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Luce

  • Directed by Julius Onah
  • Written by J.C. Lee and Julius Onah
  • Starring Kelvin Harrison Jr., Octavia Spencer and Naomi Watts
  • Classification R; 109 min

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What does it mean for white parents to raise a black son committed to, or at least interested in, a radical black politic? What does it mean to embody the very thing your child might need protection from? Weighty, speculative questions like these are the bread and butter of writer-director Julius Onah’s taut second feature, Luce. (Opens Aug. 9)

Handout

Light of My Life

  • Written and directed by Casey Affleck
  • Starring Casey Affleck and Anna Pniowsky
  • Classification 14A; 119 minutes

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A 12-minute opening scene ends with the reveal that a little girl, playing Casey Affleck’s daughter in Light of My Life, is one of the last of her kind after a plague has wiped out nearly all of the world’s women. The scene neatly encapsulates everything that doesn’t work in the film: It confuses length with profundity, and offers too little of interest to its audience while asking for too much emotional investment in return. (Opens Aug. 9)

George Kraychyk/Handout

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

  • Directed by Andre Ovredal
  • Written by Dan Hageman and Kevin Hageman (based on the children’s book series of the same name by Alvin Schwartz)
  • Starring Zoe Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush and Austin Zajur
  • Classification 14A; 108 minutes

rating

It is what it says it is, and nothing more. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is told against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and the 1968 presidential campaign. The tense-enough fright fest follows a few uncool high-school kids as they go to a haunted mansion on the year’s spookiest night. (Opens Aug. 9)

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Mike Wallace is Here

  • Directed by Avi Belkin
  • 94 minutes

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In Mike Wallace Is Here, filmmaker Avi Belkin teases out some of what fueled notorious 60 Minutes star Mike Wallace’s 50-year campaign to hold those in power to account – insatiable curiosity, self-absorption, a need to give meaning to his life. The documentary is a brisk clip-job of a professional muckraker whose personal demons lay just under the surface of his public face.

Vince Valitutti/The Associated Press

Dora and the Lost City of Gold

  • Directed by James Bobin
  • Written by Matthew Robinson, Nicholas Stoller
  • Starring Isabela Moner, Eugenio Dérbez, Michael Peña and Eva Longoria
  • Classification G; 102 minutes

rating

Don’t make your kids watch Dora and the Lost City of Gold. The movie trades learning about … well, anything really, for a sloppily vague consideration of the value of friends and nodding at the value of Dora’s relentless positivity while also denigrating it as the butt of almost everything that constitutes humour. (Opens Aug. 9)

Alison Cohen Rosa/Handout

The Kitchen

  • Directed by Andrea Berloff
  • Written by Andrea Berloff, Ming Doyle (Comics)
  • Starring Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, Elisabeth Moss
  • Classification R; 102 min

rating

Andrea Berloff’s feature debut, The Kitchen, based on the DC comics miniseries of the same name, stars comedic heavyweights Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish, alongside celebrated Handmaid’s Tale actress Elisabeth Moss, and with such a stacked lineup it should deliver on its promise of a 70s-set crime drama interspersed with pseudofeminist comedic charm. Instead, what The Kitchen serves is a first film sorely in need of a basic primer on how to go about constructing a movie. (Opens Aug. 9)

Doane Gregory/The Associated Press

The Art of Racing in the Rain

  • Directed by Simon Curtis
  • Written by Mark Bomback, based on the 2008 novel of the same name by Garth Stein
  • Starring Milo Ventimiglia, Amanda Seyfried and Kevin Costner
  • Classification PG; 109 minutes

rating

For most of the feeble, unmoving 109 minutes of The Art of Racing in the Rain, a Kevin Costner-voiced golden retriever named Enzo longs for death, believing he will be reincarnated as a human capable of expressing complex emotions. Costner probably feels the same way. (Opens Aug. 9)

This weekly guide was complied by Samantha McCabe, with reviews by Brad Wheeler, Sarah-Tai Black, Barry Hertz, Simon Houpt and David Berry.

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