New movie releases this week include Katherine Heigl’s return to the big screen, plus The Promise, Truman, and more
Matthew Lickona 6 p.m., April 21
A commanding title with a game cast, slugging their hearts out to bring a fascinating, seldom-told story to life. But all first-time writer-director John Krokidas can spoon up is detached melodrama. In 1944, Lucien Carr (Leo DiCaprio’s eerie "evil twin," Dane DeHaan), one of the forgotten members of the "Beat Generation," used a Boy Scout knife to kill a friend and college professor whom he accused of making sexual advances. The case if of interest today mainly for the involvement of influential beat writers Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and William Burroughs (Ben Foster, quietly stealing the show). The "libertine circle" they form contributes to the film’s direful Leopold and Loeb vibe. Jennifer Jason Leigh’s brief appearance as Ginsburg’s stock paranoid-delusional mother acts as another sad reminder of her underused talent. The hours spent researching the real-life incident proved to be more involving than anything in this mahogany-tinged letdown. 2013.