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Movie capsules: Short reviews of what’s in theaters

New releases

½ Gravity The prodigiously gifted director Alfonso Cuarón (“Children of Men”) maroons Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in outer space. The movie’s an astonishingly detailed, visually painstaking state-of-the-art production that advances what the cinema can show us — even as the human story at its center feels a little thin after a while. Some screenings are in 3-D IMAX; they’re worth it. (90 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction Faced with a subject — laconic/iconic character actor Harry Dean Stanton — who’s not so much resistant as beyond her reach, director Sophie Huber does the sensible thing: She goes to the clips, talks to creative accomplices, and just lets the man sing. It adds up to an unexpectedly moving portrait of a maverick at twilight. (77 min., unrated) (Ty Burr)

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Herb & Dorothy 50x50 A follow-up to “Herb & Dorothy” (2009), this documentary follows the title project, New York collectors Herb and Dorothy Vogel’s plan to bequeath some of the 5,000 art objects they have accumulated in their apartment to museums in all 50 states. The Vogels are amazing, the artwork provocative, and the reactions of viewers in the sticks priceless. (87 min., unrated) (Peter Keough)

Mother of George This melodrama about a young wife who fails to conceive a child is set in a Nigerian community in Brooklyn whose seemingly alien traditions and customs prove not much different than most. The lush cinematography and outstanding performances draw in the viewer and bring a near biblical drama about a terrible dilemma close to home. In English and Yoruba, with subtitles. (107 min., R) (Peter Keough)

½ Parkland Peter Landesman’s well-made but dramatically unfocused re-creation of the days following the JFK assassination in Dallas. The movie is about civic trauma, but it steadfastly resists coming to a larger point. The large and busy cast includes Zac Efron, Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton, Ron Livingston, James Badge Dale, and Jacki Weaver. (93 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

½ Runner Runner A depressingly generic gambling thriller starring Justin Timberlake as an ambitious twerp and big, bad Ben Affleck as an online betting tycoon. It’s not that the movie’s predictable. It’s that you don’t care, either about the characters or what happens to them. Playing a fed, Anthony Mackie’s the best thing in the movie. (91 min., R) (Ty Burr)

½ Wadjda The first woman to direct a feature film in Saudi Arabia, Haifaa Al Mansour has created an unforgettable character, played irresistibly by Waad Mohammed. A precocious, funny, and indomitable 10-year-old, she breaks many of her society’s rules, especially in her determination to buy a bicycle. More than a critique of prejudice and iniquity, the film celebrates the independent spirit. In Arabic, with subtitles. (97 min., PG) (Peter Keough)

Previously released

½ Baggage Claim Spurred on by a monstrous mother who wants to see her eldest daughter married, a vapid flight attendant has 30 days before her younger sister’s wedding to re-check old exes in various cities to see if she overlooked Mr. Right. Unfunny and hypocritical in its bogus boosting of women’s independence, this flat rom com is as entertaining as a holding pattern. (93 min., PG-13) (Peter Keough)

Blue Jasmine A good Woody Allen movie with a very great Cate Blanchett performance at its center. She plays a New Yorker whose world of privilege falls apart, forcing her to move in with her blue-collar sister (Sally Hawkins) in San Francisco. With Alec Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale, Peter Sarsgaard, and — most unexpectedly — Andrew Dice Clay (98 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

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)

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 Misfit inventor Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) and friends are dropped into a “Jurassic Park” setting when his food-raining invention begins churning out “foodimals.” Nicely designed, but shades of the exotica in “The Croods.” And “The Lorax.” And the Candyland riff in “Wreck-It Ralph.” And just as with the “Jurassic” franchise, characters are sent back to danger isle without any genuinely compelling reason. (95 min., PG) (Tom Russo)

Don Jon This might be the first commercial American movie to tackle the subject of online porn, and the fact that it’s a sprightly, if pointed, romantic comedy shouldn’t put you off. Making his writing-directing debut, star Joseph Gordon-Levitt goes heavy on the “Jersey Shore” clichés, but he’s on to something here. With Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore. (90 min., R) (Ty Burr)

Enough Said A lovely, melancholy comedy of mid-life errors and eros that, among other things, showcases the late James Gandolfini in a performance of immense tenderness and charm. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, appealingly vulnerable, plays a single mom who doesn’t trust her good luck, and writer-director Nicole Holofcener delivers her most confident character comedy to date. (93 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

Good Ol’ Freda Just 17 when she became secretary of the Official Beatles Fan Club, in 1961, Freda Kelly was a kind of unofficial kid sister to her fellow Liverpudlians. This charming (if slightly overlong) documentary is the film equivalent of an up-close-and-personal Fab Four scrapbook. (87 min., PG) (Mark Feeney)

½ Inequality for All One of many documentaries on the economic crisis, Jacob Kornbluth’s film does offer the insights of an insider, former Clinton administration member Robert Reich. Drawing from Reich’s lectures on the subject, “Inequality” presents a strong, if repetitive, case for federal spending and increased taxes on the wealthy as a solution, but weakens its argument by allowing no credible opposition viewpoints. (85 min., PG) (Peter Keough)

Metallica Through the Never The rage rockers reassert their relevance, loudly, in a movie whose marketing promises a fresh hybrid of concert film and narrative feature. But the band and director Nimród Antal are strictly about hypnagogic flashes and rocking their set, making this an old-school music video stretched to feature length. Dane DeHaan handles the offstage action as a sullen-yet-stoked roadie navigating a cityscape out of “The Warriors.” (92 min., R) (Tom Russo)

Prisoners At 146 minutes, it often groans under its own self-importance, but Denis Villeneuve's kidnapping thriller — about the disappearance of two little girls — is as gripping as it is grueling. Hugh Jackman plays the most volatile of the four parents and Jake Gyllenhaal is the smart, increasingly stressed detective on the case. With Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, and Maria Bello. (146 min., R) (Ty Burr)

½ Rush A vividly engaging movie about the mid-1970s rivalry between Formula 1 race-car drivers James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl). In a way, director Ron Howard has made a philosophical drama about the ways men move through the world. It’s just a really, really fast drama. With Olivia Wilde and a lot of gleaming machinery. (123 min., R) (Ty Burr)

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