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Movie Stars

Short reviews of what’s in theaters

Newest releases

½ Easy Money: Hard to Kill In this sequel to “Easy Money” (2012), newly paroled money launderer Joel Kinnaman (“RoboCop”) has his hopes for something better dashed by an unscrupulous connection, while drug dealer Matias Varela grabs more of the spotlight as he falls into the same old life traps. The most resonant drama here is all about conveying a self-loathing born of inescapable circumstances. (100 min., unrated) (Tom Russo)

Fatal Assistance After billions of aid and a massive relief effort, the world has mostly moved on from the 2010 Haitian earthquake that killed some 250,000 and devastated an already struggling country. But the Haitians still suffer, the promised recovery has not happened, and in this uneven documentary a Haitian filmmaker tries to explain why. Unfortunately his artistic ambitions muddle the film’s message. In French and Creole, with subtitles. (99 min., unrated) (Peter Keough)

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In Secret Charlie Stratton impressively adapts Emile Zola’s 1867 naturalist novel “Thérèse Raquin,” re-creating the novelist’s jaundiced vision with bleak detachment and black humor. Elizabeth Olsen excels as the adulteress Thérèse, and her assertive, unabashedly passionate character impresses until the story regresses into an affirmation of the status quo and of the femme fatale stereotype. (107 min., R) (Peter Keough)

The Lady From Shanghai Orson Welles, who wrote and directed, plays an Irish seaman (oh, the brogue he affects!) who works on Everett Sloane’s yacht. Sloane’s married to Rita Hayworth, who’s trying to seduce Welles. Yes, the funhouse shootout at the end is one of great bravura set pieces in film history, but the movie flirts with camp even more dangerously than Hayworth flirts with Welles. (92 min., unrated) (Mark Feeney)

½ Pompeii Director Paul W.S. Anderson (“Resident Evil”) takes a stab at rendering the Mount Vesuvius catastrophe with a 3-D “Titanic” gloss. Kit Harington (“Game of Thrones”) is solid as a gladiator who finds romance with noblewoman Emily Browning, and the eruption, while not mind-blowing, does evoke “the end of the world.” But this probably isn’t the breakout Anderson may be eyeing, as some moments draw snickers. Kiefer Sutherland is miscast as a cruel Roman senator. (104 min., PG-13) (Tom Russo)

Stranger By the Lake A simple and ruthlessly effective exercise in minimal narrative and style, Alain Guiraudie’s moral tale is so restrained and atmospheric that the nudity and graphic sex don’t upstage the creepy mood of seductive, inescapable doom. A good-natured youth visits a gay cruising spot by a lakeside beach and is drawn to a beautiful man with a sinister moustache. In French, with subtitles. (97 min., unrated) (Peter Keough)

3 Days to Kill Kevin Costner plays a CIA hitman with brain cancer trying to reconnect with his daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) while chasing an international evildoer (Richard Sammel) through Paris. Every so often a bad movie becomes so deeply, existentially bad that it turns perversely good. Unfortunately, this isn’t that bad. It’s just not any good. Too bad. (100 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

½ Tim’s Vermeer Texas inventor Tim Jenison tries to replicate “The Music Lesson,” by the great 17th-century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, using period optics. As directed with tatty brio by Teller (of Penn and Teller), this is a debunker’s delight that asks peskier and more profound questions about art, process, and genius the deeper it goes. (80 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

½ The Wind Rises Anything Hayao Miyazaki does is worth your time, but the legendary animator’s final film (he says) is a gorgeous, problematic anomaly — a fantasy biopic of the designer of Japan’s WWII fighter planes. The excellent English dub includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, and Werner Herzog(!) among the voices. (126 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

Find an archive of movie reviews at www.boston.com/
movies.
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