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‘Divergent,’ ‘Muppets Most Wanted’ and other new movies, reviewed

In this week’s new releases, Michael O’Sullivan says “Divergent” may be better than the Veronica Roth novel on which it’s based; “Muppets Most Wanted” succeeds as a sequel to the 2011 film "The Muppets."

Kate Winslet is the baddy who leads the Erudite faction and needs the help of the Dauntless faction in order to overthrow the government. Theo James plays Tris’s Dauntless mentor. (AP Photo/Summit Entertainment, Jaap Buitendijk)

Divergent” (PG-13) “It’s rare that a movie is as good as the book on which it’s based. It’s even more unusual when it’s better.”– Michael O’Sullivan

Muppets Most Wanted” (PG) ““Muppets Most Wanted’ figures out how to end on a genuinely hilarious note — or, in this case, lack of one. Well played, Muppets 2.0. Well played.” – Ann Hornaday

1/2 “Bad Words” (R) “Bateman’s directorial debut looks great, with smart use of slow motion and shots that are framed to amp up the comedy. Bateman, who’s so often the put-upon straight man, really stretches himself here.” – Stephanie Merry

1/2 “Nymphomaniac: Volume I” (Unrated) “Should filmgoers find themselves needing that ineffable more after ‘Nymphomaniac: Volume I,’ their cravings may well be satisfied by ‘Volume II,’ which is scheduled to be released in early April. For now, however, all we have is the first installment, which opens in a cold, snowy alley where Gainsbourg’s Joe is sprawled, unconscious, presumably after being attacked.” – Ann Hornaday

Particle Fever” (Unrated) “’Particle Fever’ isn’t about the search for a cancer cure, or the race to put a man on the moon or the hunt for some new technology that will enable smarter smartphones. It’s simply about looking for something — something invisible, inconceivably small and possibly apocryphal — that may hold the key to the universe’s last mysteries.” – Michael O’Sullivan

Enemy” (R) “For all the skill with which Villeneuve creates a forbidding, soupy-colored dystopia (whether in Adam’s imagination or downtown Toronto), ‘Enemy’ feels like something we’ve seen before — not just from Lynch but David Cronenberg, Stanley Kubrick and any number of contemporary masters of the subconscious at its most fetishistic and unnerving.” – Ann Hornaday

Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq” (Unrated) “What’s most fascinating about ‘Afternoon of a Faun’ — and what the movie could spend more time delving into — is ballet’s grueling and fleeting nature.” – Stephanie Merry

1/2 “Shirin in Love” (Unrated) “Although Boniadi makes Shirin nearly as likable as she’s supposed to be, writer- director Ramin Niami’s movie is crudely contrived and sloppily edited. The movie’s first hour lurches from one absurd setup to the next, although everything else that happens seems almost plausible when compared to the preposterous sequence in which William deals with the unconscious Shirin.” – Mark Jenkins

Dark House” (R) “It isn’t fair to imply that the filmmakers have no imagination. If anything, the opposite is true. Best known for the ‘Jeepers Creepers’ monster franchise — the first installment of which displayed at least a modicum of shivery goodness — director Victor Salva and his writing partner, Charles Agron, have packed a steamer trunk of crazy into this one project.” – Michael O’Sullivan

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