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New movie reviews: Critics' picks

Calvary

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

Playing a gentle, age-weathered priest unfairly targeted for murder, the mighty Brendan Gleeson anchors this extremely dark Irish comedy with soul and sympathy.

Guardians of the Galaxy

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

Taking a break from serious superheroics, the Marvel brain trust gets a little silly, with redemptive results.

Magic in the Moonlight

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

Woody Allen’s latest—a lighthearted romance set in 1920s Germany and France—is one of his most charmingly conceived and performed efforts.

Boyhood

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice

The ambition is staggering—a domestic drama shot over 12 years with the same cast—but Richard Linklater more than makes good on his experiment, bringing warmth and insight.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

Worried that Hollywood is monkeying around with your favorite franchise? Don’t be: The latest installment is a powerhouse showcase for cutting-edge special effects.

Land Ho!

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

Two old friends head to Iceland in search of kicks, abandon and something close to the Fountain of Youth in this sweet and salty buddy comedy.

Life Itself

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

A keen profile of Roger Ebert works both as a compact appreciation and an unflinching peek into his final months.

Snowpiercer

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice

Humanity cruises through a second Ice Age on a high-tech train in Bong Joon-ho’s brilliantly unhinged postapocalyptic drama, easily the weirdest film of the summer.

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New movie releases

Happy Christmas

  • Rated as: 3/5

A low-key domestic drama from mumblecore staple Joe Swanberg blurs the divide between modest and inconsequential.

Finding Fela

  • Rated as: 3/5

Outspoken Nigerian musician Fela Kuti led a vibrant life, one that filmmaker Alex Gibney lays out in too-plain fashion.

Web Junkie

  • Rated as: 3/5

Barreling toward its rapidly modernizing future, China takes Internet addiction more seriously than most nations.

Child of God

  • Rated as: 2/5

Restless metastar James Franco takes on Cormac McCarthy’s backwoods-gothic novel about a mentally ill serial killer.

Hercules

  • Rated as: 2/5

Strap on your sword belt, buckle your sandals, and oil up your rippling six-pack for another interminable mythic mishmash.

Lucy

  • Rated as: 1/5

Luc Besson’s so, so stupid (and not in a good way) sci-fi thriller never rises above cool-factor calculation.

Sex Tape

  • Rated as: 2/5

A sheen of desperation tanks this DOA comedy, which plays more like an ancient Playboy doodle than a full-fledged movie.

A Most Wanted Man

  • Rated as: 2/5

The troubled mindset of star Philip Seymour Hoffman is more intriguing than anything onscreen in this disappointing thriller.

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