OPENING THIS WEEK
CLOSER TO THE MOON Writer-director Nae Caranfil gives us a retro-style caper movie that’s set in 1959 and feels like a ’60s production. Mark Strong and Vera Farmiga lead a good cast in this based-on-a-true-story account of a group of Romanian Jews who, seeing their status eroding under an increasingly anti-Semitic Communist government, pull off a bank robbery under cover of pretending to be shooting a movie. They’re caught, convicted, and ordered to make a propaganda movie reenacting their crime. A Romanian cast would have given the movie more depth and credibility, but these stars, ably supported by some fine character actors, keep it dancing against a melancholy undercurrent. Not rated.
110 minutes. The Screen. (Jonathan Richards)
ESCOBAR: PARADISE LOST Rated R. 120 minutes. English and Spanish with subtitles. Center for Contemporary Arts. See review, Page 40.
FORBIDDEN GAMES Réné Clément’s 1952 reflection on war and its consequences is a celebrated monument of French cinema, and even won a special Academy Award for Foreign Language film. While it retains an unflinching emotional quality that is rare in modern cinema, the story, about two children who create a pet cemetery after the 1940 Battle of France, is manipulative in its use of kids and animals in a way that has not aged well. Not rated. 86 minutes. In French with subtitles. Jean Cocteau Cinema. (Robert Ker)
FRESH DRESSED Director Sacha Jenkins fun, music-steeped documentary chronicles hip-hop fashion from its roots in the 19th-century tradition of wearing one’s “Sunday best,” through ’70s era gang life in the South Bronx, the trends set by fashion icon Dapper Dan and rappers LL Cool J and Run-DMC in the 1980s, to permeating mainstream America at every level. Fresh Dressed draws on archival material and interviews with Pharrell Williams, Nasir Jones, and other artists to tell the story of the looks that go handin-hand with one of music’s most influential genres. Not rated. 90 minutes. Center for Contemporary Arts. (Michael Abatemarco)
LIVE FROM NEW YORK! If you’re unfamiliar with the many articles and television specials that detail the history of Saturday Night Live, then Live From New York! could serve as an entertaining-enough introduction to the topic. But director Bao Nguyen’s star-studded documentary reads more as an homage to the show’s creator Lorne Michaels than a true exploration of how the comedy-sketch show became a cultural phenomenon. Amy Poehler, Leslie Jones, and Chris Rock provide some of the most interesting commentary, but true — or even casual — fans of the show will undoubtedly already know far more SNL lore than this film offers. Not rated. 90 minutes. The Screen. (Jennifer Levin)
MAGIC MIKE XXL Director Steven Soderbergh’s 2012 Magic Mike was a left-field hit that delighted viewers of both genders and helped revitalize Matthew McConaughey’s career. Neither Soderbergh nor McConaughey is back for the sequel, but star Channing Tatum is, and there should be enough beefcake and humor to enjoy an encore. Opens Wednesday, July 1. Rated R. 115 minutes. Regal Stadium 14 (with a Tuesday, June 30, sneak preview); Violet Crown. (Not reviewed)
MAX This movie looks at the unsung heroes of America’s war on terror abroad: the dogs. The title character is one such canine, who returns from Afghanistan traumatized by his handler’s death. He is adopted by members of the fallen Marine’s family, and they all help each other heal. Thomas Haden Church is the lead human. A word of advice: Bring tissues. Rated PG. 111 minutes. Regal Stadium 14; DreamCatcher. (Not reviewed)
ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL With the success of The Fault in Our Stars barely a year behind us, the time seems ripe for a quirky, indie, teenage comedy about cancer. Thomas Mann plays Greg, a self-absorbed boy who is made to hang out with Rachel (Olivia Cooke), a girl with leukemia. As time passes, they become friends and he begins to truly care for her. Opens Wednesday, July 1. Rated PG-13. 105 minutes. Regal DeVargas.
SET FIRE TO THE STARS Not rated. 97 minutes. Jean Cocteau Cinema. See review, Page 44.
TED 2 The foul-mouthed teddy bear (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) and his dopey owner (Mark Wahlberg) are back for another go-around. This time, Ted aims to get married and have kids, but before he does the former he must legally prove he’s a person, and to do the latter, he must find a surrogate. If you are hoping to watch a stuffed animal make many jokes about masturbation and bodily fluids, then you’ll get your money’s worth here. Rated R. 115 minutes. Regal Stadium 14; Violet Crown; DreamCatcher. (Not reviewed)
THE TERMINATOR As counterprogramming to the big Terminator movie opening this week, the Jean Cocteau Cinema offers the original 1984 Terminator film. Before Arnold Schwarzenegger ever promised he’d be back, he was here: chasing down Linda Hamilton with the fate of humankind in the balance. It’s violent by today’s standards and not as good as the sequel, but this film by James Cameron is still an iconic moment in 1980s blockbuster cinema.
Rated R. 107 minutes. Jean Cocteau Cinema. (Robert Ker)
TERMINATOR GENISYS The year is 2029 and John Connor (Jason Clarke) is fighting a losing war against the robots. Connor sends a lieutenant named Kyle (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to prevent the robots from stopping the human resistance before it begins. Alas, the 1984 Kyle returns to is not the one we know, and is some kind of alternate reality. But who cares about this nonsense? Arnie’s back! Old man Schwarzenegger faces off against a CGI-rendered young Schwarzenegger, and that’s all that matters. Opens Wednesday, July 1. Rated PG-13. 125 minutes. Screens in 3-D and 2-D at Regal Stadium 14 (with a Tuesday, June 30, sneak preview); Violet Crown. (Not reviewed)
TOUCH OF EVIL Just a touch? Why so modest? Orson Welles is pure evil in this classic noir thriller, which showcases him as screenwriter, director, and star of a border tale drenched in sleaze, corruption, betrayal, and murder. Released in 1958 in a bastardized studio cut that Welles disowned, it was restored 30 years later, in conformity with a rediscovered 58-page memo of Welles’ instructions, with 18 minutes of footage added and key editing changes. The film opens with a brilliant three-minute suspensefilled tracking-shot sequence, and never lets up. Screens as part of the Auteurs series. Rated PG-13. 111 minutes. Center for Contemporary Arts. (Jonathan Richards)
THE WOLFPACK Rated R. 80 minutes. Center for Contemporary Arts. See review, Page 42.
Bad news bear: Mark Wahlberg in Ted 2, at Regal Stadium 14, Violet Crown, and DreamCatcher