Movie Stars

Rachel McAdams and Harrison Ford star in “Morning Glory.’’ Rachel McAdams and Harrison Ford star in “Morning Glory.’’ (Macall Polay/Paramount Pictures)
November 17, 2010

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New releases

127 Hours James Franco plays hiker Aron Ralston, who in 2003 survived a horrific ordeal in the Utah desert. Director Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire’’) delivers a movie experience both grueling and transcendent. What begins as a story of survival becomes something infinitely more moving: a metaphysical journey back toward the human race. (94 min., R) (Ty Burr)

Boxing Gym In spring 2007, filmmaker Frederick Wiseman spent a few weeks at Lord’s Gym, a training facility in Austin, Texas, that’s open to the public. He’s not out to say anything grand or complex; he simply films the gym’s members as they train, spar, work out, and shoot the breeze. It’s modest by the standards of Wiseman’s epics but transcendent all the same. (91 min., unrated) (Wesley Morris)

Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer Alex Gibney’s documentary is eager to recast the disgraced former New York governor in a better light. This isn’t an exoneration as much as it is a clarification — a botched one, but still. If Spitzer wants to be seen as remorseful, this is a decent opportunity. But, in arguing that Spitzer’s enemies were punishing him for his arrogance and amazing efficacy, the movie is long and confused. (118 min., R) (Wesley Morris)

Cool It Ondi Timoner’s messy documentary about the environmental activist Bjorn Lomborg arrives having been labeled as the anti-“Inconvenient Truth.’’ It is. But not in the philistinistic way you’d expect. Lomborg believes in global warming. He just thinks the world’s money should be spent fighting other catastrophes. You realize that Timoner trumps up Lomborg as a giant problem so she can say her movie is part of the solution. (89 min., unrated) (Wesley Morris)

Enter the Void A wrenching, one-of-a-kind head trip through the afterlife from French director Gaspar Noé (“Irreversible’’). A recently deceased American kid in Tokyo tours his past, present, and future in a sort of epic tour of the circles of hell. Still, for once in a Noé movie, the joke isn’t entirely on us. Not for pregnant women, the seizure-prone, or the faint of heart. With Paz de la Huerta. (161 min., unrated) (Ty Burr)

Morning Glory A bauble about the morning-show wars that floats on the updrafts of character comedy until it charmingly self-destructs in the final act. Rachel McAdams stars as a naive TV producer caught between anchor-desk divas Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford; the movie’s structured as a professional romance between McAdams and Ford but nervously throws in Patrick Wilson as a love interest. (102 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

Skyline There’s a particularly insulting kind of awful movie that doesn’t leave you mad at the director (but you could be) or the cast (although they’re mostly awful, too). You’re just left annoyed with a culture in which all a studio has to do for a gigantic opening weekend is buy ad time during football games. To see this science fiction action movie, in which an alien mother ship vacuums Los Angeles free of people, is to wonder why you’re watching it. (93 min., PG-13) (Wesley Morris)

Tibet in Song A heartbreaking documentary polemic about the crushing of traditional Tibetan music and dance by the Chinese authorities. Director and musicologist Ngawang Choephel spent six years in a Chinese prison for recording the old ways, and his film offers blunt proof that the best way to murder a country is to kill its music. In English, Tibetan, and Mandarin, with subtitles. (86 min., unrated) (Ty Burr)

Unstoppable Two guys versus a train — how exciting is that? Surprisingly, very. Denzel Washington and Chris Pine play two railroad engineers struggling to stop a runaway train roaring through the Pennsylvania countryside with a payload of toxic goo. This is the kind of movie director Tony Scott should make more often: an unabashed genre flick with a job to do and characters bent on doing it. With Rosario Dawson. (98 min., R) (Ty Burr)

Previously released

Fair Game Director Doug Liman takes one of the more shameful sub-chapters in modern US politics — the Bush administration’s outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame (Naomi Watts) in retaliation for her ex-diplomat husband Joe Wilson’s (Sean Penn) public comments on the Iraq war — and turns it into a strident, condescending Hollywood melodrama. (104 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

For Colored Girls Tyler Perry is no stranger to kitchen-sink melodrama. But this version of Ntozake Shange’s seminal 1975 play is the kitchen sink, the washing machine, the curling iron, the sofa, and the ironing board. It’s Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, Tony, and Razzie. It’s astounding. It’s terrible. It’s astounding. Then terrible again. The giant cast includes Kimberly Elise, Janet Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, and Phylicia Rashad. (127 min., R) (Wesley Morris)

Four Lions Can a slapstick farce about bumbling terrorists be funny? In theory, but it had better be surer about its aims than this British comedy. Director Chris Morris wants to destroy radical fundamentalism with ridicule, but some good, rude belly laughs don’t add up to the savage satire the subject needs. With Riz Ahmed and Nigel Lindsay. (97 min., R) (Ty Burr)

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest The robotic final movie based on Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy is all anticlimax. For one thing, “the girl’’ — Lisbeth Salander, the moody, ultra-fit, punk-goth cyber genius — doesn’t kick anything until the final 10 minutes. As superb as Noomi Rapace has been up to this point, there’s nothing she can do to bring craft or excitement to the act of texting. In Swedish, with English subtitles. (148 min., R) (Wesley Morris)

Hereafter From Clint Eastwood, a multicharacter melodrama about the afterlife that’s affecting both in spite of and because of its sizable flaws. The three-pronged narrative spirals around a reluctant psychic (Matt Damon) who can commune with the dead. Peter Morgan wrote the script; Cécile de France and Bryce Dallas Howard costar, the latter stealing every one of her scenes. (129 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

Megamind How do you make a big entertainment about dissatisfaction? Hire Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, and Brad Pitt to do the voices, then ask them to enjoy themselves. The comical evil-genius title character (Ferrell) gets bored after vanquishing his flamboyantly noble archenemy (Pitt). The bliss of “Megamind’’ is the way it pursues a solution for the tired problems of both superheroes and movies about them. (96 min., PG) (Wesley Morris)

Paranormal Activity 2 A sequel, a prequel, and a remake, all in one film. The plot of this follow-up to the surprise 2009 hit leads up to and eventually over-explains the eerie events of the first film. The producers being no fools, the new movie’s also a virtual carbon copy of the original. As bloodless camcorder meta-horror goes, it’s passable. (91 min., R) (Ty Burr)

Vision: From the Life of Hildegard Von Bingen The great German filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta (“The Lost Honor of Katherina Blum’’) gives us a portrait of the medieval nun-mystic-composer as a complex feminist pioneer. It’s mature moviemaking in the best sense, with Barbara Sukowa an imperious force of nature in the title role. In German, with subtitles. (110 min., unrated) (Ty Burr)

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