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Colin Farrell and Jessica Brown Findlay star in “Winter’s Tale,” Akiva Goldsman’s adaptation of Mark Helprin’s novel.
David C. Lee/Warner Bros.
Colin Farrell and Jessica Brown Findlay star in “Winter’s Tale,” Akiva Goldsman’s adaptation of Mark Helprin’s novel.

New releases

½ 12 O’Clock Boys A short, scrappy, ambiguous documentary about the poorer sections of Baltimore and the young men who get their kicks riding dirt bikes through the streets en masse, popping wheelies and dodging the police. Director Lotfy Nathan’s focus on a young wannabe rider named Pug grows increasingly problematic as the film goes on. (75 min., unrated) (Ty Burr)

½ About Last Night What began as David Mamet’s lacerating 1974 play “Sexual Perversity in Chicago” and was bowdlerized into the edgy but mainstream Brat Pack semi-classic “About Last Night . . .” (1986) has now become wholly generic, despite the non-novelty of an African-American cast. Kevin Hart is bumptiously funny, but that’s about it. With Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, and Joy Bryant. (100 min., R) (Ty Burr)

½ Endless Love Shana Feste’s strategy in this remake of the 1981 potboiler consists of sleek bliss montages backed with treacly pop music intermittently broken by melodrama. Working-class hunk David and rich and vapid Jade know they are meant for each other, and not even her dad’s snobby neuroses or David’s checkered past will stand in the way of the title illusion. (105 min., PG-13) (Peter Keough)


½ Like Father, Like Son The skilled sentimentalist Hirokazu Kore-eda puts in a pleasing, subpar effort in this tale of two families, one rich and joyless, the other poor and full of love, who discover that their 6-year-old sons were exchanged at birth. With subtlety and nuance Kore-eda reaffirms the truths that money can’t buy love and you should spend more time with your kids. In Japanese, with subtitles. (121 min., unrated) (Peter Keough)

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Robocop Aside from a few tart observations about current trends in robo-warfare, this remake of Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 sci-fi classic is business as usual: an acceptably muscle-bound B-movie whose few fresh plot twists and solid supporting cast (Michael Keaton, Gary Oldman) are drowned out by dull action choreography and a flavorless lead actor (Joel Kinnaman). (118 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

Winter’s Tale Writer-director Akiva Goldsman takes a meat tenderizer to Mark Helprin’s epic 1983 magical-realist novel, hammering away until all that’s left is romantic-fantasy mush. Colin Farrell plays a heroic burglar in pre-WWI Manhattan, Jessica Brown Findlay is the rich girl he loves, and Russell Crowe is a demonic (no, really) gang leader after Farrell’s soul. (118 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

Previously released

12 Years a Slave It isn’t the story of an American tragedy. It’s the story of the American tragedy — this country’s original sin. The true saga of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free-born black man kidnapped from New York state in 1841 and sold into slavery in Louisiana, the movie’s to slavery what “Schindler’s List” was to the Holocaust: a mass-appeal reckoning. Directed by Steve McQueen. (133 min., R) (Ty Burr)

American Hustle The title is perfect for this exuberant con job of a movie: a sloppy, miscast, hammed up, overlong, overloud story that still sends you out of the theater on a bouncy little cloud of rapture. Director David O. Russell and stars Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence address the 1980s Abscam scandal, sort of. (138 min., R) (Ty Burr)


August: Osage County A black comedy of prairie family dysfunction, stolidly adapted from Tracy Letts’s 2007 play. At its center, in one of her most flamboyant yet gimmicky performances, is Meryl Streep as cancerous, poisonous matriarch Viola Weston. A fine guilty pleasure rather than a great movie, with a cast that includes Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, and Margo Martindale. (121 min., R) (Ty Burr)

Frozen Disney animators prove that “Tangled” wasn’t a fluke with their similar-skewing loose riff on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Snow Queen.” Kristen Bell injects peppy personality into the story as princess of a kingdom plunged into eternal winter by the frost powers of her misunderstood sister. Josh Gad is hilarious as a snowman who dreams of how wonderful summer must be. (108 min., PG) (Tom Russo)

Her Joaquin Phoenix plays a nice, lonely guy who falls in love with his computer’s operating system, which speaks in the voice of Scarlett Johansson. What could have been a horror movie, a farce, or a disaster is a profoundly touching meditation on what it means to be human and where our machines may be taking us. Written and directed by Spike Jonze. With Amy Adams. (120 min., R) (Ty Burr)

½ Inside Llewyn Davis A transporting cinematic experience with a churl at its center. The Coen brothers re-create the 1960s Greenwich Village folk scene with a mix of poetry and sweet jaundice, and Oscar Isaac is excellent as the brilliant creep of the title. The music almost saves him, and definitely saves the film. (105 min., R) (Ty Burr)

½ The LEGO Movie A witty, exuberant series of comic riffs on creativity, made with a mixture of CGI and stop-motion animation and using 3-D to invite us into its brightly knubbled world. It’s the first great movie of 2014. Voice talent includes Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, and Shaquille O’Neal. (100 min., PG) (Ty Burr)


The Monuments Men A sadly misfired World War II drama about a ragtag team of curators in uniform searching for Nazi troves of stolen art. It’s a great story (and mostly true), but director-writer-star George Clooney can’t decide whether he’s making a caper comedy, a patriotic drama, or a historical adventure. With Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, and Bill Murray. (118 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

½ Nebraska The latest from Alexander Payne is a desolate, often powerfully moving comedy-drama about fathers, sons, life’s highways, and missed off-ramps. Bruce Dern plays an ornery old coot on a road trip to claim a sweepstakes prize and Will Forte, unexpectedly good, is the grown son trying to get him there. (115 min., R) (Ty Burr)

½ Philomena A tearjerker of rare honesty and craft, based on the story of Philomena Lee (Judi Dench), who in her 70s decided she wanted to find the illegitimate son the Catholic Church took from her and sold in 1950s Ireland. Steve Coogan plays the posh journalist who helps her and Stephen Frears directs, keeping sentimentality at bay. (96 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

½ The Wolf of Wall Street One of the funniest yet most depressing movies of Martin Scorsese’s career — a celebration and evisceration of male savagery, financial division. Leonardo DiCaprio gives a wily, loose-limbed comic performance as Jordan Belfort, go-go hustler of the 1990s. But, at three hours, the parade of creepy macho excess threatens to turn smug. With Jonah Hill. (180 min., R) (Ty Burr)

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