‘Frances Ha,’ ‘Fast & Furious 6′ and other new movies

In this week’s new movies, Dominic (Vin Diesel), Brian (Paul Walker) and friends return for more action-packed, death-defying scenes in “Fast & Furious 6,” and “Frances Ha” is a hit with critic Ann Hornaday.

One movie got a single star. The other got a four. Read on to for excerpts from the movie reviews:

**** “Frances Ha” (R) “Baumbach films and edits ‘Frances Ha’ for maximum verisimilitude, whether it’s an excruciatingly awkward dinner party or the stalled torpor of a post-brunch Sunday afternoon among the un-coupled. But mostly, he has captured the sustenance and unspoken romance of female friendship: the way two women light up when they talk to one another and the barely detectable tectonic shift that occurs when they let each other down.”  -- Ann Hornaday

**1/2 “Fast and Furious 6” (PG-13) “We hold the following truths about “The Fast and the Furious” franchise to be self-evident: …“That most “Fast” characters will miraculously survive numerous collisions, leaps from bridges and bullet barrages even though they all clearly should have been killed at least 17 times. Per film.” -- Jen Chaney

* “The Hangover Part III” (R) “At least in “Part II,” the Wolfpack’s unwise decision to hang out with Chow could be chalked up to judgment impaired by drugs and drink. Here, they’re stone-cold sober. The film needs something, even if it’s only one line of dialogue, to indicate that someone — Phil, Stu, Alan or even Chow — is aware of the inherent instability of their strange alliance. There is none.” --Michael O’Sullivan

**1/2 “Epic” (PG) The action proceeds predictably, with elements of ‘The Borrowers,’ ‘FernGully: The Last Rainforest,’ ‘The Ant Bully’ and other Tiny Town-themed tales mixed together. It’s a little unfortunate that the plot has to turn decay into the bad guy, instead of teaching children that decomposition is part of the cycle of life.” --Michael O’Sullivan

*** “What Maisie Knew” (R)  “As accomplished as the ensemble is, “What Maisie Knew” belongs entirely to Aprile, who keeps a watchful eye on the psycho-drama swirling around her even when she doesn’t seem to quite comprehend it. If she’s preternaturally self-regulating — no blurting, unruly energy of a typical 6-year-old here — she’s also heartbreakingly fragile, a contradiction in her character that becomes more excruciating as the story wears on.” --Ann Hornday

*** “Renoir” (R) ““Renoir” has some dramatic subtext, in the tension, vague sexual jealousy and subtle artistic rivalry between father and son. Although the story seems to wander aimlessly at times, it has a point to make. Several in fact. One has to do with war and death.” --Michael O’Sullivan

**1/2 “Ain’t in It for My Health” (Unrated) “Throughout much of the film, which follows Helm as he’s working on his Grammy-winning 2007 album, “Dirt Farmer,” he continues to smoke. That addiction, it seems, was nothing in comparison to Helm’s compulsion to make music.” --Michael O’Sullivan

** “Bert Stern: Original Madman” (Unrated) “Hearing acclaimed photographer Bert Stern recount his attempt to bed Marilyn Monroe should be captivating, if admittedly lurid, stuff. And yet, there’s something about the octogenarian womanizer’s languorous tone that makes even sensational tabloid fodder sound banal. The artist’s anecdotes, not to mention his brilliance, are tempered in Shannah Laumeister’s problematic portrait of a man who produced countless recognizable images but struggled with addictions to drugs and women.” --Stephanie Merry

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Fritz Hahn · May 24, 2013