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This image released by Disney shows Mena Massoud as Aladdin, left, and Naomi Scott as Jasmine in Disney's live-action adaptation of the 1992 animated classic "Aladdin." [Daniel Smith/Disney via AP]
This image released by Disney shows Mena Massoud as Aladdin, left, and Naomi Scott as Jasmine in Disney's live-action adaptation of the 1992 animated classic "Aladdin." [Daniel Smith/Disney via AP]

'ALADDIN'

PG 2:08 2 1/2 out of 4 stars

Disney’s live-action remake of its 1992 animated classic “Aladdin” isn’t a whole new world, but it does improve its telling of the familiar folktale from “One Thousand and One Arabian Nights.”

Directed by Guy Ritchie, who co-wrote the screenplay with John August, it gets a new framing device, with Will Smith as a mariner relating to his children the magical story of Aladdin (Mena Massoud), the nimble thief with the heart of gold, and his adventures with his pet monkey Abu, a magic carpet and an all-powerful Genie (also Smith).

There's diversity to the casting, with performers of Egyptian, Dutch-Tunisian and Iranian heritage; the catchy yet controversial “Arabian Nights” gets a needed lyrical makeover; and characters like the overprotective Sultan (Navid Negahban) and his power-hungry adviser Jafar (Marwan Kenzari) are fleshed out into more than stereotypes.

But the most welcome makeover is to Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott), who was little more than a midriff with an attitude in the animated film. The remake depicts her as a compassionate, learned leader who would make a great sultan, if not for the patriarchy. Along with her tiger Rajah, she gets a loyal confidant in her handmaiden Dalia (Nasim Pedrad) and even her own song, “Speechless," newly created by Oscar winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

The remake keeps all the treasured Alan Menken-Howard Ashman songs, even if Ritchie doesn’t have quite the flair for musical numbers that he does for the thrilling action.

Taking on the impossible task of filling in for the late Robin Williams, Smith does a fine job of making the part of the mighty and uproarious Genie uniquely his. Unfortunately, the special effects team isn’t as up to the magical feat, and the computer-generated character too often appears off-putting, especially in his signature blue.

— Brandy McDonnell, The Oklahoman

'BOOKSMART'

R 1:45 3 1/2 out of 4 stars

The insanely winning "Booksmart" boasts too many breakthroughs to count. There are the two leads, Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein, both of whom we've seen before but not like this. There is the director, Olivia Wilde, whose debut behind the camera is remarkably assured. And then there is the teen comedy genre, itself, which "Booksmart" has blown wide open.

You can tell a lot by a movie's first minutes. In "Booksmart," you know that the smile on your face isn't likely to leave from the first moment that Molly (Feldstein) is picked up by Amy (Dever) for their last day of high school. Without a beat but out of pure enthusiasm for each other, they awkwardly but confidently pop and lock their way into the street. The party that is "Booksmart" already has begun.

From "Porky's" to "American Pie," the high-school comedy has traditionally been ruled by ups and downs of male conquest. Yet that's been changing at least since "Clueless." Recently, Kelly Fremon Craig's "The Edge of Seventeen," Marielle Heller's "The Diary of a Teenage Girl" and Greta Gerwig's "Lady Bird" have pushed movies about teens in enthralling new directions, delving deeper into parenthood, friendship and the pains of coming-of-age with indelible female protagonists who exist well outside of the genre's prescribed archetypes.

"Booksmart" feels like a victory lap in that evolution.

Having spent their high-school years studying and preparing to launch their ambitious lives, Molly, the class president, is headed to Yale and Amy to Columbia. With RBG and Michelle Obama photos on her wall, Molly plans to be on the Supreme Court. But when they approach who they assume to be the deadbeats of their Crockett High School in Los Angeles ready to flaunt their sterling futures, it's a rude awakening. They, too, are headed for Ivy league schools or, at worst, a primo job at Google.

"You guys don't even care about school," Molly protests. "No, we just don't only care about school," one replies.

With one last night to reverse course, the two friends embark on last/first hurrah, trying to cram a year's worth of partying into one night rather than go through with their original plans for the evening: watching Ken Burns' "The Dust Bowl."

Not being pros at it, though, they spend much of the movie — penned by Susanna Fogel, Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins and Katie Silberman — on an eventful odyssey just trying to find the popular-kids party and, hopefully, running into their long-concealed crushes: the popular vice-president Nick (Mason Gooding) for Molly; a smiley skater girl name Ryan (Victoria Ruesga) for Amy.

The plot line won't startle anyone for its originality, but its vitality will. Wilde is especially good at sketching out the girls' classmates. It's a diverse and colorful spectrum of characters, the sort of fashionable and hip kids you might see at LA's Hollywood High. Among the many standouts: Skyler Gisondo, as a rich kid without friends; Nico Hiraga as another skater kid; and Molly Gordon, whose character's reputation has earned her the nickname Triple A, as in "roadside assistance."

It could be argued that by divesting itself of the kind of "Breakfast Club" stereotypes, "Booksmart" has sapped itself of the kind of conflict that exists in every high-school hallway. No one turns out to be so bad. It's full of that graduation feeling where old grudges slip away. Rivals become friends, or even lovers.

But from that rude awakening scene onward, Wilde's movie is about how none of the people around us are necessarily who we think they are. One after another, the movie disarms superficial assumptions. Clichés get comically stripped away and real people step forward. It's a blast.

Along the way, Wilde rides the night's ebbs and flows to the thumping score of Dan the Automator, sometimes widening the view to the larger ensemble (also here are Jessica Williams and Jason Sudeikis), but always returning to the relationship between Molly and Amy. It's a sweetly sincere bond they have, complete with their own code word. In a time of need, either can invoke their hero, the young Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, to demand the other's absolute faithfulness.

And Dever and Feldstein are just incredibly good company. Feldstein, whose brother Jonah Hill was part of another excellent teen comedy ("Superbad"), has the show-stopping performance but even better is the more deadpan Dever. Just like their characters, they have big futures in store.

Every generation gets their own last-day-of-school romp to replay over and over. If "Booksmart" is the movie for this era, well, lucky kids. I call Malala. Go see "Booksmart."

— Jake Coyle, AP Film Writer

'BRIGHTBURN'

R 1:30 1 1/2 out of 4 stars

"Brightburn " is a one idea movie. What if a baby from another planet crash lands on earth and is adopted and raised by a nice childless couple living on a farm? This kid doesn't get hurt, never bleeds and, right around puberty starts to discover that he has superhuman strength, too. At this point you're probably thinking that you've heard this one before, right? Sure, everyone knows about Superman. But "Brightburn" twists that hero origin story and wonders what would happen if this alien child was not a good person. This is a kind of bad seed with superhero powers and it doesn't bode well for all those around him.

It's an interesting premise, certainly, but the movie around it is wholly unexceptional and rushes through key set up that might make the audience actually care for the characters in order to get to the sadistic gore.

The film introduces Tori (Elizabeth Banks) and Kyle Breyer (David Denman) in their bedroom, surrounded by fertility books and talking about conceiving when a fiery object crash-lands in their field. The filmmakers must assume everyone coming in knows the basic premise because it does nothing to help explain, cutting immediately to grainy home videos showing a little boy growing up surrounded by love. By this point you feel about as attached to the Breyer family as you might the family in a cereal commercial.

When the montage ends, Brandon Breyer (Jackson A. Dunn) is about to turn 12. He's a smart kid, far beyond those in his class, and he knows it. Although an outsider with his peers, the positive reinforcement he receives from his teacher, his mom and a pretty girl in his class go to his head and he starts believing he's superior to everyone. So you can only imagine what happens when a strength component and some demonic voices are added to the mix — a supervillain is born, and he is not messing around.

This kid goes from a little quirky to supremely evil and merciless in no time at all. But this is a frustrating evolution to watch, especially considering all the denial that's happening around him. When the adults are witness to some of the disturbing behavior, they chalk it up to puberty. And Tori gets the most thankless job of all as the mother whose unconditional love and support for her son quickly becomes a full on character flaw, since the film has never really earned the audience's empathy.

"Brightburn" was conceived by Brian Gunn and Mark Gunn, the brother and cousin of "Guardians of the Galaxy" maestro James Gunn who hopped aboard to produce with David Yarovesky, another Gunn friend, at the helm. Much is being made of James Gunn's association, naturally, because of the goodwill he's rightfully earned from the endlessly charming "Guardians" franchise. But none of that charm exists here. This is a return to the gritty, sci-fi horror he came of age with.

But there's not much to grab on to, as the situation in Brightburn, which is the name of the town, devolves from bad to worse to entirely hopeless. And the excessive gore and carnage is deranged. The faint at heart might want to go in with an empty stomach, or a blindfold and some ear plugs for when things get really gnarly.

Perhaps I'm expecting too much from a high-concept summer horror, but I couldn't help but think of how well a film like "Hereditary" (which was also very bleak) did in making you care about the family at the center of it. It's too bad, too, because "Brightburn" was a good idea. Unfortunately the creativity stopped there.

— Lindsey Bahr, AP Film Writer

'NON-FICTION'

R 1:46 3 1/2 out of 4 stars

For a particular cohort of the moviegoing population, there are few pleasures more sublime than watching a group of good-looking Parisians chattering over wine, coffee and the occasional cigarette about intellectual subjects, against attractive backdrops of cozy cafes and well-appointed living rooms.

The filmmaker Olivier Assayas goes to almost parodic lengths to serve this exact subculture with "Non-Fiction," a silky seriocomic roundelay starring Juliette Binoche and Guillaume Canet. Talky, sophisticated and self-consciously erudite, this slice of French literary life is in many ways familiar: Two couples work and socialize together, nursing hidden suspicions and regrets, all the while carrying on more than a few clandestine affairs (this is Paris, after all). But Assayas uses that comfortable framework to mount a steady critique of the enormous technological changes currently engulfing the world, which affect everything from politics to private life, from art to entertainment.

"Non-Fiction" opens as a novelist named Leonard (Vincent Macaigne) meets with his longtime friend and publisher, Alain (Canet), who over the course of a crowded bistro lunch works up the courage to tell the author that he won't be acquiring his latest manuscript. (Leonard's latest work, he notes, was a "worst-seller.") Crushed, Leonard tells his girlfriend, Valerie (Nora Hamzawi), who reacts with crisp practicality; she's far more passionate about the politician she works for and the campaign he's mounting in the provincial hinterlands.

Meanwhile, Alain's actress wife, Selena (Binoche), is trying to decide whether to re-up for season 4 of a cop series called "Collusion," on which she plays "a crisis management expert." On set during a lunch break, she complains that she's fed up with the show's flimsy excuse for its escapist violence. "I'm getting tired of all this revenge stuff," she says wearily.

Every conversation in "Non-Fiction" has to do with the anxieties of its middle-age protagonists as they navigate the tectonic shifts that threaten their once-complacent lives. Will e-books and blogs supplant serious literature? Are texts and tweets the new Mallarme? When radical transparency is prized above everything else, will privacy be passe? What are the ethical boundaries between life and art? Is the current zeitgeist liberating ideas or monetizing drivel? And can a public devoid of critical thinking skills tell the difference?

Assayas engages all of these questions by way of a story that moves with swift episodic ease. Although most of "Non-Fiction" consists of people talking to each other, the actors are so good and the settings so evocative that the viewer feels complicit in their angst.

There are moments when the filmmaker seems to take a bit of ironic license, as if to acknowledge how very French it all is: There's an amusing running gag involving the pretentious Austrian auteur Michael Haneke, and one about Binoche herself. But for audiences who love nothing better than to immerse themselves in an idealized version of high-minded bohemia at its most tastefully nonchalant, "Non-Fiction" is pure bliss.

And, even at his most preciously meta, Assayas is never less than sincere. His characters may be blinkered by their own unexamined privilege, but that doesn't mean they don't have a point, especially when it comes to the political costs of convenience and constant self-distraction. "The world in a nutshell," Alain pronounces. "No one asks us, and then it's too late."

"Non-Fiction" leaves a couple of promising threads untouched, especially when Leonard discovers that he's gone viral after exploiting a past relationship, and the ending, while satisfying, feels oddly perfunctory. But this is a handsome, hugely enjoyable movie that invites the spectators to reflect on precisely what they value, both on screen and off. "Is it good?" is a question repeatedly asked throughout "Non-Fiction." When it comes to the myriad subjects at hand, the debate rages on. As for the movie itself, the answer is a resounding yes.

"Non-Fiction" is showing at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.

— Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

'SUBURBAN BIRDS'

Not rated 1:53 Not reviewed

Showing at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art

Related Photos
<strong>This image released by Disney shows Mena Massoud as Aladdin, left, and Will Smith as Genie in Disney's live-action adaptation of the 1992 animated classic "Aladdin." [Disney via AP]</strong>

This image released by Disney shows Mena Massoud as Aladdin, left, and Will Smith as Genie in Disney's live-action adaptation of the 1992 animated classic "Aladdin." [Disney via AP]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b7758b6d1b5bc67abab89c08448685da.jpg" alt="Photo - This image released by Disney shows Mena Massoud as Aladdin, left, and Will Smith as Genie in Disney's live-action adaptation of the 1992 animated classic "Aladdin." [Disney via AP] " title=" This image released by Disney shows Mena Massoud as Aladdin, left, and Will Smith as Genie in Disney's live-action adaptation of the 1992 animated classic "Aladdin." [Disney via AP] "><figcaption> This image released by Disney shows Mena Massoud as Aladdin, left, and Will Smith as Genie in Disney's live-action adaptation of the 1992 animated classic "Aladdin." [Disney via AP] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-88ab7a6ca7581ed3bfbbc0897f0d78fb.jpg" alt="Photo - This image released by Disney shows Mena Massoud as Aladdin, left, and Will Smith as Genie in Disney's live-action adaptation of the 1992 animated classic "Aladdin." [Daniel Smith/Disney via AP] " title=" This image released by Disney shows Mena Massoud as Aladdin, left, and Will Smith as Genie in Disney's live-action adaptation of the 1992 animated classic "Aladdin." [Daniel Smith/Disney via AP] "><figcaption> This image released by Disney shows Mena Massoud as Aladdin, left, and Will Smith as Genie in Disney's live-action adaptation of the 1992 animated classic "Aladdin." [Daniel Smith/Disney via AP] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-f94b0fe50893d940acb9c35be5c39f4c.jpg" alt="Photo - Juliette Binoche, left, and Guillaume Canet star in "Non-Fiction." [IFC Films/Sundance Selects] " title=" Juliette Binoche, left, and Guillaume Canet star in "Non-Fiction." [IFC Films/Sundance Selects] "><figcaption> Juliette Binoche, left, and Guillaume Canet star in "Non-Fiction." [IFC Films/Sundance Selects] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-564cdd57285008680b8ff5638f292af6.jpg" alt="Photo - This image released by Annapurna Pictures shows Billie Lourd, left, and Kaitlyn Dever in a scene from the film "Booksmart," directed by Olivia Wilde. [Francois Duhamel/Annapurna Pictures/AP] " title=" This image released by Annapurna Pictures shows Billie Lourd, left, and Kaitlyn Dever in a scene from the film "Booksmart," directed by Olivia Wilde. [Francois Duhamel/Annapurna Pictures/AP] "><figcaption> This image released by Annapurna Pictures shows Billie Lourd, left, and Kaitlyn Dever in a scene from the film "Booksmart," directed by Olivia Wilde. [Francois Duhamel/Annapurna Pictures/AP] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-40cf23f7f4275891aed1299f7c674af0.jpg" alt="Photo - This image released by Sony Pictures shows Jackson A. Dunn in a scene from Screen Gems' "Brightburn." [Boris Martin/Sony Pictures/AP] " title=" This image released by Sony Pictures shows Jackson A. Dunn in a scene from Screen Gems' "Brightburn." [Boris Martin/Sony Pictures/AP] "><figcaption> This image released by Sony Pictures shows Jackson A. Dunn in a scene from Screen Gems' "Brightburn." [Boris Martin/Sony Pictures/AP] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-93cdd805f76bf0658560df4974808491.jpg" alt="Photo - This image released by Disney shows Mena Massoud as Aladdin, left, and Naomi Scott as Jasmine in Disney's live-action adaptation of the 1992 animated classic "Aladdin." [Daniel Smith/Disney via AP] " title=" This image released by Disney shows Mena Massoud as Aladdin, left, and Naomi Scott as Jasmine in Disney's live-action adaptation of the 1992 animated classic "Aladdin." [Daniel Smith/Disney via AP] "><figcaption> This image released by Disney shows Mena Massoud as Aladdin, left, and Naomi Scott as Jasmine in Disney's live-action adaptation of the 1992 animated classic "Aladdin." [Daniel Smith/Disney via AP] </figcaption></figure>
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