By Steven Rea

Godzilla The famous Japanese monster stomps all over the Pacific Rim in this updated remake starring Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, and hordes of screaming extras running for their lives. PG-13

Million Dollar Arm Jon Hamm is a sports agent who goes looking for new MLB players on the cricket pitches of India. PG

Palo Alto Based on James Franco's short-story collection of the same name, it stars the renaissance man as a high school soccer coach who has a thing for one of the girls on his team. Gia Coppola makes her directing debut, with Emma Roberts, Jack Kilmer, and Nat Wolff as the unhappy teens. R

Also Opening


Chef Jon Favreau (Iron Man) writes, directs, stars in this comedy about a chef who attempts to regain his mojo with a food truck after his restaurant fails. Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr., and Dustin Hoffman also star.

For No Good Reason This documentary looks at Ralph Steadman, the artist known for his collaborative work with Hunter S. Thompson.

God's Pocket The late Philip Seymour Hoffman stars in this drama about a man struggling to cope with a set of extremely difficult circumstances following the death of his son.

Wolf Creek 2 A student makes the mistake of visiting Australia's Wolf Creek Crater, where deadly Mick Taylor makes him feel less than welcome.

Excellent (****)

Reviewed by critics Steven Rea (S.R.), Tirdad Derakhshani (T.D.), and David Hiltbrand (D.H.). W.S. denotes a wire-service review. Read complete reviews at

Finding Vivian Maier A fascinating puzzle-piece mystery - and a revelatory portrait of an eccentric figure who worked as a nanny in Chicago from the 1950s through the 1990s - and who dragged her charges through the city, taking pictures. The heretofore unknown street photographs are nothing less than brilliant; the documentary about this curious figure is a find in more ways than one. 1 hr. 23 No MPAA rating (adult themes) - S.R.

The Grand Budapest Hotel Wes Anderson's eighth, and most teeming, film is a between-the-wars comic caper set in a fictitious central European land, where Ralph Fiennes is the concierge of an elegant alpine hostelry. When a wealthy guest dies, and the will is read, a mad dash for money and a prized painting ensues. With Adrien Brody, Willem Defoe, F. Murray Abraham, Saoirse Ronan, and newcomer Tony Revolori. Sublime. R (violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

Locke A tour de force, and a tour down a British motorway in the dead of night, with Tom Hardy as Ivan Locke, a man in a car, on his Bluetooth, trying to keep the pieces of his life from flying apart. And that is the sum of writer/director Steven Knight's extraordinary movie. 1 hr. 25 R (profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

Very Good (***1/2)

Blue Ruin A barbed-wire sharp and altogether surprising thriller, with Macon Blair as a bearded drifter looking to avenge a double murder. Along the way, writer/director Jeremy Saulnier finds time to explore a whole substratal world of homelessness, of a solitary soul scrounging for food, for shelter. This spare American indie examines how violence defines our lives in ways that feel jolting, and true. 1 hr. 52 R (violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden This impressive documentary looks at the unsolved disappearances of a German doctor, a self-styled baroness and her lover on the Galapagos Islands during the 1930s. 2 hrs. 06 No MPAA rating (adult themes, sexuality, profanity, smoking, some violence) - T.D.

Oculus A woman tries to win her brother's freedom by proving that the murder he was convicted of was committed by a supernatural force. 1 hr. 45 R (scenes of extreme bloody violence, profanity, sexual situations) - T.D.

Only Lovers Left Alive Jim Jarmusch's sly and seductive vampire movie, starring Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton as two old (very old) lovers, is as much about the life-sustaining force of music as it is about any hankering for blood. With Anton Yelchin, Mia Wasikowska, and John Hurt. 2 hrs. 03 R (profanity, nudity, adult themes) - S.R.

Under the Skin Scarlett Johansson, slightly robotic and definitely hypnotic, stars in this deeply creepy and mysterious noir, about a stranger who trolls around Scotland looking for men to seduce - and devour. From filmmaker Jonathan Glazer. 1 hr. 48 R (nudity, sexual violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

Also on Screens

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 **1/2 Schematic sequel to 2012's reboot of the Marvel Comics franchise starring a kid (Andrew Garfield) who morphs into a web-slinging superhero is driven by adolescent heartache and indecision, and by gigantic, effects-driven fight scenes - against super-foes including Jamie Foxx's Electro and Dane DeHaan's Green Goblin. And through it all: Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy, a lash-batting cartoon of brainy cute-osity. 2 hrs. 22 PG-13 (intense action, violence, adult themes) - S.R.

Devil's Knot ** Only a lawyer going through his own personal turmoil (Colin Firth) believes in the innocence of three teens accused of the ritualistic killing of three younger children. Reese Witherspoon costars as the mother of one of the victims. 1 hr. 54 No MPAA rating (violence, disturbing images, profanity, nudity, smoking) - T.D.

Heaven Is for Real ** Small-town parents attempt to come to grips with what their young son claims to have seen during a near-death experience. 1 hr. 40 PG (thematic material including some medical situations) - W.S.

Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return *1/2 Dorothy returns to her old stomping grounds to help out her friends in this subpar animated family feature. 1 hr. 28 PG (some scary images and mild peril) - W.S.

Neighbors *** In this lewd comedy, Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are young parents whose lives are massively disrupted when a rowdy fraternity led by Zac Efron moves into the house next door. Smutty? Oh, yes. And often fall-on-the-floor funny. 1 hr. 37 R (profanity, nudity, sexual content, violence, alcohol and drug abuse) - D.H.

The Other Woman ** Leslie Mann - ditzy and gasping, Lucille Ball and Olive Oyl rolled into one, in panic-attack mode - makes this formulaic sex farce tolerable, barely. She's the wife who discovers that her husband is cheating on her with Cameron Diaz, and with Kate Upton. The trio team up, in a spirit of twisted sisterhood, to exact revenge. PG-13 (sex, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.