Movie Stars

Recent movie reviews

Tom Hanks stars in “Captain Phillips.’’
Hopper Stone/SMPSP
Tom Hanks stars in “Captain Phillips.’’

New releases

½ A.C.O.D. The title stands for “Adult Children of Divorce,” apparently a subject director/co-writer Stu Zicherman knows all too well. A slim, predictable, but often very funny light comedy of emotional angst, the movie stars Adam Scott and is blessed with a cast of pro farceurs like Richard Jenkins, Catherine O’Hara, Jane Lynch, and Amy Poehler. (90 min., R) (Ty Burr)

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane Jonathan Levine’s intended feature debut (stuck on a shelf since 2006) doesn’t add much to the reputation of the director of such superior films as “The Wackness” (2008). A perfunctory attempt to subvert the teen slasher genre, the film seems more academic exercise than genuine exploration. The enigmatic appeal of the title heroine devolves into pointless gore and contrived plotting. (90 min., R) (Peter Keough)

½ Captain Phillips An extraordinarily gripping movie based on events that took place on the container ship Maersk Alabama in April 2009. Director Paul Greengrass creates an aura of urgency so powerful that we temporarily forget what we know and hold our breath for two-plus hours of tightening suspense. Tom Hanks and the magnetic Barkhad Abdi star. In English and Somali, with subtitles. (134 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)


½ Escape From Tomorrow Randy Moore’s first feature is a sardonic parody of Disney World, which unfortunately is a parody of itself, making further satire unnecessary. Nonetheless he scores style points for the retro look and sound of this tale of a family guy who loses his job while vacationing at the theme park, and then loses his mind as his fantasies supplant Walt’s. (90 min., unrated) (Peter Keough)

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½ Free the Mind Phie Ambo’s easy to digest documentary follows “closet meditator” Richard Davidson in his Center for Investigating Healthy Minds. Davidson and his data are interesting, but the film wisely focuses on two Afghanistan war vets suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and a 5-year-old with ADHD, all using Davidson’s techniques to get healthier. (79 min., unrated) (Loren King)

Linsanity This documentary about NBA point guard Jeremy Lin, the Asian-American Harvard grad who briefly became a sports-world sensation in 2012, is lively but overlong. A little game footage can go a long way; and a lot of game footage, no matter how good, goes a very long way. Also, the amiable and modest young man we meet isn’t the compelling figure he is on the court. (88 min., PG) (Mark Feeney)

½ Machete Kills Director Robert Rodriguez keeps the “Grindhouse” dream alive. Craggy-faced Danny Trejo returns as hyperviolently vengeful tough guy Machete. He’s enlisted to take down a Mexican revolutionary (Demian Bichir) by an f-bombing US president (Charlie Sheen). It’s not the sort of obsessive stylistic throwback we might expect, but more a conceptual throwback, to days when low-budget mavericks gleefully deemed any crazy idea worth tossing into a movie. (107 min., R) (Tom Russo)

Muscle Shoals The documentary takes its name from the small northern Alabama town with not one but two legendary recording studios. The focus is on music producer Rick Hall and the legendary crew of backup musicians known as the Swampers. The film can be annoyingly slick and overproduced. Oh well. The music and the musicians are what matter, and they’re often magnificent. (111 min., PG) (Mark Feeney)


Romeo and Juliet Apparently aimed at a youth audience weaned on “Gossip Girl,” this insipid snoozer cuts most of Shakespeare’s speeches, invents stupid new dialogue, and features young actors who are clueless and older pros who overact. It’s a movie only a 13-year-old girl with an English paper due could love. And she’d still get a D. (118 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

½ We Are What We Are A secretive fundamentalist family in upstate New York begins to reveal its secrets when the mother dies and rains flood the area. Based on the Mexican horror film “Somos lo que hay” (2010), this ambitious, beautifully shot, and sometimes chilling thriller has too much on its plate, ladling on a mythic and anthropological subtext and a critique of patriarchal religion. (105 min., R) (Peter Keough)

Previously released

½ Gravity The prodigiously gifted director Alfonso Cuarón maroons Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in outer space. The movie’s an astonishingly detailed, visually painstaking state-of-the-art production that advances what the cinema can show us — even as the human story at its center feels thin after a while. Some screenings are in 3-D IMAX; they’re worth it. (90 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

Herb & Dorothy 50x50
A follow-up to “Herb & Dorothy” (2009), this documentary follows the title project, collectors Herb and Dorothy Vogel’s plan to bequeath some of the 5,000 art objects they have accumulated in their apartment to museums in all 50 states. The Vogels are amazing, the artwork provocative, and the reactions of viewers in the sticks priceless. (87 min., unrated) (Peter Keough)

Prisoners At 146 minutes, it often groans under its own self-importance, but Denis Villeneuve's kidnapping thriller — about the disappearance of two little girls — is as gripping as it is grueling. Hugh Jackman plays the most volatile of the four parents and Jake Gyllenhaal is the smart, increasingly stressed detective on the case. (146 min., R) (Ty Burr)


½ Runner Runner A depressingly generic gambling thriller starring Justin Timberlake as an ambitious twerp and Ben Affleck as an online betting tycoon. It’s not that the movie’s predictable. It’s that you don’t care about the characters or what happens to them. (91 min., R) (Ty Burr)

½ Wadjda The first woman to direct a feature film in Saudi Arabia, Haifaa Al Mansour has created an unforgettable character, played by Waad Mohammed. A funny, indomitable 10-year-old, she breaks many of her society’s rules, especially in her determination to buy a bike. More than a critique of prejudice and iniquity, the film celebrates the independent spirit. In Arabic, with subtitles. (97 min., PG) (Peter Keough)

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