OPENING THIS WEEK
The Accountant Let's just say it hasn't been a great year for Ben Affleck to appear in movies he didn't direct. His performance was just about the one universally praised element of Batman Hates Superman (thanks, Riblet). And that's only counting the burden he had to shoulder on-screen: You try standing around in a suit of armor while having to pretend Zack Snyder knows what he's doing. So what thanks did Affleck get? A sad-eyed viral video in which he looked like he was about to commit hara-kiri while accompanied by every string instrument in the Western Hemisphere. Now he's doing further front-of-camera duty in The Accountant, a thriller about a bean counter for organized crime who comes to the attention of a crusading treasury agent (J.K. Simmons, who just so happens to be Affleck's future Commissioner Gordon). And this time, the director ol' Batsy had to treat like a peer was one Gavin O'Connor – whose last picture, Jane Got a Gun, was the poorest-opening wide release in the history of the Weinstein Company. Cue the Sarah McLachlan. (R)
Desierto I don't know why Donald Trump is so concerned about America being overrun by Mexicans: If you go to the movies, you know the only people in that country are Gael Garcia Bernal and Alfonso Cuaron. Oh, and Alfonso has a son, Jonas, who wrote and directed Desierto, and a brother, Carlos, who produced it with Alfonso. So I take it back, because that's a smart car's worth of cultural invasion right there. Anyway, Desierto is a timely thriller in which a bunch of peaceful, unarmed immigrants are pursued by a gun-toting maniac who wants them dead. Looks like Sheriff Joe Arpaio finally got that second career he's been needing so badly. (R)
Kevin Hart: What Now? That Kevin Hart keeps racking up the superlatives. He recently dethroned no less than Jerry Seinfeld as America's highest-paid comic, and according to the promo for his latest concert flick, What Now?, he's the first comedian ever to sell out a stadium. (53,000 folks in Philadelphia – though I still say Gilbert Gottfried could pack Camping World with the right promotion.) Taking all of that into consideration, I fully expect What Now? to outdraw Hart's previous concert doc, 2013's Let Me Explain. And I can't wait to hear everyone who binge-watched Luke Cage complain that there's not enough white people in it. (R)
Max Steel The feature-film version of Mattel's toy Max Steel has certainly endured a long and bumpy road to the screen. It's been in development so long that the lead role was once going to be played by Twilight's Taylor Lautner, who dropped out to pursue different career objectives (at the time, "play Hasbro's Stretch Armstrong," which ultimately evolved into "get fat"). Lautner was succeeded by Ben Winchell, and the flick actually got made – although the studio's lack of faith in the project resulted in a two-and-a-half-year lag between the completion of photography and the movie's promised release this weekend. As Lautner's personal trainer might say, I'll believe it when I see it. (PG-13)
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