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    Movie Stars

    Movie capsules: Short reviews of what’s in theaters

    Sandra Bullock (left) and Melissa McCarthy in “The Heat.”
    20th century fox
    Sandra Bullock (left) and Melissa McCarthy in “The Heat.”

    New releases

    The Heat If you’re going to make a dopey, foulmouthed, predictable lady-buddy-cop movie, you might as well make it funny. And until it overstays its welcome in the final half-hour, “The Heat” is shamefully funny. Prissy Sandra Bullock and slobby Melissa McCarthy have genuine chemistry, and director Paul Feig (”Bridesmaids”) makes nice use of Boston locations and action-comedy clichés. (117 min., R) (Ty Burr)

    ½ White House Down Not known for subtlety or sense, Roland Emmerich outdoes himself in this hilariously overheated action thriller about an assault on the White House by terrorists with an apocalyptic agenda. Jamie Foxx, as the president, and Channing Tatum, as the unlikely hero who protects him, are good sports, but Emmerich might be the only one who isn’t laughing at this presumably unintentional comedy. (129 min., PG-13) (Peter Keough)

    Previously released

    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 Berberian Sound Studio Set in a ’70s Italian studio that dubs sound effects and dialogue for horror movies, Peter Strickland’s psychological thriller skillfully evokes horror films like Dario Argento’s “Suspiria” while it sends its hero, a meek sound engineer played by an outstanding Toby Jones, into the private hell of films like Roman Polanski’s “The Tenant” and David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive.” (92 min., unrated) (Peter Keough)

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    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)

    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)

    Post Tenebras Lux Despite or because of the film’s extreme scenes of sex and violence, Mexican director Carlos Reygadas has created another genuinely religious work with this chronologically cockeyed, nightmarish, and transgressive meditation on the lives of an upper-class family and their lumpen counterparts. Set at a country estate, it combines stunning beauty and wrenching ugliness to achieve a kind of transcendence. In Spanish, French, and English, with subtitles. (115 min., unrated) (Peter Keough)

    An archive of reviews is at