Movie Stars

Movie capsules: Short reviews of what’s in theaters

Toni Collette (left), Steve Carell, and Allison Janney star in “The Way, Way Back.’’
Claire Folger
Toni Collette (left), Steve Carell, and Allison Janney star in “The Way, Way Back.’’

New releases

Despicable Me 2 The animators might have done well to call their movie something else, given the lack of despicability Steve Carell’s reformed baddie displays. The scope of the ’toon espionage-adventure goings-on is surprisingly limited, mostly confining Gru and his secret agent soulmate (Kristen Wiig) to a mall, of all places. But the filmmakers so clearly love working on these characters — Gru’s yellow, mutant-elf Minions in particular — their creative joy is infectious. The sequel might not be all that warped, but it’s plenty funny nevertheless. (98 min., PG) (Tom Russo)

Hannah Arendt Margarethe von Trotta fails to bring history alive with this earnest but inert rendition of the philosopher Hannah Arendt’s controversial coverage of the 1961 trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. The veteran German director captures much of the intellectual debate surrounding the events, but doesn’t penetrate the abstractions and explore the emotions that lie beneath the high-minded talk. In English, German, French, Hebrew, and Latin, with subtitles. (113 min., unrated) (Peter Keough)

Just Like a Woman In his first English-language film French-Algerian director Rachid Bouchareb misses an opportunity to explore issues of misogyny and xenophobia in America. In this road movie reminiscent of “Thelma & Louise” two Chicago women from different backgrounds flee oppressive households. In an inventive plot twist they belly-dance in bars and restaurants to pay their way, but otherwise they encounter familiar stereotypes along the way. (90 min., R) (Peter Keough)


Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain Despite an overlong, awkward prologue that makes him seem more insecure than self-deprecating, the hyperactive fireplug Kevin Hart demonstrates some moments of comic genius in this documentary of his sold-out 2012 Madison Square Garden stand-up show. At other times, though, you wish he’d just take a deep breath and not try to explain so much. (75 min., R) (Peter Keough)

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½ The Lone Ranger Ugh. Gore Verbinski’s bloated, overlong, boring western comedy casts Armie Hammer as a bumbling tenderfoot of a Lone Ranger. As Tonto, Johnny Depp shoots off whimsical one-liners in Injun-speak; He’s Jack Sparrow on downers in red-face. The movie features the usual bigger-than-big action “ride” scenes, but save your money for Six Flags. (149 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

More Than Honey In his first documentary, veteran German film director Markus Imhoof, himself from a family of beekeepers, ponders the mysterious decline in the species’ population. His worldwide investigation turns up some fascinating personalities, stunning images, and disturbing facts, and concludes that what’s killing the bees is the same as what’s killing everything else — our shortsighted exploitation of the world’s resources. In English, German, Swiss German, and Mandarin, with subtitles. (95 min., unrated) (Peter Keough)

The Way, Way Back A coming-of-age tale, set on Buzzards Bay, that goes down like a popsicle on a hot day. Liam James plays a teenager who gets lessons in living from Sam Rockwell as the motormouthed king of the local water park. Writer-directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash keep it moving genially if not always freshly. With Steve Carell and Toni Collette. (103 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

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