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AMER­I­CAN UL­TRA

In this stoner com­edy, Jesse Eisen­berg plays a slacker con­ve­nience store clerk who is shocked to dis­cover that he’s ac­tu­ally a CIA agent un­der such deep cover that he was hyp­no­tized un­til awak­ened with a spe­cial code word, and is now pos­sessed of tal­ents that al­low him to kill peo­ple with ease. These skills come in handy when a lot of peo­ple show up to take him out. Kris­ten Stewart plays his girl­friend. Rated R. 96 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Not re­viewed)

ANT-MAN

Marvel En­ter­tain­ment of­fers a palate-cleanser af­ter the over­stuffed Avengers: Age of Ultron with this rel­a­tively small heist pic­ture about Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a thief who finds a suit that al­lows him to shrink him­self and com­mu­ni­cate with ants. The shrink­ing ef­fects are in­deed out­stand­ing and the use of scale is oc­ca­sion­ally in­ven­tive. Un­for­tu­nately, it takes a full 90 min­utes to re­ally get to that. In the mean­time, you’re treated to flat jokes, a daddy-is­sues plot, and a te­dious pa­rade of all the clichés of su­per­hero-ori­gin movies. Michael Dou­glas co-stars as the re­tired Ant-Man of yes­ter­year. Rated PG-13. 117 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Robert Ker)

BEST OF EN­E­MIES

At the tu­mul­tuous 1968 pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nat­ing con­ven­tions, Wil­liam F. Buck­ley Jr. and Gore Vi­dal faced off in a se­ries of tele­vised de­bates as part of ABC’s con­ven­tion cov­er­age. By this time they were al­ready po­larop­po­site cul­tural icons and abid­ing en­e­mies. Di­rec­tors Robert Gor­don and Mor­gan Neville have culled the se­ries of 10 de­bates in which Buck­ley and Vi­dal en­gaged, and put to­gether a fas­ci­nat­ing por­trait of a time when in­tel­li­gence was ad­mired in the na­tional dis­course. As ABC’s courtly an­chor­man Howard K. Smith mod­er­ates, they cir­cle and jab, and smile, and smile. The pol­i­tics of the con­ven­tions are all but for­got­ten as the ha­tred sim­mers and the ten­sion builds. The un­for­get­table cli­max came in de­bate num­ber nine, at the apoc­a­lyp­tic Demo­cratic Con­ven­tion in Chicago. Not rated. 87 min­utes. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Jonathan Richards)

THE END OF THE TOUR

In 1996, Rolling Stone re­porter David Lip­sky ac­com­pa­nied David Foster Wal­lace on the last few days of his book tour for In­fi­nite Jest. The ar­ti­cle was never pub­lished, but af­ter Wal­lace’s sui­cide, Lip­sky used the in­ter­view tapes as the ba­sis for a best­selling memoir about the road trip. The

End of the Tour — the film adap­ta­tion of the memoir — is a nar­row per­spec­tive on Wal­lace, col­ored by time and Lip­sky’s jour­nal­is­tic slant. Jason Segel as Wal­lace and Jesse Eisen­berg as Lip­sky are ad­e­quate. Rated R. 106 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown.

(Jen­nifer Levin)

FAN­TAS­TIC FOUR

The latest at­tempt to bring the clas­sic Marvel comics prop­erty to the big screen be­gins with prom­ise, as film­maker Josh Trank (Chron­i­cle) frames the quar­tet as young, in­tel­li­gent peo­ple who seek to im­prove the world through science and dis­cov­ery. It gives the im­pres­sion of op­ti­mistic 1980s films such as The Ex­plor­ers, un­til ev­ery­one gets su­per­hero pow­ers about half­way in. At that point a dif­fer­ent film comes crash­ing in and clob­bers all of this good­will with cyn­i­cism and crude clichés. Miles Teller, Michael B. Jor­dan, Kate Mara, and Jamie Bell show ter­rific chem­istry un­til they’re re­duced to yelling tired lines about team­work. Rated PG-13. 100 min­utes.

Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Robert Ker)

THE GIFT

Two high school ac­quain­tances, Si­mon (Jason Bate­man) and Gordo (Joel Edger­ton) meet, ap­par­ently by chance, 25 years later, when Si­mon and his wife, Robyn (Re­becca Hall), move from Chicago to Si­mon’s home­town of LA for his new job. Gordo presses the friend­ship with an in­sis­tence that soon be­comes un­com­fort­able and un­nerv­ing. Si­mon is cock­sure and charis­matic, Robyn is frag­ile and sym­pa­thetic, and Gordo is a dis­turbingly blank slate. Edger­ton, the Aussie star who here makes his di­rect­ing de­but, in­fuses this creepy tale of stalk­ing, re­venge, and a dark past with deep psy­cho­log­i­cal sus­pense and anx­i­ety. There are a cou­ple of gotcha! mo­ments and twists that keep twist­ing. The film some­times feels un­pol­ished around the edges, but at its core, the three stars keep it taut and nerve-wrack­ing. Edger­ton shoots it all in a bleached pal­ette that looks like a Po­laroid left out in the sun. Rated R. 108 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas; Re­gal Sta­dium 14; DreamCatcher. (Jonathan Richards)

HITMAN: AGENT 47

The pop­u­lar video-game se­ries Hitman was given a film adap­ta­tion in 2007, which missed its mark. Ap­par­ently, there are enough peo­ple who care enough about the prop­erty to give it a sec­ond shot, and so here is round two, this time star­ring Ru­pert Friend as the bald-headed hired gun. Rated R. 96 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas; Re­gal Sta­dium 14; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

IN­FIN­ITELY PO­LAR BEAR

Su­perb per­for­mances, from a cast led by Mark Ruf­falo and the ex­quis­ite Zoe Sal­dana as his wife Mag­gie, lift this un­usual fam­ily com­edy/drama. Ruf­falo is Cameron Stu­art, the scion of a wealthy and pedi­greed Bos­ton clan whose bipo­lar dis­or­der (mis­con­strued by the younger daugh­ter as “po­lar bear”) has brought him and his fam­ily to the poverty level. When Mag­gie de­cides to pur­sue an MBA at Columbia to de­velop some earn­ing power, Cam takes on the rais­ing of the kids while she’s away. Writer-di­rec­tor Maya Forbes based this on her own story, and her own daugh­ter (Imo­gene Wolo­darsky) plays her young self. Cam can be im­pul­sive, vi­o­lent, em­bar­rass­ing, ir­re­spon­si­ble, and of­ten ex­hil­a­rat­ing fun. Forbes doesn’t skim over the dark side, but she brings home an in­tensely per­sonal, painfully funny, deeply touch­ing story.

Rated R. 90 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas. (Jonathan Richards)

IR­RA­TIONAL MAN

Kierkegaard and Kant, Dos­to­evsky and Hei­deg­ger, the cat­e­gor­i­cal im­per­a­tive and sit­u­a­tional ethics and ex­is­ten­tial­ism — Woody Allen sur­rounds him­self with a few of his fa­vorite things in Ir­ra­tional Man. Abe Lu­cas (Joaquin Phoenix) ar­rives as a phi­los­o­phy pro­fes­sor at a small New Eng­land col­lege. He’s pre­ceded by a rep­u­ta­tion as a thinker, drinker, and wom­an­izer, and soon stu­dents are flock­ing to his lec­tures and women are lay­ing siege to his bed. One is Rita (Parker Posey), a dis­sat­is­fied mar­ried pro­fes­sor. Another is Jill (Emma Stone), a bright, saucer-eyed un­der­grad­u­ate. Abe has lost his lust for life, and for lust, but it’s rekin­dled when he and Jill over­hear a con­ver­sa­tion that inspires him to un­der­take a fate­ful, ex­is­ten­tial ac­tion. The philo­soph­i­cal by­ways of this movie are in­trigu­ing to travel, but the jour­ney never gen­er­ates much heat. Allen’s scenes neatly lay out the is­sues, but you are al­ways aware of the ar­ma­ture be­neath them. But like most of this di­rec­tor’s work, it’s in­tel­li­gent en­ter­tain­ment of an above-av­er­age stripe. Rated R. 96 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas.

(Jonathan Richards)

THE LOOK OF SI­LENCE

If you’ve seen Joshua Op­pen­heimer’s Os­carnom­i­nated The Act of Killing, this com­pan­ion piece doesn’t pack quite the same eye-open­ing punch, but it opens eyes in ways that are just as dis­turb­ing. Op­pen­heimer en­lists the col­lab­o­ra­tion of Adi Rukun, a soft-spo­ken oph­thal­mol­o­gist whose brother Ramli was killed in the 1965 In­done­sian geno­cide with which both films deal. To­gether Op­pen­heimer and Rukun visit a num­ber of the men re­spon­si­ble for the mass slaugh­ter. Rukun is pri­mar­ily fo­cused on the mur­der of his brother, and on how his killers feel about the events to­day. Most are com­fort­able with their ac­tions. When Rukun’s ques­tion­ing grows too pointed, a few are roused to anger, and tell him to let it go, and to get out. Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, Op­pen­heimer sug­gests, can­not hap­pen un­til In­done­sia breaks the si­lence and faces up to the hor­ror of its re­cent past. One of the most haunting im­ages, of­ten re­peated, is of Rukun watch­ing the taped in­ter­views with un­ut­ter­able sor­row. Another is of el­derly killers peer­ing through Rukun’s spec­ta­cle-fit­ting de­vices, see­ing noth­ing. Not rated. 99 min­utes. In In­done­sian and Ja­vanese with sub­ti­tles. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Jonathan Richards)

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.

Di­rec­tor Guy Ritchie gave Sher­lock Holmes an ac­tion-packed, sexy, styl­ized gloss in two re­cent films. Now, he does the same for The Man From U.N.C.L.E., based on the 1960s tele­vi­sion show. Henry Cav­ill (Man of Steel) is Napoleon Solo, a CIA agent who part­ners with Illya Kuryakin, a KGB op­er­a­tive (Ar­mie Ham­mer), to save the world from a crim­i­nal net­work with ac­cess to nu­clear weapons. Rated PG-13. 116 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Not re­viewed)

MINIONS

The jib­ber­ish-spout­ing pill-shaped yel­low thin­gies from the De­spi­ca­ble Me movies get their own spinoff, and if you’re won­der­ing if the char­ac­ters are in­ter­est­ing enough to war­rant their own movie, the an­swer is no. The set­ting is the 1960s, and the Minions, try­ing to find their way in the world, join up with Scar­let Overkill (voiced by San­dra Bul­lock) to help her con­quer Eng­land. The an­i­ma­tion is nice but the movie never sur­vives the fact that its pro­tag­o­nists don’t ac­tu­ally talk. With­out the ben­e­fit of lan­guage, the film­mak­ers rely on tepid vis­ual hu­mor and tired comic beats. The Minions are never as cute as the film’s mas­sive mar­ket­ing cam­paign in­sists they are, and by the time we hit the third-rate ac­tion of the cli­max, they’ve re­ally over­stayed their welcome. Rated PG. 91 min­utes. Screens in 2-D only at Re­gal Sta­dium 14; DreamCatcher. (Robert Ker)

MIS­SION: IM­POS­SI­BLE — ROGUE NA­TION

The fifth Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble film shows no sign of the fran­chise slow­ing down: Tom Cruise takes hair­pin turns on a mo­tor­cy­cle, hangs off the back of an air­plane, dives into deep-wa­ter tanks with­out scuba gear, and a lot more. All this ac­tion is hung on a loose cat-and-mouse game be­tween Cruise’s Ethan Hunt and Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), head of the would-be world con­querors called the Syn­di­cate. Di­rec­tor Christo­pher McQuar­rie, along with his cin­e­matog­ra­pher and editor, give the film an evoca­tive look and el­e­gant pac­ing. The film fal­ters in the home stretch, drag­ging on with a generic gun­fight, but oth­er­wise it’s a brisk and en­joy­able ac­tion pic with a crack­er­jack ac­tion se­quence at the Vi­enna Opera House. Rated PG-13. 131 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Robert Ker)

MR. HOLMES

It is 1947. Sher­lock Holmes (Ian McKellen) is ninety, long re­tired, liv­ing in seclu­sion in Sus­sex, and keep­ing bees. He is cared for by his wid­owed house­keeper, Mrs. Munro (Laura Lin­ney), and her pre­co­cious young son Roger (Milo Parker). Holmes is en­gaged in writ­ing his own rec­ol­lec­tions of his fi­nal case, one that still trou­bles him, the case that led him to give up de­tect­ing. Wat­son’s ac­count of

the af­fair tricked it out with suc­cess, but Holmes re­mem­bers it dif­fer­ently — to the ex­tent that he can re­mem­ber it at all. That great mind is be­gin­ning to slip its moor­ings. There are three story strands cov­er­ing dif­fer­ent pe­ri­ods and places, and di­rec­tor Bill Con­don, adapt­ing Mitch Cullin’s 2005 novel

A Slight Trick of the Mind, weaves them to­gether with un­hur­ried skill, abet­ted by the great McKellen. Rated PG. 103 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas. (Jonathan Richards)

NO ES­CAPE

Owen Wil­son sets aside the funny busi­ness and tries his hand as the hero in an ac­tion-thriller. He plays a man who re­lo­cates his fam­ily to South­east Asia, only to find their lives are in dan­ger when the coun­try is en­gulfed by a vi­o­lent coup. Lake Bell and Pierce Bros­nan co-star. Rated R. 103 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Re­gal DeVar­gas; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

PHOENIX

Nelly Lenz (Nina Hoss), a Jewish cabaret singer in Ber­lin be­fore the war, emerges from Auschwitz with her face shat­tered. The sur­geon who re­con­structs it ad­vises her that she can have any look she wants. Nelly just wants her old face, and her old life, back. At the cen­ter of that life was Johnny (Ron­ald Zehrfeld), her ruggedly hand­some hus­band. He spots her at the Ber­lin club where she used to sing, and is struck by her re­sem­blance to his dead wife. She goes along with his scheme for her to im­per­son­ate Nelly in a scam to re­cover his wife’s in­her­i­tance. It doesn’t take much search­ing to find the plot of Ver­tigo in this tense, beau­ti­fully played film noir as Johnny drills Nelly in how to look and sound like his lost wife. it’s ex­pertly con­structed, ex­pertly played, and the fi­nale is dev­as­tat­ing. Rated PG-13. 98 min­utes. In Ger­man with sub­ti­tles. The Screen. (Jonathan Richards)

PIX­ELS

Pac-Man, Don­key Kong, and other char­ac­ters from clas­sic video games are in­vad­ing the planet. The hour of the geek has ar­rived, as the only peo­ple who can stop them are for­mer ar­cade cham­pi­ons, played by Adam San­dler, Kevin James, and Peter Din­klage. Rated PG-13. 105 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

RICKI AND THE FLASH

Ev­ery once in a while, Meryl Streep takes a break from high drama and lets her hair down. In this com­edy, writ­ten by Di­ablo Cody and di­rected by Jonathan Demme, she plays a mu­si­cian who didn’t make it as a rock star, and re­turns home to her fam­ily. Kevin Kline co-stars. Rated PG-13. 102 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Not re­viewed)

SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE

Aard­man An­i­ma­tions cre­ated Shaun the Sheep as a foil for its beloved Wal­lace and Gromit in the 1995 short film A Close Shave. Shaun, who is equal parts cute and crafty, proved so pop­u­lar that he spun off into his own de­light­ful TV show, and now his first movie. The tom­fool­ery cen­ters around Shaun and his flock head­ing to the big city, try­ing to blend in, and avoid­ing their farmer. Rated PG. 85 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Not re­viewed)

SIN­IS­TER 2

The first Sin­is­ter movie (2012) was re­garded as one of the scarier hor­ror movies of the past few years. Get ready for more sleep­less nights with this se­quel, which in­volves a sin­gle mother, a farm­house where a fam­ily was once mur­dered, a box of snuff films in the base­ment, and a boogey­man. Rated R. 97 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

SOUTHPAW

Jake Gyl­len­haal fol­lows up his ac­claimed per­for­mance of a jour­nal­ist who em­braces dark­ness (in Nightcrawler) by play­ing a boxer who falls into dark­ness af­ter his wife is mur­dered. Mired in drugs and de­pres­sion, he must step into the ring to earn enough money to get his daugh­ter back. For­est Whi­taker and Rachel McA­dams co-star. Rated R. 123 min­utes. DreamCatcher.

(Not re­viewed)

STRAIGHT OUTTA COMP­TON

In the late 1980s, the hip-hop crew NWA stormed the na­tional scene with a dou­ble-plat­inum record, FBI threats, no­to­ri­ous tours, and more. With po­lice bru­tal­ity of African-African youth in the news once more, the time seems right for a biopic about the group that made head­lines 25 years ago with an anti-po­lice song. The film doesn’t fully ex­plore this con­text, in­stead touch­ing on it while paint­ing a rol­lick­ing por­trait of the band’s me­te­oric rise and equally rapid splin­ter­ing. The script stretches it­self thin and white­washes some un­pleas­ant events — the film was pro­duced in part by group mem­bers Dr. Dre and Ice Cube — but is sur­pris­ingly sym­pa­thetic to all par­ties (in­clud­ing the shifty man­ager Jerry Heller, played by Paul Gia­matti) and su­perbly acted. Rated R. 147 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Robert Ker)

TRAIN­WRECK

Com­edy su­per­star Amy Schumer is ev­ery­where this sum­mer, and Train­wreck gives us a chance to see why. From a loosely au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal script writ­ten by Schumer, Judd Apa­tow di­rects a bold, funny spin on fa­mil­iar Apa­tow ter­ri­tory. The rom-com plot, as it usu­ally does in Apa­tow-land, con­cerns the ma­tur­ing of an ir­re­spon­si­ble wild child. But this time, in­stead of a man-child, Apa­tow fo­cuses on a young woman (Schumer) who has com­mit­ment prob­lems, a fa­ther grap­pling with MS, and an un­healthy ap­petite for de­struc­tion. When her boss at the silly men’s mag­a­zine where she works as­signs her to pro­file a sports doc­tor (a charm­ing Bill Hader), she must over­come these ob­sta­cles to ac­cept the love of a good man. With the help of a tal­ented sup­port­ing cast, in­clud­ing a sur­pris­ingly solid per­for­mance from bas­ket­ball star LeBron James, the movie mostly over­comes ro­man­tic cliché to of­fer a re­fresh­ingly fem­i­nist take on the genre. Rated R.

122 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Molly Boyle)

THE TRIBE

This film from Ukraine is one of the most talked-about movies on the for­eign-film cir­cuit this year. If you don’t like sub­ti­tles, then don’t worry: this movie doesn’t have any. The story is set in a board­ing school for the deaf and fea­tures no spo­ken di­a­logue, as it tells the story of a new stu­dent (Grig­oriy Fe­senko) who nav­i­gates a dan­ger­ous clique known as the Tribe. Not rated. 132 min­utes. Jean Cocteau Cin­ema. (Not re­viewed)

VA­CA­TION

Ed Helms hops into the fam­ily ve­hi­cle once manned by Chevy Chase in this sort-of re­make of the 1983 film Na­tional Lam­poon’s

Va­ca­tion. He plays a grown-up Rusty Gris­wold, son of Chase’s Clark Gris­wold, who has in­her­ited his fa­ther’s knack for get­ting into goofy ad­ven­tures on the way to the amuse­ment park Wal­ley World. Christina Ap­ple­gate plays his wife. Rated R. 99 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

Ro­manc­ing the li­brar­ian: Af­ter Words, at Jean Cocteau Cin­ema

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