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January 2020

La même Nikita

Bernard Walsh/Paramount Pictures

The Rhythm Section (2020)

The Broccolis, whose Eon Productions holds film rights to Ian Fleming’s lucrative James Bond franchise, are probably keen on turning Mark Burnell’s Stephanie Patrick novels into their next cash cow, but “The Rhythm Section” plays out more like “La Femme Nikita” than “Dr. No.” Blake Lively channels Anne Parillaud as Stephanie Patrick, a junkie prostitute trained into a deadly assassin under the Tchéky Karyo-esque hard-bitten Jude Law. She then trots the globe to hunt in exotic locales replete with sand roads and teal walls and colorful parrots chirping for the terrorists responsible for murdering her entire family.

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A Loose Screw

Patrick Redmond/Universal Pictures

The Turning (2020)

It’s difficult to imagine “The Turning,” Universal Pictures’s newest throwaway in the January trash heap following the dismally reviewed “Cats” and “Dolittle,” being worse than those two debacles. Indeed, music video auteur Floria Sigismondi’s first film since indie gem “The Runaways” a decade ago could pass as respectable if not for its utterly impenetrable final minutes.

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Creep Dive

Twentieth Century Fox

Underwater (2020)

A remarkably late addition to Fox’s 1980s sci-fi canon, “Underwater” finally surfaces some three years since the completion of principal photography. To be sure, the studio has never gotten out of the B-picture business entirely, but for the past few decades its niche pipeline has been mostly outsourced to Eurotrashy outfits like Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp, resulting in more bargain actioners like “Taken” while the low-budget sci-fi well ran dry in favor of . . . James Cameron’s other preoccupations.

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Girls Tripped

Eli Joshua Ade/Paramount Pictures

Like a Boss (2020)

Miguel Arteta’s distinctive directorial style could, depending on the film, be seen as either auteuristic or indicative of a limited range. He is at his most memorable, for better or worse, when his characters walk the line of childlike naiveté and mental imbalance à la “Chuck & Buck” and the recent “Duck Butter.” “Like a Boss,” only the second studio film in Mr. Arteta’s two-decades-plus career, retains this intangible indie/sitcomesque sensibility in spite of the raunchiness promised by his star Tiffany Haddish.

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