“The Conjuring”

“The Conjuring” (R) — What is it about remote farmhouses in the foggy reaches of New England that makes them so popular for evil spirits? This haunted-house thriller follows the based-on-a-true story characters Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), two supernatural investigators called to check out the creaky home of the Perron family in the mid 1970s.

Spookiness accomplished. It’s a old formula — family with vulnerable children moves into a musty old house, screams in the night escalate until you can’t sit still. Director James Wan (“Saw,” “Insidious”) squeezes out every last drop of terror without pouring out any blood.

“The Way Way Back” (PG-13) — Duncan (Liam James) is a quiet 14-year-old boy stuck on a family vacation with his mom (Toni Collette) and her arrogant boyfriend (Steve Carell). While the adults are glad to be rid of him, Duncan gets a job and meets the first person who actually takes an interest in seeing him grow up with confidence — the carefree manager of a local waterpark (Sam Rockwell).

While the main character of this coming-of-age story is kind of gloomy, the rest of the cast creates a fun atmosphere without the usual, stale feel-goodery. Carell plays a real jerk for once, and he provides a believable bully. The writer-director duo of Jim Rash and Nat Faxon (who took the Oscar for best screenwriting for “The Descendents”) bring their winning combination of drama and comedy.

“Before Midnight” (R) — Richard Linklater revisits the romance set forth almost 20 years ago in “Before Sunrise.” Jesse (Ethan Hawke) is an American author, a charmer and a bit of a hound. Celine (Julie Delpy) is a French environmentalist who’s worried that she’s settled down with somebody who can’t stay settled. The couple — who experienced a spontaneous romance and then a rekindling in the past two movies — have now been together steadily for nine years. While on vacation in Greece, they have time to banter back and forth about their future and the durability of their spark.

“The Internship” (PG-13) — After losing their jobs to the Internet’s wave of innovation, two salesman (Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson) seek employment as interns at the cutting-edge Google headquarters. While the duo are vastly underqualified for the highly competitive, unpaid internship, they have a sort of oafish charm that gets them through. The most interesting part of the movie is how it approaches intergenerational conflict — Vaughn and Owen are surrounded by educated, high-achieving young people, all too anxious about their future to enjoy life. Unfortunately, this comedy specializes in chuckles, not laughs.

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© 2013 King Features Synd., Inc.