Disney’s “The Queen of Katwe” may be the sunniest view of Uganda you’re likely to see. David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o and newcomer Madina Nalwanga star in the true story of a brilliant young girl who escapes her difficult circumstances when she discovers the world of competitive chess. While this lovely story is told in a pedestrian way, the terrific cast and never-say-die spirit that makes it work.
“Deepwater Horizon” is a well produced disaster movie based on the tragic true story of the 2010 oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. Kurt Russell and Mark Wahlberg lead a solid cast in what is essentially an exercise in chaos. The jargon-laden dialogue is very hard to take in, but you could watch this one without the sound and not miss a thing. There’s not much depth in “Deepwater Horizon,” but it successfully puts the audience in the midst of disorienting mayhem.
“Masterminds” is an action comedy based on a true story about nitwit thieves who manage to make off with $17 million, only to get into plenty post-heist trouble. Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis and Kristen Wiig star in this goofy and mildly amusing farce that could have been an episode of “America’s Dumbest Criminals.”
The title for “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” is a case of truth in advertising. The bestselling YA novel about a group of strangely gifted kids trapped in a time loop is given the eccentric Tim Burton treatment. It plays a bit like Goth version of “The X-Men meet the Time Machine.” It’s visually arresting but may be too scary for little kids and bit gimmicky for adults.
Also opening this week, “Little Men” is a New York family drama starring Greg Kinnear. “Operation Avalanche is a faux documentary about a fake moon landing. Kate Winslet stars in “The Dressmaker,” a comic drama about a successful Paris designer whose life gets complicated when she returns to her home in the Australian outback. Natalie Portman stars in “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” based on author Amos Oz’s bestselling memoir about his youth in 1940s Jerusalem. “Shocktoberfest” kicks off at the Screenland Theaters with a month long series of horror films.