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Movie Stars

Recent movie reviews

Zoe Saldana (left) and Chris Pratt in “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Jay Maidment/Marvel 2014

Zoe Saldana (left) and Chris Pratt in “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

New releases

½ Alive Inside Dan Cohen had the notion to restore the spirits of elderly people suffering from dementia by playing them their favorite songs on iPods. The results, as this documentary shows, can be dramatic. But the film goes from uplifting to unrealistic as it tries to sell the technique as a panacea for a disease that has claimed millions. (73 min., unrated) (Peter Keough)

Code Black Physician Ryan McGarry captures the tumult and suffering of LA County Hospital’s emergency unit and candidly profiles the young residents who devote themselves to healing the low-income patients for whom this is the only resort. It’s a microcosm of a failing health care system, but the film falls short of exploring the causes. (78 min., unrated) (Peter Keough)

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Get on Up The story of James Brown, from the director of “The Help” and featuring the star of “42.” There are Hollywood touches and the script is something of a mess, but it has the sweat and it has Chadwick Boseman, surprisingly convincing as Brown, and above all it has the music. That’s all it takes, really. (138 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

Guardians of the Galaxy In Marvel’s latest, Chris Pratt is a roguish space adventurer who teams up with a green-skinned assassin (Zoe Saldana), a cybernetic raccoon (Bradley Cooper), a walking tree (Vin Diesel), and a vengeful hardcase (wrestler Dave Bautista). The motley crew’s repartee makes for comedy that’s surprisingly consistent. The group hooked us on a goofy feeling with the movie’s trailers, and here they make good on the tease. (121 min., PG-13) (Tom Russo)

Le Chef A sour French rehash of the increasingly popular gastronome genre features a nerdy, aspiring chef teaming up with an established maestro to fend off purveyors of bad taste while indulging in it themselves. Just goes to show that when it comes to lowbrow, offensive humor the French can compete with Hollywood. In French, with subtitles. (85 min., PG-13) (Peter Keough)

Magic in the Moonlight 1920s Europe: A stage magician (Colin Firth) tries to debunk a young American medium (Emma Stone) but ends up falling for her. Resolutely minor Woody Allen, forgettable and above all predictable — the work of a man who has been making movies for so long he appears to have forgotten why. (97 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

½ Me and You A teenage misfit (Jacopo Olmo Antinori) and his junkie half-sister (Tea Falco) form an intense emotional bond while hiding from the world in a basement. A trivial work from Bernardo Bertolucci, but the old master remains a master even in miniature, and this dark, hermetic tale has its swoony pleasures. In Italian, with subtitles. (103 min., unrated) (Ty Burr)

Previously released

½ A Most Wanted Man The late Philip Seymour Hoffman, in a masterful final leading performance, plays one of author John le Carré’s people: a German spymaster trying to do the right thing in a morally gray post-9/11 landscape. Steadily directed by photographer Anton Corbijn, this is a thriller for grown-ups — patient, subtle, rewarding. With Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, and Robin Wright. (121 min., R) (Ty Burr)

½ And So It Goes The title of Rob Reiner’s latest might as well be a eulogy for his career. A heartfelt but hapless comedy about an aging crank (Michael Douglas), his widowed neighbor (Diane Keaton, classing up the joint), and the granddaughter (Sterling Jerins) he didn’t know he had, it’s a low-budget TV movie that somehow escaped to the big screen. (94 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

Begin Again A struggling songwriter (Keira Knightley) joins with a burned-out record producer (Mark Ruffalo) to record an album on the streets and rooftops of New York. What felt authentic and fresh in John Carney’s 2006 indie hit “Once” has curdled into calculation in his follow-up. Pleasantly predictable if you’re in the mood; unbearable if not. (104 min., R) (Ty Burr)

½ I Origins A neurobiologist (Michael Pitt) researching the human eye discovers some heavy things about the human soul. An intriguing but not very convincing mixture of science and faith — or rationality and balderdash, as you will — from writer-director Mike Cahill, whose “Another Earth” trod similar ground with more success. With Brit Marling and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey. (113 min., R) (Ty Burr)

Tammy The new Melissa McCarthy comedy is something unusual: A congenially terrible movie. A road film that pairs the star’s small-town screw-up with her whiskey-soaked grandma (Susan Sarandon), it’s a scattershot mess. But it’s also a female-centric slapstick comedy set in the American underclass, and everyone here seems to appreciate the difference. With Kathy Bates, Mark Duplass, and Gary Cole. (97 min., R) (Ty Burr)

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