Movie Stars

Movie capsules: Short reviews of what’s in theaters

Jean Claude Lother/Music Box Films

New releases

Augustine Much in the spirit of David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method” is this impressive dramatization of the relationship of the pioneering neurologist Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot, proponent of the controversial theory of hysteria, and his most famous patient, the young, disturbed kitchen maid of the title. First-time director Alice Winocour avoids stereotypes, and through striking imagery and fine performances humanizes a complex and ambiguous story. (102 min., unrated) (Peter Keough)

½ The Bling Ring Based on a Vanity Fair article about a group of Los Angeles teens who robbed celebrity homes for clothes and thrills, Sofia Coppola’s film bears some resemblance to the recent “Spring Breakers” but without the go-for-broke craziness. It’s gorgeous, distanced, and monotonous, but Emma Watson is very good as the most soulless of the crew. (90 min., R) (Ty Burr)

½ Fill the Void The Hasidic community has often been stereotyped in films, but in Rama Burshtein’s outstanding debut it comes alive in vivid detail, providing the setting for this subtly told story about a young woman’s dilemma following the death of her sister in childbirth. Outstanding performances help transcend preconceptions in this exploration of the universal themes of love, loyalty, and loss. In Hebrew, with subtitles. (90 min., PG) (Peter Keough)


The Iran Job Kevin Sheppard, an African-American, is a classic fish out of water, as he plays point guard for an Iranian professional basketball team. Till Schauder’s lively, engaging documentary follows Sheppard during the 2008-09 season. As intriguing as the situation is — can you say “hoop dreams” in Farsi? — what makes the documentary is Sheppard’s exuberant personality. In English and Farsi, with subtitles. (91 min., unrated) (Mark Feeney)

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½ Monsters University Better than “Cars 2” but not by enough, and further evidence that Pixar’s Golden Age may be in the past. It’s a prequel, the story of how Mike (voiced once more by Billy Crystal) met Sulley (John Goodman) at college. Small children will have a blast, but it’s still closer to average than any Pixar movie should be. (110 min., G) (Ty Burr)

½ Much Ado About Nothing Just about the sloppiest Shakespeare ever put on the screen, Joss Whedon’s black-and-white house party may also be the most exhilarating — a profound, crowd-pleasing trifle that reminds you how close Shakespeare’s comedies verge on darkness before pirouetting back into the light. Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof are wonderful as sparring lovers Beatrice and Benedick. (107 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself Ten years after his death, the celebrated participatory journalist (“Paper Lion”), bon vivant, and editor of the literary quarterly Paris Review remains as interesting as ever — and a terrific documentary subject. With all his semi-comic attempts at being an NFL quarterback or NHL goalie, who knew that he had such a talent for an equally rarefied occupation: movie star? (86 min., unrated) (Mark Feeney)

½ Sign Painters The title tells you exactly what this documentary’s about. What it doesn’t tell you is that it’s fresh and articulate, passionate and unexpected. Thirty or so practitioners discuss their craft, and we get to see their wares. One of them, Phil Vandervaart, says of the profession, “It’s meant to convey information and be attractive.” That describes the movie, too. (80 min., unrated) (Mark Feeney)


World War Z The surprise of this absorbing, frightening apocalyptic drama is that what sounds ridiculous on paper — Brad Pitt as a globe-trotting UN employee fighting legions of the undead — turns out to be a gripper on the screen. It’s the rare zombie flick that’s mostly about the frail pleasures of being alive. (117 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

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