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    Movie capsules: Short reviews of what’s in theaters

    Eddy Briere

    New releases

    Austenland A rich comic notion — a lovelorn “Pride and Prejudice” fanatic (Keri Russell) visits a Jane Austen theme park — gets a depressingly cartoonish treatment from first-time director Jerusha Hess. Any spoof has to be at least as smart as the thing it’s spoofing, but this one’s twice as dumb. With Jennifer Coolidge, so cringe-inducing you laugh in shame. (97 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

    Closed Circuit London has a reputation as a city where surveillance technology is especially pervasive. So you hear this political thriller’s title, and you instantly start to imagine the creepy possibilities — none of which are explored by this familiar bureaucratic conspiracy exercise. Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall are lawyers and ex-lovers pulled into an unsurprising mystery as they defend a Muslim immigrant accused in a marketplace bombing. (96 min., R) (Tom Russo)

    Getaway Ethan Hawke plays a washed-up race car driver who discovers his wife has been kidnapped, then gets a call from a mystery strings-puller ordering him to steal a Ford Shelby and get moving. Selena Gomez is the car’s peeved owner, who ends up along for the ride. It’s hard to remember another action entry that expends so much energy on frenetic blacktop choreography with so little to show for it. (90 min., PG-13) (Tom Russo)


    The Grandmaster Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai’s evocative biopic of legendary kung fu master Ip Man makes up for what it lacks in the conventional narrative with its poetic imagery and emotional depth. A treat for martial arts fans and for those enamored of Wong’s lush imagery, existentially damaged characters, and abiding mood of ennui and sorrow. In Mandarin, Cantonese, and Japanese, with subtitles. (108 min., PG-13) (Peter Keough)

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    I Declare War Adolescents playing a souped-up game of Capture the Flag slip in and out of imaginary and real conflict as their personal foibles and preoccupations get the better of them. But the characters don’t come across as real kids, and the premise sags into contrivance and clichés. (94 min., unrated) (Peter Keough)

    ½ The Lifeguard Kristen Bell plays a woman who panics as the big 3-0 approaches, moves back to her hometown, and winds up in an affair with a 16-year-old boy (David Lambert, who’s 20 and looks it). In writer-director Liz W. Garcia’s hands, it’s a drama both ickily exploitive and emotionally lugubrious. With Mamie Gummer. (98 min., R) (Ty Burr)

    ½ One Direction: This Is Us The big-screen concert documentary seems likely to please this boy-band’s fans but doesn’t bother trying to win over anyone else. The members come off as charming, likable goof-offs, but there’s little differentiating them beyond their hairstyles. (92 min., PG) (Marc Hirsh)

    ½ Short Term 12 A quietly overwhelming drama set in a residential facility for troubled teenagers, Destin Cretton’s film emphasizes low-key moments of humanity. Brie Larson stars as a staffer with issues of her own; Cretton has padded her backstory out from his superior 2008 short version, but this is still a tough, lovely film. (96 min., R) (Ty Burr)


    Thérèse In Bordeaux in the 1920s the discontented wife of a wealthy bourgeois commits an act that might not be in her best interests in Claude Miller’s beautifully shot but listless and unfocused adaptation of François Mauriac’s novel. Audrey Tautou, miscast in the lead, gives an affectless performance punctuated by cigarettes. In French, with subtitles. (110 min., unrated) (Peter Keough)

    Previously released

    ½ The Attack A distinguished Palestinian-Israeli physician’s attempt to comprehend a suicide bombing becomes more urgent when the terrorist turns out to be his wife, a tragedy that forces him to reconsider his shaky status in his adopted homeland. Though at times contrived and implausible, Ziad Doueiri’s treatment of this provocative premise confronts the mysteries of motivation and the dilemmas of divided loyalty. In Arabic and Hebrew, with subtitles. (102 min., R) (Peter Keough)

    ½ The Butler The story of an African-American White House butler (Forest Whitaker) who was a fly on the wall of the civil rights struggle, the Vietnam War, Watergate, and more. The cast is stacked with stars, but director Lee Daniels wants us to look hard at a man who thought the only way forward was to be invisible. (126 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

    Cutie and the Boxer A marriage between two artists doesn’t always lead to domestic tranquillity, as is demonstrated in Zachary Heinzerling’s impressionistic documentary about Ushio and Noriko Shinohara. Despite hard times, the Japanese-born couple has stayed together for 40 years, still pursuing their art and squabbling in their garret-like Brooklyn loft. This portrait of the artists is all the more inspiring because of its harsh honesty. (82 min., R) (Peter Keough)

    ½ Fruitvale Station An American tragedy: The final day on earth of Oscar Grant (a terrific Michael B. Jordan), shot in the back in 2009 by a San Francisco transit officer. Writer-director Ryan Coogler focuses on the smaller struggles, satisfactions, and injustices of a young man’s life. One of the most necessary films of the year. With Octavia Spencer and Melonie Diaz. (85 min., R) (Ty Burr)


    In a World . . . Lake Bell proves yet again that women are as funny, if not more so, than their uptight male counterparts. She directs and writes this hilarious comedy, and also stars as a voice coach who hopes to break into the macho bastion of movie trailer voice-overs, despite her biggest obstacle, her father, a voice-over legend. The result is narratively bumpy, but exhilarating and hilarious. (93 min., R) (Peter Keough)

    Jobs The first of two biopics of the late founder of Apple (another written by Aaron Sorkin is in development) features a compelling performance by Ashton Kutcher in the title role but otherwise reduces the man’s life to a series of inspirations, tirades, and motivational speeches set in corporate boardrooms. It seems like an extended Apple ad, with a few gossipy asides, but less entertaining. (127 min., PG-13) (Peter Keough)

    ½ The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones In an attempt to become the next big teenage fantasy franchise (think “Harry Potter,” “Twilight,” “The Hunger Games”), this adaptation of the first in Cassandra Clare’s series of books steals from all of them. A teenage girl glimpses an underworld of supernatural good and evil that soon descends into the realm of self-parody. (120 min., PG-13) (Peter Keough)

    ½ Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters In this second installment of the mythology-rooted YA series, Percy (Logan Lerman) and his pals set out for the Bermuda Triangle to find the Golden Fleece. But oh, all the gods-darned obstacles complicating their quest, including self-doubt, a cryptic prophecy, and Percy’s tagalong, Cyclops half-brother. Like the first movie, there’s some unabashed “Harry Potter” cribbing and thin emotion, but when the fantasy spectacle clicks, you’ll feel forgiving. (106 min., PG) (Tom Russo)

    Prince Avalanche This lyrical little oddity returns filmmaker David Gordon Green to form. A remake of the 2011 Icelandic film “Either Way,” it transfers the action to the barren Texas wilderness, destroyed by wildfires in 1988. Alvin (Paul Rudd) and Lance (Emile Hirsch) are spending the summer painting bright yellow traffic lines on empty roads. Not much happens besides arguing and joking in this “Waiting for Godot”-like character study, but the performances and melancholic atmosphere make it satisfying twist on the male buddy film. (94 min., R) (Loren King)

    ½ The Spectacular Now A clear-eyed, disarmingly tender teen romance that bears comparison with the best of its genre, both old (“Say Anything. . . ”) and new (“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”). Miles Teller plays a beloved class cut-up with a drinking problem; Shailene Woodley is the quiet nobody he unexpectedly falls for. (95 min., R) (Ty Burr)

    ½ The World’s End The third and weakest in the “Shaun of the Dead”/“Hot Fuzz” series from director-writer Edgar Wright, writer-star Simon Pegg, and costar Nick Frost, this juggles an epic pub crawl, male middle-age crises, and an attack of alien cyborgs. It’s more frantic than funny, but it’s still funny enough — just. With Rosamund Pike. (109 min., R) (Ty Burr)

    You’re Next In this taut, twisted, and gratifying exercise in the home invasion scenario, Adam Wingard plays with stereotypes and subverts them. A dysfunctional family gathers for an anniversary, and unknown assailants put them out of their misery. But all is not as it seems, and Wingard reverses expectations in what proves to be a perverse parable of family values. (94 min., R) (Peter Keough)

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