Movie Stars

Short reviews of what’s in theaters

A scene from the IMAX documentary “Pandas: The Journey Home.”
Yang Dan
A scene from the IMAX documentary “Pandas: The Journey Home.”

Newly released

Alphaville Jean-luc Godard’s 1965 sci-fi detective story is a work of slapdash pop art that decades ahead of schedule rages against the machine. American B-movie star Eddie Constantine plays Lemmy Caution, infiltrating the computerized city of tomorrow, played by the Paris of the then-modern day. Featuring an incandescent Anna Karina. In a digitally restored print, with new subtitles. (99 min., unrated) (Ty Burr)

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 An improvement over 2012’s “The Amazing Spider-Man,” meaning interestingly mediocre instead of actively bad. Andrew Garfield has finally found onscreen chemistry with costar/girlfriend Emma Stone, and their scenes together are affecting if nearly content-free. With a freaky blue Jamie Foxx as Electro and an underutilized Dane DeHaan as the Green Goblin. Some screenings in 3-D. (142 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

Blue Ruin This stylish and efficient film noir takes on a familiar scenario: a person marginalized by society and crushed by circumstances who strikes out with violence against injustice. Unlike other treatments of this theme, director Jeremy Saulnier’s film doesn’t condescendingly highlight the sordid details but treats his characters with respect. That, however, does not stop Saulnier from also treating them with detachment and brutality. (92 min., R) (Peter Keough)


Fading Gigolo Writer-director John Turturro plays a courtly schmo who turns to the sex trade when the economy bottoms out. What could be a dreary farce stays on the right side of ridiculous thanks to Turturro’s graceful performance, indulgent turns by the rest of the cast (including Woody Allen as an unlikely pimp), and the film’s understanding of loneliness, New York division. (90 min., R) (Ty Burr)

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½ Pandas: The Journey Home Another addition to the cuddly IMAX breed (see also, “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar”), this documentary is directed by Nicolas Brown and narrated by Joely Richardson. It takes us to the Wolong National Nature Reserve, in China’s Sichuan province, for a closer look at efforts to save the black-and-white bears from extinction. Informative and intimate yet visually underwhelming, it’s less
IMAX adventure than rescue project worth applauding. (40 min., unrated) (Janice Page)

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)

½ The Grand Budapest Hotel Wes Anderson is up to his old tricks but with a new confidence that feels like a gift. Set in the fictional country of Zubrowka between the wars, it’s the story of a world-class concierge named Monsieur Gustave (Ralph Fiennes, achingly fine), his adoring bellboy Zero (Tony Revolori), and the intrigues and character actors buzzing around them. (99 min., R) (Ty Burr)


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)

Island of Lemurs: Madagascar Given what kids have had to go by, they might think that lemurs are like the animated King Julien character in “Madagascar.” This IMAX 3-D nature documentary narrated by Morgan Freeman aims to give us the facts about our most-ancient primates. But the animals are so magically entertaining to watch here (helped by some gently mischievous narrative assists), the educational treatment is a fun time in its own right. (45 min., G) (Tom Russo)

½ The Lunchbox A hot lunch is mis-delivered from a neglected wife (Nimrat Kaur) to a lonely widower (Irrfan Khan); letters and something that might be love ensue. A humanist fable from India, the film is actually a romance in the old-school tradition, a “Brief Encounter” transposed to the rhythms and flavors of modern-day Mumbai. Charming and, in its quiet way, revolutionary. In English and in Hindi, with subtitles. (104 min., PG) (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)

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)


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 Raid 2 Welsh filmmaker Gareth Evans and his hero, virtuous rookie cop Rama (Iko Uwais), are back for more in a misleadingly titled sequel to Evans’s 2012 breakout, a fantastically brutal martial-arts showcase. The new film is less raid than mob infiltration, really. And while this undercover yarn might not be as operatically epic as Evans intends, the action continues to be a bloody, bone-crunching wonder. In Indonesian, with subtitles. (148 min., R) (Tom Russo)

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)

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 the real-life heroics of Pinchas Rosenbaum, who rescued hundreds of his fellow Hungarian Jews during World War II. (123 min., unrated) (Peter Keough)

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