Welcome to L.A. Weekly's Movie Guide, your look at the hottest films in Los Angeles theaters this week — from indie art-house gems and classics to popcorn-perfect blockbusters and new movies garnering buzz. Check here every week before you make your big-screen plans.
Friday, April 5
The Chaperone is brought to you by the same team that made Downton Abbey: Julian Fellowes (writer), Michael Engler (director) and Elizabeth McGovern (star). An attractive period piece set in the early 1920s, the film revolves around an adolescent Louise Brooks, the spunky teenager destined to become one of the biggest movie stars of the silent era. McGovern plays the chaperone tasked with accompanying her to the Denishawn School of Dancing and Related Arts in New York. Haley Lu Richardson, who can currently be seen onscreen in Five Feet Apart, also stars. The film is based on the best-selling novel by Laura Moriarty. Laemmle Royal, 11523 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A. (also Playhouse and Town Center); Fri.-Thu., April 5-11, various showtimes; $9-$12. (310) 478-3836, laemmle.com.
The Haunting of Sharon Tate is an unlikely Hilary Duff vehicle that replays the murder of 26-year-old Tate, at the hands of the Manson cult, in the syntax of a horror film. According to Daniel Farrands' screenplay, the rising Hollywood star had premonitions of her violent death in her Benedict Canyon home. Farrands directed, with Duff serving as executive producer. The film will be released simultaneously in theaters and VOD. AMC Rolling Hills 20, 2591 Airport Drive, Torrance; Fri., April 5, various showtimes. (310) 326-5011, amctheatres.com.
Peterloo is Mike Leigh's second historical drama in a row, following 2014's superb biopic Turner. The setting is Manchester in 1819. The Napoleonic Wars have left England impoverished. A crowd of 60,000 gathers to demand parliamentary reform and are fired upon by British troops, resulting in hundreds of casualties. Leigh, one of Britain's most respected filmmakers and an outspoken socialist, seems the perfect match for this material, though the film failed to attract much awards attention. Laemmle Royal, 11523 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A., Fri.-Thu., April 5-11, various showtimes; $9-$12. (310) 478-3836, laemmle.com.
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Emilio Estevez wrote, directed and stars in The Public, a broadly entertaining comedy about a group of vagrants who stage a protest in a Cincinnati public library when cold weather drives them indoors. A media circus develops around the story, and the branch librarian (Estevez) must contend with both the police and the throng of homeless patrons who claim their right to sanctuary. Estevez has assembled a strong cast featuring Alec Baldwin, Jena Malone, Taylor Schilling, Christian Slater, Gabrielle Union, Michael K. Williams, Jeffrey Wright and Che "Rhymefest" Smith. AMC Burbank 16, 125 E. Palm Ave., Burbank; Fri., April 5, various showtimes. (888) 262-4386, amctheatres.com.
Also opening Friday, April 5: Best of Enemies; Billboard; Division 19; High Life; Pet Sematary; Shazam!; Storm Boy; Super 30; Teen Spirit; The Wind