The dark ‘Art’

The dark heart of “The Art of Self-Defense” (R; ⋆⋆⋆) makes it one of the blackest comedies in recent years. After Casey (Jesse Eisenberg) is attacked by a motorcycle gang, he turns to a karate school whose charismatic sensei (Alessandro Nivola) has the mind-twisting skills of a cult leader. Their unusual relationship sets up a bizarre contrast between the rules of martial arts and the lack of rules in the real world. Embracing and dismissing big ideas without hesitation, the film often spirals into absurdity.

Rick Bentley, Tribune News Service

Also coming Tuesday

• “At War”

• “Can You Keep a Secret?”

• “Crawl”

• “Night Hunter”

• “Stuber”