New This Week
BRICK MANSIONS The late Paul Walker stars in this action/crime drama as a Detroit cop who teams up with an ex-con in a notorious neighborhood to stop a crime lord from taking over the city. David Belle and RZA co-star for director Camille Delamarre (longtime editor for Luc Besson). (PG-13) Starts Friday.
JODOROWSKY’S DUNE “The greatest science fiction movie never made” is profiled in Frank Pavich’s documentary in which visionary Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo) recounts his attempts in 1974 to make his own screen adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic Dune. Orson Welles, David Carradine, and Mick Jagger were among those invited to star, but the centerpiece of this doc is the massive notebook of trippy storyboard art designed by H. R. Giger and Jean “Moebius” Giraud. (PG-13) 90 minutes. Starts Friday.
JOE Nicolas Cage stars in this gritty contemporay drama as a tough ex-con trying to get by who enters into a protective relationship with hard-luck teenager Tye Sheridan (Mud). David Gordon Green directs, from the novel by Larry Bown. (R) 117 minutes. Starts Friday.
THE OTHER WOMAN Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (aka Jamie Lannister) gets up to more shenanigans in this revenge comedy about a woman who discovers that her boyfriend is not only married, but seeing yet another woman on the side. Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, and Kate Upton are the wronged women who become allies in retribution. Nick Cassavetes directs. (R) 109 minutes. Starts Friday.
THE QUIET ONES In this horror thriller, a university professor and his students conducting experiments on a young woman at a secluded estate outside of London uncover something dark and sinister. Jared Harris, Sam Claflin, and Olivia Cooke star for director John Pogue. (PG-13) 98 minutes. Starts Friday.
THE RAILWAY MAN Reviewed this issue. (R) 116 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen. Starts Friday.
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13 SINS At the end of is financial rope, a man agrees to complete a series of tasks set by a mysterious phone caller for a big cash payoff; as the stakes rise, the tasks become more gruesome—and terrifying—in this horror thriller from director Daniel Stamm (The Last Exorcism). Mark Webber, Devon Graye, and Ron Perlman star in this remake of a straight-to-video Thai thriller, 13: Game of Death. (R) 92 minutes.
300:RISE OF AN EMPIRE The action epic begun in 300 continues in a new chapter in which a Greek general attempts to unite all the states of Greece against the invading Persian navy. Noam Murro directs. (R)103 minutes.
BAD WORDS Jason Bateman delivers a solid directorial debut and a surprisingly inventive comedy to boot. (R) 89 minutes. (★★★)—Greg Archer
BEARS The folks at Disneynature chime in with their annual Earth Day wildlife doc (after Chimpanzee, African Cats, etc.), which follows a year in the life of two Alaskan grizzly bear mothers shepherding their cubs through the changing seasons. Narrated by John C. Reilly. Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey direct. (G)
CESAR CHAVEZ Actor Diego Luna directs this fictionalized biographical drama about the life of the civil rights leader and organizer of the United Farm Workers union in the grape and lettuce fields of California. Michael Peña stars as Chavez; America Ferrera, Rosario Dawson, and John Malkovich have featured roles. (PG-13) 98 minutes.
CUBAN FURY Longtime Simon Pegg cohort Nick Frost stars in this British dance competition comedy satire as a former Junior Salsa Championship hopeful who lost his nerve, but rekindles his dream 25 years later in an attempt to jump-start his life and impress his attrac-tive new boss (Rashida Jones). Chris O’Dowd and Ian McShane co-star for director James Griffiths. (R) 98 minutes.
DRAFT DAY Kevin Costner stars as the general manager of a Cleve-land football team facing major professional and personal decisions during the fateful day of the NFL Draft. Jennifer Garner, Denis Leary, Frank Langella, Sam Elliot, and Chadwick Boseman co-star. Ivan Re-itman directs. (PG-13) 110 minutes.
ERNEST AND CELESTINE In a charming picture-book world in-spired by the popular series of children’s books by Belgian painter and author Gabrielle Vincent, a big, sweet bear and a plucky little mouse, traditional enemies, defy the rules and become friends. The animation of Ms. Vincent’s sketchy, winsome, utterly beguiling ink and watercolor paintings is splendidly done. And while the story works as a sweet little parable about tolerance, the movie is also unadulterated fun from first to last. (PG) 80 minutes. (★★★1/2)—Lisa Jensen.
FINDING VIVIAN MAIER In 2007, John Maloof, a real estate agent in the Chicago area, bought some miscellaneous boxes at an estate auction—and stumbled into one of the greatest discoveries in 20th Century photography: the previously unknown, but amazingly prolific work of amateur street photographer Vivian Maier. In this fascinating doc, Maloof exposes her work to the light of day at last, along with the mystery shrouding the artist herself. The portrait of that emerges of Maier (who made her living as a nanny/housekeeper) is compelling in its oddity. That so much of her work was never even developed (much less exhibited) suggests it was the process, not the outcome that was important to her. And isn’t that what art is all about? (Not rated.) 83 minutes. (★★★1/2)—Lisa Jensen.
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL There’s plenty of fun and whimsy to be had here in Wed Anderson’s delightful new comedy. Much like Moonrise Kingdom unraveled in a quirky splendor, so, too, does The Grand Budapest Hotel, which chronicles the unlikely friendship between a revered European hotel concierge, Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) and his lobby boy. Everything from the era—between two menacing wars—to the fictional setting of the Republic of Zubrowka pepper the tale, which unfolds, layer by layer (a story within a story within a story) much like a Russian doll. Owen Wilson, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe and other Anderson grads join the fun. (R) 100 minutes. (★★★1/2)—Greg Archer.
A HAUNTED HOUSE 2 Marlon Wayans is back in this sequel to the 2013 horror spoof about a guy who keeps picking women with paranormal demons to exorcise. Jaime Pressly and Cedric the Entertainer co-star for returning director Michael Tiddes. (R)
HEAVEN IS FOR REAL Just in time for Easter comes this screen adaptation of the non-fiction book by Todd Burpo about his 4-year-old son who survived a near-death experience and came back full of detailed stories about the other side. Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly, and newcomer Connor Corum star for director Randall Wallace. (PG) 100 minutes.
LE WEEK-END Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan star as an English couple of a certain age, returning to Paris for the first time since their distant honeymoon with the idea of either reviving, or ending, their marriage, in this bittersweet comic love story from Roger Michell (Notting Hill; Persuasion). The always-great Jeff Goldblum co-stars as an old friend they bump into, an insufferably successful American academic whose presence ramps up the prickly factor in the couples’ relationship. (R) 93 minutes.
THE LUNCHBOX In this award-winning debut feature from Indian filmmaker Ritesh Batra, a young Mumbai housewife hoping to spice up her stale marriage, and a middle-aged widower about to retire strike up a correspondence and unexpected friendship when the boxed lunch she prepares for her indifferent husband at work is mistakenly delivered to the wrong man. Nimrat Kaur is poised and affecting as the lonely wife. The always great Irffan Khan combines the wry world-weariness of vintage William Powelll with the banked sensuality of a Raul Julia. This is an interactive bittersweet romance; how it ends depends on if you see the glass as half full or half empty. (PG) 104 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen.
MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN Here’s something to wag your tail about. A big-screen endeavor of one of the more popular cartoon shorts seen on the Rocky and Bullwinkle TV show. The story: Mr. Peabody—brilliant as he is—and “son” Sherman do the time-traveling thing via the WABAC machine, but when Sherman and his schoolmate make mischief in the past it’s up to Peabody to put a cosmic band-aid on the mess so that the entire space-time continuum doesn’t remain messed up for good. On screen, things translate well and there’s plenty to keep everyone—including adults—completely interested, even though, halfway through, the outing does lag a bit. Ty Burrell is terrific as Peabody. Max Charles, Ariel Winter, Allison Janney, Stephen Colbert, and Mel Brooks also lend their voices. Rob Minkoff (The Lion King) directs. (PG) 90 minutes. (★★1/2)—Greg Archer.
MUPPETS MOST WANTED In this continental caper comedy, the gang takes their dubious act on the road in Europe—not realizing their tour is a front for a series of heists perpetrated by their shifty new manager (Ricky Gervais) and his accomplice, Constantine, a Kermit lookalike known as “The World’s Most Dangerous Frog.” Add songs, extravagant production numbers and a cavalcade of celebrity cameos and you have vintage Muppet mania, suitable for kids, but with enough witty asides to amuse the grown-ups. James Bobin directs. (PG) 112 minutes. (★★★)—Lisa Jensen.
NOAH Darren Aronofsky’s massive drama is sort of a philosophical disaster movie. There are passing references to Eden, but no specific geography or time frame, while the mostly ravaged and desolate pre- or post-industrial landscape could be the ancient past or the distant future. This is the Bible as dystopian sci-fi epic. And most of the time that works pretty well, especially in the first hour or so, as Aronofsky sets up his eco-parable about human folly and violence vs. the wonders of nature. It isn’t until much later—in the endless battle to defend the ark against an army of marauders, or in the oddly flat, almost silly coda—that the narrative drive springs a leak and the movie starts to flounder. Still, Russell Crowe delivers his usual, reliable mix of dynamic screen presence and robust physicality in the title role. (PG-13) 138 minutes. (★★1/2) —Lisa Jensen.
NYMPHOMANIAC VOLUME 1 Charlotte Gainsbourg subjects herself once more to director Lars Von Trier to play an abused woman pour-ing out the erotic history of her life (in minute detail, with newcomer Stacy Martin playing her character in flashbacks) to good Samaritan Stellan Skarsgard. Shia LeBeouf, Willem Dafoe, Christian Slater, and Uma Thurman co-star. (NC-17) 123 minutes.
NYMPHOMANIAC VOLUME 2 Charlotte Gainsbourg continues to pour out the erotic history of her life to good Samaritan Stellan Skarsgard in this continuation of Lars von Trier’s explicit sex drama. Shia LeBeouf, Jamie Bell, and Willem Dafoe co-star. (NC-17) 123 minutes.
OCULUS A sinister antique mirror leads to mayhem and murder in this horror thriller from director Mike Flanagan. Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Rory Cochrane and Katee Sackhoff star. (R) 104 minutes.
THE RAID 2: BERANDAL This sequel to the 2011 action thriller The Raid: Redemption finds the young Indonesian SWAT team member going undercover into Jakarta’s criminal underground to set up a double-sting of both the crime syndicate and corrupt officials within his own police department. Iko Uwais stars for returning director Ga-reth
RIO 2 The parrots from the first film are relocated from the simmering samba of Rio de Janeiro to the wilds of the Amazon jungle in this family-friendly animated sequel. Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, will.i.am, Jermaine Clement, Rodrigo Santoro, and Jamie Foxx are back in the voice cast, joined by Andy Garcia, Rita Moreno and Bruno Mars. Carlos Saldanha is back in the director’s chair. (G) 101 minutes.
SON OF GOD The life and passion of Jesus is the subject of this theatrical film, edited down from the 2013 TV mini-series The Bible. Diogo Morgado has the title role. Christopher Spencer directs. (PG-13)
TRANSCENDENCE Johnny Depp stars in this original sci-fi thriller as a scientist with a terminal illness who hooks his brain up to a computer to preserve his mind and gains unexpected powers. Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy, and Morgan Freeman co-star. Acclaimed cinematographer Wally Pfister (he won an Oscar for Inception) makes his directing debut. (PG-13) 119 minutes.
UNDER THE SKIN Scarlett Johansson stars in this screen adaptation of Michel Faber’s sci-fi novel about an alien femme fatale driving the back roads of Scotland in search of victims. Paul Brannigan and Lyn-sey Taylor Mackay co-star for director Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast). (R) 108 minutes.
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