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Movies

Movie stars: Capsule reviews

Matthew McConaughey (left) and Channing Tatum star in “Magic Mike.”

Claudette Barius/Warner Brothers Pictures

Matthew McConaughey (left) and Channing Tatum star in “Magic Mike.”

New releases

½ A Cat in Paris Besides the title feline, this 2012 Oscar animation nominee features a cat burglar, a little girl, her police superintendent mother, and the mother’s gangster nemesis. The film has low-key charm and a pleasurably laconic visual style. But who’s the intended audience? A bit opaque for kids, “Cat” is too, well, cartoony for grown-ups. With the voices of Anjelica Huston, Marcia Gay Harden, and Matthew Modine. (68 min., PG) (Mark Feeney)

½ Chely Wright: Wish Me Away Two years ago, Chely Wright became the first commercial country artist to openly identify as gay. This documentary makes it clear just how grueling and groundbreaking her decision was. Speaking specifically to Wright’s experience, it’s also a broad examination of why country music is so skittish about homosexuality. You’d think a genre so consumed with matters of the heart would embrace a performer who’s staying true to hers. (96 min., unrated) (James Reed)

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½ Magic Mike Ladies’ night at the multiplex, and a lot better than it needs to be. Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, and a deliriously dissolute Matthew McConaughey play male strippers in Tampa. Director Steven Soderbergh is working at the top of his game; it’s an old, old story — “Flashdance” with himboes — but made with confidence and style. (110 min., R) (Ty Burr)

People Like Us An earnest, polished tearjerker from writer-director Alex Kurtzman and his writing partner Roberto Orci, known for penning the “Transformers” movies. Chris Pine is a troubled young man trying to connect with the half-sister (Elizabeth Banks) he never knew he had; Michelle Pfeiffer plays his mother. Well-acted but neither optimal nor prime. (115 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

Portrait of Wally A documentary about the restitution of an Egon Schiele painting that had been stolen by the Nazis and ended up in the possession of a prominent Austrian collector. The film has an interesting story to tell but takes too long to do so. Worse, it’s lacking in nuance and not lacking in self-righteousness. In English and German, with subtitles. (90 min., unrated) (Mark Feeney)

Ted Writer-director Seth MacFarlane’s debut feature is a crass, foul-mouthed, mostly hilarious, surprisingly sentimental bromance about a grown boy named John (Mark Wahlberg) and his bong-huffing teddy bear (voiced by MacFarlane). It’s really about that screw-up friend you want to outgrow but can’t. With a Boston vibe that feels close to the real thing. (100 min., R) (Ty Burr)

½ The Turin Horse An elderly farmer, his adult daughter, and their bedraggled mare live in a farmhouse in the middle of a windswept nowhere. Hungarian master Bela Tarr’s ninth and final feature (he’s said he’s retiring from filmmaking) is a parable of life, death, and, especially, duration. Shot in a very gray black and white, the film is bleak, pure, forbidding, and often transfixing. In Hungarian, with subtitles. (146 min., unrated) (Mark Feeney)

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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 Mac-
Laine) 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)

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’s 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)

Dark Shadows Tim Burton has got his groove back. This revamp of the much-loved (if ridiculous) late-’60s Gothic soap opera is both sendup and homage. Johnny Depp is great fun as Barnabas Collins, an 18th-century vampire having trouble adjusting to the polyester 1970s. With Michelle Pfeif-
fer and Eva Green. (113 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 made together. This one is lazy; it can’t bring itself to properly satirize anything. (88 min., R) (Wesley Morris)

Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story If Colonel Yonatan “Yoni” Netanyahu has faded from public consciousness outside Israel since he died in the famous Entebbe hostage rescue mission he led in 1976, this documentary should rectify that. His brother, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and others recount Netanyahu’s childhood in Israel, his years at Harvard, and his military leadership. But his own words, in letters and poems, are the most memorable. (87 min., unrated) (Loren King)

The Hunger Games The millions who devoured Suzanne Collins’s futuristic thriller will be satisfied, on balance, by the compromises Hollywood has made while keeping the story true to itself. The millions more who haven’t read the books will be entertained while wondering what the fuss was all about. It’s not a movie on fire, and it should have been. With Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. (142 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

Hysteria A comedy-drama about the invention of the vibrator in 1880s London. Somewhere in here is an illuminating farce about a repressed society. So why does director Tanya Wexler insist on stamping it out with moralizing? Stick with playwright Sara Ruhl’s “In the Next Room.” Starring Hugh Dancy and Maggie Gyllenhaal. (100 min., R) (Ty Burr)

The Intouchables France’s second biggest film hit tells the story of a ritzy white quadriplegic (Francois Cluzet) who hires a bald, Senegalese-born thug (Omar Sy) to take care of him. All the white people do in this movie is flatter and spoil and humor the caretaker. He spouts his crass, egotistical crap, and all anyone does is laugh. America has a racial guilt problem. France’s might be more insidious. In French, with subtitles. (113 min., R) (Wesley Morris)

½ Jiro Dreams of Sushi This documentary about Jiro Ono, the 85-year-old Tokyo sushi chef generally acknowledged as the finest on the planet, touches on both the mysteries of gastronomic art and the human flaws that can come from the daily striving for perfection. It’s a foodie’s delight, best seen on a full stomach. In Japanese, with subtitles. (81 min., PG) (Ty Burr)

½ Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted There’s some bona fide big-top wonder in this team-up between ragtag European circus critters (notably Bryan Cranston and Martin Short) and our Central Park Zoo expat heroes (Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, and Jada Pinkett Smith). Cascading, colorful 3-D performance sequences are sufficiently dazzling that you may forgive an act wasted on convoluted setup, and those relentless circus-afro ads. (93 min., PG) (Tom Russo)

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, and Samuel L. Jackson. (148 min., PG-13) (Wesley Morris)

Moonrise Kingdom When two 12-year-olds (Kara Heyward, Jared Gilman) plot a secret getaway to a remote part of their fictitious New England island, the adults in their lives come looking for them. Wes Anderson directed and co-wrote the movie with Roman Coppola, and it feels utterly real, vividly dreamt, and totally remembered. Anderson’s dollhouse aesthetic acquires a long-overdue soul. With Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, and Tilda Swinton. (94 min., PG-13) (Wesley Morris)

Prometheus Like opening a gift box from Tiffany’s to find a mug from the dollar store. Ridley Scott’s return to the “Alien” franchise is impeccably produced but increasingly scattered. It’s officially a prequel but it feels like a remake: We’ve been here before, with lesser technology but more purpose. Starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, and Charlize Theron, all quite good. (119 min., R) (Ty Burr)

½ Rock of Ages For those who can’t stop believin’ and fans of bizarro Tom Cruise performances. This star-studded adaptation of the Broadway jukebox musical, dedicated to the enduring power of cheesy ’80s pop-metal, alternates plastic bombast with moments of comic invention: It’s karaoke night on a Hollywood budget. Cruise plays an Axl-like rock god; Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand also appear. (123 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

Safety Not Guaranteed A small, charming shaggy-dog comedy about an oddball (Mark Duplass) who claims to have built a time machine and the alt-weekly intern (Aubrey Plaza) who wants to find out if he’s crazy or not. The film sticks to its droll indie aesthetic while giving Plaza (“Parks and Recreation”) the star-making role a lot of us have been waiting for. With Jake M. Johnson. (94 min., R) (Ty Burr)

½ Snow White and the Huntsman Entertainingly schizophrenic, this re-engineering of the classic fairy tale feels like it was made from pieces of every fantasy-action movie ever made. It barely holds together but there are daft pleasures, from Charlize Theron’s rampant overacting as the evil queen to Kristen Stewart’s surprising underplaying as Snow. Directed by Rupert Sanders. (116 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

½ That’s My Boy As a Somerville middle school kid, Donny scores with his teacher, gets her pregnant, and raises their son when she goes to jail. Now all grown up, the loser-doofus Donny (Adam Sandler) tracks down his estranged offspring (Andy Samberg) on the eve of the son’s wedding. Full of wooden writing, stereotypes, and bodily fluids, this is more raunch-fest than comedy. (114 min., R) (Ethan Gilsdorf)

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