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Opening in Orlando: The Circle, How to Be a Latin Lover, Sleight and more

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OPENING THIS WEEK:

The Circle This week's wide releases have enough genuine promise to make me almost feel guilty about looking for the worst in them. (Almost.) Take this adaptation of Dave Eggers' 2013 novel, in which a new recruit to a successful tech firm learns that their work emphasizes innovation over certain lesser concepts, like privacy and basic human decency. It's a concept that's even timelier now than it was three years ago, so I almost flinch at suggesting that top-billed star Tom Hanks, who plays the founder of the conglomerate in question, might be doing Pulitzer-mandated community service for having helped to further the cause of Dan Brown. (Almost.) Meanwhile, co-star Emma Watson is on top of the world with Beauty and the Beast, supporting actor Patton Oswalt is a national treasure, the beloved Bill Paxton makes his final screen appearance ever, and oh shit this job just got way harder than I signed up for. Ordinarily, I'd assume that a Hollywood adaptation of a work so relentlessly dystopic was going to screw the pooch with incongruous third-act redemption – Minority Report, anyone? – but Eggers himself co-wrote the script with director James Ponsoldt, so maybe they'll prove to have stuck to their nihilistic guns. Hope so, because I love an unhappy ending. (PG-13)

How to Be a Latin Lover Mexican film and TV legend Eugenio Derbez portrays an out-of-practice lothario who has to rehone his skills of seduction after his sugar momma of 25 years abruptly kicks him to the curb. Derbez' Instructions Not Included was the most successful Spanish-language film ever, making more than $100 million on a mere $5 million budget, and it's always nice to see a major release headlined by a performer over the age of 50. So hopefully Lover will prove that he deserves to end up as more than the answer to the question "Who was the Latino Yahoo Serious of the teens?" (PG-13)

Sleight This year's Sundance Film Festival was the launching pad for filmmaker JD Dillard's unconventional mixture of neighborhood drama and superheroics, all located in the person of a street magician who has to rely on his special talents of electromagnetic levitation to rescue his sister from a  Los Angeles drug lord. The Hollywood Reporter said the film is "loaded with talent on both sides of the camera," but Collider labeled it "silly" for trying to weld social commentary to the powers of Magneto. Hey, you know who else the critics once said that about? Magneto! (R)

Also playing:

Grow House DJ Pooh wrote and directed this stoner comedy about a couple of hopheads who try to turn a quick buck providing product for medical marijuana dispensaries, only to learn that sucking down the cheebah is a lot easier than growing it. True to stereotype, Pooh, co-star Snoop Dogg and the rest of their happily baked crew went to the trouble of getting the movie released on 4/20, then totally forgot to tell us about it! But I bet they sure remembered when that Unicorn Frappuccino was going on sale. (R)

Their Finest A World War II drama about a Ministry of Information team that has to make an inspiring documentary about the Dunkirk evacuation while the blitz rains down on London. Lissa Evans' source novel was titled Their Finest Hour and a Half, which is of course too wonderfully clever to put before a modern moviegoing audience that isn't going to recognize an allusion to Churchill and doesn't know that films used to run less than three hours. What flabbergasts me is that the original title didn't even make it to marquees in the U.K., where the general populace is supposed to be much more clever and culturally literate. Something tells me Hyacinth Bucket would just hang her head at the shame of it all. (R)

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