By Joey Nolfi
April 16, 2017 at 05:59 PM EDT
Universal/ Aidan Monaghan / Amazon Studios & Bleecker Street;Johan Voets/A Quiet Passion/Hurricane Films/Courtesy of Music Box Films

The Fate of the Furious sped off with one of the year’s top debuts at the box office this weekend, but a handful of fellow newcomers — while unlikely to gross even a fraction of F8‘s premiere haul — are clamoring for attention in its dust. EW wants you to make good choices at the movies in the days ahead, so consult our Critical Mass reviews guide below before heading to the multiplex.

The Fate of the Furious

Now playing.

EW’s Leah Greenblatt says:

It wouldn’t be a Furious climax if there weren’t inordinately expensive moving objects to destroy (in this case, a military submarine), a remarkably one-sided barrage of high-grade weaponry (bad guys, dead; good guys, ricochet!), and an explosive hail-Mary finale so sublimely ridiculous it defies both good sense and gravity. (It helps, perhaps, that several main players have no hair to singe.) The movie ends with more than one literal bang, but the series’ fate is hardly sealed; it’s merely to be continued: There are two more sequels due by 2021. B

Read the full review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 64%

Metacritic: 56

The Lost City of Z

Now playing.

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%

Metacritic: 80

A Quiet Passion

Now playing.

EW’s Leah Greenblatt says:

Writer-director Davies (The House of Mirth) manages to capture at least some of the metaphysical swoon of Dickinson’s work in a series of beautifully composed images, which is a feat in itself. And Nixon vividly telegraphs both her character’s convictions and her deep physical and emotional suffering. But the movie is also hobbled by its insistent lack of naturalism; characters don’t so much engage each other as speechify in grand, self-aware paragraphs as if every dinner-table musing is being recorded for posterity. Though of course some of them will be, and that’s where A Quiet Passion finds its most transcendent moments: in the immortal, extraordinary verses Dickinson left behind. B

Read the full review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

Metacritic: 77

Norman

Now playing.

EW’s Chris Nashawaty says:

[Director Joseph] Cedar has created a classic cautionary tale in Norman, and Gere flawlessly turns his tragic hero into someone who’s sympathetic and human. But Cedar doesn’t seem to trust the depth and width of his story. What should have stayed a modest, small-scale character study balloons into an unbelievable and far-fetched whopper with too many soap-opera twists and hokey flourishes in the homestretch. While Norman the man only knows how to dream big, Norman the film would have been better served had it stayed small. Still, Gere soars. B

Read the full review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%

Metacritic: 76

The Boss Baby

Now playing.

EW’s Darren Franich says:

But there are worst case scenarios, instances where empty cynicism dissolves into sour snark, where the pretense at self-awareness becomes its own retrograde stupidity. Consider the cultural devolution from something like Wicked — a lacerating female-first deconstruction of an old children’s story — to Oz, The Great and Powerful, the story of a money-obsessed con man with a heart of gold who gets the good girl by vanquishing all the bad girls. Consider the whole quotemarky “It’s just a joke!” tone of online discourse, the rise of smirking insincerity as a political mode and an intellectual dialectic. And then there’s The Boss Baby, merely mediocre yet disturbingly familiar, for we are all Boss Babies now. C

Rotten Tomatoes: 52%

Metacritic: 50

Beauty and the Beast

Now playing.

EW’s Chris Nashawaty says:

Once in the castle, Belle and Beast both quickly (too quickly) change: He goes from cruel captor to fellow booklover; she goes from fiery inmate to besotted Stockholm Syndrome victim in time for their love to save the day. Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s musical numbers are peppered throughout along with some new ones by Menken and Tim Rice. Like so much about Condon’s film, the new songs are perfectly fine, but they’re just not transporting. More than movies or theme parks, Disney has always been in the business of selling magic. I wish there was just a little bit more of it in this Beauty and the Beast. B–

Read the full review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 71%

Metacritic: 65

Smurfs: The Lost Village

Now playing.

EW’s Joey Nolfi says:

For how topical its inclinations are, it’s still wrapped in a ridiculous package hand-delivered by cyan humanoids. Absurdity isn’t always the mark of simplicity, however. Ambitious films like Inside Out and Zootopia — about personified emotions living inside a girl’s brain and a city populated by talking animals — prove sharp wit and kid-friendly appeal don’t have to be mutually exclusive. The Lost Village buckles under the pressure of the bar set by far superior titles that have come before it, skimping on narrative nuances in favor of a showy fireworks display that’s bound to distract the little ones on a lazy Sunday afternoon, but might leave mommy and daddy blue in the face. C-

For how topical its inclinations are, it’s still wrapped in a ridiculous package hand-delivered by cyan humanoids. Absurdity isn’t always the mark of simplicity, however. Ambitious films like Inside Out and Zootopia — about personified emotions living inside a girl’s brain and a city populated by talking animals — prove sharp wit and kid-friendly appeal don’t have to be mutually exclusive. The Lost Village buckles under the pressure of the bar set by far superior titles that have come before it, skimping on narrative nuances in favor of a showy fireworks display that’s bound to distract the little ones on a lazy Sunday afternoon, but might leave mommy and daddy blue in the face. C-

For how topical its inclinations are, it’s still wrapped in a ridiculous package hand-delivered by cyan humanoids. Absurdity isn’t always the mark of simplicity, however. Ambitious films like Inside Out and Zootopia — about personified emotions living inside a girl’s brain and a city populated by talking animals — prove sharp wit and kid-friendly appeal don’t have to be mutually exclusive. The Lost Village buckles under the pressure of the bar set by far superior titles that have come before it, skimping on narrative nuances in favor of a showy fireworks display that’s bound to distract the little ones on a lazy Sunday afternoon, but might leave mommy and daddy blue in the face. C-

Read the full review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 38%

Metacritic: 40

Going in Style

Now playing.

EW’s Chris Nashawaty says:

Going in Style is, of course, a remake of a 1979 comedy that starred George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg as a trio of old coots who decide to spice up their Geritol years by sticking up a bank in Groucho schnozzes. It’s a bittersweet, heartfelt, and very funny movie (go rent it instead of seeing this) mainly because the heist is almost beside the point. It’s more about the bedrock friendship between three lonely old men. It’s a character movie, not an action movie. And we’re always laughing with the characters, not at them and how old they are. In the new version, Joe, Willie, and Albert watch The Bachelorette and get really invested the outcome. They smoke pot with a gangster and get the munchies. They attempt a practice heist on a supermarket and get away on a motorized old-folks scooter. Ann-Margret even pops up as a horny, hot-to-trot grandma to lob lusty innuendos at Arkin. I kept waiting for someone to make a joke about the size of his prostate. Thankfully, it never came. C

Read the full review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 46%

Metacritic: 50

Ghost in the Shell

Now playing.

EW’s Leah Greenblatt says:

If there’s anything Sander’s ravishing set pieces fail to sufficiently color in, it’s the story’s emotional stakes. Major’s search for her identity; the reason the bad guys are bad and the good guys do good; the future they’re all fighting for: None of it matters much, beyond that we’re told to accept that it does. The deep-dive mythologies and intriguing moral quandaries raised by the script aren’t so much explored as exploded in a flurry of high-gloss action sequences and vaguely deep koan-of-the-day dialogue. Eventually the movie gives up the Ghost, and settles for a gorgeous shell. B

Read the full review here.

Rotten Tomatoes: 46%

Metacritic: 52

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