“DEAR WHITE PEOPLE”: The unexpected election of activist Samantha White as head of a traditionally black residence hall sets up a college campus culture war that challenges conventional notions of what it means to be black. Starring Kyle Gallner and Dennis Haysbert. Opens Friday at Chalmette Movies.
“INHERENT VICE”: Joaquin Phoenix stars as a hippie turned private detective in Los Angeles circa 1970. Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson (“There Will Be Blood,” “The Master,” “Boogie Nights”) adapted Thomas Pynchon’s novel into a dreamy cinema trip to a place and time, including drugs, sex and rock ’n’ roll.
“SELMA”: A film about three tumultuous months in 1965 during which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a violently opposed campaign to secure voting rights in the South. Ava DuVernays directs David Oyelowo as King, Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson, New Orleans native Wendell Pierce as the Rev. Hosea Williams and a cast including Cuba Gooding Jr., Carmen Ejogo, Oprah Winfrey and Tim Roth.
“TAKEN 3”: Liam Neeson returns as ex-covert operative Bryan Mills. His reconciliation with his ex-wife is cut short by her murder. Framed for the crime, the enraged Mills goes on the run to evade the CIA, FBI and police. For one last time, he must use his covert skills to track down his wife’s real killers.
“THE HOMESMAN”: Tommy Lee Jones directed this drama, set in the Nebraska Territories in 1855, and co-wrote the screenplay, which is based on the 1988 novel by Glendon Swarthout. Hilary Swank, Meryl Streep, Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”), John Lithgow, James Spader and Tim Blake Nelson co-star. Starting Friday at Chalmette Movies.
“LITTLE FEET”: Los Angeles-dwelling Siblings Lana and Nico embark on a journey to the ocean for the purpose of setting their goldfish free. The theatrical run of “Little Feet” is accompanied by Frances Bodomo’s 12-minute short “Boneshaker,” starring Houma actress Quvenzhané Wallis (“Annie,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild”). Showing at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 9-15 at Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center, 1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.