If you've got any time left over and watching hockey hasn't taken it all, there's much that's good and new in the movie theaters this week. You'll see quite a few high marks in the reviews below. And a very pleasing variety among these films.

IF: Here's a tribute to the power of imagination, a celebration of it in childhood and a call to stop it from slipping away as you grow up. Family films often claim to be doing that but rarely manage it. John Krasinski has done it in writing and directing this one and attracting a big crowd of his friends to do voice work. A-list actors, too many to mention, are listed in the end credits. They're heard beside nice guy Ryan Reynolds, Steve Carell, Fiona Shaw, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Krasinski himself who top-line the cast while with an endearing young one, Cailey Fleming almost steals the show.

She's Bea who has the ability to see the imaginary friends, IF's, of other children around her. She finds that Reynolds has the same talent and joins him to boost it among people in general. There's a Matchmaking Agency to re-unite them with the imaginary friends they once had, using memories to revive them.

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

A big purple fuzzy thing voiced by Steve Carell joins the effort and a whole batch of funny-looking creatures show up. Humans revive the dreams they had abandoned, Bea's grandmother's discarded wish to dance ballet, for instance. There's also a very lively party scene to Tina Turner's Better Be Good To Me. Off-topic but great fun. On topic is the support for imagination and curiosity. And not letting problems divert you from them, like when Krasinski as Bea's dad is in hospital for surgery. The message is good but clumsily told at times. And some of the talk about life itself may be above the younger ones but most children will like the general good mood of this film. (In theaters) 3 out of 5

JULY RHAPSODY: A long-neglected film from Hong Kong has been restored and sent out again and that's very welcome. First because it's a subtle and moving drama directed in 2001by Ann Hui, who is much acclaimed in HK. The film, whose Chinese title is Man Forty, won many Asian cinema awards for its depiction of a mid-life crisis felt by a professor and his wife. It's the last appearance by Anita Mui, a beloved star who died soon after, and, of special interest for us, the first appearance by Karena Kar-Yan Lam. She was born in Vancouver and is now a very busy actor in Hong Kong movies.

Courtesy of Cheng Cheng Films

Jacky Cheung plays the man, a professor of Chinese literature who tries to interest his students in poetic writings about the “eternity of the Yangtze River” but comes across as something of a bore to them. Not to one student though, played by Karena. She flirts, gets extremely close and seductive. The temptation is there for him especially since his wife (Anita Mui) says she is going away for a time to care for an old teacher of theirs who has cancer. Oddly he's angry that she's going and the script deftly but slowly reveals a complex history that may be a factor in their faulty marriage. Cheung plays stoic but volatile and Lam innocent but forward. “You should respect my freedom,” she insists. The complexities here will stay with you for some time. (In theaters) 3 ½ out of 5

BACK TO BLACK: Some are billing this as a loving tribute to Amy Winehouse the fiery singer who recorded the legendary album of the same name and the song that is probably most familiar to us, Rehab which insists “No No No” to a get-off-drugs recommendation. Loving it is, but also a bit bland because of it. The harshest parts of her life, which ended with alcohol poisoning at age 27, are smoothed out or omitted. (At least, compared to the Oscar Winning documentary, Amy, which did lay out much more about them).

Courtesy of Focus Features

As an intro to her life story it works well enough if you're fresh to it. We get self-assertion, wanting as early as childhood to be a singer, grousing when her first album wouldn't get a US release because other women singers were ahead of her, favoring older musical styles (she recorded a duet with a hero of hers, Tony Bennett, near the end of her life) and refusing to be shaped by the record company executives she worked with. That belief in herself comes across in her music and in this film. Marisa Abela gets it perfectly in her acting and in the singing she actually did live. But her emotional problems, her bulimia and other issues are downplayed. Drugs, that her boyfriend turned her on to aren't quite the scourge we've heard. In fact there's more than a suggestion that her biggest issue was that she wanted a baby and a normal life as a mother. Really? Lesley Manville plays her grandmother, Eddie Marsan her dad amd Sam Taylor-Johnson directed. (In theaters) 2 ½ out of 5

WILFRED BUCK: Here's the latest, and maybe the most unique, entry in the trend I've been following: films by and about Indigenous people in Canada. Wildred Buck is a Cree from Manitoba who has picked up on an enterprise he says Indigeous people have engaged in forever: astronomy. They travelled using the stars for direction and also noted the constellations. He lectures about that and ties in a lot of history about his people and about himself. And he clearly enjoys doing it, even through the grim aspects.

Courtesy of the National Film Board

His mother left for Winnipeg and died in the street. He was one of the "pill-popping, disaffected, dirty youth" who used to raise hell. Worse than that, colonization almost destroyed his entire culture. Our "stories went to sleep on us," he says. He's part of a revival, with his talks on astronomy, alongside the pow-wows and the spreading sundance ceremonies. "We can regain that knowledge," he says. The film written and directed by Lisa Jackson uses re-enactments to tell of his life. Raymond Chartrand is a young him, Brandon Alexis the adult (and also the narrator with readings from his book "I Led Four Lives."). Points well-made. (In theaters) 3 ½ out of 5

SWEETLAND: Here's a uniquely Canadian story that should be better known across the country. In Newfoundland it's history that still has repercussions today. In the 1950s the provincial government there moved to resettle people from the remote and hard-to-service ourport communities to bigger centers. People were offered $100,000 to agree to the move and there was one stipulation: everybody in a community had to “sign on” or no deal. The film written and directed by Christian Sparkes shows what that can lead to, and probably did happen. Holdouts were shunned, pressured or worse by their neighbors. The story from a novel by Michael Crummey conveys a vibrant community feeling, which turns vengeful.

Courtesy of Game Theory Films

Moses Sweetland, played by Mark Lewis Jones, refuses to move. “Who's got it better than this?” he asks at two separate times. He was a fisherman, until a moratorium was brought in to save the cod stocks. He was a lighthouse keeper until automation replaced him. He doesn't want another painful change forced on him. There's also a great deal of his own history, the death of a friend, his mentoring of a grandson about fishing and boating and that boy as a symbol. Since he is what his mother terms “on the spectrum,” she wants the deal and the money so that she can take him to a specialist in the city. The pressures build up and in the latter half of the film a dreamy surreal aura takes over the debate. Mary Walsh has a small but important role. (In theaters) 3 ½ out of 5

THEY SHOT THE PIANO PLAYER: Not often do you get such a big spoiler right in the title. Still though, there's much mystery left that'll keep you interested, but also music and colorful animation that you can enjoy. It's a true story from 1976 but I don't know if it played out like this. The piano player was Francisco Tenório Júnior in Brazil whose samba and jazz recordings delighted a New York music journalist Jeff Harris, voiced in this animated film by Jeff Goldblum. Then Junior disappeared and Jeff who couldn't find out why went down there to investigate.

Courtesy of Mongrel Media

He interviews friends , relatives and others for a possible book. Everybody has memories but no answers. There were rumors that a new far-right government took him. That he fled to Argentina where the fascist government there got him. Or more simply: maybe mobsters got him. The only hard fact we have: he was in Buenos Aires for a show, went out one night to get a sandwich and was never seen again. Jeff does get a lead, then a source with real information. And a location: a notorious Navy School of Mechanics. Directed by Spaniards Javier Mariscal and Fernando TruebaI, it's good story to follow, as an investigation and for its thoughts on Brazilian music and totalitarian governments. (In theaters) 3 out of 5