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1st Quarter 1:35

Short reviews of what’s in theaters


Nicole Rivelli/IFC Films


New releases

300: Rise of an Empire A belated 3-D sequel to the 2006 action hit that pioneered a new genre: Ancient Bro History. Athenian hero Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) tries to keep the Persians at bay while whipping the fractious Greek city-states into, you know, a nation. Pretty ridiculous, but Eva Green is gloriously mean as Persian naval commander Artemisia. (102 min., R)

Ty Burr

Bethlehem More than an exciting police procedural involving a dedicated agent, a troubled teenage turncoat, and impending terrorist attacks, “Bethlehem” explores the conflicts between duty and friendship, necessity and decency. An Israeli agent enlists a Palestinian teenager as an informer. After two years their connection grows more paternal than professional, until the target the boy must inform on is his brother. In Hebrew and Arabic, with subtitles. (99 min., unrated) (

Peter Keough

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½ Child’s Pose Another outstanding offering from the vibrant Romanian film industry, Calin Peter Netzer’s meticulously observed tale of a privileged bourgeois woman whose obsessive maternal love poisons both her son’s life and that of others as she uses her influence to manipulate justice. Though thoroughly rooted in its specific setting, it touches on and illuminates tragic, universal themes that resonate for everyone. In Romanian, with subtitles. (112 min., unrated)

Peter Keough

½ Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me A fine new documentary by Chiemi Karasawa about the Grand Old Broad of Broadway, her final cabaret show, and subsequent retirement to Michigan. Affectionate and unflinching, the movie’s a portrait of a tough yet vulnerable woman fighting age with everything she’s got, giving in, getting scared, and fighting some more. (80 min., unrated)

Ty Burr

A Field in England A black-and-white psychological horror drama, set during Britain’s 17th-century Civil Wars and involving buried treasure and hallucinogenic mushrooms? All in a day’s work for director Ben Wheatley (“Kill List,” “Sightseers”). Mesmerizingly strange and often very funny, it suggests a period film made by Samuel Beckett in one of his more playful moods. (91 min., unrated)

Ty Burr

Generation War, Parts 1 & 2 Nearly 70 years after the end of World War II, perhaps it is time for a movie depicting the plight of average Germans, exploring their moral dilemmas and disastrous choices in the hopes of understanding how such unthinkable evil was possible. This very long soap opera, though affecting at times, is not that movie. In German, with subtitles. (279 min., unrated)

Peter Keough

Hank: Five Years From the Brink Five years after the world economy teetered on the abyss, Hank Paulson, then Treasury secretary, explains how he coped with catastrophic crises and saved the day with a $700 billion bailout of unconscionably truant financial institutions. That’s his story, anyway, and it would be more believable had director Joe Berlinger been a little tougher in questioning it. (86 min., unrated)

Peter Keough

Jimmy P. Benicio del Toro plays a WWII vet and member of the Montana Blackfeet Nation plagued by nightmares; Mathieu Amalric plays the psychoanalytic ethnologist hired to treat him. Avoiding standard story beats of breakthrough and closure, director Arnaud Desplechin has taken an actual case history and fashioned a densely satisfying drama about Freud, racism, and sympathy in its largest sense. (117 min., unrated) (Ty Burr)

Ty Burr

Mr. Peabody & Sherman There was a pretty clear blueprint for this feature update of the sly ’60s cartoon about time-traveling brainiac dog Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell) and his adopted human son, Sherman (Max Charles). Don’t dumb things down, stick to character, give the duo’s WABAC machine a flashy, 3-D animated rebuild, and you’ve got your movie. The filmmakers do this, but they also add some uneven emotional elements. (92 min., PG)

Tom Russo

An archive of reviews is at
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