Movie Stars

Recent movie capsules

New releases

½ Bears This Disney wildlife documentary looks at the challenging road that leads brown bears to their annual salmon feast. It’s another animal-family portrait overflowing with anthropomorphic appeal – hence the choice of cuddly-bear character actor John C. Reilly as the film’s narrator. Astonishing filmmaking, but a leaner, less conspicuously structured view of the wild might have had even greater impact. (77 min., G) (Tom Russo)

½ Finding Vivian Maier In 2007 more than 100,000 negatives of high artistic quality surfaced at an estate auction. Maier had taken them. She was a solitary eccentric who’d supported herself as a nanny. John Maloof, the discoverer, co-directed this documentary and has a lot of screen time. He’s almost as odd as Maier was. A terrific, arresting story, it gets told not so terrifically and arrestingly. (84 min., unrated) (Mark Feeney)

The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden In the 1930s a German doctor and his mistress set up a refuge from civilization on an island in the Galapagos chain only to have their Eden fall prey to inescapable human nature. Though they have plenty of primary sources, the documentarians needlessly pad their sensational story with present-day interviews. In English and Spanish, with subtitles. (120 min., unrated) (Peter Keough)


½ Heaven Is for Real Todd Burpo’s best-selling book about his young son’s encounter with the afterlife makes for a surprisingly nuanced entry in the Christian film genre, one that asks a lot of questions while holding onto all the answers. The faithful should welcome it; others, not so much. Good performances by Greg Kinnear and Kelly Reilly. (100 min., PG)
(Ty Burr)

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½ In Bloom The chaos following the independence of Georgia serves as the setting for this splendidly acted and subtly told coming of age story. In 1992 Tbilisi (vividly evoked by the great Romanian cinematographer Oleg Mutu) two 14-year-old girls find their friendship challenged by political turmoil, family dysfunction, and an oppressively macho culture. In Georgian, with subtitles. (102 min., unrated) (Peter Keough)

½ The Railway Man A World War II POW movie experienced mostly in the POW’s head decades later. Strictly speaking, it’s a PTSD melodrama, muddling earnestly between grueling flashbacks and modern-day drama. But it also has Colin Firth, who’s better than anyone at portraying Britain’s stiff upper lip cracking under extreme duress. With Nicole Kidman. (116 min., R) (Ty Burr)

Transcendence A shiny Technology Is Scary thriller with thunderous visuals, the usual clichés, and a wasted cast. Johnny Depp performs from a chair as a dead AI genius whose brain has been uploaded to the Internet, and Rebecca Hall is unaccountably dull as his wife. Making his directorial debut, cinematographer Wally Pfiste gives great surface and little else. (119 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

½ When I Saw You Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir’s affecting film sees the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians from the point of view of a boy in a refugee camp after the 1967 war who wants to go home. Though without much historical or political context, this simplification adds clarity to an unending crisis. In Arabic, with subtitles. (93 min., unrated) (Peter Keough)

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