Capsule Movie Reviews (May 21): 'Horses of God' and six more
Horses of God
NOT RATED, 1 HR., 55 MINS.
Four boys from the slums of Morocco mutate into suicide bombers in this tense drama, which uses the 2003 Casablanca terror attack as its backdrop. Director Nabil Ayouch hammers his points rather bluntly, but his filmmaking is hypnotic. The camera, initially jittery and handheld, slows to static shots, eerily matching the characters’ stagnant mindsets on their atrocious road to martyrdom. B+ —Joe McGovern
NOT RATED, 1 HR., 30 MINS.
Sebastian Junger’s follow-up to 2010’s Restrepo (his Oscar-nominated war doc codirected by the late Tim Hetherington) shifts focus from combat in Afghanistan’s “Valley of Death” to the soldiers’ psychology, revealing a landscape equally broken and bombed-out. Interviews with the men, shot in prying close-ups, are shattering, yet the film is so noble and apolitical that it’s unchallenging. C+ —Joe McGovern
The Love Punch
PG-13, 1 HR., 34 MINS.
A divorced couple (Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson) run off to France to steal back their nest egg from a billionaire embezzler. There’s nothing remotely original about the premise, and jokes about prostates feel more pandering than funny, but the leads make this dumb romantic caper watchable. B- —Stephan Lee
R, 1 HR., 36 MINS.
Toni Collette stars as a Seattle rock journalist assigned to track down the singer-songwriter she helped discover [MDASH] and once dated [MDASH] 10 years after his mysterious disappearance. The movie is disappointingly flat-footed about both rock and journalism, and its shaggy plot sheds logic as it goes. Still, the actors (Thomas Haden Church, Oliver Platt, and Nina Arianda) are excellent; they’re triple crème slathered on an odd little undercooked biscuit of a script. (Also available on DirecTV and VOD) B- —Leah Greenblatt
R, 1 HR., 52 MINS.
Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, and Peter Sarsgaard play radical environmentalists who plot to blow up a hydroelectric dam as an act of political theater in Kelly Reichardt’s latest snapshot of life off the grid in the Pacific Northwest. While the first hour is evocative and suspenseful, the second doesn’t quite muster the depths of paranoia and doom you’re led to expect. B —Chris Nashawaty
We Are the Best!
NOT RATED, 1 HR., 42 MINS.
Lukas Moodysson, the hit-and-miss Swedish director of Together and Lilya 4-Ever, returns with an infectious ’80s-set import about a trio of 13-year-old misfits who start an all-girl punk band. Their terribleness is part of their charm. As a coming-of-age story, the film is a bit uneventful. But the girls’ rebellious, fist-in-the-air spirit and the warmth of their friendship are undeniable. B —Chris Nashawaty
Words and Pictures
PG-13, 1 HR., 56 MINS.
A high school English teacher (Clive Owen) loves words. The new art instructor (Juliette Binoche) loves pictures. Before they inevitably fall for each other, they get into lots of heated arguments that go like this [MDASH] Him: “Words!” Her: “Pictures!” and so on. It’s a rom-com setup lamer than anything in the Barrymore-Sandler canon, but Binoche and Owen tackle it like high drama and eke out a few sweet moments. C+ —Adam Markovitz