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Movie stars: recent movie reviews

New releases

½ G.I. Joe: Retaliation Falsely accused Dwayne Johnson and his fellow Joes have to clear their names and save the world from Cobra terrorists. This one’s pedigree doesn’t make us expect “Zero Dark Thirty-One,” but at least we can count on some 3-D fireworks. Or not, as director Jon M. Chu (“Step Up 3D”) makes dull work of all the pop combat. One of the few sparks, ironically, is the fun being had by a slumming Jonathan Pryce as the president’s evil-doppelganger replacement. (110 min., PG-13) (Tom Russo)

½ The Host Stephenie Meyer’s follow-up novel to her “Twilight” saga is a sci-fi romance with many of the same concerns; Saoirse Ronan (“Atonement”) plays a human girl whose mind is taken over by an alien (a nice alien), then they both fall in love with different cute guys. Andrew Niccol directs, surprisingly ably. Max Irons and William Hurt costar. (121 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

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Reality A Neapolitan fishmonger (Aniello Arena) has a chance to appear on a reality show, and it’s the worst thing that could have happened to him. Director Matteo Garrone (“Gomorrah”) delivers a playful, dark, increasingly sharp inquiry into the metaphysics of modern fame — how the dream of “being seen” can completely unhinge the average schmo. In Italian, with subtitles. (116 min., R) (Ty Burr)

½ The Sapphires A formulaic but extra-likable Australian charmer about an Aborigine sister act singing soul music to US troops in 1968 Vietnam. Chris O’Dowd (“Bridesmaids”) is the marquee name (sort of), but Deborah Mailman is the movie’s star and life force as oldest sister Gail. The plot elements are familiar, but the film feels the funk. (103 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

½ Starbuck This Canadian comedy-male weepie takes its title from the pseudonym its hero (Patrick Huard) used as a successful sperm donor two decades ago. How successful? He fathered 553 children, 142 of whom have now filed suit to learn dad’s identity. Like Huard’s character, the film is amiable but feckless. In French, with subtitles. (Mark Feeney) (109 min., R)

½ Tyler Perry’s Temptation A young married couple (Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Lance Gross) live in Washington, D.C. She works at a high-end dating service. A social-media tycoon (Robbie Jones) seeks her input on his site’s dating feature. Pretty soon, the dating he seeks doesn’t involve the site. Perry’s ability to be simultaneously hokey and slick is a wonder. So is his reliance on contrivance. Wonder, yes. Wonderful, no. (Mark Feeney) (111 min., PG-13)

½ War Witch An overwhelmingly grim yet clear-eyed and moving tale of a child soldier (Rachel Mwanza) in sub-Saharan Africa. Kim Nguyen’s movie seeks out glimmers of hope in individual resilience and in the connections that bind us together. An Oscar nominee for best foreign language film. In French and Lingala, with subtitles. (90 min., unrated) (Ty Burr)

An archive of reviews is at

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