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What’s playing on screens around town: ‘The Family,’ ‘Insidious Chapter 2’ and ‘Renoir’

click to enlarge Insidious Chapter 2
  • Insidious Chapter 2

The Family Twenty-three years after Goodfellas, Robert De Niro ends up in witness protection just like that rotten Henry Hill he once wanted to whack. This time, De Niro plays the paterfamilias of a Mafia family relocated to France but unable to keep a low profile, even after turning snitch. In a show of even sturdier continuity, Michelle Pfeiffer is once again married to the mob. The movie is described as an action comedy, which makes sense, given that director-co-writer Luc Besson’s name is practically synonymous with “laff riot.” (R) – Steve Schneider

Insidious Chapter 2 Two months after The Conjuring, it’s time for that other James Wan-directed haunted-house movie that stars Patrick Wilson. But remember, there’s no real danger of a confused audience staying away in droves, because of the major difference between the two flicks that we alerted you to back in July: In this one, Wilson plays a dad. Also, if we want to get technical about who got there first, we should acknowledge that Insidious 2 is a sequel (duh!) to 2011’s Insidious, which the studio now boldly refers to as “acclaimed.” What that means in English: 52 out of 100 on Metacritic; 66 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Ah, the Bell Curve that is early-fall promotion. (PG-13) – SS

Also playing
Renoir Most films labor furiously, trying to infuse every frame with passion. Renoir is content to sit still, creating effortless beauty in the style of its subject, painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir. A French-language production set on the Riviera in 1915, this drama is both a love poem to the paintings of Pierre-Auguste Renoir and a love triangle between the 74-year-old artist, his 21-year-old son Jean and a beautiful but mysterious model who becomes the muse of both father and son. Set during World War I, Renoir unfolds in a tranquil part of France touched only distantly by conflict. This contrast between serenity and hell is heightened by the fact that Jean is convalescing, waiting to return to the battle. Director Gilles Bourdos and cinematographer Mark Lee Ping Bin have created a work worthy of its subject: Colors breathe and light glows almost as hauntingly as in Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon. But as with a painting that you admire at first glance, the film’s emotion – or lack thereof – fades after viewing. Despite those shortcomings, the film makes us appreciate anew the gifts that the Renoirs left us. (R) – Cameron Meier

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