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THE BYE BYE MAN

The ti­t­u­lar boogey­man here is not only a shadowy fig­ure who ter­ri­fies peo­ple in dark rooms, but one who also in­cites evil and may­hem. When a few col­lege stu­dents move into a spooky house and learn about the Bye Bye Man — in par­tic­u­lar, how he re­cently pos­sessed peo­ple and made them com­mit killing sprees — they in­cur his wrath and must bat­tle him for con­trol of their minds. Rated PG-13. 96 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

CHATTY CATTIES

Once you get past the nov­elty of talk­ing cats in­ter­act­ing with hu­mans, Chatty Catties is a darkly comic look at re­la­tion­ships be­tween peo­ple and their pets. The cats, all voiced by deaf ac­tors — giv­ing the an­i­mals dis­tinctly dif­fer­ent voices from the hu­mans — are sar­cas­tic and some­times as­tute ob­servers of hu­man be­hav­ior. The story is cen­tered on Leonard (voiced by John Autry II), a tabby who in­ter­jects him­self into the love life of his owner Shelby (Me­gan Hens­ley), at least when he’s not choos­ing to ig­nore her (as cats are wont to do). Leonard is a com­men­ta­tor on hu­man foibles — and hu­man is some­thing most cat own­ers prob­a­bly con­sider their own pets to be, if only they could hear their thoughts. The act­ing is ad­e­quate, but the script is scat­tered and lacks a punch. The cats don’t ac­tu­ally do much of any­thing that cats don’t nor­mally do — even their di­a­logue oc­curs more tele­path­i­cally, no CGI mov­ing lips on these fe­lines. Many of the jokes, how­ever, in­clud­ing Leonard’s plethora of one-lin­ers, fall flat, but the cats might just win you over in the end be­cause … cats. Not rated. 84 min­utes. In English and fe­line with sub­ti­tles. Jean Cocteau Cin­ema. (Michael Abatemarco)

ELLE

“The rape joke cries out to be told,” writes Pa­tri­cia Lock­wood in the 2013 vi­ral poem “Rape Joke.” That’s one way to look at Paul Ver­ho­even’s French-lan­guage thriller star­ring Is­abelle Hup­pert. The ac­tress por­trays the ruth­less Michéle Le­blanc, who is vi­o­lently raped by a masked man in the movie’s open­ing min­utes. As Michéle, the head of a suc­cess­ful (and overtly misog­y­nis­tic) video-game com­pany, Hup­pert is dead-eyed, di­rect, and border­line so­cio­pathic. Fol­low­ing her as­sault, rather than call the po­lice, she or­ders sushi, gets her locks changed, and charges head­long back into her messy life. The sus­pects are nu­mer­ous, as Michéle has su­per­charged, of­ten sadis­tic re­la­tion­ships with most men, and when the per­pe­tra­tor is re­vealed, she be­gins to toy with him. Ver­ho­even (Ba­sic In­stinct) loves a de­mented woman, and Michéle’s de­tached machi­na­tions are the most com­pelling as­pect of Elle, boosted by a Te­flon per­for­mance from Hup­pert. But the plot is more twisted than tit­il­lat­ing, and de­spite the film’s hav­ing been touted as an em­pow­er­ing tale of re­venge, its un­der­cur­rents are uglier, emp­tier, and much more cyn­i­cal than cathar­tic. “Imag­ine the rape joke look­ing in the mir­ror, per­fectly re­flect­ing back it­self, and groom­ing it­self to look more like a rape joke,” Lock­wood writes, and therein lies an­other way of look­ing at Elle. Rated R. 130 min­utes. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Molly Boyle)

HUNTER GATH­ERER

Andre Royo (best known as Bub­bles on The Wire) stars as Ash­ley, a man re­leased af­ter three years in prison, who re­turns to the old neigh­bor­hood to find that his for­mer girl­friend has moved on to some­one else. This low-key film by writer and di­rec­tor Joshua Locy doesn’t fol­low Ash­ley’s at­tempts to win back his ex so much as am­ble along­side him as he makes a new friend named Jeremy (Ge­orge Sam­ple III), and the two men try to scrounge up some money with a com­plex scheme in­volv­ing re­frig­er­a­tor dis­posal — one of the many ways the story touches on un­wanted ma­chin­ery and ap­pli­ances, per­haps sug­gest­ing the men them­selves are equally use­less and cast aside. The film’s tone is a bit in­con­sis­tent, with the jovial sound­track con­tra­dict­ing the story’s tragic el­e­ments, and it’s not clear if the plot adds up to much, but it’s a well-shot and won­der­fully acted char­ac­ter por­trait. Not rated. 90 min­utes. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Robert Ker)

LIVE BY NIGHT

In a meet­ing of Bos­ton sto­ry­tellers, Ben Af­fleck di­rects his own adap­ta­tion of a novel by Den­nis Le­hane for the sec­ond time, af­ter 2007’s Gone Baby Gone. Af­fleck also takes on the star­ring role in this Pro­hi­bi­tion-era story of a good guy gone bad. He plays Joe Cough­lin, the prodi­gal son of a Bos­ton po­lice cap­tain (Bren­dan Gleeson), who moves to Florida and be­comes a boot­leg­ger and gang­ster. Elle Fan­ning, Zoe Sal­dana, and Chris Cooper also star. Rated R. 128 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

MON­STER TRUCKS

This ti­tle is to be taken lit­er­ally — the movie is about a giant mon­ster named Creech that in­hab­its the truck of a young dude named Tripp (Lu­cas Till). With its slimy head pok­ing out of the hood and ten­ta­cles sprout­ing from un­der­neath the chas­sis, Creech en­ables Tripp to drive with lots of tricked-out crea­ture fea­tures, get into high-oc­tane ad­ven­tures, and, just maybe, fall in love with a lo­cal girl (Jane Levy). Rated PG. 104 min­utes. Screens in 3-D and 2-D at Re­gal Sta­dium 14. Screens in 2-D only at DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

PA­TRIOT’S DAY

On April 15, 2013, bombs went off near the fin­ish line of the Bos­ton Marathon, killing three peo­ple and in­jur­ing more than 200 more. Shortly there­after, law en­force­ment shut the en­tire city down to search for the bombers. Mark Wahlberg stars as Sgt. Tommy Saun­ders in this movie, which aims to paint the lock­down and man­hunt in a pa­tri­otic light. J.K. Sim­mons, Kevin Ba­con, and Michelle Mon­aghan are among the co-stars. Rated R. 130 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

POR­TRAIT OF A GAR­DEN

If the paint you’ve been watch­ing has fin­ished dry­ing, you might con­sider see­ing this doc­u­men­tary, which would be roughly as in­vig­o­rat­ing. Meet Daan, who (we sur­mise) ac­quired a large fruit-and-veg­etable gar­den that was in sham­bles, and eighty-five-year-old Jan, whom he hired long ago to prune the trees. Jan also does some graft­ing, plus he gen­er­ally grouses to Daan that gar­den­ers in Hol­land aren’t re­spected as once they were, that young peo­ple no longer ap­pre­ci­ate what it takes to keep a plum tree in good form, and that it has taken 28 years to get the place back in shape. The film fol­lows the plants and the gar­den­ers through a year­long cy­cle. You might ex­pect this to pro­vide rol­lick­ing off-sea­son en­ter­tain­ment for gar­den­ers, but re­ally it’s just re­lent­lessly dull. Also it’s in Dutch, and the English sub­ti­tles are of­ten hard to read against the back­ground of veg­e­ta­tion. Still, if you go you should stay to the bit­ter end. Oth­er­wise you will miss the fi­nal, ex­tended, sta­tion­ary closeup of soil as well as the cred­its, which thank peo­ple to whom di­rec­tor Rosie Stapel is be­holden, in­clud­ing Baruch Spinoza, and give a shout-out to the light­ing de­signer — the sun. Not rated. 99 min­utes. In Dutch with sub­ti­tles. The Screen. (James M. Keller)

SI­LENCE

Martin Scors­ese re­turns with an­other ex­plo­ration of faith, a sub­ject he has pe­ri­od­i­cally re­vis­ited over the years (The Last

Temptation of Christ, Kun­dun). In his adap­ta­tion of Shūsaku Endō’s

1966 novel, An­drew Garfield and Adam Driver play 17th-cen­tury Je­suit priests who travel to Ja­pan to spread Catholi­cism and to search for a miss­ing men­tor (Liam Nee­son), who sup­pos­edly re­nounced the faith af­ter be­ing tor­tured. Once there, they find their mis­sion — and re­tain­ing their own grips on their be­liefs — to be far more chal­leng­ing than ex­pected. Rated R. 95 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Not re­viewed)

SLEEP­LESS

Jamie Foxx plays Vin­cent Downs, a cor­rupt Las Ve­gas cop who, along with his part­ner (the rap­per T.I.), at­tempts to steal co­caine from a pow­er­ful drug lord (Der­mot Mul­roney). When they are caught, the Downs’ son is kid­napped, and he must fran­ti­cally try to make things right and save his boy. Michelle Mon­aghan and Gabrielle Union also star. Rated R. 95 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Not re­viewed)

THINGS TO COME

Not rated. 102 min­utes. In French with sub­ti­tles. The Screen. See re­view, Page 35.

The cat’s meow: Chatty Catties, at Jean Cocteau Cin­ema

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