Picks of the week
(PG-13, 101 minutes, Sony): Julianne Moore won an Academy Award for her role in this tearjerker about a renowned linguistics professor afflicted with a rare form of Alzheimer’s that’s both early onset and genetically passed. Alice is barely 50, and already the symptoms are impossible to ignore. She gets lost on a jog around Columbia University, where she works; she introduces and reintroduces herself to people in short order; and words, which have been Alice’s life, are becoming increasingly elusive. It’s tough to watch, and the inevitability of Alice’s fate doesn’t soften the blow. But for all its bleakness, the movie, with strong supporting performances from Kristen Stewart and Alec Baldwin, never loses its luster. Directors Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer, who are married, decided to make the movie after Glatzer was diagnosed with ALS; he died in March. Contains mature thematic material, and brief language including a sexual reference. Extras: Deleted scenes, a look at Glatzer and Westmoreland’s journey to create the film, an interview with composer Ilan Eshkeri on the soundtrack and “Finding Alice,” in which the cast, filmmakers, Alzheimer’s experts and executive producer/ women’s health advocate Maria Shriver discuss the film’s depiction of Alice’s disease.
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(R, 106 minutes, Lionsgate): This farce about a chichi and shady art dealer who helps the British government track down a stolen Goya is at times funny, but it’s also a half-baked heist movie with a protagonist who is only barely tolerable. Johnny Depp, man of many accents, plays the lead. Things are a bit strained between Mortdecai and his wife, Johanna (Gwyneth Paltrow), who has relegated him to a guest bedroom. So there’s no better time for Martland (Ewan McGregor), an MI5 agent who has been smitten with Johanna since college, to show up asking for Mortdecai’s assistance. Paltrow and McGregor have chemistry, and their interactions are far more vivacious than any of the scenes of real action. Contains strong language and sexual situations. Extras: An on-set featurette, “Stolen Moments,” and “The Art of Noise: Making Music for Mortdecai.”
(R, 133 minutes, Universal): An unthrilling thriller about an imprisoned cyber-criminal who is let out of jail in order to track down the mastermind behind a pair of computer attacks – one on a Chinese nuclear power plant and the other on Chicago’s soybean futures market. In his quest to save the world, hacker Hathaway (played by Chris Hemsworth) hooks up with Lien (Wei Tang) along the way. Seemingly shot on a shaky smartphone, director Michael Mann’s blurry, jerkily edited digital video is hard to read, especially during action sequences. And first-time screenwriter Morgan Davis Foehl’s script is a stew of romance and action-movie leftovers, smothered under a gravy of incomprehensible techno-speak. Contains violence, brief sensuality and obscenity. Extras: An on-location look from around the world and featurettes “The Cyber Threat” and “Creating Reality.”
(unrated, 170 minutes, in German and French with subtitles, Music Box Films): Although writer-director Dominik Graf’s speculative historical drama assumes a love triangle between German poet and playwright Friedrich Schiller (played by hunky Florian Stetter), his wife Charlotte (Henriette Confurius) and Charlotte’s unhappily married older sister Caroline (Hannah Herzsprung), the three protagonists never share a bed. And what little sex there is takes place only between Friedrich and Caroline, also a writer. To be fair, Graf exercises appropriate restraint throughout, concerning himself with such themes as class, the French Revolution and innovations in printing technology. “Beloved Sisters” is really about the dawn of modernity, with its subtext of female empowerment. Contains brief nudity and a few steamy scenes. No special features.
“Two Men in Town”
“Just Before I Go”
“These Final Hours”
“Make Way for Tomorrow”
“Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts”
“The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Miss Osbourne”
“Adventures of Pepper & Paula”
“Unforgettable: Season Three”
“The Midnight Special”
“Texas Rangers: The Real Stories”
“The Best of the Ed Sullivan Show”
“The Magic School Bus: Season Two”
“Mister Ed: Sixth Season”
“The Colbys: Complete Series”
“Digimon Tamers Volume 2”