). He also learns that he may have a child he has never met. Neither critics nor moviegoers loved this one. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 37% score, with the critical consensus being that the film is “monotonously formulaic.” Directed by Edward Zwick.
(PG-13; 90 minutes; Relativity): This action-comedy also didn’t score with critics, but may be of special interest around here for two reasons: the true events on which the story is based occurred in Charlotte; and North Carolina native Zach Galifianakis is one of the stars. In the film, an armored car driver (Galifianakis) is lured by his crush (Kristin Wiig) into a scheme to steal millions from his employer. The absurd heist plan is aided by another half-brained criminal, played by Owen Wilson. The duped driver is double-crossed, going into hiding while his cohorts spend the stolen money on ridiculous luxuries. And of course, they get caught. Directed by Jared Hess; also stars Jason Sudeikis.
Also out Jan. 31
- “Boo! A Madea Halloween”
- “Ballers: Season 2”