Short reviews of what’s in theaters

Roadside Attractions

New releases

That Awkward Moment Awkward doesn’t begin to describe this hapless effort to combine a “Hangover”-like buddy movie with a trite romantic comedy. Three pals swear off relationships when one of them is estranged from his wife. Wouldn’t you know that’s when they bump into women who can’t resist guys who are conceited jerks? The result combines the worst aspects of two bankrupt genres. (94 min., R) (Peter Keough)

½ Gloria From Chile, a multilayered, quietly charming portrait of a middle-aged divorcee, played with weary delight by Pauline Garcia. Director Sebastian Lelio celebrates the daily work it takes to keep dignity and humor intact when the day gets late and the men still act like babies. In Spanish, with subtitles. (110 min., R) (Ty Burr)

½ Labor Day A somber-unto-silly star-crossed romance that casts Kate Winslet as a depressive New Hampshire single mother, Gattlin Griffith as her protective young son, and Josh Brolin as the manly escaped prisoner who takes them hostage and falls in love. Directed, inexplicably, by Jason Reitman (“Juno”), who tries to reverse-engineer a Nicholas Sparks movie and puts the pieces back together all wrong. (111 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)


½ The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2014: Animated The annual road-tour of Academy shorts contenders includes a strong animation category, highlighted by Daniel Sousa’s “Feral” and Disney’s “Get a Horse!” (62 min., unrated) (Ty Burr)

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2014: Documentaries This year’s nominees showcase individualism in refreshingly spiky ways. Subjects include dying murderers, obsessive cave-diggers, the world’s oldest living Holocaust survivor, protesters wielding video cameras under government sniper fire, and a gay man whose best friend is the ex-skinhead who once tried to kill him. In English and Arabic, with subtitles. (Program A, 91 min.; Program B, 79 min., unrated) (Ty Burr)

The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2014: Live Action This should be an easy category to call. The terrific “Just Before Losing Everything,” from France, is the best in a weak live-action lineup. (104 min., unrated) (Ty Burr)

Previously released

12 Years a Slave It isn’t the story of an American tragedy. It’s the story of the American tragedy: this country’s original sin. The true saga of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free-born black man kidnapped from New York in 1841 and sold into slavery in Louisiana, it is to slavery what “Schindler’s List” was to the Holocaust: a mass-appeal reckoning. Directed by Steve McQueen. (133 min., R) (Ty Burr)

American Hustle The title is perfect for this exuberant con job of a movie: a sloppy, miscast, hammed up, overlong, overloud story that still sends you out of the theater on a bouncy little cloud of rapture. Director David O. Russell and stars Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence address the 1980s Abscam scandal, sort of. (138 min., R) (Ty Burr)


August: Osage County A black comedy of prairie family dysfunction, stolidly adapted from Tracy Letts’s 2007 play. At its center, in one of her most flamboyant yet gimmicky performances, is Meryl Streep as cancerous, poisonous matriarch Viola Weston. A fine guilty pleasure rather than a great movie, with a cast that includes Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, and (thankfully) Chris Cooper and Margo Martindale. (121 min., R) (Ty Burr)

½ Captain Phillips An extraordinarily gripping movie based on events that took place on the container ship Maersk Alabama in April 2009. Director Paul Greengrass creates an aura of urgency so powerful that we temporarily forget what we know and hold our breaths for two-plus hours of tightening suspense. Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi star. In English and Somali, with subtitles. (134 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

Gimme Shelter Originally intended as a documentary about Kathy DiFiore’s program to offer refuge to pregnant teenagers who choose to keep their baby, Ronald Krauss’s didactic melodrama is marred by Vanessa Hudgens’s overblown performance and a plotline and character development determined more by ideology than psychology. A worthy story, it soon turns preachy and manipulative, raising more questions than it answers. (101 min., PG-13) (Peter Keough)

Her Joaquin Phoenix plays a nice, lonely guy who falls in love with his computer’s operating system, which speaks in the voice of Scarlett Johansson. What could have been a horror movie, a farce, or a disaster is a profoundly touching meditation on what it means to be human and where our machines may be taking us. Written and directed by Spike Jonze. With Amy Adams. (120 min., R) (Ty Burr)

I, Frankenstein One thing the vampires-versus-werewolves setup of “Underworld” neglected was to cover all three corners of the unholy creature-feature trinity. And so we get the similarly conceived “I, Frankenstein,” which stitches up Aaron Eckhart’s chiseled face like a baseball cover, sticks him in a hoodie, and promptly crashes thanks to a complete inability to resist overdone dialogue and faux-lofty exposition. (93 min., PG-13) (Tom Russo)


½ Inside Llewyn Davis A transporting cinematic experience with a churl at its center. The Coen brothers re-create the Greenwich Village folk scene of the 1960s with a mixture of poetry and sweet jaundice, and Oscar Isaac is excellent as the brilliant creep of the title. The music almost saves him, and it definitely saves the movie. (105 min., R) (Ty Burr)

½ Lone Survivor Writer-director Peter Berg viscerally re-creates two days in June 2005, when Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg) and three fellow Navy SEALs (Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, and Ben Foster) fought a small Taliban army in the mountains of Afghanistan. The movie’s in the tradition of soldiers’ stories that find hard, simple truths in notions of sacrifice and courage. The problem is that the wars we fight now aren’t as simple, and the best recent movies about them aren’t either. (121 min., R) (Ty Burr)

½ Nebraska The latest from Alexander Payne is a desolate, often powerfully moving comedy-drama about fathers, sons, life’s highways, and missed off-ramps. Bruce Dern plays an ornery old coot on a road trip to claim a sweepstakes prize and Will Forte is the grown son trying to get him there. (115 min., R) (Ty Burr)

½ Philomena A tearjerker of rare honesty and craft, based on the story of Philomena Lee (Judi Dench), who in her 70s decided she wanted to find the illegitimate son the Catholic Church took from her and sold in 1950s Ireland. Steve Coogan plays the journalist who helps her and Stephen Frears directs, keeping sentimentality at bay. (96 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

½ The Wolf of Wall Street One of the funniest yet most depressing movies of Martin Scorsese’s long career — a celebration and evisceration of male savagery, financial division. Leonardo DiCaprio gives a wily, loose-limbed comic performance as Jordan Belfort, go-go hustler of the 1990s. But, at three hours, the parade of creepy macho excess threatens to turn smug. With Jonah Hill. (180 min., R) (Ty Burr)

Find an archive of reviews at