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Los Angeles Times Movie Guide

Thursday, August 07, 2014 - Updated: 6:32 AM

OPENING THIS WEEK

"37: A Final Promise" -- A rock star planning to kill himself on his upcoming 37th birthday to atone for a horrible crime he committed as a child falls for a woman with a dark secret of her own. With Randall Batinkoff, Scotti Thompson and Tricia Helfer. Written by Batinkoff and Jesse Stratton. Directed by Batinkoff. (1:32) NR.

"As It Is in Heaven" -- Members of a small religious sect in the Kentucky backcountry grapple with the death of their elderly prophet and his unexpected appointment of a newcomer as his successor. With Chris Nelson, Luke Beavers and Abi van Andel. Written by Ginny Lee Overbay. Directed by Joshua Overbay. (1:27) NR.

"Deepsea Challenge 3D" -- A documentary following filmmaker and underwater explorer James Cameron on an expedition to the deepest part of the ocean. Directed by John Bruno, Andrew Wight and Ray Quint. (1:30) PG.

"The Dog" -- A documentary about John Wojtowicz, whose 1972 attempt to rob a bank to finance his lover's sex-change operation inspired the film "Dog Day Afternoon." Directed by Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren. (1:41) NR.

"The Hundred-Foot Journey" -- A promising young chef and his family, who have been displaced from India to the South of France and opened their own restaurant, come into conflict with the icy proprietress of a classical French restaurant in this movie based on the novel by Richard C. Morais. With Manish Dayal, Helen Mirren and Om Puri. Written by Steven Knight. Directed by Lasse Hallstrom. (2:02) PG.

"Into the Storm" -- A town is ravaged by deadly tornadoes while storm chasers try to obtain a once-in-a-lifetime shot in this found-footage-style thriller. With Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies and Matt Walsh. Written by John Swetnam. Directed by Steven Quale. (1:29) PG-13.

"The Kill Team" -- A documentary about Pvt. Adam Winfield, a 21-year-old soldier in Afghanistan who, with the help of his father, attempted to alert the military to war crimes his platoon was committing. Directed by Dan Krauss. (1:17) NR.

"The Maid's Room" -- A Colombian immigrant takes a seasonal job in East Hampton as a live-in maid to a privileged family and becomes the only witness to a crime her employers want to cover up. With Paula Garces, Philip Ettinger and Annabella Sciorra. Written and directed by Michael Walker. (1:50) NR.

"No Cameras Allowed" -- A documentary following James Marcus Haney, a music enthusiast who has snuck into dozens of music festivals. Directed by Haney. (1:24) NR.

"Step Up All In" -- A high-stakes dance contest in Las Vegas brings together crews from previous installments of the "Step Up" franchise. With Ryan Guzman, Briana Evigan and Stephen "Twitch" Boss. Written by John Swetnam. Directed by Trish Sie. (1:52) PG-13.

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" -- Four anthropomorphic turtles trained in martial arts team up with a fearless reporter and her wisecracking cameraman to save New York City from the villain Shredder and his henchmen, the Foot Clan. With Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner and K. Todd Freeman. Written by Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec and Evan Daugherty. Directed by Jonathan Liebesman. (1:41) PG-13.

"Us and the Game Industry" -- A documentary about the forefront of experimental computer game development. Directed by Stephanie Beth. (1:30) NR.

"War Story" -- A veteran war photographer recovering from a brutal episode travels to Sicily and crosses paths with a former lover and a migrant woman who bears a striking resemblance to someone she once photographed. With Catherine Keener, Hafsia Herzi and Vincenzo Amato. Written by Kristin Gore and Mark Jackson. Directed by Jackson. (1:29) NR.

"What If" -- A medical school dropout who has been repeatedly burned by bad relationships decides to put his love life on hold, only to spark a connection with an animator who, unfortunately, has a live-in boyfriend. With Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan and Rafe Spall. Written by Elan Mastai. Directed by Michael Dowse. (1:37) PG-13.

CRITICS' CHOICES

"Boyhood" -- Writer-director Richard Linklater couldn't have known where 12 years of shooting this story would lead, following a boy and his family (played by Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and Lorelei Linklater) across time. But we are blessed that he did, because it has resulted in an extraordinarily intimate portrait of a life unfolding and an exceptional, unconventional film in which not much else occurs. Never has so little meant more. (2:45) R.

"Edge of Tomorrow" -- With Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt starring in an Earth-versus-aliens epic, this is one mass-market entertainment that's smart, exciting and unexpected while not stinting on genre satisfactions. In 3-D and Imax. (1:53) PG-13.

"How to Train Your Dragon 2" -- From the fashionable day-old scruff on Hiccup's 20-year-old Viking chin to the amped-up firepower of Toothless, "How to Train Your Dragon 2" has made good use of the years since the villagers of Berk and the boy who'd rather not be chief first charmed us. The spot-on cast led by Jay Baruchel now includes Oscar winner Cate Blanchett. There's a new villain played by Djimon Hounsou, a major family reunion and Hiccup continuing his fight for dragon rights. Those battles on the back of the beasties are when the animation, and the film, soars. In 3-D. (1:45) PG.

"Land Ho!" -- Full of surprises, rich in the way it noses around the rocky terrain of aging in an indifferent world through the engaging performances of its two stars. Colin and Mitch (Paul Eenhoorn and Earl Lynn Nelson) are a couple of 70-ish brothers-in-law reconnecting during a trip to Iceland years after they'd drifted apart. The weather may be cold, but the conversations are warm. As Colin begins to thaw, it becomes a gentle reminder that life is something to be embraced. And that it is never too late to grab it with whatever gusto you've got. (1:35) R.

"A Most Wanted Man" -- A taut, involving thriller, based on the novel by John le Carre, that's a fitting final film for star Philip Seymour Hoffman, not only because it is so expertly done but because his role as a German spymaster combating terrorism was so challenging. (2:01) R.

"Snowpiercer" -- Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho packs all of his apocalyptic angst inside an unforgettable "Snowpiercer." Using a great cast, a gripping idea and a gorgeously grimy retro aesthetic, Bong keeps this eerie examination of the train wreck of humanity racing along. Both the material and the messengers -- Chris Evans, John Hurt, Ed Harris and Tilda Swinton lead a cast top-heavy with international talent -- lend a kind of gravitas to what might otherwise have been mindless action fare. (2:06) R.

"A Summer's Tale" -- Like a forgotten gift we now get to unwrap with delight, French director Eric Rohmer's 1996 film, never before released in this country, arrives just in time to add a touch of delight to the cinematic landscape. In French with English subtitles. (1:54) NR.

-- Los Angeles Times

     

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