"The Woman King" (PG-13, 2 hours, 15 minutes, DVD) Viola Davis stars in this historical epic based on the real-life Agojie woman warriors of the Dahomey Kingdom who battled for freedom from slavery in 19th-century West Africa.
"The violence enacted by these female warriors is delightfully graceful and inventive ... but make no mistake, it is bone-crunchingly vicious and devastatingly effective too," Tribune News Service critic Katie Walsh wrote in her review. "This isn't just the first time we've seen Black women do battle on this scale -- it's the first time we've seen women, en masse, engaged in the kind of realistic and gritty violence that marks historical action epics."
Our Dan Lybarger noted that the film acknowledged some of the more challenging aspects of African history while still making the Agojie's struggle engaging. Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood; with Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch and John Boyega.
"The Banshees of Inisherin" (R, 1 hour, 54 minutes, DVD and On Demand) Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson reunite with their "In Bruges" director Martin McDonagh for this black comedy about two friends in a small Irish village whose falling out leads to tragedy. "Both the funniest and saddest movie I've seen all year," our Philip Martin writes.
"Boy Scout's Honor" (not rated, 1 hour, 28 minutes, On Demand Dec. 13) A revealing documentary concerning 8-year-old Aaron Averhart who, while moving up the Boy Scout ranks, slowly became aware of his scout leader's sinister grooming techniques. And Aaron wasn't the only victim. Directed and written by Ash Patino.
"Black Warrant" (R, 1 hour, 34 minutes, On Demand) A fast-paced actioner in which a special ops assassin and a DEA agent run into each other when on separate missions to stop a cyber-terrorist organization threatening to attack the power grid and bring catastrophe to the world. With Tom Berenger, Cam Gigandet, Jeff Fahey; directed by Tibor Takacs.
"Call Jane" (R, 2 hours, 1 minute, DVD) Phyllis Nagy directs this fictionalized depiction of the Jane Collective, a real-life network of women based in Chicago who helped other women obtain safe but illegal abortions in the 1960s and early 1970s, before Roe v. Wade. Starring Elizabeth Banks, Sigourney Weaver, Chris Messina, Kata Mara.
"Hinterland" (Not rated, 1 hour, 38 minutes, DVD) An Austrian police detective-turned-soldier returns home after the Great War to find a nightmarish Vienna plagued by a serial killer in Stefan Ruzowitzky's moody, visually inventive Euro thriller. In German with English subtitles.
"Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile" (PG, 1 hour, 46 minutes, DVD) A pop singing crocodile who lives in a Manhattan brownstone befriends a lonely young kid in this movie based on the Bernard Waber children's book. With Javier Bardem, Winslow Fegley, Shawn Mendes, Constance Wu, Scoot McNairy, Ego Nwodim. Directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck.
"Smile" (R, 1 hour, 55 minutes, DVD) After witnessing the suicide of a patient, psychiatrist Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) starts experiencing frightening occurrences and haunting visions. Crafty and solid, with a heavy synth score reminiscent of '80s John Carpenter. With Kal Penn, Jessie T. Usher, Kyle Gallner, Robin Weigert. Written and directed by Parker Finn.
"Ticket to Paradise" (PG-13, 1 hour, 44 minutes, DVD) Academy Award-winners George Clooney and Julia Roberts reunite to pick up paychecks as an acrimoniously divorced couple who head to Bali to break up their daughter's wedding in Ol Parker's romantic comedy. With Kaitlyn Dever, Billie Lourd, Sean Lynch, Lucas Bravo.