Movie stars: Recent movie reviews

Jane Levy stars in the new horror remake “Evil Dead.”
Kirsty Griffin/TriStar Pictures
Jane Levy stars in the new horror remake “Evil Dead.”

New releases

½ Beyond the Hills From the great Cristian Mungiu (“4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days”), a story of an attempted exorcism in modern Romania — based on actual events — that uses scrupulous naturalism to paint a quietly outraged tragedy. Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur are moving as a young nun and her troubled childhood friend. In Romanian, with subtitles. (150 min., unrated) (Ty Burr)

Evil Dead The thinking behind remaking Sam Raimi’s cult horror fave is to see what all those funky, low-budget chills play like when they’re reworked with a sleek, contemporary look and tone. The problem is that new director Fede Alvarez’s take, while proficient, can drain that old, kooky distinctiveness. You’ve got to get through an overlong stretch of demonic possessions played straight for a finale that’s more freewheelingly, twistedly grisly. (91 min., R) (Tom Russo)

½ Free Angela and All Political Prisoners Angela Davis is that rare totemic figure of the ’60s who remains totemic today. Icily articulate and still beautiful as she nears 70, she compels attention on screen. Shola Lynch’s documentary has terrific archival footage and news photos, a jittery rhythm and sense of urgency. But it’s too easy on Davis, not asking her — or her history — any hard questions. (Mark Feeney) (102 min., unrated)


½ From Up on Poppy Hill The new animated drama from Japan’s Studio Ghibli is a lesser project, not surprising since the legendary Hayao Miyazaki only co-wrote the script while his son Goro directed. It’s a gentle fable about a young girl’s coming of age in 1962 Tokyo, perfectly fine but not a patch on “Spirited Away.” Sarah Bolger and Anton Yelchin lead the English-language voice cast. (91 min., PG) (Ty Burr)

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Gimme the Loot An urban fable, rough and tender and right, about two friends (Tashiana Washington and Ty Hickson) who want to graffiti-tag the New York Mets’ Home Run Apple. Adam Leon’s film looks like it cost two nickels to make, but it keeps its sights low and focused on the casual Darwinism of life in the city. (79 min., unrated) (Ty Burr)

½ High Tech, Low Life
Stephen Maing’s documentary about two investigative bloggers in China has an easy, unemphatic rhythm. The bloggers are interesting characters in their own right. The older, in his 50s, is quite idealistic. The other, in his mid-20s, is a bit brash and self-serving. Getting a sense of them we also get a better sense of the society they live in. In Mandarin, with subtitles. (88 min., unrated) (Mark Feeney)

Jurassic Park It’s a testament to Steven Spielberg’s storytelling virtuosity that this 20th-anniversary reissue still feels so intense. The movie’s 3-D conversion can make moments like a raptor leaping at the ceiling feel processed, but overall it’s a nice enhancement. Still, the crazily veering mix of terror and family-friendly wonderment continues to make this one of Spielberg’s more curious works, as imperfectly spliced as those frog-laced strands of dino DNA. (127 min., PG-13) (Tom Russo)

The Place Beyond the Pines Director Derek Cianfrance’s follow-up to 2010’s “Blue Valentine” is an ambitious triptych about men and sin and forgiveness, but it gradually caves in to over-plotting and pretensions. Ryan Gosling makes the first third into something very special and Bradley Cooper does what he can with the midsection. With Eva Mendes. (140 min., R) (Ty Burr)

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