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New movie reviews: Critics' picks

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

Jennifer Lawrence goes impressively fierce for this penultimate chapter.

Happy Valley

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

Director Amir Bar-Lev diagnoses the collective mentality of State College, Pennsylvania, a town so in love with football and local hero Joe Paterno, it lost sight of morality.

The King and the Mockingbird

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice

Regarded as a classic in France (and a known influence on Japan’s Studio Ghibli), this sprightly 1980 animated film deserves a cult here.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

It’s not as though black-and-white Iranian feminist vampire movies are clogging the multiplexes, and this one is plenty good.

Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

Somehow, Jarvis Cocker still seems cool in this euphoric showcase for Pulp’s last-ever U.K. gig.

The Theory of Everything

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

Eddie Redmayne digs deep for a soulful performance as young Stephen Hawking, reaching for the stars while his deteriorating body has other plans, in James Marsh’s brainy biopic.

Interstellar

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice

Christopher Nolan’s overwhelming, immersive and time-bending space epic makes Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity feel like a palate cleanser for the big meal to come.

Nightcrawler

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice

Jake Gyllenhaal goes bug-eyed as a crazed opportunist who finds his calling as a vulturelike collector of crime footage, in screenwriter Dan Gilroy’s thrilling directorial debut.

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New movie releases

Extraterrestrial

  • Rated as: 2/5

Another gang of obnoxious teenagers; another secluded cabin in the woods; another lurking supernatural presence.

Dumb and Dumber To

  • Rated as: 3/5

Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are back in a sequel that looks like a cash grab but works like a time machine.

Foxcatcher

  • Rated as: 2/5

Arrestingly made yet oppressive, Bennett Miller’s sports movie focuses, like the director’s Capote, on a true-life crime story.

Rosewater

  • Rated as: 3/5

Jon Stewart turns out to be a merely okay director, judging from this sincere yet serviceable political drama.

The Homesman

  • Rated as: 2/5

The West is a grim place in Tommy Lee Jones’s ineffective 19th-century oater, way too plain for its own good.

Big Hero 6

  • Rated as: 3/5

An enjoyable robocentric diversion from a studio that usually offers more.

Fury

  • Rated as: 3/5

Brad Pitt pulls along this gutsy, old-fashioned WWII epic by the sheer force of his charisma.

John Wick

  • Rated as: 3/5

Keanu Reeves is back in action as a fearsome assassin who goes on a killing rampage in honor of his dead puppy.

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