Movie Stars

Recent movie reviews

Morgan Freeman stars in “Now You See Me.’’
Steve Dietl
Morgan Freeman stars in “Now You See Me.’’

New releases

After Earth Will Smith’s version of Take Your Son to Work Day. He and Jaden Smith play a futuristic father and son who crash-land on an Earth mankind long ago fled; the son has to cross 100 kilometers of dangerous wilderness to save them both. It’s passable entertainment for older kids, but Smith Jr. isn’t yet ready for prime time. (100 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

½ Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay A big part of what’s made Jay a world-renowned card magician (and David Mamet troupe member) is the brisk visual flow he uses to steer an audience’s attention anywhere he chooses. Delivering a documentary equivalent, directors Molly Bernstein and Alan Edelstein intercut their subject’s interview and performance footage with a full program of flashbacks to vaudeville-era and vintage-television acts. (89 min., unrated) (Tom Russo)

Now You See Me Take four master illusionists. Have them pull off some spectacular heists. Even better, have them incorporate the heists in their act. Throw in an appealing cast (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Mélanie Laurent). Sounds promising, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, the resulting film is noisy, empty, and slickly ridiculous. (116 min., PG-13) (Mark Feeney)


½ We Steal Secrets:
The Story of Wikileaks
Julian Assange, silver-haired freedom fighter or creepy cyber-guru? Bradley Manning, courageous whistle-blower or tormented
info-traitor? Alex Gibney’s overlong but fascinating documentary lets you grasp the Wikileaks scandal in its entirety, even if the questions raised are left for us to resolve. (130 min., R) (Ty Burr)

Previously released

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Becoming Traviata Philippe Béziat’s documentary about the staging of Verdi’s “La traviata” at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in France in the summer of 2011 doesn’t have talking heads offering their views. It doesn’t even identify the principal players. Yet what emerges is an illuminating and engaging rehearsal of “Traviata” that even those unfamiliar with the opera will be able to follow from beginning to end. (108 min., unrated) (Jeffrey Gantz)

Epic This fantastical great-outdoors adventure from the “Ice Age” animators is pretty and agreeable, but would need to engage us far more powerfully for that hyperbolic title to fit. The story adapts a William Joyce picture book, but “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” furnishes the more prevalent narrative cues as teen-with-problems Amanda Seyfried winds up magically miniaturized. She finds herself in a veritable enchanted forest filled with “Leaf Men” micro-soldiers guarding against Christoph Waltz’s decay-spreading villain. (102 min., PG) (Tom Russo)

Fast & Furious 6 In another all-hands-on-deck installment, retired racer-robbers Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and crew get a call for help from frenemy Dwayne Johnson, who’s tangling with new bad guy Luke Evans. There’s a significant incentive: Diesel’s lovergirl, fourth-episode casualty Michelle Rodriguez, is mysteriously back among the living and hanging with Evans. The cast shows an easy chemistry and the star-crossed love story also works, in its steroidally melodramatic way. (130 min., PG-13) (Tom Russo)

½ Leviathan Those expecting something along the lines of “Winged Migration” might find this documentary about life and labor on a fishing vessel a challenge. There’s no narrative and often what’s happening on screen is unclear. But the beauty, horror, and surreality of its images and the troubling subtext about the ambiguous nature of our consumer culture make it well worth the effort. (87 min., unrated) (Peter Keough)


Midnight’s Children The talented Deepa Mehta directs from a screenplay Salman Rushdie adapted from his own novel, but the effort to pack an already overstuffed picaresque epic into a film of more than two hours ends up an indigestible stew. Too many subplots spoil the broth in this tale about a man with a big nose and telepathic powers who, along with 581 others, shares India’s birthdate and destiny. In English, Hindi, and Urdu, with subtitles. (140 min., unrated) (Peter Keough)

½ One Track Heart: The Story of Krishna Das First-time feature director Jeremy Frindel, a graduate of Berklee College of Music, creates an engaging look at Krishna Das (born Jeffrey Kagel), the popular 66-year-old Grammy-nominated singer of kirtan, Indian devotional music. The documentary traces his rocky road to spiritual transformation starting with his 1970 visit to India to meet the Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba, better known as Maharaji. There are concert scenes and talking heads, but the film would have been better served by more candid footage of the likable Krishna Das. (72 min., unrated) (Loren King)

Venus and Serena Sports journalists Maiken Baird and Michelle Major made this documentary with the cooperation of the very private Williams sisters. It offers glimpses of their lives, including the disappointing 2011 season when Venus was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and Serena suffered a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. The result is a respectful sports profile that is largely content to stick to the surface. (99 min., unrated) (Loren King)

½ What Maisie Knew A tough, often intensely moving modern-dress adaptation of the Henry James novel, told entirely from the point of view of a 6-year-old Manhattan girl (the remarkable Onate Aprile) as she watches her mother and father (Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan) fight over her. Joanna Vanderham and Alexander Skarsgård costar as better parents than the ones Maisie’s stuck with. (98 min., R) (Ty Burr)

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