The Act of Killing – 6.5

A sick movie about sick people – specifically, Indonesian gangsters who killed wantonly in 1965 and are now willing to make a movie about it. It’s hard to feel bad for mass murderers, but it is fairly clear they are being manipulated by director Joshua Oppenheimer, who must know that his subjects are making fools of themselves. The fact that 90% of the people working on the film chose to list themselves as “Anonymous” in the credits gives you some idea of how they think the movie will be received in Indonesia, if it is shown there at all. The history the film recounts is shocking, but the shock comes from the superscripted information. The people on screen just come across as ignorant buffoons with a license to kill.

The Way, Way Back – 7

Lots of cute moments, most supplied by Sam Rockwell as the cool-dude amusement park assistant manager (although technically he didn’t seem to be managing anything, no one else was, either). The limp 14-year-old dealing with parents and girls is a tried-and-true trope, and it didn’t fail here, but the story otherwise never rose above the banal.

The Conjuring – 5

Moral of the movie: don’t move into a haunted house. Backup advice: once in a haunted house, move out as fast as you can. The pseudoscientific demonologists, especially the lovely Vera Farmiga, added a nice touch to the otherwise plebeian story, but I lost track of the various daughters and the opportunity to make something of them and their plight was lost. In sum, strictly a time-passer, but I’ve seen much worse.