Movie guide: Capsule listings, reviews of current releases

 

Los Angeles Times

Ratings by the Motion Picture Association of America are: (G) for general audiences; (PG) parental guidance urged because of material possibly unsuitable for children; (PG-13) parents are strongly cautioned to give guidance for attendance of children younger than 13; (R) restricted, younger than 17 admitted only with parent or adult guardian; (NC-17) no one younger than 17 admitted.

Capsule reviews are by Kenneth Turan (K.Tu.), Betsy Sharkey (B.S.), Mark Olsen (M.O.) and other reviewers. Compiled by Oliver Gettell.

OPENING IN HOLLYWOOD THIS WEEK

"Affluenza" - During summer 2008, an aspiring young photographer moves in with his wealthy aunt and uncle in Great Neck, N.Y., and falls in with an indulged, entitled crowd as the financial crisis looms. With Ben Rosenfield, Gregg Sulkin and Nicola Peltz. Written by Antonio Macia. Directed by Kevin Asch. (1:25) NR.

"Aftermath" - In the wake of a nuclear apocalypse, nine strangers hole up in a farmhouse cellar and face dwindling supplies, radioactive air and hordes of zombielike refugees who want in. With Edward Furlong, Monica Keena and Andre Royo. Written by Christian McDonald. Directed by Peter Engert. (1:32) NR.

"Among Ravens" - At an annual Fourth of July weekend hosted by a troubled couple, long-buried secrets are revealed. With Johnny Sequoyah, Amy Smart and Joshua Leonard. Written by Russell Friedenberg. Directed by Friedenberg and Randy Redroad. (1:43) NR.

"Closed Curtain" - A reclusive screenwriter holed up in a seaside house has his tranquility interrupted by a young woman fleeing from the authorities. With Kambuzia Partovi, Maryam Moqadam and Jafar Panahi. Written by Panahi. Directed by Partovi and Panahi. In Farsi with English subtitles. (1:46) NR.

"The Empty Hours" - On the coast of Veracruz, a 17-year-old boy takes over running his uncle's rent-by-the hour motel and develops a crush on a woman neglected by her lover. With Kristyan Ferrer, Adriana Paz and Eliseo Lara Martinez. Written and directed by Aaron Fernandez. In Spanish with English subtitles. (1:40) NR.

"I Origins" - A molecular biologist's study of the human eye points to evidence with far-reaching scientific and spiritual implications. With Michael Pitt, Brit Marling and Astrid Berges-Frisbey. Written and directed by Mike Cahill. (1:48) R.

"K Missing Kings" - Individuals with mysterious powers and their own personal clans battle one another in this anime film based on the TV series "K." With the voices of Daisuke Namikawa, Daisuke Ono and Mikako Komatsu. Written by GoRA. Directed by Shingo Suzuki. In Japanese with English subtitles. (1:13) NR.

"A Life in Dirty Movies" - A documentary following the pioneering sexploitation director Joe Sarno and his wife and collaborator, Peggy, as they try to get a new film project off the ground. Directed by Wiktor Ericsson. (1:20) NR.

"Mood Indigo" - A wealthy Parisian bachelor falls for an enchanting woman, but their courtship is tested when she develops an unusual illness in which a flower begins growing in her lungs. With Audrey Tautou, Romain Duris and Omar Sy. Written by Michel Gondry and Luc Bossi. Directed by Gondry. In French with English subtitles. (1:34) NR.

"Planes: Fire and Rescue" - In this animated movie set in a world of anthropomorphic aircraft, a famous air racer learns that his engine is damaged and shifts gears into the world of aerial firefighting. With the voices of Dane Cook and Julie Bowen. Written by Bobs Gannaway and Jeffrey M. Howard. Directed by Gannaway. (1:23) PG.

"The Purge: Anarchy" - A new group of individuals fights to survive the annual night on which all crime is legal for 12 hours in this sequel to the 2013 film "The Purge." With Frank Grillo, Zach Gilford and Kiele Sanchez. Written and directed by James DeMonaco. (1:43) R.

"Sex Tape" - To spice up their love life, a couple of 10 years make a marathon sex tape and then scramble to erase it from existence after they accidentally send it to friends and family members. With Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Rob Corddry and Ellie Kemper. Written by Segel, Kate Angelo and Nicholas Stoller. Directed by Jake Kasdan. (1:35) R.

"A Summer's Tale" - A restoration of the 1996 French film about a recent university graduate juggling three women while on summer holiday in Bretagne. With Melvil Poupaud, Amanda Langlet and Gwenaelle Simon. Written and directed by Eric Rohmer. In French with English subtitles. (1:54) NR.

"Video Games: The Movie" - A documentary about the rise of video games from nerd niche to multi-billion-dollar industry. Directed by Jeremy Snead. (1:40) NR.

"Wish I Was Here" - When his ailing father takes a turn for the worse, a thirtysomething actor struggling to support his family decides to pull his kids from the pricey yeshiva school their grandfather was paying for. With Zach Braff, Kate Hudson, Mandy Patinkin and Josh Gad. Written by Zach Braff and Adam Braff. Directed by Zach Braff. (1:50) R.

CRITICS' CHOICES

"Edge of Tomorrow" - With Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt starring in an Earth-versus-aliens epic, this is one mass-market entertainment that's smart, exciting and unexpected while not stinting on genre satisfactions. (K.Tu., June 6) In 3-D and Imax. (1:53) PG-13.

"A Hard Day's Night" - It's been half a century since the Beatles' debut film was released, and if that fact makes you feel old, seeing a new digital restoration on a big screen will lighten your mood immeasurably. (K.Tu., July 4) (1:27) G.

"How to Train Your Dragon 2" - From the fashionable day-old scruff on Hiccup's 20-year-old Viking chin to the amped-up firepower of Toothless, "How to Train Your Dragon 2" has made good use of the years since the villagers of Berk and the boy who'd rather not be chief first charmed us. The spot-on cast led by Jay Baruchel now includes Oscar winner Cate Blanchett. There's a new villain played by Djimon Hounsou, a major family reunion and Hiccup continuing his fight for dragon rights. Those battles on the back of the beasties are when the animation, and the film, soars. (B.S., June 13) In 3-D. (1:45) PG.

"Ida" - Spare, haunting, uncompromising, this Polish film about a novitiate who discovers she is Jewish is a work of exceptional artistry whose emotions are as potent and persuasive as its images are indelibly beautiful. (K.Tu., May 2) In Polish with English subtitles. (1:20) PG-13.

"Life Itself" - Expert documentarian Steve James provides a fine and moving examination of the life and legacy of the engaging and influential critic Roger Ebert. (K.Tu., July 4) (1:58) R.

"Snowpiercer" - Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho packs all of his apocalyptic angst inside an unforgettable "Snowpiercer." Using a great cast, a gripping idea and a gorgeously grimy retro aesthetic, Bong keeps this eerie examination of the train wreck of humanity racing along. Both the material and the messengers - Chris Evans, John Hurt, Ed Harris and Tilda Swinton lead a cast top-heavy with international talent - lend a kind of gravitas to what might otherwise have been mindless action fare. (B.S., June 27) (2:06) R.

"Venus in Fur" - Starring Mathieu Amalric and Emmanuelle Seigner in a whip-smart dissection of gender politics via some teasing S&M, "Venus in Fur" is arch. So arch, in fact, that it is surprising it's a Roman Polanski film. The director has spent a great deal of creative energy over the course of his career exploring the dark side of punishing psychosexuality. "Venus" isn't frothy by any stretch, but it's a caustic, comic, cerebral romp for a very long time before it hits you with its best shot. (B.S., July 4) In French with English subtitles. (1:36) NR.

"X-Men: Days of Future Past" - Time travel, Peter Dinklage and '70s kitsch top a very long list of what make "X-Men: Days of Future Past" such a blast. Its massive top-drawer cast includes James McAvoy, Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and basically anyone who's had an "X-Men" walk-on. There is action galore, but this deeper, richer, more thoughtful film is the best "X" yet. (B.S., May 23) In 3-D. (2:10) PG-13.

ALSO IN THEATERS

"22 Jump Street" is a monument to mocking, a master class in dissing, a parody of pastiche, poking its R-rated finger at social conventions, sequels, stereotypes, football, frats, friends, drugs, sex - even its stars. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are back for yet another capricious crime caper. Their chemistry crackles around strains in their bromance and the fallout from bungling any case they get. You might think the laughs are over when the credits start to roll. They aren't. Hang around for a final bit of fun. (B.S., June 13) (1:51) R.

"America" seems more intent on editorializing, razzling and dazzling than on stimulating civic debate. As far as agitprops go, this is as polished as a commercial. It's far more invested in elaborate historical re-enactments, hypothetical dramatizations and special effects than interviews, research and data. It's "Sesame Street"-style show and tell, complete with highly suggestive musical cues. (Martin Tsai, July 2) (1:43) PG-13.

"Audrey" - A young woman expectantly waiting for a make-or-break third date is forced to confront her demons. With Sybil Darrow, Ed Quinn and Charles Shaughnessy. Written by Darrow and Dean Pollack. Directed by Pollack. (1:21) PG.

"The Battered Bastards of Baseball" - A documentary about actor Bing Russell and the Portland Mavericks, the unorthodox independent minor-league baseball team he developed in 1973. Directed by Chapman Way and Maclain Way. (1:20) NR.

"Begin Again" - A teaming of Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo and "Once" filmmaker John Carney in a tale of music's transformative power certainly has appeal, but you may end up wanting to enjoy it more than its qualities will allow. (K.Tu., June 27) In French with English subtitles. (2:18) NR. (1:44) R.

"Boyhood" - A drama shot over 12 years chronicling the journey of a young boy and his family as he goes from childhood to adulthood. With Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and Ellar Coltrane. Written and directed by Richard Linklater. (2:40) R.

"Chef" - Writer-director-star Jon Favreau cooks up tureens of fun and charm in this welcome return to his more intimate, indie film roots ("Swingers," "Made") after helming such mega-budget pictures as "Iron Man," "Iron Man 2" and "Cowboys & Aliens." As for the movie's food porn quotient: Like most else here, it doesn't disappoint. (Gary Goldstein, May 9) (1:55) NR.

"Code Black" portrays the experience of an emergency room from a perspective many of us otherwise might not know, directed by Ryan McGarry when he was a young doctor at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. The film feels like neither a polemic, a reality show pilot nor some kind of soap opera doctor drama. This is for the best. (M.O., June 27) (1:28) NR.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes A growing nation of genetically evolved apes is threatened by a band of human survivors of a devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier in this sequel to the 2011 film "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." With Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman and Keri Russell. Written by Mark Bomback, Rich Jaffa and Amanda Silver. Directed by Matt Reeves. In 3-D. (2:10) PG-13.

"Deliver Us From Evil" - Buckle up for this highly intense and effective mash-up of police procedural and horror show. Director Scott Derrickson, who adapted the script with frequent collaborator Paul Harris Boardman, has infused this winding tale with propulsive urgency and snowballing tension, providing plenty of jumps, nightmarish imagery and things that literally go bump in the night. (Gary Goldstein, July 2) (1:37) R.

"Earth to Echo" - It's no "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial." (What is?) But on its own modest terms, the alien adventure "Earth to Echo" is a lively and likable knockoff that should divert, if not exactly enthrall, tweens and young teens. (Gary Goldstein, July 2) (1:22) PG.

"The Fault in Our Stars" - Despite the way death and cancer gnaw at "The Fault in Our Stars," the new teenage love story starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort is really about living. The two play the hand they're dealt quite well, balancing the sentiment with teenage moxie. Make no mistake, "Fault" is a certifiable weepie, but it comes by its emotions honestly. What sustains it through the rockier times are its challenging themes, offering real issues for the young protagonists to wrestle with, rather than whether anyone will be carded trying to buy beer. (B.S., June 6) (2:05) PG-13.

"Gabrielle" - There is an infectious reality that is not accidental in filmmaker Louise Archambault's story of first love for an engaging young couple who happen to have intellectual disabilities. Gabrielle Marion-Rivard, the film's star, is the reason. A charismatic young woman with Williams syndrome, which causes some developmental limitations and enhances others (quite often musical abilities), she caught the writer-director's eye while researching the film. The conflict turns on Gabrielle's rights - to a relationship, to independence - and unfolds as the choir of disabled youth she's a part of prepares for a music fest. Though the movie wears its agenda on its sleeve, the music and, particularly, the film's star, are simply so charming that it makes "Gabrielle" hard to resist. (B.S., July 4) In French with English subtitles. (1:43) R.

"Godzilla" - Someone's clearly lost sight of the obvious when the no-name monsters get more screen time than the main attraction. The cast led by Bryan Cranston and Aaron Taylor-Johnson is a good one. But forgotten is the primary reason we show up in such massive numbers - we actually want to see the big guy go stomping and tromping through cities. As it happens, "Godzilla's" terrifying towering reptile is one very cool dude, with 3-D side effects that are monstrous in all the right ways. Ironically this big, lumbering movie could have used more, not less. More Godzilla, and more emotional content for its fine cast too. (B.S., May 16) In 3-D and Imax. (2:03) PG-13.

"Jersey Boys" - Director Clint Eastwood brings the successful Broadway musical to the screen in a pleasantly old-fashioned production that gives equal weight to personal drama and the classic rock anthems of the Four Seasons. (K.Tu., June 20) (2:14) R.

"Land Ho!" - Feeling disenchanted with life after retirement, a brassy former surgeon convinces his mild-mannered ex-brother-in-law to take a trip with him to Iceland to reclaim their youth. With Paul Eenhoorn, Earl Lynn Nelson and Karrie Crouse. Written and directed by Martha Stephen and Aaron Katz. (1:35) R.

"The Last Sentence" - Jan Troell, one of the masters of Swedish cinema, does his usual impeccable directing in this examination of the public and private life of a Swedish journalist who stood up to Hitler when it wasn't popular. (K.Tu., June 20) In Swedish with English subtitles. (2:06) NR.

"Maleficent" - In re-imagining the infamous evil queen who curses an innocent girl, "Maleficent" is very much a cautionary tale for modern times. It essentially prompts the question - are you sure it was the shrew that needed taming? It stars a wickedly good Angelina Jolie. Unlike "Sleeping Beauty," "Maleficent" explains all: motivation, regrets - from the queen's point of view. This multifaceted Maleficent has wit and empathy as well as rage. Though the film hits a few bumps, Jolie hasn't looked like she's had such fun with a role since 2005's "Mr. & Mrs. Smith." (B.S., May 30) In 3-D and Imax. (1:37) PG.

"Obvious Child" is about a few weeks in the life of aspiring stand-up comic Donna Stern, played by the very funny Jenny Slate. It follows her emotional journey from romance, to break-up, to one-night stand, to unexpected pregnancy, to romance, to abortion - much of which is mined for laughs in her confessional-style late-night routines. This might not sound like a laughing matter, but writer-director Gillian Robespierre knows how to tease the comedy out of the human condition. As the film stumbles its way to the final punch line, it echoes Donna's onstage musings - funny, but rough around the edges. (B.S., June 6) (1:23) R.

"Rage" - A respectable businessman and loving father finds his violent past coming back to haunt him when his teenage daughter is kidnapped, forcing him to round up his old crew and find her by any means necessary. With Nicholas Cage, Rachel Nichols and Danny Glover. Written by Jim Agnew and Sean Keller. Directed by Paco Cabezas. (1:38) NR.

"Road to Paloma" - A Native American man flees across the West on his motorcycle and searches for redemption after avenging his mother's murder. With Jason Momoa, Lisa Bonet and Sarah Shahi. Written by Momoa, Robert Homer Mollohan and Jonathan Hirschbein. Directed by Momoa. (1:31) R.

"Siddharth" - A father eking out a living fixing zippers in New Delhi sends his 12-year-old son to work in a distant factory but begins to suspect he's been kidnapped by child traffickers. With Rajesh Tailang, Tannishtha Chatterjee and Mahendra Saini. Written and directed by Richie Mehta. In Hindi with English subtitles. (1:37) NR.

Tammy Oh, "Tammy." Can I call you Tammy? I hate to break this to you, but the thrill is gone. I'd like to say it's me, not you. But I really think it's you. As the latest, loudest, R-rated, plus-size incarnation of Melissa McCarthy's comic psyche, you had such promise. But the party's over. And let me make this clear - it's the shtick, not the size, that's the problem. McCarthy is clearly talented. Comedy is her calling card. It's just that she keeps playing it. Shuffling the deck wouldn't mean walking away from comedy. It just means occasionally giving us, and herself, a break (B.S., July 2) (1:57) R.

"Think Like a Man Too" - Kevin Hart's amped-up style has earned him shooting-star status, but in "Think Like a Man Too" he hits such adrenaline-fueled extremes it's exhausting. Hart is on day and night as the sprawling group of friends we met in the 2012 adaptation of Steve Harvey's bestselling "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man" heads to Vegas for a wedding - and the requisite debauched bachelor and bachelorette parties beforehand. As funny as Hart can be, and there is no doubt he is funny, "Too" is a case of too much Hart. (B.S., June 20) (1:45) PG-13.

"Third Person" - The latest interlocking puzzle from Paul Haggis is about love, but it's not a soft and fuzzy sort of love. Haggis uses a double-edged sword - and a relatively blunt one at that - to hack away at it. There are three theaters of operation - the entanglement between Liam Neeson's and Olivia Wilde's characters unfolding in Paris, Adrien Brody and Moran Atias' mismatched pair sparring in Rome and Mila Kunis and James Franco battling it out in New York City. The actors bring their A-games, but ultimately the film's pieces remain scattered, its puzzle unfinished, its stories half-told. (B.S., June 20) (2:16) R.

"Transformers: Age of Extinction" - The nearly three-hour crucible that is "Age of Extinction" stars Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Nicola Peltz, a greatly expanded world of Autobots, Decepticons and Dinobots, and all the Michael Bay bombastics we've come to expect from the franchise. The filmmaker has actually built a better "Transformers," one I'm sure fans will adore. It's still not a great movie, but it is, most definitely, full-metal Bay. (B.S., June 27) In 3-D and Imax. PG-13.

"Underwater Dreams" - A documentary about four Mexican-American teenagers from an impoverished area of Arizona who entered a NASA-sponsored robotics competition and went up against the engineering powerhouse MIT. Narrated by Michael Pena. Directed by Mary Mazzio. (1:26) NR.

"Violette" - Director Martin Provost's epic portrait of novelist Violette Leduc is so compelling, even thrilling, in its frank depictions of female sexual voracity, professional egotism and twisted variants on the Electra complex that it's easy to overlook his film's shaggy, uneven plotting. (Inkoo Kang, June 27) In French with English subtitles. (2:18) NR.

"Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger" - A documentary about the trial of the infamous gangster James "Whitey" Bulger. Directed by Joe Berlinger. (1:47) NR.

"Words and Pictures" is a middle-aged romantic comedy masquerading as a war between literature and art. The battleground is a Maine prep school. Clive Owen is the brash, unconventional English teacher in residence, and Juliette Binoche is the new art teacher, an aloof, acclaimed abstract painter. Adult and teenage angst and intellectual jockeying fill the corridors and classrooms. There are contrivances around every corner too. But for the most part, the florid flourishes are so lightly played by Owen and Binoche, the film's melodrama can almost be forgiven. (B.S., May 23) (1:56) PG-13.

"Yves Saint Laurent" - The first of two French-made biopics being released this year about the iconic fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent is a stylish, serviceable recounting of his life from the late 1950s through the '70s. But watchable as it may be, this drama lacks intimacy and urgency. It's also missing the kind of deep artistic soul that would seem de rigueur for a look back at one of the world's most influential couturiers. (Gary Goldstein, June 25) In French with English subtitles. (1:46) R.

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