Capsule reviews for June 2

Band Aid

An amusing concept is overwhelmed by self-help preaching in this otherwise edgy comedy from rookie director Zoe Lister-Jones. She stars as a fledgling novelist moonlighting as an Uber driver whose relationship with her slacker husband (Adam Pally) has hit a rut, in large part because of a recent tragedy So they hatch a plan to start a garage band with a neighbor (Fred Armisen) and air their grievances through their lyrics. The quirky character dynamics contribute to some scattered big laughs. However, whether spoken or sung, all of the film’s angst-ridden millennial bickering becomes tiresome after a while, especially considering the requisite suspension of disbelief. (Not rated, 91 minutes).



A committed performance by Brian Cox in the title role outshines the material in this intimate portrait of the iconic British leader in the hours leading up to the D-Day invasion in 1944. Churchill was the British prime minister at the time, and had the final say on whether to execute the audacious mission that struck a critical blow to the Nazis. Structured as a character-driven thriller, the film’s historical embellishments — and its deliberate pace — detract from its suspense for those familiar with the true-life events. Cox effectively gets inside the head of his subject, even if the film’s overall impact isn’t especially insightful or compelling. (Rated PG, 104 minutes).



Demetri Martin (Taking Woodstock) channels Woody Allen in his latest offbeat comedy that balances deadpan humor with poignancy. The semiautobiographical story follows a neurotic New York cartoonist struggling with relationship issues while grieving his mother’s death. While he impulsively visits California and meets a woman (Gillian Jacobs), his father (Kevin Kline) tries to sell their house. With his directorial debut, Martin crafts an amusing vehicle for his usual mix of self-deprecation and social awkwardness, while also poking fun at technology, boorish millennials and other absurdities. The result is an acquired taste, but those in the right mood should find it both heartfelt and frequently hilarious. (Rated PG-13, 87 minutes).


The Exception

World War II contained enough true-life excitement without the trumped-up nonsense in this fictionalized espionage thriller, which follows a German officer (Jai Courtney) dispatched to the Dutch mansion of Kaiser Wilhelm (Christopher Plummer), the elderly and unstable former leader now living in exile. While he investigates spy rumors surrounding Wilhelm, the officer falls for a housekeeper (Lily James) who also happens to be Jewish. Plummer’s performance is a highlight, and the film is modestly amusing when it almost veers into campy melodrama. Yet while it aims for provocative historical speculation, the bulk of the film is too absurd to generate much suspense or emotional investment. (Rated R, 107 minutes).


Vincent N Roxxy

After flashing some imaginative style and attitude, this ultraviolent crime thriller devolves into a routine tale of outsider romance and revenge. The titular young loners meet when Vincent (Emile Hirsch) saves Roxxy (Zoe Kravitz) from a brutal assault by a drug dealer (Scott Mescudi). They retreat to his family farm, and Roxxy finds a job as a bartender alongside Kate (Zoey Deutch), who’s dating Vincent’s brother. Yet as their relationship deepens, secrets are revealed and the past starts to catch up. The film meanders through predictable genre paces with fleeting bursts of energy and originality, leading up to a brutal finale that’s more spectacle than substance. (Rated R, 102 minutes).