OPEN­ING THIS WEEK

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AF­TER THE STORM

Not rated. 117 min­utes. In Ja­panese with sub­ti­tles. The Screen. See re­view, Page 41.

AMER­I­CAN ANARCHIST

Wil­liam Powell was nine­teen when he wrote the in­fa­mous The Anarchist Cook­book, which de­tailed in­struc­tions for build­ing bombs and plac­ing ex­plo­sives. Di­rec­tor Char­lie Siskel’s doc­u­men­tary fea­ture ex­plores the moral im­pli­ca­tions of writ­ing a trea­tise on mak­ing bombs. Powell, who was sixty-five when the movie was made, is al­most dis­mis­sive of his book, claim­ing to no longer own a copy. He orig­i­nally meant the book to be used as part of the coun­ter­cul­ture re­sis­tance of the late 1960s and early ‘70s. The fact that it has been used in ac­tual at­tacks pro­vides Siskel, co-di­rec­tor of the Os­car-nom­i­nated doc­u­men­tary Find­ing Vi­vian Maier, with an an­gle. He doesn’t let Powell off the hook, cit­ing ter­ror sta­tis­tics and in­ci­dents in which the book has been im­pli­cated. The dy­namic be­tween di­rec­tor and sub­ject grows con­fronta­tional but ul­ti­mately un­sat­is­fy­ing as Powell’s de­fense be­gins to feel like a self-right­eous di­a­tribe. Not rated. 80 min­utes. Jean Cocteau Cin­ema. (Michael Abatemarco)

THE BOSS BABY

In this an­i­mated com­edy, Alec Bald­win voices the ti­tle char­ac­ter, who is also the cut­throat CEO of the Baby Cor­po­ra­tion. Boss Baby forms a re­luc­tant al­liance with his jeal­ous older brother (Miles Christo­pher Bak­shi) when they un­cover a das­tardly plot by Fran­cis E. Fran­cis (Steve Buscemi), the CEO of Puppy Co., to desta­bi­lize the bal­ance of love in the world. Rated PG. 97 min­utes. Screens in 3-D and 2-D at Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. Screens in 2-D only at DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

CON­TEM­PO­RARY COLOR

David Byrne loves color guard — that sta­ple of the high-school spirit scene — so much that he pro­duced a live show pair­ing color guard teams with un­likely indie mu­si­cians like Ad-Rock and St. Vin­cent. The re­sult, as doc­u­mented by Bill and Turner Ross, is a vis­ual feast that re­moves color guard from its usual con­text of foot­ball-game half­time per­for­mances and al­lows the un­usual hy­brid of mod­ern dance and mil­i­taris­tic march­ing to shine as a fine art form. Rated PG-13. 97 min­utes. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Jennifer Levin)

GHOST IN THE SHELL

This live-ac­tion re­make of the 1995 sci­ence-fiction anime — it­self based on a manga se­ries that be­gan in 1989 — has al­ready courted con­tro­versy by cast­ing Scar­lett Jo­hans­son in the star­ring role of a story with deep Ja­panese ori­gins. Jo­hans­son’s star­dom sells tick­ets, how­ever, and she is sure to do so in this role as a cy­borg tasked with lead­ing a counter-cy­bert­er­ror­ism or­ga­ni­za­tion. She faces her great­est chal­lenge yet when a shad­owy vil­lain (Michael Pitt) ap­pears. Rated PG-13. 120 min­utes. Screens in 3-D and 2-D at Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. Screens in 2-D only at DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

1984

Long be­fore Big Brother was a re­al­ity TV show, it was the gov­ern­ing force of the fic­tional Ocea­nia, a dystopian Lon­don where Win­ston Smith (John Hurt), a worker at the Bureau of In­for­ma­tion, rewrites his­tory to suit the new re­al­ity of a to­tal­i­tar­ian regime. He barely ques­tions his en­slave­ment un­til he com­mits the crime of fall­ing in love. Michael Rad­ford’s brood­ing, faith­ful 1984 adap­ta­tion of Ge­orge Or­well’s novel is a vi­sion of a world where no one is free and one’s thoughts are not one’s own. Richard Burton plays O’Brien, the coolly de­tached tor­turer from the Party, who uses pro­pa­ganda and dis­in­for­ma­tion to de­ceive the pub­lic into think­ing they’re at war with the fic­tional Eura­sia. Burton’s per­for­mance is chill­ing, while Hurt’s de­spair­ing por­trayal of Smith is bit­ter­sweet. The ac­tor died in Jan­uary. 7 p.m. Tues­day, April 4, only. Rated R. 113 min­utes. Jean Cocteau Cin­ema; Vi­o­let Crown. (Michael Abatemarco)

PER­SONAL SHOP­PER

French di­rec­tor Olivier As­sayas has dipped his toes in a num­ber of wa­ters, in­clud­ing large-scale biopics, per­sonal com­ing-of-age dra­mas, and noirish thrillers. Here he takes his own stylish spin on the ghost story, un­furl­ing a spell­bind­ing tale of a young Amer­i­can named Mau­reen (Kris­ten Ste­wart) in Paris, who is des­per­ate to com­mu­ni­cate with the spirit of her re­cently de­ceased twin brother. He seems caught be­tween worlds, as is she. As an ex­pa­tri­ate with­out a per­ma­nent home, who earns her keep by buy­ing ex­pen­sive clothes for a su­per­model too fa­mous to ven­ture into pub­lic, Mau­reen seems to be drift­ing through a life not her own. This sense of dis­place­ment is han­dled deftly by As­sayas, who plants mys­ter­ies within mys­ter­ies and blends su­per­nat­u­ral spooks with ex­tis­ten­tial crises in an un­set­tling fash­ion. The re­sults are re­fresh­ingly un­pre­dictable at ev­ery turn. Rated R. 105 min­utes. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. (Robert Ker)

THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE

In this drama based on Diane Ack­er­man’s non­fic­tion book, Jes­sica Chas­tain and Jo­han Helden­bergh play An­ton­ina and Jan Żabiński, the keep­ers of the War­saw Zoo in 1939. An­ton­ina in par­tic­u­lar holds all life in high re­gard, car­ing for the an­i­mals in an al­most ma­ter­nal way. When the Nazis in­vade Poland, she takes the lead in us­ing the zoo grounds and re­sources to help save hun­dreds of Jewish peo­ple. Rated PG-13. 124 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Not re­viewed)

Shell shocked: Scar­lett Jo­hans­son in Ghost in the Shell, at Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Vi­o­let Crown, and DreamCatcher

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