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‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier,’ ‘The Missing Picture’ and other new movies, reviewed

In this week new releases, a good cast and script make "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" a successful follow-up to "The Avengers." In "The Missing Picture," Cambodian-born filmmaker Rithy Panh uses clay figures to give readers a glimpse into his past; the film receives four stars.

Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson reprise their roles as Captain America/Steve Rogers and Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” the newest installment in the Avengers superheroes series. (Zade Rosenthal)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (PG-13) “Happily, directors Joe and Anthony Russo, working from a script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, have decided to make ‘The Winter Soldier’ something of a two-hander between Steve and Natasha, who as portrayed by (Scarlett) Johansson continually threatens to steal the entire movie with her slinky martial arts moves and sultry, smoky-voiced one-liners. (If Hollywood was waiting for proof that the Black Widow was ready for her own installment, here it is. Get cracking, fellas.)” – Ann Hornaday

The Missing Picture” (Unrated) “In 1975, when the Cambodian-born, French-educated filmmaker Rithy Panh was 13, he and his family were deported from their home in Phnom Penh to labor camps by the Communist Khmer Rouge, who had just taken over the country. ‘The Missing Picture’ is based on his memories of the deprivation and death that followed. Combining archival footage with new scenes using crudely hand-carved, hand-painted clay figurines, Panh tells the story in a manner that feels simultaneously detached and uncomfortably intimate.” – Michael O’Sullivan

Nymphomaniac: Volume II” (Unrated) “The greatest strength of this installment is that (Charlotte) Gainsbourg has center stage; her scenes with Jamie Bell, who plays a cold-eyed sadist Joe enlists to torture her, are all the more troubling for being so brilliantly acted. (One wishes (Lars) von Trier could have cast Bell or someone of his caliber to play Jerome, who’s consistently underserved by LaBeouf.)”  – Ann Hornaday

Anita” (Unrated) “(Freida Lee) Mock’s biases are clear here, and her documentary does at times feel a bit too worshipful of its subject. The director secures plenty of interviewees to back up Hill, including journalists Jill Abramson and Jane Mayer, who wrote ‘Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas,’ and Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree, who was Hill’s legal counsel in 1991.” – Stephanie Merry

1/2 “The Unknown Known” (PG-13) “…if viewers come to ‘The Unknown Known’ hoping for catharsis — or even just a few answers — about Rumsfeld’s role in planning and executing the invasion of Iraq in 2003, they may find themselves leaving more frustrated than rewarded. Faced with the enormity of losses in Iraq and whether the decision to invade was the right one, Rumsfeld has only this to say: “Time will tell.”” – Ann Hornaday

1/2 “The Raid 2” (R) “The fight choreography — by (Iko) Uwais and co-star Yayan Ruhian — is brilliant; the filming, editing and sound design are flawless. The script and acting, however, prove less successful. The story is convoluted without being profound, and although there are some strong secondary performances, Uwais is interesting only when in motion.” – Mark Jenkins

1/2 “On My Way” (Unrated) “Bercot’s sense of atmospherics is more successful than her editing and camera work. Some pieces of the plot seem like they would make a bigger impact with a bit more backstory — it’s never entirely clear what the problem is between Bettie and her daughter, for instance — and the choppy zooms can be jarring. But these series of vignettes still leave an impression, thanks in no small part to (Catherine) Deneuve.” – Stephanie Merry

Frankie & Alice” (R) “(Halle) Berry’s performance, although less campy and histrionic than the trailer makes it look, is still outsize in proportion to the material, which feels slight and insubstantial despite its basis in a true story.” – Michael O’Sullivan

In the Blood” (R) “The movie eventually offers a second meaning for its title. But all that really matters is that Ava makes a lot of bad guys bleed. As is typical of the genre, the plot gets sillier as it unfolds, while the violence gets gnarlier. Ava sometimes takes a break from rescuing Derek to dispense vigilante justice.” – Mark Jenkins

Island of Lemurs: Madagascar” (G) “This bit of edutainment, which clocks in at shorter than 40 minutes, is a collaboration between Imax and Warner Brothers, and it turns out to be a slick nature movie with the added cachet of Morgan Freeman’s calming voice. The technology impressively embraces the audience, putting us in the middle of the rain forest, face to face with curious, beady eyes.” – Stephanie Merry

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



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