Chiles,

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SPOT­LIGHT

It’s not a re­li­gion that comes un­der the glare of Spot­light, but an institution. In Tom McCarthy’s splen­did, crack­ling ode to jour­nal­ism, the “Spot­light” in­ves­tiga­tive team at The Bos­ton Globe tack­les pe­dophilia and its coverup within the Church. The se­ries won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003. McCarthy is care­ful not to glam­or­ize his re­porters. They’re played as hard­work­ing stiffs by a su­perb cast that in­cludes Mark Ruf­falo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McA­dams, and Liev Schreiber, and it will be hard to over­look any of them come Os­car time. This movie will evoke com­par­i­son to All the Pres­i­dent’s Men. There’s a lot of the same shoe-leather ap­proach, con­ducted here in an even lower key, which in a per­verse way gives it even more drama. McCarthy keeps nib­bling at the ques­tion of how this story could have re­mained buried for so long. Part of it has to do with the power of the Church, and the shame of the vic­tims. And some of it has to do with the cozy re­la­tion­ships among the city’s power in­sti­tu­tions. At the end of the film, the truly stag­ger­ing ex­tent and reach of this scan­dal is re­vealed.

Rated R. 128 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas. (Jonathan Richards)

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAK­ENS

It has been more than 30 years since the Rebel Al­liance de­feated the Em­pire in Re­turn of the Jedi (1983) but now the First Or­der has arisen from the Em­pire’s ashes, want­ing con­trol of the galaxy. With the help of Finn (John Boyega), a re­formed Stormtrooper, the Re­sis­tance (for­merly the Rebel Al­liance) seeks the as­sis­tance of Luke Sky­walker (Mark Hamill), who some be­lieve is only a leg­end. Finn joins Re­sis­tance fighter Poe Dameron (Os­car Isaac) and Rey (Daisy Ri­d­ley), a scav­enger from the planet Jakku. They’re aided in their ef­forts by Han Solo (Har­ri­son Ford) and Chew­bacca (Peter May­hew) while re­lent­lessly pur­sued by the First Or­der’s Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who’s bent on light­ing up the cos­mos with a Death Star-like weapon of awesome power. But Rey is har­bor­ing a se­cret power of her own that could change all of their des­tinies. Helmed by J.J. Abrams, this spir­ited sev­enth chap­ter in the saga is the Star Wars movie you’ve been wait­ing for. Ap­plaud you will. Rated PG-13. 135 min­utes. Screens in 3-D and 2-D at Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. Screens in 2-D only at Dream­Catcher. (Michael Abatemarco)

THEEB

Theeb (Jacir Eid Al-Hwi­etat) lives with his Be­douin tribe in the wilds of the Ot­toman Em­pire in 1916. His fa­ther has died, so Theeb is learn­ing life skills — how to shoot a gun, how to wa­ter the camels — from his older brother Hus­sein (Hus­sein Salameh Al-Sweil­hiy­een). When Hus­sein is sent to guide a Bri­tish of­fi­cer to a se­cret lo­ca­tion, Theeb fol­lows them. This gor­geous film is told en­tirely from Theeb’s point of view and is at heart a lit­tle boy’s ad­ven­ture tale — but this story is tied to how progress has changed the coun­try­side and the liveli­hoods of the tribes that in­habit it. Plot and char­ac­ter de­tails are finely wrought, with Al-Hwi­etat turn­ing in a sub­tle, en­tranc­ing per­for­mance in which he con­veys in­ti­mate com­fort with heat and sand, the vis­ceral re­lief of slaked thirst, and a fierce de­ter­mi­na­tion not to al­low a mys­te­ri­ous stranger to fur­ther be­tray him. Not rated. 100 min­utes. In Ara­bic with sub­ti­tles.

The Screen. (Jen­nifer Levin)

YOUTH

In this lat­est homage to Fellini from Paolo Sor­rentino (The Great Beauty), two old friends con­tem­plate life from op­po­site per­spec­tives in a lux­u­ri­ous Alpine re­sort. Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine) is a cel­e­brated com­poser/con­duc­tor who has turned his back on his past and his fu­ture and is wal­low­ing in the present. Mick Boyle (Har­vey Kei­tel) is a cel­e­brated film di­rec­tor, but the cel­e­bra­tion is wind­ing down. Sor­rentino’s premise of char­ac­ters gath­ered at a grand ho­tel is not a fresh one, but the top-notch cast and the lovely sur­round­ings give us enough to enjoy a pleas­ant couple of hours. There are some strik­ing scenes and mo­ments. But Sor­rentino is too much in thrall to the mas­ter, Fellini; he never seems to get an orig­i­nal feel for the ma­te­rial, and make it mat­ter. Not rated. 118 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas. (Jonathan Richards)

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