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Movie summaries

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Preston Barta


Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Animated adaptation of the hit illustrated book series by Dav Pilkey about a pair of wildly imaginative boys and their creation of a not-so-bright superhero. Voices by Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Thomas Middleditch, Nick Kroll, Jordan Peele and Kristen Schaal. Rated PG, 89 minutes. -- Los Angeles Times

Dean (4 stars) Sometimes an independent film looks like "Indie: The Movie," seemingly containing all the bits we're used to seeing in romantic comedies: hand-drawn animation throughout, awkward characters played by lesser-known actors you might recognize from the backgrounds of other movies, music that sounds like it was ripped from the Garden State soundtrack and an aesthetic that tries to recreate what Woody Allen did in the '70s. Demetri Martin's directorial debut, Dean, sure looked that way in its marketing. However, it's an original, witty and hugely relatable movie that's easy to love. It's a comedy about a father (a great Kevin Kline) and his son (Martin) who are going through the same loss, but handle it in very different ways. Rated R, 87 minutes. At the Magnolia in Dallas and the Angelika Film Center in Plano.


Alien: Covenant (4 stars) Set 10 years after the events of Prometheus, director Ridley Scott's next blood-tingling next chapter contains familiar DNA: A crew of doomed space travelers (Katherine Waterston, Danny McBride and Billy Crudup, among others) make the bad decision of exploring another world. Where Covenant cleverly shakes up the Alien formula is by making its characters a group of colonizers seeking a habitable planet to propagate the human race. With Michael Fassbender and James Franco. Rated R, 123 minutes. -- Preston Barta

Baywatch Dwayne Johnson steps into the formidable flip-flops of David Hasselhoff as lifeguard Mitch Buchanan in this adaptation of the 1990s TV series. With Zac Efron and Priyanka Chopra. Directed by Seth Gordon. Rated R, 116 minutes. -- LAT

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2.5 stars) Vol. 2 suffers from many of the same issues as sequels tend to do these days: overfamiliarity, a lack of urgency and foolish antics. Filmmaker James Gunn simultaneously does too much and too little, resulting in one of the least impressive sequels to come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), a.k.a. Star-Lord, meets Ego (Kurt Russell), a charismatic godlike being who claims to be his daddy. It doesn't take long for the absentee father to bond with his long-lost son, but Gamora (Zoe Saldana) suspects there's a shady side to Ego. Rated PG-13, 136 minutes. -- P.B.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Guy (1.5 stars) Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) takes a stab at Arthurian legend, forging his version with heavy combat and his signature frenetic pacing. Unfortunately, what could have been a whimsical, action-packed and exciting adventure of the king's humble beginnings instead finds itself lost in the forbidden forest. While Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy, Pacific Rim) does his best with what's he's given, King Arthur is more of a chore than a sweeping adventure. Rated PG-13, 126 minutes. -- P.B.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2 stars) All the things that made 2003's The Curse of the Black Pearl creative and fun began to lose thunder with its subsequent sequels. The formula of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) stumbling around from place to place dressed in pirate garb hasn't changed much. In the fifth edition of the franchise, we find Jack Sparrow going head-to-head with Captain Salazar (a wasted Javier Bardem), a pirate-hunting computer-generated ghost with a cursed crew. Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario play adventurous lovebirds who don't have much personality to show. Rated PG-13, 129 minutes. -- P.B.


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FEATURED IMAGE: Demetri Martin and Kevin Kline star in Dean. CBS Films