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Movies: September 13, 2013

Reviews of new movies like ”Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” ”One Direction: This Is Us,” and more

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99% — The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative FIlm
Not Rated, 1 Hr., 37 Mins.
The Occupy Wall Street movement deserves enormous credit for locking the ”meme” of the 99 percent into the American psyche. But that doesn’t make this day-to-day documentary about the protests a very interesting movie. You can agree, in large part, with those who camped out for months in New York’s Zuccotti Park and still think that the film showcases way too much naive gabble about ”revolution.” B- Owen Gleiberman

Closed Circuit
R, 1 Hr., 36 Mins.
The eye of the state is watching you! motif is window dressing for a thriller poised between sinister and plausible. BOwen Gleiberman

PG-13, 1 Hr., 30 Mins.
Movies don’t get much more brainless. In order to save his wife, an ex-race-car driver (Ethan Hawke) has to pilot a Mustang while a criminal (Jon Voight) phones in orders like ”Smash into everything you can” and ”Drive onto the skating rink.” To which we would add, ”Apologize to everyone who paid to see this.” D-Adam Markovitz

Good Ol’ Freda
PG, 1 Hr., 26 Mins.
Freda Kelly, the Beatles’ longtime secretary, is a cheeky storyteller even if her loyalty to the Fab Four prevents her from dishing up any new dirt in this documentary. Still, it’s a charming sideways look at a woman who had a backstage pass to the greatest pop phenomenon of the 20th century. (Also available on VOD and iTunes) BChris Nashawaty

Lee Daniels’ The Butler
PG-13, 2 Hrs., 12 Mins.
Forest Whitaker is mesmerizing as Cecil Gaines, an African-American who served in the White House for four decades. B+Chris Nashawaty

One Direction: This Is Us
PG, 1 Hr., 35 Mins.
The music is catchy as hell, but Morgan Spurlock’s airbrushed doc about the hit boy band feels like a promo reel. C+Chris Nashawaty

R, 1 Hr., 41 Mins.
Brian De Palma’s new thriller starts as an office satire, then tips into gliding-camera absurdity. (Also available on VOD and iTunes) COwen Gleiberman

R, 1 Hr., 51 Mins.
In this sugary dollop of French whimsy, the pixieish Déborah François plays an adorably klutzy Mad Men-era secretary who’s a whiz with an Underwood. The always great Romain Duris smolders as the boss who pushes her into a national speed-typing contest. Romantic tension ensues. Will they or won’t they? Oh, s’il vous plaît! B-Chris Nashawaty

PG-13, 2 Hrs., 9 Mins.
A companion piece to the buzzy new biography by Shane Salerno, who directed and produced this doc. Aside from an astonishing glimpse of Salinger in a never-before-seen World War II-era film clip, Salerno runs out of visuals fast, padding the film with the same stock images over and over and with — shudder — cringeworthy History channel-ish re-creations. C Tina Jordan

A Single Shot
R, 1 Hr., 56 Mins.
Another strong performance from Sam Rockwell can’t rescue David M. Rosenthal’s bleak indie thriller about a West Virginia deer hunter who accidentally shoots and kills a young woman. It might have been more interesting if the film grappled more with one man’s guilt instead of becoming a tediously grim game of cat and mouse. Rockwell deserves better. (Available on VOD; in select theaters 9/20) C+Chris Nashawaty

A Teacher
Not Rated, 1 Hr., 16 Mins.
A high school teacher (Lindsay Burdge) has a fling with a student (Will Brittain), a genial hunk who seems a lot more levelheaded than she is. She’s paranoid about being discovered, but Hannah Fidell’s movie doesn’t pivot on scandal. It portrays the heroine’s inappropriate obsession as fatally romantic, a provocative hook of diminishing returns. (Also available on VOD and iTunes) B-Owen Gleiberman

We’re the Millers
R, 1 Hr., 49 Mins.
A raunchy road-trip comedy, with Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston as weed smugglers posing as Ward and June Cleaver. BChris Nashawaty

Winnie Mandela
R, 1 Hr., 47 Mins.
Darrell J. Roodt’s bland biopic of the South African antiapartheid activist feels like the Hallmark Hall of Fame version of history. Jennifer Hudson brings some fire to the controversial crusader and Terrence Howard is very good as her husband, Nelson Mandela. But this well-intentioned film is an oversimplified mess. CChris Nashawaty

The World’s End
R, 1 Hr., 49 Mins.
A hilarious sci-fi comedy from the Brits behind Shaun of the Dead. B+Chris Nashawaty