In this week’s new releases, Ralph Fiennes delivers a standout performance in Wes Anderson's “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” and the documentary “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me” gives viewers a glimpse into the Broadway icon's life. Both films receive three stars.
★★★ “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (R) “‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ revolves — like all of Anderson’s films — around a quirky middle-aged man and the precocious boy he takes under his wing. As such, the film fully engages one of the fascinating tensions that have always animated Anderson’s fussily decorated cinematic jewel boxes, namely how one learns to become a man within a universe of characters so stylized and artfully concocted that they seem barely human.” – Ann Hornaday
★★★ “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me” (Unrated) “Known largely for her work rendering the songs of Stephen Sondheim, Stritch is a great, emotive singer, even if she’s not a technically perfect one. Her voice is rough and raw around the edges. It is that sense of vulnerability that gives her voice its power. It’s also what makes ‘Shoot Me’ work." – Michael O’Sullivan
★1/2 “Need for Speed” (PG-13) “..most people won’t come to ‘Need for Speed’ in search of a compelling narrative. They’ll come to fawn over shiny Mustangs, Lamborghinis and GTA Spanos, and to gasp when those gorgeous works of vehicular art dodge oncoming traffic, pirouette in midair and smash violently into police cars engaged in hot pursuit. On those metrics, “Need for Speed” satisfies at times...” – Jen Chaney
★★★1/2 “Child’s Pose” (Unrated) “One piece of advice: See ‘Child’s Pose’ in time for dinner or a long cup of coffee afterwards. This is a film meant for spirited discussion, and even argument.” – Ann Hornaday
★★★ “Generation War” (Unrated) “‘Generation War’ has mixed success in explaining the atrocities that were committed. The films are highly entertaining and highly disturbing, in the latter case for both the right and the wrong reasons. While admirably delineating moral decay, which eats away at one character like a virus, the movies never really get at the seed of evil. ” – Michael O’Sullivan
★★1/2 “Veronica Mars” (PG-13) “Full disclosure: I loved the television show. Yet I found myself curiously stuck between the first and second camps. It’s good to have Veronica back, particularly at what seems like a vital time, given the depressing revelation that women accounted for a paltry 15 percent of leading roles in 2013 films. But the movie lacks some of the verve and chemistry that made the series a must-see. I guess that makes the movie more of a good-to-see.” – Stephanie Merry