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Movie stars: capsule reviews

From left: Karin Viard, Marina Fois, and Emmanuelle Bercot in “Polisse.”

IFC Films via AP

From left: Karin Viard, Marina Fois, and Emmanuelle Bercot in “Polisse.”

New releases I Wish Two brothers (Koki Maeda, Oshiro Maeda) in southern Japan, forced to live apart since their parents’ split, hatch a plot to meet up and make a wish. With a director like Hirokazu Koreeda, you never feel a childhood being remembered or a quaint longing for a moment in time. Children are simply people. They have inner lives and worries and desires. In Japanese, with English subtitles. (127 min., PG) (Wesley Morris)

½ Men in Black 3 About as good as one could hope for from an unnecessary sequel that’s a decade late to the party. Alien-containment agent J (Will Smith) time-travels to 1969 to rescue partner K. For all the millions of dollars spent on digital astonishments, the most uncanny special effect is Josh Brolin as the young Tommy Lee Jones. (106 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

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Mighty Fine A well-to-do but down-to-earth Jewish couple, the Fines, move to New Orleans from Brooklyn, N.Y., with their two teenage daughters in 1974. Writer-director Debbie Goodstein-Rosenfeld can’t decide whether her feature debut is domestic drama, fish-out-of-water story, or coming-of-age tale. Chazz Palminteri, as the husband, is the best thing in the movie. Andie MacDowell (with a “Sophie’s Choice” accent, no less) is jaw-droppingly miscast as the mother. (79 min., R) (Mark Feeney)

Polisse There are movies that grab you by the throat and knee you in the groin. And there are movies that grab your throat, knee your groin, drive you to the hospital, help you fill out the police report, and ask you out to dinner, where you both laugh and cry over everything. This is that latter movie, an electrifying epic emotional thriller about an endangered child-protection unit in the Paris police department and the tight, tense bond among the detectives. Directed and co-written by Maïwenn, who costars. In French, with English subtitles. (127 min., unrated) (Wesley Morris)

Where Do We Go Now? How can women ever get men to stop killing each other? Director, co-writer, and costar Nadine Labaki (“Caramel”) envisions a dusty Lebanese village where the women, Christian and Muslim alike, join forces to foil their husbands’ bloodymindedness. It’s “Lysistrata” in the desert, overly diffuse but full of heart, laughter, and sorrow. In Arabic, Russian, and English, with subtitles. (110 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)Previously released

½ Battleship If you’re going to make a movie based on a board game, you’ve got to fill two hours with something. So why not go the “Transformers” route? Taylor Kitsch (“John Carter”) plays a ne’er-do-well who joins the Navy just in time to fight an alien armada that lands off Hawaii. If only there were more genuine rah-rah fun, instead of seen-it-all-before mayhem. (131 min., PG-13) (Tom Russo)

½ Bernie Jack Black dials back the boorishness to play Bernie Tiede, a real-life Texas funeral director and community pillar who in 1996 shot his aged companion (Shirley Mac­Laine) in the back. Richard Linklater directs it as a loopy black comedy with generous input from local “witnesses” — the movie’s bouncy, amusing, and wholly lacking in a point. With Matthew McConaughey. (104 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Proof that art-house movies can be as clichéd as multiplex fare. A comedy-drama about a group of British retirees at a ramshackle hotel in Jaipur, India, it is predictable fluff aimed at desperate or undemanding 50+ audiences. Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, and Tom Wilkinson almost turn it into something. (124 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

½ Crooked Arrows What “Cool Runnings” did for bobsledding and “Mighty Ducks” for youth hockey, “Crooked Arrows” should do for lacrosse. A half-Native American former lacrosse star (Brandon Routh) returns to the reservation to help expand a casino. To get tribal approval, he agrees to coach the reservation’s struggling high school lacrosse team. Much of it was filmed around Boston. The action sequences don’t disappoint, and the story transcends the uplifting sports-underdog formula. (100 min., PG-13) (Loren King)

Dark Shadows Tim Burton has got his groove back. This big-screen revamp of the much-loved (if ridiculous) late-’60s Gothic soap opera is both sendup and homage, and it recaptures the show’s doomy vibe with blissful comic precision. Johnny Depp is great fun as Barnabas Collins, an 18th-century vampire having trouble adjusting to the polyester 1970s. With Michelle Pfeiffer and Eva Green. (113 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

½ Darling Companion
A movie for women who love their dogs too much. The first film in nine years from director Lawrence Kasdan (“The Big Chill”) is an overwritten and underplotted vanity project, but Diane Keaton is a joy as a well-to-do surgeon’s wife whose frustrations boil over when her beloved mutt goes missing. With Kevin Kline, Dianne ­Wiest, and Richard Jenkins. (103 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

½ The Dictator The despot here is a tall, fit, flamboyantly bearded North African goofball (Sacha Baron Cohen) who winds up working in a Brooklyn. N.Y., food co-op. That’s the best idea in the movie, which lacks the cultural tension in “Borat” and “Bruno,” satires that Cohen and director Larry Charles previously made together. This one is lazy, a satire that can’t bring itself to properly satirize anything. (88 min., R) (Wesley Morris)

First Position Another kiddie-competition documentary, but more gripping than usual because the competitors — six young ballet dancers vying for awards and contracts in the 2010 Youth America Grand Prix — are so driven and so talented. First-time director Bess Kargman skips lightly over the harsher aspects, but her subjects are compelling and the dancing is phenomenal. (90 min., unrated) (Ty Burr)

½ Headhunters A sleek Norwegian crime thriller about an Oslo executive by day-art thief by night (Aksel Hennie) who gets in over his head. Based on a novel by the best-selling Norwegian author Jo Nesbo, it’s crisp Tom Ripley-esque entertainment even as the bodies and plot absurdities pile up. In Norwegian, with English subtitles. Costarring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Synnove Macody Lund. (100 min., R) (Ty Burr)

Mansome Morgan Spurlock’s new documentary is so late in noticing a shift in American male grooming that for a documentary on the subject to work, Spurlock would either have to pitch it to our grandparents or trace a cultural shift and unpack it. This seems like the outcome of a director seeing his first Details magazine and sensing apocalypse. (82 min., PG-13) (Wesley Morris)

Marvel’s The Avengers If you like Joss Whedon’s superhero extravaganza (really, there’s almost nothing to dislike; it’s as close as a movie can come to the fantastical reality of a good comic book), stick around for the closing credits. As fun as it is to watch the actors playing superheroes, the real stars are the hundreds of men and women who’ve closed the gap between what’s doable in comic books and the movies based on them. With Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, and Samuel L. Jackson. (148 min., PG-13) (Wesley Morris)

½ The Story of Film:
An Odyssey
This 2011 eight-part documentary made for British television takes in 14 decades, six continents (sorry, Antarctica), and one art form. Like that art form, it’s wildly ambitious, often extremely good, occasionally maddening, and always stimulating. Writer-director Mark Cousins’s unifying conception is cinematic innovation — or as he pronounces it in his marvelous Ulster accent (he narrates, too) “en-iv-ay-shun.” (916 min., unrated) (Mark Feeney)

What to Expect When You’re Expecting It’s all in the delivery. The movie turns the best-selling pregnancy guide of the title into one of those glib all-star comedy-dramas with multiple story lines and predictable dilemmas, but the writing is sharp and the performances bright, and there are laughs to be had for those who’ve been there. (110 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

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