While there's considerable mystery in The Outfit's plotting, there's even more in its central character, and Mark Rylance's artistry makes Graham Moore's directorial debut the rare gangster saga that makes you grin wider and wider the scarier and nastier it gets.

If you're wondering whether the combination of long, dark, and aggressively serious applied to material we're all wa-a-ay too familiar with results in a boring movie, I'm happy to report that writer/director Matt Reeves' The Batman isn't boring. Quite the opposite: It's exhilarating – an unexpectedly scary and resonant work that doesn't invite comparisons to Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy so much as David Fincher's Zodiac and Seven.

What Joe Wright's Cyrano lacks in excitement is largely made up for in consistency of tone, and that would be a backhanded compliment at best if the tone weren't so consistently sincere, playful, touching, and romantic.

Dog is a friendly, sentimental dramedy in which Channing Tatum takes a road trip with a canine. The movie really only falters when it tries to be anything else.

Even if you've read the author's 1937 novel more than once – or have instant recall of the peerlessly eccentric 1978 readings of Peter Ustinov, Maggie Smith, Bette Davis, and company – there's still an awful lot here to enjoy.

Despite the rough language, physical peril, and copious nudity, this franchise extender is a family film. Its stunts are beyond crude, but its heart is unfailingly sweet.

This past weekend, I spent three-and-a-half hours watching movies in Iowa City. I also spent three-and-a-half hours reading movies in Iowa City.

The short version is that it's a queasy morality fable about a fallen woman who, due to the love of a faultless man, ultimately discovers the grace of God and mends her wicked ways. The longer version is that this earnest, tacky, largely offensive trifle is – thanks to a handful of unexpectedly resonant performances – a lot less icky than it should have been. Damned actors. The good ones can make almost anything bearable.

While this latest, incessantly meta sequel is frequently clever and easily watchable, it also kept reminding me, unfortunately, that there's a fine line between smart and smarty-pants.

There's nothing much wrong with the action thriller The 355 that couldn't have been fixed with a better director and a better script.

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