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In theaters this week

Pariah Writer-director Dee Rees' Pariah is a deceptive little film. A butch African American teen comes out (or attempts to, at least) to her disbelieving parents who have spent a lifetime trying to girlie her up and bury their heads in the sand. Its lead character Alike (played with unnerving stillness by Adepero Oduye) could be a poet, if only the right person believed in her and supported her. There's nothing simple about teens coming out to their parents. Sometimes the parents are the villains, the obstacle to overcome — the only people in the world with the ability to financially, mentally, and emotionally devastate their children before their lives ever get started. Oduye's performance is noteworthy because she absorbs that pain rather than deflects it. (Justin Strout) Rated R. A Dangerous Method (R) — The relationship between Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) and her doctor Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) will cycle through many stages and, according to David Cronenberg's version of this real-life story, shape both the relationship between Jung and his idol/soon-to-be-mentor Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and the development of psychological theory itself. It's a fascinating account and an enormously rich film, though it works best when talk gets out of the way. (Lee Gardner)

Albert Nobbs (R) — Having posed as a man since his teens, Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close) has gotten good at it. His fellow hotel workers, the toadying proprietress, and the well-heeled guests accept him as a somewhat fey and sexless little old gent. Then Albert meets another woman passing as a man (Janet McTeer), who is not only more confident and outgoing in her butch drag, but has married another woman. Having saved up a nest egg to start his own shop, he adds a wife to his dream future. Albert Nobbs is a bit of a mess, but it's often an appealing one. (Gardner)

The Artist (PG-13) — You won't find a lovelier valentine to the movies than Michel Hazanavicius' black-and-white and near-silent tribute to the silent screen. In 1927 Hollywood, matinee idol George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is on top of the movie world. But then talking pictures begin to revolutionize the industry, and George brushes them off, setting in motion his slow but steady downfall. The story is straight out of A Star Is Born, but the inspiration comes from 100 years of cinema. (Michael Gallucci)

Chronicle (PG-13) — Helmed by a first-time director and starring a group of fresh-faced no-names, Chronicle is like a low-budget X-Men: First Class, with emphasis on raging high-school hormones. Three archetypal teens (the Popular Jock, the Smartass Outsider, and the Shunned Nerd) stumble upon a big glowing rock in an underground cave. Soon they develop the ability to move objects with their minds. Things go aces as they test out their new supernatural abilities, but then trouble begins to brew after one of them cracks under pressure. Chronicle is shot found-footage style, but director Josh Trank drives it to the max. Instead of being glued to a single camera, perspective is passed around constantly. That takes the moviemaking to almost cubist extremes, as scenes play out from various viewpoints and angles. The last 15 minutes, when the kid finally blows his lid and goes on an epic tantrum, are a point-of-view hot potato, and the jarring shifts and switch-ups make for some of the most exciting scenes you'll see this season. (Kyle Swenson)

Haywire (R) ­— There are plenty of dramatically realistic fight scenes in Steven Soderbergh's star-packed, globe-crossing action flick. MMA-fighter-turned-actress Gina Carano plays Mallory Kane, a stunningly beautiful and skilled operative on a single-woman mission for revenge after her private security firm double-crosses her. But the plot is transparent and predictable. At times, Haywire recalls the slick and bouncy aesthetics of Soderbergh's Ocean's movies, but with none of the cerebral payoffs. (Vince Grzegorek)

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (R) — Let the Right One In director Tomas Alfredson stages this story of a Cold War-era spy with quiet thrills and dense suspense. There's a mole in the British agency, and it's likely one of the spies in the inner circle. Called out of retirement, George Smiley (expertly played by Gary Oldman) sifts through notes, snoops around apartments, and assembles the tiny pieces that may lead back to one of his colleagues. Like any spy story worth its double- and triple-crosses, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy gets confusing. But once things settle into place, the movie begins to take shape. (Gallucci)

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    • Sat., Aug. 26

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