Movie News & Reviews

New movies: ‘Girl on the Train,’ ‘Birth of a Nation,’ ‘Middle School’

Rachel (Emily Blunt) is “The Girl on the Train,” who thinks she has seen something suspicious.
Rachel (Emily Blunt) is “The Girl on the Train,” who thinks she has seen something suspicious. DreamWorks Pictures

“The Girl on the Train”

Opens at 7 p.m. Thursday

Emily Blunt plays a troubled woman whose daily commute passes the house of a seemingly perfect couple. One day, the wife vanishes. Directed and co-written by Tate Taylor (“The Help”) from the best-selling novel. Rated R. Time: 1:52.

The Girl on the Train is the story of Rachel Watson's life post-divorce. Every day, she takes the train in to work in London, and every day the train passes by her old house. The house she lived in with her husband, who still lives there, with his


“The Birth of a Nation”

Opens at 7 p.m. Thursday

At the Sundance festival, director and star Nate Parker’s account of the 1831 slave rebellion led by preacher Nat Turner became an immediate Oscar-season awards prospect. The film’s rollout has been clouded by 1999 rape charges made against Parker (he was acquitted; his accuser later killed herself). Fox Searchlight is determined to get moviegoers to refocus on the film, not the off-screen controversy. Rated R. Time: 2:00.

Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher in the antebellum South, orchestrates an uprising.


“Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life”

Opens at 7 p.m. Thursday

An imaginative, discipline-averse adolescent sets out to break every rule in the book at his new school. With Griffin Gluck, Lauren Graham as his mom and KC’s Rob Riggle as her jerk boyfriend. Based on the young-adult novel by James Patterson. Rated PG. Time: 1:32.

“The Great Gilly Hopkins”

Opens Friday

A wily foster child shuffled from home to home finally meets her match. With Sophie Nelisse, Kathy Bates and Octavia Spencer. Based on the young-adult novel by Katherine Paterson. Rated PG. Time: 1:39.

A feisty foster kid’s outrageous scheme to be reunited with her birth mother has unintended consequences in The Great Gilly Hopkins. Gilly Hopkins has seen more than her share of foster homes and has outwitted every family she has lived with. In a


“Miss Sharon Jones!”

Opens Friday

Documentary about soul singer’s battle with Stage 2 pancreatic cancer and the effects on her creativity and her band, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings. Not rated. Time: 1:33.

“Mia Madre”

Opens Friday

Italian filmmaker must cope with the imminent death of her mother. In Italian with subtitles. Rated R. Time: 1:46.

“Under the Shadow”

Opens Friday

As a mother and daughter struggle to cope with the terrors of the post-revolution, war-torn Tehran of the 1980s, a mysterious evil begins to haunt their home. In Farsi with subtitles. Rated PG-13. Time: 1:24.