Movies: New and Noteworthy

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Zoe Saldana and Mark Ruffalo in the memoirish "Infinitely Polar Bear." (Sony Pictures Classics)

Also Opening This Week

Cop Car Kevin Bacon stars as a small-town police sheriff who sets about finding the two kids who took his car for a joy ride.

Fantastic Four Four young people transport to an alternative universe where they gain new powers that will need to be harnessed to save Earth.

The Gift The lives of a happily married couple take a dark turn after a mysterious former acquaintance of the husband shows up. Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, and Joel Edgerton star.

Listen to Me Marlon This documentary looks at Marlon Brando by examining audiotapes left by the late actor.

Phoenix A concentration camp survivor searches for the husband she fears betrayed her to the Nazis in postwar Berlin. English and German with subtitles.

Ricki and the Flash Meryl Streep stars as an aging rock star who attempts to put things right with the family she left for stardom years earlier. Kevin Kline also stars.

Samba An African immigrant stuck in dead-end menial jobs and a burned out business executive are brought together by fate. French with subtitles.

Shaun and the Sheep Shaun takes the day off and winds up with more action than he bargained for in this animated family feature. Opens Wednesday

Excellent (****)

Reviewed by critics Steven Rea (S.R.), Tirdad Derakhshani (T.D.), Dan DeLuca (D.D.), Molly Eichel (M.E.), and Gary Thompson (G.T.). W.S. denotes a wire-service review.

Amy An extraordinary documentary about Amy Winehouse, the British singer who died in 2011 at 27, a victim of too much drink, too many drugs, and too much fame. Soul-stirring, heartbreaking, the film uses a trove of archival film, much of it shot on smartphones by friends, lovers, bandmates, roadies, record execs, and fans, to trace the life and blazing career of the singer and songwriter with the trademark beehive, the tats, and the fearsome talent. 2 hrs. 08 R (drugs, profanity, adfult themes) - S.R.

Inside Out The central characters in Pixar's propulsively inventive animated adventure aren't talking toys or cars. They're emotions: Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness, jockeying for control in the mind of a preteen girl. The first psychological thriller that's fun for the whole family. Really psychological. And really fun. From the director of Up, with the voice talents of Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, and Bill Hader. 1 hr. 34 PG (scary corners of the mind, adult themes) - S.R.

Very Good (***1/2)

Jimmy's Hall The life and times of the Irish communist James "Jimmy" Gralton in a stirring saga full of soapbox socialism and lush green country scapes, from the sure hand of prolific British filmmaker Ken Loach. 1 hr. 49 PG-13 (violence, adult themes) - S.R.

Love & Mercy Breathtaking psychological biopic of Brian Wilson, the songwriting savant behind the Beach Boys, toggling back and forth between the mid '60s and the band's landmark Pet Sounds album and the '80s, when Brian, wrongly diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, was under the despotic care of psychologist Eugene Landy. Paul Dano is brilliant as the young Brian; John Cusack brings the middle-age and broken Brian to life. Elizabeth Banks and Paul Giamatti co-star. 1 hr. 52 PG-13 (drugs, violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

Mr. Holmes Ian McKellen is brilliant as the aging Sherlock Holmes, retired to the countryside, where he keeps bees and tries to keep what's left of his memory from slipping away. A sad, lovely film, reuniting the star with his Gods and Monsters director, Bill Condon. 1 hr. 52 PG (adult themes) – S.R.

Spy The unabashed and unapologetic Melissa McCarthy stars as a desk-bound CIA officer unexpectedly sent into the field - Paris, Rome, Budapest - in this lunatic cloak-and-dagger farce directed by Bridesmaids' Paul Feig. Allison Janney, Miranda Hart, Jude Law, and a very funny Jason Statham also star, with Rose Byrne and her piles of hair as the villain of the tale. 2 hrs. R (profanity, raunch, violence, adult themes) – S.R.

Tangerine The clack of prostitutes' heels, screaming matches in divy motels, the admonishments of a doughnut shop owner threatening to call the police . . .. Sean Baker's iPhone 5-shot film delves into the world of transgender sex workers on the streets of L.A., following two friends – played by newcomers Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor – looking for their pimp. Outrageous, funny, raw, and, yes, kind of heartwarming, too. 1 hr. 27 R (profanity, nudity, sex, adult themes) – S.R.

Trainwreck Amy Schumer stars in (and wrote) this deft Judd Apatow-directed comedy about a commitment-phobic New York magazine writer who unexpectedly tumbles for a sports medicine doc (Bill Hader) she's been assigned to profile. A showcase for Schumer's cutting brand of comedy, the film smoothly switches tracks from raunchy copulatory one-liners to compulsory rom-com schmaltz to emotionally raw business about relationships, family, self-image, and self-destructiveness. The stellar supporting cast includes Brie Larson, Tilda Swinton, Colin Quinn and, yes, NBA superstar LeBron James. 2 hrs. 05 R (sex, profanity, drugs, adult themes) – S.R.

Also on screens

Ant-Man *** Paul Rudd, droll and deadpan, is a cat burglar with an electrical engineering degree who puts on a weird, retro getup and can suddenly shrink himself to the size of an ant – and communicate with the ants, too. Clever bits emerge from long stretches of exposition and exploding stuff. Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, and Corey Stoll (the villain) co-star. Marvel Universe cameos galore. 1 hr. 57 PG-13 (violence, profanity, adult themes) – S.R.

Boulevard *** Directed by rocker, author, and filmmaker Dito Montiel (A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints), this modest, moving indie picture features a carefully controlled, implosive performance by Robin Williams, in his final film, as a melancholy, self-effacing 60-year-old closeted gay man who reevaluates his loving, if passionless, 35-year marriage to Joy (Kathy Baker) when he falls for a male hustler (Roberto Aguire). 1 hr. 27 R (profanity, adult themes, sexuality) – T.D.

The Gallows 1/2* This addition to the growing refuse pile of dreadful found-footage horror pics labors under the delusion that shaking, bumping, dropping, sliding, throwing, pitching, and kicking handheld cameras and minicams while 20-something actors run around on an ill-lit sound stage amounts to an experience of terror. It does not. 1 hr. 21 R (violence, profanity) – T.D.

Infinitely Polar Bear *** Deeply personal and filled with love, Maya Forbes' directing debut is drawn from her experiences growing up with a father diagnosed with manic depression. The film throws a memoirish lasso around late-1970s Cambridge, Mass., with Mark Ruffalo as the troubled dad, Zoe Saldana as the mom trying to pursue a career, and Imogene Wolodarsky (Forbes' real-life daughter) and Ashley Aufderheide as the young girls caught in the throes. A movie seen through a child's viewfinder and the filter of memory; as adults, observing from a distance, the landscape of mental illness looks more troubling. 1 hr. 28 R (profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

Jurassic World *** The genetically spliced mega-beast that runs amok in the third Jurassic Park sequel is trumpeted by its theme-park creators as "bigger, scarier, cooler." The movie is bigger and it is pretty scary. But it's not cooler, or smarter, than the original. Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt lead a cast whose main job is to run for their lives. A lot of them don't make it. 2 hrs. 04 PG-13 (intense action, dino violence, profanity, adult themes) – S.R.

Max ** A dog returns from war to the family of the deceased soldier who used to care for him. Family-style sentimentality ensues between hero dog Max and troubled Justin (Josh Wiggins). Max goes off the rails when he goes from canine to James Bond-style foiler of crimes. 1 hr. 51 PG (action violence, peril, brief language)

- M.E.

Minions *** A spinoff of, and prequel to, the Despicable Me movies starring a trio of yellow, pill-shaped pipsqueaks who speak in an indecipherable tongue and find themselves in the merry employ of a supervillain bent on usurping the British throne. It's 1968 (when else?) and mayhem rules the day. A hyperanimated animated farce with shades of silent era slapstick, Three Stooges slapfests, and the jaw-slappping wackiness of a stoner comedy. 1 hr. 31 PG (cartoon mayhem, adult themes) – S.R.

Paper Towns ** A road-trip teen-romance and scavenger-hunt of a movie adapted from John Green's YA novel of the same name. Green wrote The Fault in Our Stars, which was made into a tearjerking hit. This one isn't a tearjerker, and isn't likely to be a hit, either. It name-drops a lot of cool stuff, but the essence of the story and the cardboard characters inhabiting it are as mundane as can be. 1 hr. 49 PG-13 (adolescent themes) – S.R.

Pixels **1/2 Adam Sandler and buddies (including Frozen's Josh Gad, frequent collaborator Kevin James, and Game of Thrones' Peter Dinklage) band together to fight an alien race that has appropriated video game characters to attack the human race. 1 hr. 46 PG-13 (language, suggestive comments) – W.S.

Southpaw *** Jake Gyllenhaal is fierce and muscular in and out of the ring in this shameless boxing melodrama about a champ who loses everything and then fights to get his everything back. With Rachel McAdams, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, and Oona Laurence. 2 hrs. 03 R (violence, profanity, adult themes) – S.R.

Ted 2 **1/2 Seth MacFarlane's talking bear returns to smoke a lot of weed, hang on the couch with his buddy John (Mark Wahlberg), and fight the power by reimagining the Dred Scott decision so that his wife can have a baby. 1 hr. 55 R (language) – G.T.

Unexpected **1/2 Cobie Smulders actually was pregnant while shooting this gentle, thoughtful, if sometimes naive drama about a 30-year-old Chicago public schoolteacher who goes through her first pregnancy with the help and love of a teenage student who also has become pregnant (Gail Bean). The chemistry between them is simply terrific. Their performances almost save the film from its earnest, if bumbling, attempts to make a statement about the social, economic, and racial differences that divide the two characters. 1 hr. 25 R (profanity, sexuality) - T.D.