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Opening in Orlando: American Made, Columbus and more

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OPENING THIS WEEK:

American Made Tom Cruise plays real-life commercial pilot and smuggler Barry Seal, who got caught up in the U.S. government's efforts to help the Nicaraguan Contras deal coke and frame the Sandinistas for doing the same thing. Is filmmaker Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) following in the crusading footsteps of his late father, Arthur, an attorney who helped investigate the Iran-Contra scandal? Nope: Liman told Metro he wanted to avoid making a political film, and that he was more focused on the novelty of former Top Gun Cruise having to fly a small, crappy little plane for a change. Oh, Doug ... (R)

Columbus Stuck in Indiana for various reasons, a young man and woman (John Cho, Haley Lu Richardson) bond over their mutual appreciation of architecture. Hence my favorite pick-up line: "You know what the Washington Monument reminds me of?" (NR)

Flatliners Don't let the title fool you: We have not yet reached the point at which people are remaking Joel Schumacher movies. But we have reached the point at which people are making sequels to Joel Schumacher movies – this one concerning a new generation of misguided young researchers who conduct their own experiments into life after death. (So shouldn't it be called Flatliners: The New Batch or something?) Kiefer Sutherland reprises his role as one of the original team, which makes me wonder why he didn't warn these young Turks about the dangers of what they were doing. (Starring in Joel Schumacher remakes, I mean.) (PG-13)

Rebel in the Rye Having played everyone from Nikola Tesla to Beast from the X-Men, Nicholas Hoult takes on the role of author JD Salinger in this biopic, which shows how college writing classes and traumatic World War II experiences informed the creation of Salinger's classic, The Catcher in the Rye. We also get to see him spend his later years writing a bunch of other stuff no one else will ever be allowed to read, which should make for a fun Two Minutes Hate for everybody who thinks artists owe them something. (PG-13)

Victoria and Abdul Dame Judi Dench reprises her role as Queen Victoria in this sequel to 1997's Mrs. Brown. British critics have lambasted the film for glamorizing their country's imperialist past; meanwhile, feature writers have run with the titillating revelation that the 82-year-old Dench still enjoys an active sex life. Hey, she's going blind, for God's sake. Give her a break. (For the sex, I mean; not the imperialism.) (PG-13)

Also playing:

Beach Rats A young guy from Brooklyn can't decide if he would rather have a girlfriend or cruise the internet for older men. Trick question, right? I mean, what are they wearing? (R)

Big Bear As part of a kind of sideways bachelor party, a frustrated groom gets to confront the man who stole his fiancee. But boy, would that title have worked better for Beach Rats. (NR)

Friend Request A disturbed German college student commits suicide, then haunts her classmates through social media. This is the sort of thing Melania would be up in arms about, if she had any idea what she were saying. (R)

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