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Movie Stars

Recent movie reviews

Ryan Gosling stars in the Derek Cianfrance-directed “The Place Beyond the Pines.”

Atsushi Nishijima/Focus Features

Ryan Gosling stars in the Derek Cianfrance-directed “The Place Beyond the Pines.”

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-day 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)

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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)

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)

Previously released

The Gatekeepers In Dror Moreh’s stunning documentary — one of this year’s Oscar nominees in the category — a handful of grizzled old men talk openly about their experiences running Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service. It plays a little like “Zero Dark Thirty” as directed by Errol Morris. In Hebrew, with subtitles. (95 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

½ G.I. Joe: Retaliation Falsely accused Dwayne Johnson and his fellow Joes have to clear their names and save the world from nefarious 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)

Ginger & Rosa The new movie by Sally Potter (“Orlando”) is her most mainstream work to date, a solid coming-of-age memory play set in a 1962 London of Ban the Bomb marches and parental betrayals. It’s made special by Elle Fanning, who gives an achingly luminous, utterly natural performance in the lead. (90 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

½ No A sly true-life drama about the 1988 vote that threw out Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, focusing on an ad-man (Gael Garcia Bernal) who sold democracy like it was Coca-Cola. The movie has a cool intelligence that ripples up the years to where we live. A 2013 best foreign language Oscar nominee. In Spanish, with subtitles. (118 min., R) (Ty Burr)

Olympus Has Fallen Gerard Butler does “Die Hard” as a Secret Service agent left to single-handedly rescue the president (Aaron Eckhart) from North Korean terrorists who’ve taken the White House. But this is no Bruce Willis smirkfest. We’re halfway through before director Antoine Fuqua starts giving Butler the occasional dark quip, and by that time it’s an insufficient weapon. (119 min., R) (Tom Russo)

On the Road A surprisingly effective adaptation of the Jack Kerouac classic, if no substitute for reading the book. Brazil’s Walter Salles (“The Motorcycle Diaries”) directs with a solid eye for period and landscape, and he has a great Dean Moriarty in Garrett Hedlund. With Sam Riley, Kirsten Dunst, and Kristen Stewart, the latter not bad at all. (124 min., R) (Ty Burr)

Oz the Great and Powerful This unofficial prequel has 3-D, the latest computer effects, and Sam Raimi behind the camera. But, alas, a lightweight James Franco is in front of the camera as a feckless young magician whisked to Oz. There are glorious moments, but the film never finds its groove. (130 min., PG) (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. (103 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

½ Spring Breakers Director Harmony Korine (“Gummo”) comes of age with this mesmerizing vision of teenage apocalypse. Former TV innocents Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, and Selena Gomez play college girls who rob a diner and head to St. Pete, where they hook up with a sleazy gangbanger (a surprisingly effective James Franco). The film’s an outrageous provocation, shocking and exhilarating and tender in equal measure. (94 min., R) (Ty Burr)

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