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, March 15

In The Aftermath, Keira Knightley plays the wife of a British officer (Jason Clarke) stationed in Hamburg after WWII. The colonel has no problem sharing their home with its original owner, a German widower (Alexander Skarsgård), and his daughter. Luckily, the father of the troubled child is handsome, available and not a Nazi. Sparks fly, with sumptuously lit love scenes inevitably following. This tale of adulterous forbidden attraction was produced by Ridley Scott and directed by James Kent, who previously tackled the theme of young love in wartime with Testament of Youth. ArcLight Hollywood, 6360 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Fri.-Sun., March 15-17, showtimes vary; $16-$18. (323) 615-2550, arclightcinemas.com.

Jia Zhangke, arguably the world's greatest living director, continues his interrogation of contemporary Chinese society with Ash Is Purest White, a love story that spans 17 years from the dawn of the millennium to the present day. It played in competition at Cannes last year but lost the top prize to the Oscar-nominated Shoplifters. Violence seems to permeate every beautifully composed frame, but Jia's detachment from the criminal underworld he depicts suggests ancient wisdom. Cohen Media Group is the U.S. distributor. ArcLight Hollywood, 6360 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Fri.-Sun., March 15-17, showtimes vary; $16-$18. (323) 615-2550, arclightcinemas.com.

Frank Hamer and Maney Gault, the Texas Rangers responsible for taking down Bonnie and Clyde, don't get enough credit in history books, but John Lee Hancock aims to correct that oversight with The Highwaymen. This Universal production was developed from an idea that once included Paul Newman and Robert Redford, which gives you an idea of how long it's been in development. The machine-gun death of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, famously memorialized in Arthur Penn's 1967 masterpiece, is rumored to be re-enacted again here. Hancock has proven himself a reliable teller of American legends ever since 2004's The Alamo, so the movie may click with a wide audience, whether or not they see it on the big screen. The film opens in select theaters on March 15 before its Netflix debut on March 29.

Also opening Friday, March 15: Captive State; Chimera Strain; Combat Obscura; Faith, Hope & Love; Finding Steve McQueen; Five Feet Apart; The Hummingbird Project; Iceman; Knife + Heart; Mission of Honor; Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase; Never Grow Old; The Mustang; The Sex Trip; Superpower Dogs; Wonder Park

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