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Movie Stars

Recent movie reviews

Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller star in “The Spectacular Now.”

Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller star in “The Spectacular Now.”

Newest releases

½ The Attack A distinguished Palestinian-Israeli physician’s attempt to comprehend a suicide bombing becomes more urgent when the terrorist turns out to be his wife, a tragedy that forces him to reconsider his shaky status in his adopted homeland. Though at times contrived and implausible, Ziad Doueiri’s treatment of this provocative premise confronts the mysteries of motivation and the dilemmas of divided loyalty. In Arabic and Hebrew, with subtitles. (102 min., R) (Peter Keough)

½ The Butler The story of an African-American White House butler (Forest Whitaker) who was a fly on the wall of the Civil Rights struggle, the Vietnam War, Watergate, and more. The cast is stacked with stars, but director Lee Daniels wants us to look hard at a man who thought the only way forward was to be invisible. (126 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

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½ I Give It a Year In his directorial debut “Borat” screenwriter Dan Mazer attempts to inject gross-out comedy into the more genteel romantic comedy genre, with mixed results. Some of the crude jokes coming mostly from minor characters get laughs, and the four-way romantic entanglements, featuring a standout performance by Anna Faris, add charm, but the drastic tonal shifts between the two styles undermine both. (97 min., R) (Peter Keough)

In a World. . . Lake Bell proves yet again that women are as funny, if not more so, than their uptight male counterparts. She directs and writes this hilarious comedy, and also stars as a voice coach who hopes to break into the macho bastion of movie trailer voiceovers, despite her biggest obstacle, her father, a voiceover legend. The result is narratively bumpy, but exhilarating and hilarious. (93 min., R) (Peter Keough)

Jobs The first two biopics of the late founder of Apple (another written by Aaron Sorkin is in development) features a compelling performance by Ashton Kutcher in the title role but otherwise reduces the life to a series of inspirations, tirades, and motivational speeches set in corporate boardrooms. It seems like an extended Apple ad, with a few gossipy asides, but less entertaining. (127 min., PG-13) (Peter Keough)

Kick-Ass 2 A mean-spirited, ultra-violent action-comedy sequel with the emotional maturity of an arrested 12-year-old and the ethical compass of a turnip. With Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Jim Carrey. (103 min., R) (Ty Burr)

Paranoia A plug-and-play Hollywood thriller, the kind where a handsome young lead (Liam Hemsworth) and aging stars in juicy character roles (Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman) chase after a high-tech MacGuffin. As processed cheese goes, the movie’s edible and forgettable; not surprisingly, the old pros offer the most reliable entertainment value. With Amber Heard and Richard Dreyfuss. (115 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

Prince Avalanche This lyrical little oddity returns filmmaker David Gordon Green to form. A remake of the 2011 Icelandic film “Either Way,” it transfers the action to the barren Texas wilderness, destroyed by wildfires in 1988. Alvin (Paul Rudd) and Lance (Emile Hirsch) are spending the summer painting bright yellow traffic lines on empty roads. Not much happens besides arguing and joking in this “Waiting for Godot”-like character study, but the performances and ghostly, melancholic atmosphere make it satisfying twist on the male buddy film. (94 min., R) (Loren King)

½ Rising From Ashes Years after the 1994 Rwandan genocide, a disgraced American cycling champion helps put together an Olympics-worthy Rwandan national cycling team. Though the topic is inspiring, documentarian T.C. Johnstone’s uneven treatment too often replaces genuine insight and emotion with platitudes and sentimentality. (80 min., unrated) (Peter Keough)

½ The Spectacular Now A clear-eyed, disarmingly tender teen romance that bears comparison with the best of its genre, both old (“Say Anything”) and new (“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”). Miles Teller plays a beloved class cut-up with a drinking problem; Shailene Woodley is the quiet nobody he unexpectedly falls for. (95 min., R) (Ty Burr)

Find an archive of movie reviews at www.boston.com/movies.
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