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    Movie stars: capsules reviews

    Millennium Entertainment via AP
    Woody Harrelson plays a Los Angeles police officer gone bad in “Rampart,’’ directed by Oren Moverman.

    New Releases

    ★★★ ½Coriolanus Making his directorial debut, star Ralph Fiennes brings Shakespeare’s Roman tragedy roaring into a 21st century of military strongmen and civil unrest, asking what society should do with the attack dogs we ask to protect us. Vanessa Redgrave scalds the screen as one mean mother. With Gerard Butler and Jessica Chastain. (122 min., R) (Ty Burr)

    ★★Declaration of War As ponderous and overwrought as a movie hogged by hipsters named Roméo and Juliette can be. Their son has a brain tumor, and the movie seems to be about everyone’s struggle to hope for the best while physicians strategize to prevent the worst. But really it’s about the stars - Valérie Donzelli, who directed, and Jérémie Elkaïm. In French, with English subtitles. (100 min., unrated) (Wesley Morris)

    ★★Rampart Woody Harrelson gives a ferocious performance as a bad LA cop, but director Oren Moverman thinks that if he keeps introducing characters and camera moves, he’ll end up with a movie. The reverse occurs: The more things happen, the less we care. With Robin Wright, Cynthia Nixon, Ice Cube, and Sigourney Weaver. (108 min., R) (Ty Burr)


    ★★ ½The Secret World of Arrietty A curious and mostly congenial case of fusion cuisine that filters the classic children’s book “The Borrowers’’ through the quietly inventive worldview of Japan’s Studio Ghibli. (94 min., G) (Ty Burr)

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    This Means War What if a woman was dating two guys? What if the two guys were CIA spies? What if people paid to see this! With Chris Pine and Tom Hardy, and Reese Witherspoon in another thankless role. (98 min., PG-13) (Wesley Morris)

    Previously released

    ★★★ Albert Nobbs Glenn Close skulks through Edwardian-era Dublin like a eunuch on a stealth mission. Rodrigo Garcia’s drama is cautious to the point of stodginess. Close gives a fascinating performance, even if Janet McTeer steals the film. (113 min., R) (Ty Burr)

    ★★★★ The Artist Michael Hazanavicius’s silent, black-and-white love letter to classic movies isn’t perfect, but it’s close enough to make just about anyone who sees it ridiculously happy. Jean Dujardin plays the charming Hollywood ham whose career goes south with the arrival of the talkies; Bérénice Bejo is his love interest. A crowd-pleaser and a joy. (100 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

    ★★★ Crazy Horse The 39th film from the legendary documentarian Frederick Wiseman prowls the Paris nude-revue nightclub of the title, watching the ways human beings manufacture the art of desire. In French, with subtitles. (134 min., unrated) (Ty Burr)


    ★★★ ½The Descendants With his wife in a coma, a prosperous Hawaii lawyer (George Clooney) has to cope with all the parts of his life he didn’t know. With Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller as the hero’s daughters. (115 min., R) (Ty Burr)

    ★★★ Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close The 11-year-old protagonist (Thomas Horn) of Stephen Daldry’s movie is a handful. The film’s whimsy and cuteness should exasperate, but there’s great, poignant urgency at its center, much of it courtesy of Horn and Max von Sydow, who plays his elderly sidekick. With Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, and Viola Davis. Based on Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel. (129 min., PG-13) (Wesley Morris)

    ★★★ The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo David Fincher disinfects the luridness of the first of Stieg Larsson’s fun-to-read Swedish bestsellers, but the violence is both terrible and extremely alluring. Fincher also clearly adores his brutal (and brutally funny) cyberpunk played by Rooney Mara, whose dead seriousness is a grim hoot. With Daniel Craig, Robin Wright, and Christopher Plummer. (152 min., R) (Wesley Morris)

    ★★★ Haywire The Steven Soderbergh film puts at its center the martial-arts star Gina Carano as a covert operative. The movie is playful, but its naturalness is also cold and no-frills. With Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, and Michael Douglas. (106 min., R) (Wesley Morris)

    ★★★★Hugo An exhilarating tale of magic, machines, memories, and dreams. Martin Scorsese marshals the latest movie technology to create a love letter to the earliest movies of all. With Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Sacha Baron Cohen. (127 min., PG) (Ty Burr)


    ★★The Iron Lady The best way to appreciate the high-ludicrousness of Meryl Streep’s Margaret Thatcher might be to watch this thin, conventionally structured movie with the sound down. It’s good acting. It’s great kabuki. The movie, meanwhile, lacks the gumption to damn Thatcher solely on the terms of her decade-long prime ministership. (105 min., PG-13) (Wesley Morris)

    ★ ½Journey 2: The Mysterious Island There isn’t much here to like: an enormous electric eel that powers a sunken ship, Dwayne Johnson sitting on a log next to Michael Caine and breaking into song, closing credits. With Vanessa Hudgens, Josh Hutcherson, and an embarrassing Luis Guzmán. (94 min., PG) (Wesley Morris)

    ★★ Red Tails George Lucas produced this action movie about Tuskegee Airmen stationed in Italy during World War II. It means well, but it’s too basic to be rousing or even heartening. Directed by Anthony Hemingway. With Nate Parker, David Oyelowo, Tristan Wilds, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Terrence Howard. (125 min., PG-13) (Wesley Morris)

    ★★ Safe House Denzel Washington plays a misunderstood CIA operative who’s “gone rogue.’’ But even before he’s tortured for information, Washington’s pulse never rises. His calm is absurd. Yet it’s exactly what’s needed in a chase-’em-down and shoot-’em-up movie with lots of intentionally sea-sickening camerawork: confidence. With Ryan Reynolds as the young agent responsible for bringing him in. (115 min., R) (Wesley Morris)

    ★★★★A Separation A superb work of realism by Asghar Farhadi about a middle-class Iranian woman (Leila Hatami) who leaves her husband (Peyman Moaadi), putting his sick father and their 11-year-old daughter (Sarina Farhadi) in the uncertain middle. In Farsi, with English subtitles. (123 min., PG-13) (Wesley Morris)

    ★★ ½The Vow Young marrieds Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams hit a rough patch when she wakes from a coma with amnesia. It’s the rare chick flick that’s about brain trauma in addition to causing it, and it’s the kind of movie you can simultaneously snort at and enjoy. With Sam Neill and Jessica Lange. (104 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

    ★★W.E. Madonna’s second film as director is a double drama. One story is about Wallis Simpson (a very good Andrea Riseborough) and the romance that led to the 1936 abdication of Edward VIII (James D’Arcy). The other is about the modern-day sufferings of a Park Avenue housewife (Abbie Cornish). The period scenes are good, the rest is not. (119 min., R) (Ty Burr)

    ★★The Woman in Black How frustrating to be Daniel Radcliffe. One movie after Harry Potter vanquished Voldemort, and it’s like he’s anticipating having to do it all over again. Here he is in this blah ghost story searching a big, dreary house for the source of off-screen sound effects. (95 min., PG-13) (Wesley Morris)