In a period sometime in the future, living in an upstate New York small community, an aging, cantankerous ex-cat burglar (Frank Langella) finds his zest for life renewed when he trains his robotic caretaker to help him commit heists. The retired jewel thief reprograms the robot companion given to him to by his son (James Marsden) as a gift, to pull off one last heist. Also starring Susan Sarandon, Peter Sarsgaard, Liv Tyler, Jeremy Strong, Jeremy Sisto and Live Schreiber (PG-13) 90 minutes Three Stars
Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Guy Pearce are some of the bootleggers and lawmen trading bullets over moonshine during depression-era Virginia. In 1931, the Bondurant brothers of Franklin County, Va., run a multipurpose backwoods establishment that hides their true business, bootlegging. Middle brother Forrest (Tom Hardy) is the brain of the operation; older Howard (Jason Clarke) is the brawn, and younger Jack (Shia LaBeouf), the lookout. Though the local police have taken bribes and left the brothers alone, a violent war erupts when a sadistic lawman (Guy Pearce) from Chicago arrives and tries to shut down the Bondurants operation. Directed by John Hillcoat (“The Proposition,” “The Road”), so you know it will be grim. (R) 115 minutes. Two and a half stars.
The Possession *
The underrated Danish filmmaker Ole Bornedal ( Nightwatch, The Substitute, Just Another Love Story) directs this thriller about an estranged couple (Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick) who must set aside their differences to drive out the ancient spirit that has possessed their daughter. When their youngest daughter, Em (Natasha Calis), becomes strangely obsessed with an antique wooden box bought from a yard sale, parents Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick) see little cause for alarm. However, Em becomes increasingly unstable, leading the couple to fear the presence of a malevolent force. To their horror, Clyde and Stephanie learn that the box contains a dibbuk, a dislocated spirit that inhabits — and ultimately devours — a human host. (PG-13) 91 minutes One star
The Oogieloves In The Big Balloon Adventure ½ star
It’s their friend Schluufy’s birthday, and the Oogieloves — Goobie, Zoozie and Toofie — are planning a secret surprise party. But, when the last five magical balloons in LovelyLoveville are lost, Goobie, Zoozie and Toofie must find them, or the party will be a disaster. Along the way, the Oogieloves meet some interesting characters (Toni Braxton, Cloris Leachman, Christopher Lloyd) who help them in their quest, but will the three friends find the balloons in time to save the party? (G) 83 minutes One half star
Premium Rush ***1/2
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a Manhattan bicycle messenger trying to deliver a package that has drawn the attention of a murderous cop (Michael Shannon). For bike messenger Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), dodging speeding cars, evading crazy cabdrivers, and blowing by millions of cranky pedestrians is all in a day’s work. Wilee is one of the best in a dangerous job, and his bike of choice is a Fixie, a lightweight, single-gear unit without brakes. Though Wilee knows that one day he may end up as a smear on the pavement — he is unprepared for what happens after his last run of the day turns into a life-or-death chase through Manhattan. (PG-13) 91 minutes Three and a half stars
Celeste and Jesse Forever ***
A couple (Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg) heading toward an amicable divorce vow to keep their friendship going no matter what. Two people who met in high school and married young are growing apart. Now thirty, they decide to divorce and attempt to stay best friends while pursuing other relationships. This is not as simple as they had imagined, however. Celeste – imperious, successful and driven – is convinced that divorcing Jesse is the right thing to do, a decision Jesse accepts although he is still in love with her. As the reality of their separation sets in, Celeste realizes she has been cavalier about their relationship, but the timing of her revelation is less than fortuitous. While navigating the turbulent changes in their lives and in their hearts, these two learn that in order to truly love someone, you may have to let them go. (R) 91 minutes Three stars
David Cronenberg directs this adaptation of the Don DeLillo novel about a 28-year-old billionaire tycoon (Robert Pattinson) who senses his empire collapsing as he takes a limo ride across New York City to get a haircut from his father’s old barber. (R) 108 minutes Two and a half stars
Hit and Run *1/2
Dax Shepard co-wrote and co-directed this road comedy. Charlie Bronson (Dax Shepard), a nice guy with a shady past as a getaway driver, breaks out of the Witness Protection program to drive his fiancee (Kristen Bell) to Los Angeles for an important job interview. The pair’s road trip takes an awkward and dangerous turn when they find that a federal agent (Tom Arnold) and a mob thug (Bradley Cooper) are both trying to hunt them down. (R) 95 minutes. One and a half stars
The Apparition *
Plagued by frightening occurrences in their home, Kelly (Ashley Greene) and Ben (Sebastian Stan) learn that a university’s parapsychology experiment produced an entity that is now haunting them. The malevolent spirit feeds on fear and torments the couple no matter where they run. Desperate, Kelly and Ben turn to a paranormal researcher (Tom Felton), but even with his aid, it may already be too late to save themselves from the terrifying presence. This horror movie about a pair of college students followed home by a ghostly presence they conjure in a school lab is apparently so scary it’s not being screened for critics. (PG-13) 82 minutes. One star
Editorial Note: Barry Epstein is president of Barry R. Epstein Associates, a public relations/marketing firm. Epstein enjoys watching and writing reviews of the latest movies. Epstein’s views are strictly his own.