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LOWRIDERS

Set in East LA, this drama cen­ters on Danny (Gabriel Chavar­ria), a teenage graf­fiti artist who is en­cour­aged by his fa­ther (Demián Bichir) to be­come a me­chanic and join the fam­ily busi­ness. When his no-good brother (Theo Rossi) re­turns from prison and seeks to com­pete with their fa­ther at a lowrider com­pe­ti­tion, Danny must choose his al­le­giances. Rated PG-13. 99 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14. (Not re­viewed)

NEI­THER WOLF NOR DOG

In the 1990s, au­thor Kent Ner­burn was con­tacted by a Na­tive Amer­i­can el­der named Dan to help him write a book that con­veyed Dan’s wis­dom, po­lit­i­cal opin­ions, and so­cial com­men­tary. That col­lab­o­ra­tion be­came the 1995 book Nei­ther

Wolf Nor Dog, and now Ner­burn has adapted the book into a screen­play about the jour­ney the two men un­der­took. Christo­pher Sweeney plays Ner­burn, and Dave Bald Ea­gle plays Dan, in this telling of how Ner­burn ac­cepted this re­spon­si­bil­ity while travers­ing Lakota coun­try. Not rated. 110 min­utes. Jean Cocteau Cin­ema. (Not re­viewed)

A QUIET PAS­SION

The life of a writer is a no­to­ri­ously dif­fi­cult chal­lenge to film. The life of a reclu­sive writer raises that dif­fi­culty ex­po­nen­tially. In di­rec­tor Ter­ence Davies’ biopic of Emily Dick­in­son, the re­sults are un­even. Davies has an ex­quis­ite vis­ual sen­si­bil­ity, but much of his screen­play is filled with di­a­logue that seems ex­tracted faith­fully from the writ­ten word, from jour­nals, letters, and po­ems. But peo­ple don’t of­ten speak the way they write, and the ef­fect is of char­ac­ters be­ing squeezed through a press of some­one’s idea of pe­riod authen­tic­ity. Emma Bell plays the young Emily, who morphs into Cynthia Nixon in ma­tu­rity. Nixon de­liv­ers a spir­ited and per­sua­sive per­for­mance as she charts Dick­in­son’s arc from a ra­di­ant young woman into the ec­cen­tric recluse she be­came. Rated PG-13. 125 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards)

SNATCHED

In the lat­est Amy Schumer com­edy, she plays Emily, a woman who is dumped by her boyfriend just be­fore they are sched­uled to em­bark on a trip to South Amer­ica. In­stead she coaxes her home­body mother (Goldie Hawn, in her first film role since 2002) to join her for a lit­tle bond­ing in par­adise. Their ad­ven­ture goes awry when they are kid­napped and must work to­gether to get away from their cap­tors. Rated R. 91 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Not re­viewed)

THEIR FINEST

By turns funny, ro­man­tic, mov­ing, and har­row­ing, this movie about movies, war, and fe­male em­pow­er­ment hits ev­ery note with the ex­quis­ite ping of a fork struck to fine crys­tal. Gemma Arter­ton is Ca­trin Cole, a young woman who in blitz-rav­aged Lon­don un­ex­pect­edly finds her­self hired by the Bri­tish Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion’s film di­vi­sion as a screen­writer to han­dle the “slop” (women’s di­a­logue) for pro­pa­ganda movies. The as­sign­ment is to find real wartime hu­man in­ter­est sto­ries and turn them into morale-rais­ing pot­boil­ers. The per­fect cast­ing in­cludes Sam Claflin as her writ­ing part­ner and per­haps more, Bill Nighy as an ag­ing star, Ed­die Mars­den as his agent, plus He­len Mc­Crory, Richard E. Grant, Jeremy Irons, and many more. To see Nighy raise an eye­brow, or sing an Ir­ish air in a pub, is pure cin­ema magic. Im­pec­ca­bly di­rected by Dan­ish film­maker Lone Sher­fig and adapted by Gaby Chi­appe from Lissa Evans’s 2009 novel Their Finest Hour and a Half (a ti­tle they should have kept), this is cer­tainly one of the year’s finest to date. Rated R. 117 min­utes. Vi­o­let Crown. (Jonathan Richards)

THE WALL

There is a cer­tain brand of thriller in which the story’s he­roes are trapped in one place with an un­seen en­emy out to get them — last year’s shark movie The Shal­lows is a good ex­am­ple. This film by Doug Li­man (The Bourne Iden­tity) takes the con­cept to the war in Iraq, where two Amer­i­can sol­diers (Aaron Taylor-John­son and John Cena) are trapped be­hind a wall in the mid­dle of the desert by an un­seen Iraqi sniper. If they at­tempt to move from their po­si­tion, they’ll be killed. Rated R. 81 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Not re­viewed)

THE WAR AT HOME

In 1979, six years af­ter the sign­ing of the Paris Peace Ac­cords, a young anti-war move­ment vet­eran named Glenn Sil­ber (with co-di­rec­tor Barry Alexan­der Brown) made a doc­u­men­tary about the Viet­nam anti-war protest move­ment as it un­folded on and around the Univer­sity of Wis­con­sin in the decade from 1963 to the war’s end. It was nom­i­nated for an Acad­emy Award. Sil­ber, now a Santa Fean, traces the es­ca­la­tion from peace­ful protest to con­fronta­tion with club-wield­ing po­lice. The stakes rose with the chaos at the ’68 Demo­cratic Con­ven­tion in Chicago, and the sub­se­quent elec­tion of Richard Nixon. It turned deadly with the Na­tional Guard’s killing of four stu­dents at Kent State and a bomb­ing of the U.S. Army Math­e­mat­ics Re­search Cen­ter on the Madison cam­pus that killed a grad­u­ate stu­dent. The film is “not a nos­tal­gic blast from the past,” Sil­ber says. “It does con­nect. It’s al­most like a Cliff­sNotes on how to re­sist.” The Jean Cocteau projects this as the first of a se­ries called Films of Re­sis­tance, which Sil­ber will help to cu­rate. 4:50 p.m. Tues­day, May 23. Not rated. 100 min­utes. Jean Cocteau Cin­ema. (Jonathan Richards)

In sick­ness and in health: Amandla Sten­berg and Nick Robin­son in Ev­ery­thing, Ev­ery­thing, at Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Vi­o­let Crown, and DreamCatcher

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