‘Ender’s Game,’ ‘About Time’ and other new movies, reviewed

November 1, 2013

In this week’s new releases, "Ender's Game" is a science-fiction war film with depth; Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson star in "About Time," the second film in which McAdams plays the love interest of a time traveler; "Blue Is the Warmest Color" and " Mr. Nobody" receive four stars.

★★★ "Ender’s Game" (PG-13) “...the film doesn’t need added suspense, bigger action or a better dramatic twist; it’s got all of those, in more than serviceable amounts. But it benefits greatly, at least for those who care about such things, by actually being about something — the morality of war and its methods — in a way that most movies of this type are not.” – Michael O’Sullivan


AP - Asa Butterfield has a simmering presence in the title role of “Ender’s Game,” and Harrison Ford is generally gruff as Col. Graff.

★★★1/2 "About Time" (R) “Curtis manages to throw a series of spanners into the works — digressions and feints that turn 'About Time' into something altogether deeper and more moving than a conventional rom-com. Perhaps more accurately, he has made a fam-com, a meditation on fatherhood, connection, sacrifice and simple, enduring love that sneaks up on the audience and blooms, like a slow-burning catch in the throat.” – Ann Hornaday

★★1/2 "Last Vegas" (PG-13) “Kline, Freeman, De Niro and Douglas demonstrate both the easy chemistry and excitable energy of old friends reconvening after years apart, and they all genuinely seem to be having fun. Kline is especially memorable, and his comedic abilities have hardly diminished in the years since 'A Fish Called Wanda.'” – Stephanie Merry

★★★★ "Mr. Nobody" (R) “Part of the thrill is the visuals. Van Dormael has crafted a saga that, even at two-plus hours, is endlessly, enormously watchable. Recurring images — a stray dead leaf, swimming pools, bathtubs and other bodies of water — create a rich visual rhythm and internal rhyme that make sure you’re never bored.” – Michael O’Sullivan

★★★★ "Blue Is the Warmest Color" (NC-17) “Exarchopoulos is so convincing as a young woman in the throes of longing, love, lust and devastating rejection that, in the film’s shattering final sequences, filmgoers will sense that they’re not watching a movie as much as witnessing the most private moments of someone’s life, from its headiest highs to its most crushing, depressive lows.” – Ann Hornaday

★★★1/2 "Kill Your Darlings" (R) “The film is hardly a murder mystery anyway. To a much greater degree, it’s the story of Ginsberg’s coming of age, both as a gay man and a writer. Krokidas and Bunn do a great job of portraying a world where literature is both sexy and dangerous. Too often, films about artists aren’t able to capture the creative process. Here, Radcliffe not only makes for a relatable romantic hero, but also a credible literary one.” – Michael O’Sullivan

★★1/2 "Free Birds" (PG) “Catering to both children and their chaperones is a precarious balance. 'Free Birds' has the colorful palette, zippy action and silly story to keep kids giggling, but it also delivers a few worthwhile winks to parents.” – Stephanie Merry

★★★ "After Tiller" (PG-13) “'After Tiller' does viewers the great service of providing light where there’s usually only heat, giving a human face and heart to what previously might have been an abstract issue or quickly scanned news item. No one wants to think about late-term abortion. But “After Tiller” gives us a language to do just that.” – Ann Hornaday

★★★ "American Promise" (Unrated) "'American Promise' is the result of the hundreds of hours of footage. The documentary is unwieldy, unfocused and frustrating at times, no doubt in part to the relative inexperience of its parents-turned-filmmakers and their nebulous motives for turning their camera on in the first place. But the movie is also, somehow, dazzling. The fact that the pair pulls off the nearly 21 / 2-hour run time without making the audience tire of the subjects is a feat itself.” – Stephanie Merry

★★1/2 "Big Sur" (R) “Barr narrates practically every scene, monitoring the author’s deteriorating emotional state and describing the action around him. It’s an understandable impulse; with Kerouac so eloquent on the subject of Cassady’s masculine appeal or the incomparable ache of awakening after four days of drinking, why try to match him? But the choice is an uncinematic one.” – John DeFore

1/2 "Capital" (Unrated) “'Capital' is too cynical to ever really suggest that redemption is possible. Not that anyone watching will even care. Unlike the far superior 'Margin Call,' which was ultimately more humanizing than demonizing of investment bankers, 'Capital' never really allows us inside Marc’s head or heart.” – Michael O’Sullivan

1/2 "Man of Tai Chi" (R) “If for some reason you find yourself in a theater watching the martial arts adventure 'Man of Tai Chi'— say, you’re on the lam from the cops, hiding out at the multiplex and all 13 other titles are sold out — feel free to take a nap during the non-fight sequences. You won’t miss anything if you drift off, but it’ll be hard to do anyway.” – Michael O’Sullivan

An earlier version of this post had the incorrect star rating for "Ender's Game." This version has been updated.

Macy L. Freeman is an editorial aide for the Weekend/Going Out Guide section at The Washington Post.
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