Animal corpses tend to pile up with alarming regularity in the films of Yorgos Lanthimos – just ask the cat in "Dogtooth," or the dog in "The Lobster." (You can't, sorry. They're dead.) So imagine my surprise that no antlered beasts are slaughtered in "The Killing of a Sacred Deer," a lightly blood-spattered but technically immaculate nightmare of a movie that invites us to cackle alongside its director into the void.
Robin Cavendish (Andrew Garfield) is a tea broker who exudes confidence – a quality that attracts the attention of perkily appealing socialite Diana Blacker (Claire Foy). The two look good together, and their marriage is a foregone conclusion. It's the 1950s, and the British couple seems destined for a bright, mostly untroubled future.
A poignant movie about childhood that's definitely not for children, "The Florida Project" depicts a 6-year-old (the enchanting Brooklynn Kimberly Prince) growing up in the shadow of the Happiest Place on Earth. Moonee lives in a lavender castle with her mother, Halley (Bria Vinaite), and merrily runs around with her friends Jancey (Valeria Cotto) and Scooty (Christopher Rivera), eating ice cream and giggling and imagining the sort of things that little kids imagine. ("If I had a pet alligator," she announces at one point, apropos of nothing, "I would name it Anne.")
A retired history teacher in rural eastern Iowa, where Amish farmers still plow their fields and travel to town on actual horsepower, Michael Zahs has an eccentric, nearly irresistible way of connecting young students to the past. When he appears as a guest lecturer at small-town schools, he brings old handmade implements from the hoarder's collection of contraptions he keeps in his farmhouse.
Something's awry in the White House, and that troubles FBI special agent Mark Felt (Liam Neeson). A longtime second-in-command to J. Edgar Hoover, Felt has a reputation for doing things by the book. Although that quality has earned him the respect of his peers, Felt is passed over when Hoover dies – and faced with a new and clueless boss, L. Patrick Gray (Marton Csokas).
In "The Snowman," a wretched waste of time and talent from the Swedish director Tomas Alfredson ("Let the Right One In"), two detectives track a serial killer who likes to hack up women's bodies and then scatter the pieces all over: a head here, a limb there. The movie, perhaps subscribing to the fallacy of imitative form, adopts this dispersal method as a narrative strategy: a scene here, a flashback there, chunks of exposition strewn about like severed fingers. You could try piecing it all together, but really, what would be the point? Dead is dead.
When a wounded Christian Grey tries to entice a cautious Ana Steele back into his life, she demands a new arrangement before she will give him another chance. As the two begin to build trust and find stability, shadowy figures from Christian’s past start to circle the couple, determined to destroy their hopes for a future together.