As I Lay Dying
R, 1 Hr., 49 Mins.
James Franco directed this adaptation of the William Faulkner novel, and it would be hard to imagine a Faulkner movie more reverent — or more misguided in its fuzzy, rambling inertia. The film follows 15 characters linked to a dying backwoods matriarch, and Franco gets good performances (Tim Blake Nelson is terrific). But his vision of lower-depths Mississippi sits there in tatters of non-drama. (Also available on iTunes; on VOD 11/1) C- —Owen Gleiberman
Birth of the Living Dead
Not Rated, 1 Hr., 16 Mins.
Rob Kuhns’ marvelous doc about the making of Night of the Living Dead looks at all the ways one low-budget, flesh-eating horror movie changed the world. It’s full of juicy anecdotes that detail how George A. Romero made necessity into the mother of nightmare invention, and EW’s Mark Harris and NPR’s Elvis Mitchell eloquently testify to how Night forged a new age of socially relevant horror almost by accident. (Also available on iTunes and VOD) A —Owen Gleiberman
Camille Claudel 1915
Not Rated, 1 Hr., 37 Mins.
The cruel irony of this boring-as-hell French drama by director Bruno Dumont (Humanité) is that while we watch the famed sculptor Camille Claudel (Juliette Binoche) wither away in the mental institution where she spent her last decades (long after her doomed affair with Rodin), we’re also watching Binoche waste her breathtaking talent in a movie that maroons her in one endless shot after another. A more accessible take on the artist: Bruno Nuytten’s Camille Claudel, starring Isabelle Adjani. C- —Adam Markovitz
R, 1 Hr., 54 Mins.
Writer-director Costa-Gavras (Z) revels in the business-class details of his new French financial thriller: the private yachts, the made-to-measure clothes, the supermodel girlfriends. But its central story about a stopgap bank CEO (Gad Elmaleh) who outwits the board that put him in power (including a conniving Gabriel Byrne) is as drab and generically assembled as a cheap suit. C- —Adam Markovitz
PG-13, 2 Hrs., 14 Mins.
Paul Greengrass’ true-life tale of a cargo ship overtaken by Somali pirates is spiky and suspenseful. As the captain, Tom Hanks acts with a minimalism that speaks volumes. B+ —Owen Gleiberman
PG-13, 1 Hr., 32 Mins.
James Gandolfini gives a teddy bear performance in this beautifully bittersweet romantic comedy. A- —Chris Nashawaty
PG-13, 1 Hr., 31 Mins.
George Clooney and Sandra Bullock are U.S. shuttle voyagers lost in space in Alfonso Cuarón’s awesome technological daydream of a movie. A —Owen Gleiberman
Kill Your Darlings
R, 1 Hr., 40 Mins.
This shocking drama about the earliest days of the Beats is the rare art biopic that sees the dark roots of creativity. In 1943, Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) enters Columbia University and is drawn into the orbit of the floridly brilliant and damaged Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan). Radcliffe, in a superb performance, captures Ginsberg’s playfully stern poetic passion, Ben Foster nails the aristocratic young rotter William Burroughs, and DeHaan is inspired as a bohemian-turned-killer. A- —Owen Gleiberman
R, 1 Hr., 47 Mins.
Robert Rodriguez’s splendidly garish sequel is far more lurid and insane than the first Machete. It’s like James Bond gone splatter pulp. B+ —Owen Gleiberman
PG-13, 1 Hr., 26 Mins.
Even if you dislike her stylized dialogue, Juno and Young Adult writer Diablo Cody typically gives you something interesting to snicker at. But her directorial debut, starring Julianne Hough as an ex-fundamentalist Montana girl looking for a hedonistic good time in Las Vegas, has duller edges than most ABC Family movies. You have to wonder how Cody lured fellow Oscar winners Octavia Spencer and Holly Hunter into this unoriginal misfire. (Also available on DirecTV, iTunes, and VOD) D —Stephan Lee
R, 2 Hrs., 23 Mins.
When the daughter of Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) goes missing, he tries to torture a suspect into confessing. A —Owen Gleiberman
Romeo and Juliet
PG-13, 1 Hr., 55 Mins.
It’s unfortunate that Hailee Steinfeld’s return to the screen after her revelatory debut in 2010’s True Grit comes in such a passionless vehicle. This straightforward (but iambic-pentameter-free) rendering of Shakespeare’s tragedy showcases gorgeous Italian scenery, but Steinfeld and model-pretty Douglas Booth are so mismatched as the leads that their performances fade into it. C+ —Stephan Lee