War epic 'Midway' bests 'Doctor Sleep' at the box office

Nick Jonas appears in a scene from "Midway." The war epic from director Roland Emmerich earned an estimated $17.5 million in North American theaters to take the top spot on the charts.

“Midway”

Rated PG-13 for “sequences of war violence and related images, language and smoking.” 138 minutes. ★

The first thing Roland Emmerich should do after his latest movie “Midway” hits theaters is apologize.

Apologize to the visual effects crew, the stuntmen, the carpenters, the costumers and artists. He has squandered their considerable visual skill in retelling the crucial World War II battle at Midway by melding some of the best action sequences in years with the most banal of words.

Emmerich has turned “Midway “ into another of his films, “Independence Day,” which was cartoony but worked because we knew it was over the top. Here, the director has taken real, living men who acted heroically and turned them into pulp comic strip characters. He might need to apologize to them the most.

Screenwriter Wes Tooke has apparently never seen a cliche he didn’t want to embrace. His script is as textured and nuanced as an upbeat newsreel from the 1940s.

Other releases

“Acceleration”: Action-crime drama with Sean Patrick Flanery, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Liddell, Natalie Burn, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Danny Trejo. Written by Michael Merino. Directed by Merino, Daniel Zirilli.

“The All-Americans”: Documentary focuses on four football players competing in the East L.A. Classic between Garfield and Roosevelt high schools. Written and directed by Billy McMillin.

“American Dharma”: Filmmaker Errol Morris interviews Stephen K. Bannon on his background, belief system, feelings on President Donald Trump and how movies shaped his worldview in this documentary.

“Ballet Blanc” — Horror with Shelley Starrett, Colter Carlborn-Mann, Brian Woods, Franco Fox, Catherine Lassesen. Written and directed by Anne-Sophie Dutoit.

“Burning Cane” — In rural Louisiana, a woman tries to reconcile her faith and the troubled men in her life. With Wendell Pierce, Karen Kaia Livers, Dominique McClellan, Braelyn Kelly, Emyri Crutchfield. Written and directed by Phillip Youmans.

“Cold Brook” — An undercover cop from China finds himself in a prison in the Cambodian jungle where inmates are sold to the rich to be hunted for sport. With Gu Shangwei, Byron Bishop, Vithaya Pansringarm. Written by Jimmy Henderson, Michael Hodgson, Kai Miller. Directed by Henderson. In Mandarin, Thai with English subtitles.

“Danger Close”: Action with Travis Fimmel, Luke Bracey, Daniel Webber, Alexander England, Aaron Glenane, Nicholas Hamilton, Myles Pollard, Matt Dordan, Anthony Hayes, Richard Roxburgh. Written by Stuart Beattie. Directed by Kriv Stenders.

“Disco’d”: Documentary explores the L.A. homeless crisis through a series of profiles. Directed by Matthew Siretta.

“Doctor Sleep”: Forty years after the events of “The Shining,” the now-grown Danny Torrance joins forces with a similarly gifted teen to battle dark forces. With Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Carl Lumbly, Zahn McClarnon, Emily Alyn Lind, Bruce Greenwood, Jocelin Donahue, Cliff Curtis. Written and directed by Mike Flanagan, based on the book by Stephen King.

“A Fish in the Bathtub”: New 2K restoration of 1999 comedy starring Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller. With Doris Roberts, Jane Adams, Mark Ruffalo, Missy Yager, Paul Benedict. Written by John Silverstein, David Chudnovsky, Raphael D. Silver. Directed by Joan Micklin Silver.

“Gabriel”: Boxing drama with Igor Regalla, Ana Marta Ferreira, Angelo Torres, Jose Condessa, Sergio Praia and Susana Sa. Written and directed by Nuno Bernardo.

“Good Girls Get High” — A pair of brainy high school seniors worried about their low social standing decide to get stoned. With Abby Quinn, Stefanie Scott, Lauren Lapkus, Matt Besser, Isabelle Fuhrman, Danny Pudi. Written by Laura Terruso, Jennifer Nashorn Blakenship. Directed by Terruso.

“Honey Boy”: Shia LaBeouf wrote and stars in this autobiographical drama about his troubled youth and attempts to reconcile with his father. With Noah Jupe, Lucas Hedges, FKA twigs. Directed by Alma Har’el.

“The Kingmaker”: Director Lauren Greenfield profiles Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines, in this documentary.

“Klaus”: An Everyman postal worker meets an enigmatic toymaker when he is assigned to bring mail service to a remote northern village. With Jason Schwartzman, Rashida Jones, J.K. Simmons, Joan Cusack, Norm MacDonald, Will Sasso. Written by Zach Lewis, Jim Mahoney, Sergio Pablos. Directed by Pablos.

“Last Christmas”: In a holiday romantic comedy inspired by the music of George Michael, a young Londoner meets a guy who seems too good to be true. With Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Emma Thompson. Written by Thompson, Bryony Kimmings, story by Thompson, Greg Wise. Directed by Paul Feig.

“Light From Light”: A priest asks a paranormal-activity-investigating rental car agent to check on a grieving widower. With Marin Ireland, Jim Gaffigan, Josh Wiggins. Written and directed by Paul Harrill.

“Love Is Blind”: Romantic drama-comedy with Shannon Tarbet, Aidan Turner, Benjamin Walker, Matthew Broderick, Chloe Sevigny. Written by Jennifer Schuur. Directed by Monty Whitebloom.

“Marriage Story”: Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver star in writer-director Noah Baumbach’s exploration of an eroding relationship. With Laura Dern, Alan Alda, Ray Liotta.

“Mr. Toilet: The World’s #2 Man”: Documentary on plumbing entrepreneur and global sanitation crusader Jack Sim. Written by Tchavdar Georgiev. Directed by Lily Zepeda.

“Playing With Fire”: Firefighters find their lives turned upside down when they rescue three siblings but can’t find the kids’ parents. With John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo, Brianna Hildebrand, Dennis Haysbert, Judy Greer. Written by Dan Ewen, Matt Lieberman, story by Ewen. Directed by Andy Fickman.

“Primal”: Action-crime thriller with Nicolas Cage, Famke Janssen, Kevin Durand, Michael Imperioli. Written by Richard Leder. Directed by Nick Powell.

“Such a Funny Life”: Crime drama with Kobi Frumer, Gonzalo Trigueros. Written and directed by Oliver Mann.

“To Be of Service”: Military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder experience life-changing results with the help of trained dogs in this documentary. Directed by Josh Aronson.

“The Tower” — An 11-year-old Palestinian girl seeks hope in a Beirut refugee camp in this animated drama. Written and directed by Mats Grorud.

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