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Movie capsules: Short reviews of what’s in theaters

From left: Jasmin Riggins, Gary Maitland, Paul Brannigan, and William Ruane  in “The Angels’ Share.”

Joss Barratt/Sundance Selects

From left: Jasmin Riggins, Gary Maitland, Paul Brannigan, and William Ruane in “The Angels’ Share.”

New releases

The Angels’ Share Socially conscious British auteur Ken Loach divides his time between familiar hardscrabble territory and a breezier narrative landscape in a hybrid charming enough to satisfy even the trenchant-commentary crowd. Reforming hooligan Paul Brannigan leads a group of Glasgow have-nots who make an unlikely bid for “have” status by plotting a Scotch whiskey distillery heist. (101 min., unrated) (Tom Russo)

Arthur Newman Weary of his drab life with its nowhere job, failed marriage, boring girlfriend, and estranged teenage son, a middle-aged sad sack fakes his death, changes his identity, and hits the road, hooking up with a hot chick with secrets of her own. Dante Ariola’s debut feature demonstrates that a new name does not necessarily mean new ideas. (101 min., R) (Peter
Keough)

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The Big Wedding Quaint and crass get together — or would that be “bump uglies”? — with awkward, thoroughly flat results in a tonally clueless ensemble comedy. Long-divorced Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton decide to pretend they’re still married to facilitate their son’s wedding ceremony, an idea that doesn’t sit well with De Niro’s current mate, Susan Sarandon. With Katherine Heigl, Topher Grace, Amanda Seyfried, Ben Barnes, and Robin Williams. (90 min., R) (Tom Russo)

Hava Nagila (The Movie) This short but lively documentary examines the “kitschy and profound” song’s cultural and historical origins. Director Roberta Grossman and writer Sophie Sartain approach their subject in a style that also balances the kitschy and the profound as they trace the historical roots of the music to the shtetls of the Ukraine, then to Palestine, and finally to the US, where it was popularized by entertainers such as Harry Belafonte and Connie Francis. Through this one song, the documentary manages to offer an enlightening study of cultural assimilation. (73 min., unrated)
(Loren King)

½ Mud Matthew McConaughey gratifyingly continues to explore his wayward mid-career path in this haunting but over-ambitious and overlong drama from talented writer-director Jeff Nichols (“Take Shelter”). The star plays a mysterious fugitive who changes the lives of two young boys (Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland, both excellent) in rural Arkansas. Sam Shepard and Reese Witherspoon costar. (130 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

½ My Brother the Devil Sally El Hosaini’s London-set, gangstas-in-the-hood family melodrama about two Arab brothers at odds with society and each other subverts some stereotypes about Islam and has moments of authentic realism but falls victim to uninspired, conventional filmmaking. What might have been an outstanding example of the genre settles for earnest uplift. (111 min., unrated) (Peter
Keough)

Pain & Gain Three dimwitted Miami bodybuilders (Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie) believe kidnapping, extortion, and murder will help them live the American dream. A tone-deaf, intensely unpleasant true-crime comedy that plays like “Fargo” for idiots, the movie’s final proof that Michael Bay is a director of great mechanical skill and no discernible talent. (120 min., R) (Ty Burr)

Previously released

½ 42 Writer-director Brian Helgeland’s ambitious biopic about Jackie Robinson is well-acted, handsomely made, and as shallow as a kid’s True Heroes picture book. As Robinson, newcomer Chadwick Boseman hits the script’s slow floaters and Harrison Ford is an enjoyable cartoon as Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey. It’s slick Hollywood pageantry, crowd-pleasing but hollow. (128 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

½ The Company You Keep An improvement over director-star Robert Redford’s recent movies: A dramatic thriller about aging ’60s radicals that goes relatively easy on the moral lectures and gets back to storytelling. The pleasurably deep cast includes Shia LaBeouf, Julie Christie, Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte, and Richard Jenkins. (125 min., R) (Ty Burr)

½The Croods Our notion of the modern Stone Age family gets tweaked in the latest 3-D rock candy from DreamWorks Animation. It’s a prehistoric world that’s emotionally a lot like ours, with a cutely brutish cavegirl (Emma Stone) butting heads with her overprotective, monobrowed dad (Nicolas Cage). The movie entertainingly conveys what a struggle survival is at the dawn of man, but the finale misses its chance at something more resonant. (98 min., PG) (Tom Russo)

½ Disconnect Think of it as “Crash”.com — a multi-character drama warning audiences of the perils and alienations of the modern wired world. It’s provocative and solidly made, but director/co-writer Henry Alex Rubin (”Murderball”) opts for melodrama over drama and lets the message overwhelm the characters. The large cast includes Jason Bateman, Paula Patton, and Alexander Skarsgard. (115 min., R) (Ty Burr)

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)

The Lords of Salem Rob Zombie injects his brand of trippy horror with some dark local color in a portrait of vengeful occult torment. Salem radio DJ Sheri Moon Zombie, the director’s wife, falls under the satanic influence of modern-day witches. There are echoes of “Rosemary’s Baby, ” and the movie grows visually and tonally crazier. There comes a point where inaccessibility breaks even the most potent genre spell. (101 min., R) (Tom Russo)

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)

½ Oblivion It’s 2077, and Earth’s in tough shape. Tom Cruise patrols the devastation, fighting off Scavs, short for Scavengers, led by Morgan Freeman. Andrea Riseborough is his communications officer/lover. When Olga Kurylenko’s NASA space ship crash lands, things get complicated. Like its star, the movie is clean, cold, efficient, increasingly overblown, and not a little inexplicable. (126 min., PG-13) (Mark Feeney)

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 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 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)

To the Wonder The first Terrence Malick movie that’s a thoroughgoing misfire — a meditation on love and lost paradise that starts with breathtaking assurance and slowly crumbles into self-parody. Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko play lovers who flit back and forth from Europe to America, from rapture to disenchantment, and from interest to tedium. With Javier Bardem and Rachel McAdams. (112 min., R) (Ty Burr)

Trance Glittering nonsense. James McAvoy gets conked on the head during an auction-house robbery and wakes up with no memory of where he put the stolen painting, so the sadistic gang leader (Vincent Cassell) hires a hypnotherapist (Rosario Dawson). Over-directed by Danny Boyle, it’s what you might get if a post-doctoral student put a heist movie in a Cuisinart. (101 min., R) (Ty Burr)

An archive of reviews is at www.boston.com/movies.

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