PG-13, 2 HRS., 8 MINS.
After a recent string of literary misfires — Anna Karenina and Romeo and Juliet come to mind — Mike Newell’s version of the Charles Dickens classic is a welcome exception. The heartrending story of orphan boy Pip’s (Jeremy Irvine) sudden change in circumstances remains mostly untouched, but stellar performances by Helena Bonham Carter as iconic shut-in Miss Havisham and Ralph Fiennes as the convict Magwitch are the only frills this adaptation needs. B+ —Stephan Lee
Go for Sisters
NOT RATED, 2 HRS., 2 MINS.
Seventeen years after Lone Star, writer-director John Sayles crosses the Mexican border again with this slow-burn thriller about a California parole officer (LisaGay Hamilton) whose son has been kidnapped by brutal Chinese gangsters in Tijuana. All the colorfully lurid ingredients are here (drugs, cockfighting, human trafficking), so why does the film feel a bit flat? B- —Chris Nashawaty
How I Live Now
R, 1 HR., 41 MINS.
Saoirse Ronan, the icy-eyed 19-year-old ingenue from Atonement and Hanna, delivers another beautifully layered performance as a bratty American teen visiting her cousins in the English countryside when World War III breaks out. But Kevin Macdonald’s artsy slice of future shock never settles into a coherent groove —it can’t decide whether it’s a dewy Twilight romance or a Lord of the Flies survival tale. (Also available on iTunes and VOD) B- —Chris Nashawaty
The Motel Life
R, 1 HR., 25 MINS.
One of those wayward, self-serious indie time-wasters that shouldn’t have been made. Emile Hirsch (dourly inexpressive) and Stephen Dorff (dourly overexpressive) play brothers who leave their Reno motel after a hit-and-run accident. The film has lots of boring backstory but no forward movement. That’s because the directors, Alan and Gabe Polsky, simply assume that we’re as possessed by the plight of these hapless losers as they are. (Also available on iTunes and VOD) D —Owen Gleiberman
NOT RATED, 1 HR., 43 MINS.
Nearly three years after the Arab Spring swept through the streets of Cairo and brought down Hosni Mubarak, depressingly little has changed. Jehane Noujaim’s tinderbox doc returns to the Egyptian city’s beating heart, Tahrir Square, as protesters of all stripes risk their lives for a do-over. The Square is a powerful, you-are-there account of an oppressed nation’s hopes and dreams…even as that story’s ending remains unwritten. A- —Chris Nashawaty