‘The Giver,’ ‘Let’s Be Cops’ and other new movies, reviewed

In this week’s new releases, Jeff Bridges stars in "The Giver," the film adaptation of Lois Lowry’s Newbery Medal-winning young adult novel. The film receives three stars. "Let’s Be Cops" fails to capitalize on the chemistry between its two comedic stars, Damon Wayans, Jr. and Jake Johnson.

In “The Giver,” a coming-of-age tale set in the future, Jeff Bridges’s title character mentors Jonas (Brenton Thwaites). (The Weinstein Company)

★★★ “The Giver” (PG-13) “Like ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ earlier this summer, young people have once again been given their generation’s version of a message that, although not necessarily new, nevertheless may feel urgent and uniquely timely to its core audience. “The Giver” has been made with deep respect for that experience, and for the book that so powerfully predicted the grim universe movie teenagers now inhabit — for worse and, in this case, for better as well.” – Ann Hornaday

No stars Let’s Be Cops” (R) “‘Let’s Be Cops’ is the kind of movie that depends for laughs on tired bits involving kids swearing, and sustains the audience’s interest with frequent excuses to ogle shapely women dancing provocatively in bars, at parties or, in one unsavory instance, on her own skankily disheveled couch. Johnson and Wayans are both gifted comic performers but are given way too little to do in a film that wends its way from set piece to set piece, not with antic glee but desultory and-then-this-happens randomness.” – Ann Hornaday

★★★ “Dinosaur 13” (PG) “In the taut, emotionally gripping documentary ‘Dinosaur 13,’ filmmaker Todd Douglas Miller meticulously re-creates seven eventful, tense and finally heartbreaking years, starting with the thrill of Hendrickson’s initial discovery of a few vertebrae. The story continues, wending through byzantine legal battles, Kafka-esque custody hearings, appalling governmental overreach and, finally, the simple love story between a man and his fossil.” – Ann Hornaday

★½ “The Expendables 3” (PG-13) “The latest in the ‘Expendables’ franchise is also the longest, clocking in at a little over two hours. That’s well beyond anyone’s daily dietary requirement for machine-gun fire and middling dialogue. Stallone should save some of his material for the practically inevitable fourth movie. After all, Steven Seagal and Kurt Russell need something to do.” – Stephanie Merry

★★½ “Land Ho!” (R) “Cinematographer Andrew Reed frames the scenes of human interaction nicely. But the film’s pale color palette doesn’t bring out the best in landscapes that inspire awe both in person and in such big-budget films as ‘Prometheus’ and ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.’ – John DeFore

★★★ “Siddharth” (Unrated) “Movies and television have turned us into believers of fanciful feats of heroism. We’ve seen so many examples of reality-defying comeuppance that we don’t just accept it when, for example, Liam Neeson hunts down his daughter’s captors in ‘Taken,’ killing and maiming countless villains along the way; we expect it. It’s far more jarring to witness the reality of such a situation — just what ‘Siddharth’ offers.” – Stephanie Merry

★★★ “The Dog” (Unrated) “The T. Rex song ‘Life Is Strange,’ which ushers in the closing credits of ‘The Dog,’ feels like a giant understatement, based on what has come before it. The fascinating and, at times, very funny documentary portrait of the late John Wojtowicz (1945-2006), whose 1972 attempted bank robbery inspired the film ‘Dog Day Afternoon,’ also puts that narrative feature to shame.” – Michael O’Sullivan

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