‘Son of God,’ ‘Non-Stop’ and other new movies, reviewed

In this week’s new releases, actor Diogo Morgado stars in “Son of God,” a depiction of the story of Jesus as an adult. The film’s simplistic narrative fails to impress critic Ann Hornaday. The imagery in “Visitors” invites viewers to observe human nature, and the film receives four stars.

“Son of God” follows the biblical story of Jesus (Diogo Morgado) as an adult, cobbled together from a History Channel television miniseries. (Casey Crafford/AP)

1/2 “Son of God” (PG-13) “‘Son of God’ is nothing if not sincere, its earnest retelling of Jesus’s life story resembling a gentle, pop-up book version of the New Testament, its text reenacted for maximum reassurance and intellectual ease. After a brief scene at the manger, the film focuses on his teachings as an adult, a series of tableaux that, in their perfunctory pacing and diorama-like staging, play like the Messiah’s greatest hits.” – Ann Hornaday

Visitors” (Unrated) “For those willing to join Reggio in his extended meditation, ‘Visitors’ offers a sublime, even spiritual experience, as well as a bracing reminder of cinema’s power to create a transformative occasion. Like so many movies last year -- 'Gravity,' 'All is Lost' and '12 Years a Slave' among then -- 'Visitors' restores a sense of monumentality to a medium that has seemed so diminished by recent technological and commercial imperatives — so much so that Soderbergh has felt it necessary to retire. – Ann Hornaday

1/2 “Non-Stop” (PG-13) “As with Christie’s most famous works, most of the main characters, including Neeson’s Bill Marks, a troubled alcoholic, initially draw our suspicion. The characters are either too cooperative, not cooperative enough, weirdly furtive, excessively flirty, hiding a dark secret or, in the zeitgeist-y case of one Middle Eastern-looking character (Omar Metwally), simply presumed to be guilty by ethnicity.” – Michael O’Sullivan

Stalingrad” (R) “‘Stalingrad’ starts on the wrong foot, opening during another destructive moment: the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It’s a weak framing device that may leave audiences wondering if they’ve stumbled into the wrong theater. But it allows one man to reminisce about the men he calls his “five fathers,” who fought for the Soviets to reclaim Stalingrad from the Nazis.” – Stephanie Merry

1/2 “Repentance” (R) “Whitaker, one of the film’s producers, had director Philippe Caland remake “Tripping Tommy” (a.k.a. 'The Guru and the Gypsy'), Caland’s own movie that’s been awaiting release for several years. For 'Repentance,' Shintaro Shimosawa rewrote Caland’s original screenplay. The new script may or may not be an improvement, but it’s not very good. Mackie and Whitaker’s performances outclass the material. Lathan and Epps probably would too, if they were given anything significant to do.” – Mark Jenkins

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