click to enlarge Miss Bala

Photo courtesy of Sony pictures

Miss Bala

Opening in Orlando: Miss Bala, They Shall Not Grow Old and more 

Opening this week:

Miss Bala As 2019 stumbles awkwardly forward, the whole country is wondering if anybody can right the precarious relationship between the U.S. and Mexico. Hmm, sounds like a job for ... a Los Angeles makeup artist! That's who the protagonist is of this action thriller, in which the Angeleno in question gets caught up in the world of cross-border drug smuggling and money laundering while on an innocent vacation in Tijuana. What follows is a desperate game of survival that puts her in between a merciless criminal cartel and the DEA. (I know ... redundant!) Star Gina Rodriguez must find this gig a fun complement to her concurrent stint as the voice of Netflix's Carmen Sandiego, with the answer to "Where in the world is ..." revealed to be "in the back of a van with electrical tape over her mouth, about to make a left turn into the United States." And if you're looking for something to make you feel vaguely clean about the whole affair (I know ... too late!), you can console yourself that 95 percent of the film's cast and crew are said to be Latinx. The remaining 5 percent: everybody who'll clear a profit after the accountants cook the books. (PG-13)

They Shall Not Grow Old Last month's one-day screening of Peter Jackson's World War I documentary made it the top-grossing event flick of all time. (Yes, it even came in higher than The Royal Philharmonic Performs Themes From Great Faith-Based Miyazaki Movies.) So now it's getting a proper release to bring in audiences who can't just drop everything and see a film on a single day like the millennials do (or the furloughed could). Our own Cameron Meier calls the picture the best documentary of 2018, so you're going to want to see for yourself what Jackson has done to make the WWI experience feel intimate via colorization and other technological enhancements. Fun fact: Jackson's team restored all 100 hours of footage they received from England's Imperial War Museums, supposedly as a favor to improve the quality of their archives. But I'm sensing a sequel here. How about They Shall Still Not Grow Old: Have Huns, Will Travel? (R)

Also playing:

Qué León The Dominican Republic is the setting for a riff on Romeo and Juliet in which the young lovers share a surname yet come from very different socioeconomic backgrounds. Sounds like somebody was ordering their limo driver to do a nice slow roll through the back streets a few decades ago, if you know what I mean. (PG-13; playing at Regal Waterford Lakes Stadium 20 & IMAX)

Shoplifters Check out this nominee for the Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar, which follows a Japanese family that has to steal to keep its collective head above water. As opposed to just doing it for fun, as will be portrayed in next year's They Shall Not Notice This Missing: The Winona Ryder Story. (R; playing at Regal Winter Park Village Stadium 20 & RPX)

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