In theaters this week: ‘Fantastic Beasts 2,’ ‘Widows,’ ‘Boy Erased,’ ‘Instant Family’

Take your pick at the multiplex from the Harry Potter prequel, a heist, a family comedy and an important gay conversion drama.
Published November 14

OPENING FRIDAY:

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Dumbledore (Jude Law) tasks Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne, above left) with thwarting Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) and his bid to rule over all us Muggles. (134 minutes, PG-13)

Widows

Viola Davis, right, leads an ensemble cast of women in a heist after their husbands (hers is played by Liam Neeson, left) are killed during a job. Directed by Steve McQueen, who co-wrote it with Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn. (129 minutes, R)

BOY ERASED

A small-town Baptist pastor’s teen son (Lucas Hedges) chooses between gay conversion therapy or being shunned when he is outed to his parents (Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe). (114 minutes, R)

Instant Family

In this comedy with a dash of family feel-good, newbie foster parents (Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne) face a steep learning curve after they take in three kids. Octavia Spencer and Tig Notaro are there to help. (119 minutes, PG-13)

A Private War

Dramatic thriller about real-life war correspondent Marie Colvin (Rosamund Pike, above), her life on the frontlines, and the toll taken on her personal life. With Jamie Dornan, Stanley Tucci and Tom Hollander. (106 minutes, R)

ON NETFLIX: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The Coen brothers go to Netflix with this six-part Western anthology. The New York Times called it among their darkest work, but also their silliest, swerving “from goofy to ghastly so deftly and so often that you can’t always tell which is which.” Among others, the movie stars Tim Blake Nelson, left, as cheerful killer Buster Scruggs, Henry Melling and Liam Neeson as a limbless traveling orator and his impresario, James Franco as a dumb bank robber and Zoe Kazan as a young woman on the Oregon Trail. Streams Friday on Netflix.

Grazie: Italian Film Festival

This weekend, you can catch an Italian treat that has nothing to do with tiramisu or gelato. From the University of South Florida and Consulate General of Italy in Florida, the Italian Film Festival features six contemporary Italian films screening for free over two days in the Straz Center’s TECO Theater. On Saturday, films include the comedy Pazze di me (Women Drive Me Crazy, 4 p.m.), the coming-of-age tale Corpo celeste (Celestial Body, 6 p.m.) and the biopic Puccini e la fanciulla (Puccini and the Girl, 8 p.m.). On Sunday, selections are the family drama La kryptonite nella borsa (Kryptonite in the Bag, 2 p.m.), the thriller Occhi chiusi (Closed Eyes, 4 p.m.) and Il giovane favoloso (6 p.m.), about the short life of the Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi. 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. (813) 229-7827. Reserve seats at strazcenter.org.

COMING NEXT WEEK: THANKSGIVING SIDES

Next week, a half-dozen movies open on Tuesday and Wednesday to tease Thanksgiving theater-going appetites. If you’re antsy, read more about Creed II, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Robin Hood, The Front Runner and Green Book at bit.ly/tbtholidaymovies. Or watch this space next week.

CriticS’ picks

Can You Ever Forgive Me?: Melissa McCarthy stars as a celebrity biographer who hatches a plot to stay relevant.

Bohemian Rhapsody: See it for Rami Malek’s widely praised performance as Freddie Mercury, and to hear Queen’s foot-stomping anthems in a theater.

Halloween: Four decades after the original terrified and grossed out moviegoers, the franchise springs back to life with Jamie Lee Curtis back as Laurie Strode, the only survivor of Michael Myers’ first killing rampage.

UPCOMING RELEASES

All dates subject to change.

Tuesday and Wednesday: Creed II; Ralph Breaks the Internet; Robin Hood; Green Book; The Front Runner

Dec. 7: Mary Queen of Scots; Anna and the Apocalypse

Dec. 14: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse; Mortal Engines; The Mule, The Favourite

Dec. 19: Mary Poppins Returns

Dec. 21: Aquaman; Bumblebee; Welcome to Marwen; Second Act; Ben Is Back

Dec. 25: Holmes & Watson; Vice

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