Movie guide: Capsule listings, reviews of current releases

By Los Angeles Times (MCT)

“Abuse of Weakness” — Bedridden after suffering a stroke, a strong-willed filmmaker becomes intrigued by a con man who swindles celebrities and begins to fall for his manipulative charm. With Isabelle Huppert, Kool Shen and Laurence Ursino. Written and directed by Catherine Breillat. In French with English subtitles. (1:44) NR.

“Are You Here” — A womanizing weatherman accompanies his off-the-grid best friend to his childhood home for his father’s funeral, where family conflict arises. With Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis and Amy Poehler. Written and directed by Matthew Weiner. (1:53) R.

“Frank” — A young wannabe musician finds himself out of his depth when he joins an avant-garde pop band led by a mysterious, enigmatic genius who hides himself inside a large fake head. With Domhnall Gleeson, Michael Fassbender and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Written by Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan. Directed by Lenny Abrahamson. (1:35) R.

“If I Stay” — After a car accident leaves her caught between life and death, a young woman must choose her fate in this adaptation of Gayle Forman’s young-adult novel. With Chloe Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos and Jamie Blackley. Written by Shauna Cross. Directed by R.J. Cutler. (1:47) PG-13.

“Jealousy” — An aspiring actor leaves his wife and daughter to move into a garret apartment with his volatile girlfriend while struggling with fidelity and finances. With Louis Garrel and Anna Mouglalis. Written by Philippe Garrel, Caroline Deruas, Arlette Langmann and Marc Cholodenko. Directed by Philippe Garrel. In French with English subtitles. (1:17) NR.

“Jersey Shore Massacre” — A weekend getaway in New Jersey goes awry when a group of revelers becomes the unsuspecting targets of a deranged killer. With Danielle Dallacco, Angelica Boccella and Giovanni Roselli. Written and directed by Paul Tarnopol. (1:28) R.

“Love Is Strange” — Two gay men take advantage of New York’s new marriage law and wed after 39 years, but the Catholic school where one works reluctantly fires him, forcing the couple to split up, sell their apartment and search for cheaper housing. With John Lithgow, Alfred Molina and Marisa Tomei. Written by Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias. Directed by Sachs. (1:38) R.

“The Olivia Experiment” — A frustrated gender-studies graduate student who believes she’s asexual accepts her friend’s offer to try sex with her own boyfriend. With Jen Lilley, Skye Noel and Dan Gordon. (1:30) NR.

“The One I Love” — In an attempt to save their marriage, a couple on the brink of separation escape to a vacation house for a weekend getaway, but what begins as a fun retreat soon becomes surreal. With Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss and Ted Danson. Written by Justin Lader. Directed by Charlie McDowell. (1:31) R.

“The Possession of Michael King” — After the sudden death of his wife, a documentary filmmaker sets out to debunk supernatural and occult phenomena and becomes possessed by an evil force. With Shane Johnson, Ella Anderson and Cara Pifko. Written and directed by David Jung. (1:23) R.

“The Prince” — When his daughter is kidnapped, a retired assassin is drawn back into the life he gave up. With Jason Patric, Bruce Willis and John Cusack. Written by Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore. Directed by Brian A. Miller. (1:43) R.

“Rabindranath Tagore: The Poet of Eternity” — A documentary portrait of the prolific Bengali writer, poet and Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore. Directed by Partha Bhattacharya. (1 hr.) NR.

“Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” — Hard-boiled vigilantes, femmes fatales and assorted lowlifes cross paths in this sequel to the 2005 film “Sin City.” With Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin and Powers Boothe. Written by Frank Miller. Directed by Miller and Robert Rodriguez. (1:42)

“To Be Takei” — A documentary portrait of the 76-year-old actor and activist George Takei. Directed by Jennifer M. Kroot. (1:33) NR.

“When the Game Stands Tall” — A football coach takes his high-school football team from obscurity to a record-shattering 151-game winning streak. With Jim Caviezel, Michael Chiklis and Alexander Ludwig. Written by Scott Marshall Smith. Directed by Thomas Carter. (1:54) PG.

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CRITICS’ CHOICES

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“Boyhood” — Writer-director Richard Linklater couldn’t have known where 12 years of shooting this story would lead, following a boy and his family (played by Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and Lorelei Linklater) across time. But we are blessed that he did, because it has resulted in an extraordinarily intimate portrait of a life unfolding and an exceptional, unconventional film in which not much else occurs. Never has so little meant more. (B.S., July 11) (2:45) R.

“Calvary” — Written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, “Calvary” reveals itself over and over to be a movie of surprises, a serious-minded, lightly comedic rumination on life, death, faith and community. From the jolting simplicity of the opening scene right through the final shots, it’s never quite the film you expect it to be. It sneaks up on you. (M.O, Aug. 1) (1:40) R.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” — Blessed with a loose, anarchic B-picture soul that encourages you to enjoy yourself even when you’re not quite sure what’s going on, this irreverent space opera takes us back to Marvel’s comic book roots and the subversive satisfactions those early days provided. (K.Tu., Aug. 1) In 3-D and Imax. (2:01) PG-13.

“A Most Wanted Man” — A taut, involving thriller, based on the novel by John le Carre, that’s a fitting final film for star Philip Seymour Hoffman, not only because it is so expertly done but because his role as a German spymaster combating terrorism was so challenging. (K.Tu., July 25) (2:01) R.

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ALSO IN THEATERS

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“The Admiral: Roaring Currents” — In the year 1597, the admiral of Korea’s Josen Dynasty leads 12 battleships against the 330-strong Japanese fleet. With Choi Min-sik, Ryu Seung-ryong and Cho Jin-woong. Written by Jun Chul-hong and Kim Han-min. Directed by Kim. In Korean with English subtitles. (2:07) NR.

“After” — In upstate New York, a middle-class family struggles with the financial consequences of a failing business and a series of intergenerational conflicts and rivalries. With Kathleen Quinlan, John Doman and Pablo Schreiber. Written by Sabrina Gennarino. Directed by Pieter Gaspersz. (1:41) NR.

“And So It Goes” — What would “And So It Goes” be without Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton? It’s hard to fathom, because even with these star wattage pros, Rob Reiner’s senior citizen romantic comedy is about as engaging as a drooling nap on a porch. (Robert Abele, July 25) (1:34) PG-13.

“Begin Again” — A teaming of Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo and “Once” filmmaker John Carney in a tale of music’s transformative power certainly has appeal, but you may end up wanting to enjoy it more than its qualities will allow. (K.Tu., June 27) (1:44) R.

“Cheatin’” — After falling for each other on a carnival ride, a blissful couple are divided by a scheming other woman in this animated film. With Sophia Takal, Jeremy Baumann and Alex Markowitz. Written and directed by Bill Plympton. (1:16) NR.

“Coldwater” — A teenager with a troubled past is forcefully taken, with his mother’s consent, to a harsh wilderness reform facility run by a retired war colonel. With P.J. Boudousque, James C. Burns and Chris Petrovski. Written by Vincent Grashaw and Mark Penney. Directed by Grashaw. (2:04) NR.

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” — If you want apes, you’ve come to the right place with this next iteration of the ever-popular science fiction sage. If people are your passion, not so much. (K.Tu., July 11) In 3-D. (2:10) PG-13.

“Dinosaur 13” — A documentary following paleontologist Peter Larson, his unearthing of the largest and most complete T-Rex skeleton ever found, and his 10-year battle over the discovery. Directed by Todd Douglas Miller. (1:35) PG.

“The Expendables 3” — The mercenary team known as the Expendables face off against a former member who went rogue and was thought to be dead. With Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas and Jet Li. Written by Stallone, Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt. Directed by Patrick Hughes. (1:43) PG-13.

“Fifi Howls From Happiness” — A documentary portrait of the Iranian artist Bahman Mohassess, who was well-known before the 1979 revolution but later censored by an oppressive regime. Directed by Mitra Farahani. In Farsi with English subtitles. (1:37) NR.

“Finding Fela” — A documentary about the Nigerian musician and activist Fela Kuti. Directed by Alex Gibney. (1:59) NR.

“A Five Star Life” — A hit in Italy, “Five Star Life” earned the country’s top acting award for Margherita Buy, whose lovely portrayal of an elegant “mystery guest” is as unflashy as the mildly conflicted movie itself. Director Maria Sole Tognazzi gently explores what it means to be unmarried, middle-aged and female. She illuminates a seldom-seen line of work, bathes her flawed characters in affection, and makes points both obvious and astute, soft-pedaling her insights with celebratory travelogue touches. (Sheri Linden, Aug. 1) In Italian with English subtitles. (1:25) NR.

“Fort McCoy” — In summer 1944, a man moves with his family to serve as the barber for a military base in Wisconsin, which includes a German POW camp. With Eric Stoltz, Kate Connor and Lyndsy Fonseca. Written by Connor. Directed by Connor and Michael Worth. (1:40) R.

“Found” — A horror-obsessed fifth-grader discovers that his older brother is a serial killer. With Gavin Brown and Ethan Philbeck. Written by Scott Schirmer and Todd Rigney. Directed by Schirmer. (1:43) NR.

“Get on Up” — Despite the linked advantages of generous helpings of James Brown’s high-octane music and a star performance by Chadwick Boseman that is little short of heroic, this biopic is more frustrating than fulfilling, a disjointed film that has a more ambitious plan than it has the ability to execute. (K.Tu., Aug. 1) (2:18) PG-13.

“The Giver” — In a seemingly utopian society marked by contentment and conformity, a young man is selected to be the new Receiver of Memory, the lone person in his community who carries the knowledge of the old world. With Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep. Written by Michael Mitnick. Directed by Phillip Noyce. (1:29) PG-13.

“Hercules” — If at first blush it feels as if casting Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the mighty son of Zeus was more inevitable than inspired, the truth is the part fits the big guy like a glove. Without putting too fine a point on it, Hercules is Johnson’s King Lear or Willy Loman; an iconic, aspirational role that’s been long-simmering in his wheelhouse. (Gary Goldstein, July 25) (1:38) PG-13.

“The Hundred-Foot Journey” — A sweet and unapologetic fairy tale for adults, this story of cuisines and cultures in conflict starring Helen Mirren and Om Puri has been polished to such a high sheen it’s hard to know whether to be impressed or disheartened. Or both. (K.Tu., Aug. 8) (2:02) PG.

“I Am Happiness on Earth” — As a filmmaker’s new project begins to mirror his daily life, the line between reality and fiction blurs. With Hugo Catalan, Alan Ramirez and Andrea Portal. Written by Julian Hernandez and Ulises Perez Mancilla. Directed by Hernandez. (2:04) NR.

“Into the Storm” — Basically a B-picture with a sizable effects budget, this film knows you bought your ticket for the tornadoes, not the dramatics, and acts according. Its story line and performances are no more than serviceable, but those terrible twisters are state-of-the-art. (K.Tu. Aug. 8) (1:29) PG-13.

“Let’s Be Cops” — Two rudderless friends dress as police officers for a costume party and enjoy their newfound authority, then get mixed up with real mobsters and dirty detectives. With Damon Wayans Jr., Jake Johnson, Rob Riggle and Nina Dobrev. Written by Luke Greenfield and Nicholas Thomas. Directed by Greenfield. (1:44) R.

“Level Five” — An experimental docu-drama about World War II’s Battle of Okinawa. Directed by Chris Marker. In French with English Subtitles. Icarus Films (1:46) NR.

“Life After Beth” — A young man grieving the recent death of his girlfriend is shocked by her mysterious reappearance, but she’s not quite the same. With Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan and John C. Reilly. Written and directed by Jeff Baena. (1:31) R.

“Lucy” — The offspring of a shotgun marriage between Carl Sagan and Quentin Tarantino starring Scarlett Johansson, “Lucy” is part philosophical/scientific treatise, part action movie, a film that goes from mayhem to boredom in a heartbeat. (K.Tu., July 25) (1:28) R.

“Magic in the Moonlight” — In this amusing trifle and sugary truffle of a film, Woody Allen dallies with some of his favorite themes (true romance, magicians and spirituality) and favorite tropes (beautiful women and scenery). Colin Firth stars as a master magician out to unmask Emma Stone’s mentalist, a young tease playing the chateau circuit along the French Riviera in the summer of ‘28. The filmmaker has done froth far better and funnier. The seances are great fun, and the cast is charmingly eclectic. But as to whether “Moonlight” is magical — it is, but ever, ever so slightly. (B.S., July 25) (1:38) PG-13.

“Mission Blue” — A documentary about oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle and her efforts to protect the oceans from pollution, overfishing and climate change. Directed by Robert Nixon and Fisher Stevens (1:35) NR.

“Nightlights” — A 27-year-old woman living with and providing for her autistic brother questions whether she can find happiness in her own life. With Leslie Easterbrook, Shawna Waldron and Stephen Louis Grush. Written by Nick Izzo and Adam Dick. Directed by David Midell. (1:27) NR.

“Planes: Fire and Rescue” — What this Disney animated feature lacks in the naming department, it makes up for with fluid visuals and fast-moving action of the firefighting variety. You’ll feel you could fight a fire yourself after seeing it. (K.Tu., July 18) (1:23) PG.

“The Purge: Anarchy” is a good deal bloodier, but also — gulp — a good deal better than its predecessor. Make no mistake, a good “Purge” does not equal a good movie, but the post-apocalyptic thriller is slightly more interesting because it takes itself, and its menace, more seriously. By building a marginally better “Anarchy,” no doubt we’re in for another purge next year. (B.S., July 18) (1:43) R.

“Rich Hill” — A documentary following three teenage boys coming of age in a small Missouri town. Directed by Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo. (1:33) NR.

“Septic Man” — A sewage worker deteremined to uncover the cause of his town’s water-contamination crisis undergoes a hideous transformation. With Jason David Brown, Molly Dunsworth and Robert Maillet. Written by Tony Burgess. Directed by Jesse Thomas Cook. (1:27) R.

“Step Up All In” — Nothing too bad can happen in dance movies. Though “Step Up All In” emphasizes the difficulty of surviving on a dancer’s unpredictable wages, the film has a muscled buoyancy and thrilling, joyful spectacles that make the fifth installment of the popular franchise an energetic crowd-pleaser. (Inkoo Kang, Aug. 8) (1:52) PG-13.

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” — The new adaptation of the comic book “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” directed by Jonathan Liebesman, often feels like some sort of corporate seminar in brand management. There is something half-hearted about the entire film, as if those behind it were involved not because they wanted to make it, not because they should make it, but just because they could. (M.O., Aug. 8) (1:41) PG-13.

“The Trip to Italy” — Two Englishmen gab and bicker while on a culinary road trip around Italy in this sequel to the 2010 film “The Trip.” With Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. Written by Coogan, Brydon and Michael Winterbottom. Directed by Winterbottom. (1:55) NR.

“Weaving the Past” — A documentary chronicling a filmmaker’s search to uncover the story of his grandfather, a Mexican revolutionary, immigrant and minister. Directed by Walter Dominguez. (2:06) NR.

“What If” — Call it “When Harry Met Sally” with skinny-dipping. Or “(500) Days of Summer” with people falling out of windows. However you frame the sweet yet self-conscious “What If,” it pales in comparison to those and so many other rom-coms. That would have less to do with the “rom” and the “com” and more with the thinness of the movie’s overall concept. (Gary Goldstein, Aug. 8) (1:37) PG-13.

“Wish I Was Here” feels self-satisfied rather than sincere, defensive rather than open. For a film that purports to be about the process of maturity and growth, it is woefully un-evolved, lacking in understanding and insight. With its greeting card aphorisms and muddled style, Zach Braff’s latest feels like a step back rather than some new destination. There is simply no there to “Wish I Was Here.” (M.O., July 18) (1:50) R.


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