L.A. Weekly’s Movie Guide is 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.
Opening wide (Fri., Jan. 10)
Like a Boss was originally slated for release last summer, but Paramount postponed it until now. A brash comedy about two best friends (Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne) who create a beauty company but run afoul of a greedy rival (Salma Hayek), the movie goes for broad laughs and easy sentiment. Billy Porter is afforded a scene-stealing role as a gay shop assistant. Miguel Arteta directed from a screenplay by Sam Pitman and Adam Cole-Kelly.
The Informer comes from Britain courtesy of Warner Bros. Drawing its inspiration from the crime novel Three Seconds by Anders Roslund and Borge Hellström, the film involves a reformed criminal (Joel Kinnaman) with special ops training who works for the FBI as an informant. His problem is that his handlers are only slightly less corrupt than the Polish mafia he’s been assigned to infiltrate. Andrea Di Stefano directed this hard-boiled thriller co-starring Rosamund Pike, Clive Owen, Ana de Armas, and Common. Aviron Pictures is the U.S. distributor.
In Underwater, a crew of scientists working in a laboratory resting seven miles below the ocean’s surface experience an earthquake that devastates their rig, leaving them with a rapidly diminishing oxygen supply. To make matters worse, there may be ancient monsters lurking on the ocean floor. William Eubank directed this sci-fi thriller and doesn’t skimp on jump scares. Kristen Stewart leads the cast, which includes Vincent Cassel, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr., Mamoudou Athie and T.J. Miller.
Opening Limited (Fri., Jan. 10)
In 1959, psychiatrist Milton Rokeach visited a group of three paranoid schizophrenics at Ypsilanti State Hospital, each of whom believed himself to be Jesus Christ. Rather than isolate them for study or consign them to the shock therapy ward, Rokeach assigned them as hospital roommates, allowing each man to come face to face with their delusion. Empathy and understanding were the key ingredients of this experiment which was eventually published in 1964. In the new film, The Three Christs, Richard Gere plays the psychiatrist (renamed Dr. Stone) and Peter Dinklage, Walton Goggins and Bradley Whitford are his three patients. Jon Avnet directs from a script by Avnet and Eric Nazarian. Monica Film Center, 1332 2nd St., Santa Monica. Various showtimes; $9-$12. (310) 478-3836, laemmle.com.
Inherit the Viper stars Josh Hartnett as a drug dealer specializing in opioids whose sister (Margarita Levieva) doubles as his partner. He wants out of the game, but before he can exit, his younger brother (Owen Teague) gets caught up in the criminal web they’ve spun. This dimly lit thriller directed by Anthony Jerjen features strong work from a solid supporting cast, which includes Bruce Dern in a small but nicely shaded role. Arena Cinelounge, 6464 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. Various showtimes; $16. (323) 924-1644, arenascreen.org.
Reality Queen! is a mockumentary that follows a Paris Hilton–like celebutante (Julia Faye West) who tries to climb back into the media limelight after she’s ousted by the “Kims,” a trio of sisters modeled after the Kardashians. Shot in cinéma vérité style by director Steven Jay Bernheim, this indie comedy features cameo appearances by Denise Richards, Mike Tyson and the late John Witherspoon. Arena Cinelounge, 6464 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Fri., Jan. 10, 3:05 p.m.; $16. (323) 924-1644, arenascreen.org.
In The Sonata, a young and rising musician (Freya Tingley) inherits a sprawling gothic mansion after her estranged composer father (Rutger Hauer) dies under mysterious circumstances. In a subplot that could’ve been dreamt up by Dario Argento, she discovers that the last piece he was working on is a sonata intended to raise the dead and conjure the Antichrist. This florid piece of operatic horror was directed by Andrew Desmond, who co-wrote the screenplay Arthur Morin. Monica Film Center, 1332 2nd St., Santa Monica, Fri., Jan. 10, various showtimes; $9-$12. (310)-478-3836, laemmle.com.
Also opening Friday, January 10: Afterward; The Corrupted; Les Misérables; The Murder of Nicole Bron Simpson; A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon