Movie Stars

Short reviews of what’s in theaters

Steve Coogan in the title role of “Alan Partridge.”
Magnolia Pictures
Steve Coogan in the title role of “Alan Partridge.”

Previously released

Alan Partridge The fatuous local radio DJ created by comic actor Steve Coogan has been bouncing around England since 1991 in various formats, but this is the character’s first big-screen iteration. It’s refreshingly small, rude, and funny — the cinematic equivalent of Marmite, but try some, you might like it. With Colm Meaney. (90 min., R) (Ty Burr)

Brick Mansions Luc Besson riffed on “Escape From New York” a decade ago with “District B13,” a dystopian look at a walled-off Paris ghetto. Now comes the Besson-scripted Americanized remake, featuring the late Paul Walker in one of his final roles. An equal draw is parkour pioneer David Belle, who reprises his “B13” role. Belle’s act hasn’t gotten old, but there could be more of it. (89 min., PG-13) (Tom Russo)

Dancing in Jaffa Hilla Medalia’s uplifting documentary about ballroom dancing champion Pierre Dulaine’s attempt to bring together Palestinian and Jewish schoolchildren in his native Jaffa by teaching them to dance rushes through the messy process. The laborious practicing, conflicts, and disappointments barely register, but his success is impressive enough without the step-by-step details. In English, Arabic and Hebrew, with subtitles. (100 min., unrated) (Peter Keough)


½ Dom Hemingway The cockney gangster has become a movie tradition, a sociopath more violent, depraved, and long-winded than his American cousin. Writer-director Richard Shepard parodies this conventional character by piling on the clownishness, sentimentality, and verbiage, not to mention 20 pounds to Jude Law’s waistline. Funny in a self-indulgent way, but at the expense of the darkness and danger essential to the genre. (93 min., R) (Peter Keough)

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Only Lovers Left Alive Writer-director Jim Jarmusch turns one of his silliest notions — a pair of pale late-night hipsters (Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton) are actually centuries-old vampires — into one of the more affecting movies of his career. Swinton has rarely been so tender; Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt, and Anton Yelchin play along nicely. (123 min., R) (Ty Burr)

½ On My Way Emmanuelle Bercot’s amusingly rambling drama adds some wrinkles to the geriatric road-movie formula: It’s from France, the main character is a woman rather than a man, and she’s played by the ageless, elegant Catherine Deneuve, doing her level best to look like a wreck. The film hits the expected rest stops with a Gallic shrug and a lot of Gauloises. In French, with subtitles. (116 min., unrated) (Ty Burr)

The Quiet Ones The tired clichés of found footage and demonically possessed women get a run-through in this silly horror film from the new Hammer studio. In the ’70s an Oxford professor and three assistants (one with a camera) try to materialize a disturbed woman’s psychosis and get more than they bargained for. (97 minutes, PG-13) (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)


½ That Demon Within Dave Wong is a good Hong Kong cop, or wants to be. After donating blood that saves the life of a mob leader, Wong goes off the deep end. Director Dante Lam juggles so many tropes — the vigilante cop, the man with a mysterious past — everything tumbles. Maybe there’s a half-realized Hitchcockian psychodrama buried somewhere within. But what’s on the surface plays more like Wong and Lam simply forgot to take their meds. In Cantonese, with English and Chinese subtitles. (112 min., unrated) (Ethan Gilsdorf)

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 Pfister (the “Dark Knight” series) gives great surface and little else. (119 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

Under the Skin A pretty good “Twilight Zone” idea — a beautiful alien (blank-faced Scarlett Johansson) stalks Scotland searching for male prey — is given a visionary midnight movie treatment by director Jonathan Glazer. The movie’s a cinematic puzzle that snaps together surprisingly easily yet whose larger meanings remain tantalizingly out of reach. (108 min., R) (Ty Burr)

Walking With the Enemy When it comes to depictions of the Holocaust, good taste is the most tasteless approach of all. Or that’s the lesson to be drawn from this dramatization of the real-life heroics of Pinchas Rosenbaum, who rescued hundreds of his fellow Hungarian Jews during World War II. (123 min., unrated) (Peter Keough)

½ When I Saw You Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir’s subtle and 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)


½ The Zigzag Kid A delightful kids’ film from Europe, about a 13-year-old budding criminologist (Thomas Simon), his police inspector dad, and the twinkly old burglar (Burghart Klaussner) who may be part of the family. Isabella Rossellini figures in here as well, playing an aging chanteuse. Think “Hugo” meets “Emil and the Detectives.” In English, Dutch, and French, with subtitles. (95 min., unrated) (Ty Burr)

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