Movie Capsules: Now showing

Zoe Saldana and Jeffrey Dean Morgan are shown in a scene from the DC/Vertigo comics-inspired 'The Losers.'

Zoe Saldana and Jeffrey Dean Morgan are shown in a scene from the DC/Vertigo comics-inspired "The Losers."

OPENING TODAY

The Back-up Plan (PG-13, 98 min.) See review.

Forest Hill 8, Stage Cinema, Majestic, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Raleigh Springs Cinema, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso, Palace Cinema, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16.

Zoe Saldana and Jeffrey Dean Morgan are shown in a scene from the DC/Vertigo comics-inspired 'The Losers.'

Zoe Saldana and Jeffrey Dean Morgan are shown in a scene from the DC/Vertigo comics-inspired "The Losers."

The Losers (PG-13, 98 min.) The DC/Vertigo comic-book series inspired this tongue-in-cheek action film about rogue mercenaries. With Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana and Chris Evans.

Forest Hill 8, Stage Cinema, Majestic, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Studio on the Square, Raleigh Springs Cinema, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

SPECIAL MOVIES

The Alps: Runs through Nov. 12. Tickets $8, $7.25 senior citizens, $6.25 children ages 3-12; children under 3 are free. Call for show times. alpsfilm.com.

IMAX Theater at Memphis Pink Palace Museum, 3050 Central. Call 320-6362 for tickets and reservations.

Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West: IMAX film follows Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark as they lead the Corps of Discovery on the first overland expedition into the newly expanded territory of the United States. Through Nov. 12. Tickets: $8, $7.25 senior citizens, $6.25 children ages 3-12; children under 3, free. Call for show times.

IMAX Theater at Memphis Pink Palace Museum, 3050 Central. Call 320-6362 for tickets and reservations.

On Location: Memphis International Film & Music Fest: The 11th annual festival continues today through Sunday. See story on Page 12.

Ridgeway Four. Visit onlocationmemphis.org.

NOW SHOWING

Alice in Wonderland (PG, 109 min.) The new 3D film for Disney from one-time Mouse House exile Tim Burton received its Parental Guidance rating for, among other things, a smoking caterpillar," according to the MPAA. The Jefferson Airplane would be proud; Lewis Carroll devotees, however, may be less enthusiastic about this somewhat tiresome catalog of amazements, which at this point in Burton's career seems — like the director's recent "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" — more a marriage made in branding heaven than an artistic necessity.

Forest Hill 8, Stage Cinema (in 3-D), Majestic, Collierville Towne 16 (in 3-D), DeSoto Cinema 16 (in 3-D), Cordova Cinema (in 3-D), Paradiso (in 3-D), Hollywood 20 Cinema.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (PG, 89 min.) Zachary Levi, Jason Lee.

Bartlett 10.

The Art of the Steal (Not rated, 101 min.) Director Don Argott's documentary examines what one expert witnesses dubs "the greatest act of cultural vandalism since World War II": the essentially hostile takeover of the Philadelphia-area Barnes Foundation by a "cabal" of politicians, museum officers and others determined to exploit "the most important and valuable collection of Post-Impressionist and Early Modern art in the world," the private collection amassed by the late Albert C. Barnes. The film turns this legal and ethical brouhaha into the stuff of high suspense, while also opening up many topics for debate: Should a dying man's wishes be sacrosanct? Is the union between "culture" and "big business" detrimental to art? — and so on. A model of documentary filmmaking and activist cinematic journalism, the movie is expertly constructed, unfailingly entertaining and undeniably — perhaps justifiably — biased.

Ridgeway Four.

Avatar (PG-13, 162 min.) Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver.

Bartlett 10.

The Blind Side (PG-13, 126 min.) Sandra Bullock, Quintin Aaron.

Bartlett 10.

The Book of Eli (R, 118 min.) Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman.

Bartlett 10.

The Bounty Hunter (PG-13, 111 min.) Gerard Butler discovers his next target is his reporter ex-wife, Jennifer Aniston.

Stage Cinema, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Cordova Cinema, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

Brooklyn's Finest (R, 133 min.) When the moral certainty of right and wrong is replaced by the situational fuzziness of "righter and wronger," corruption thrives and bullets fly, according to this violent, profane, ambitious, pretentious, overcooked and entertaining cops-and-criminals ensemble drama from director Antoine Fuqua ("Training Day").

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8, Majestic.

Clash of the Titans (PG-13, 110 min.) This unremarkable remake of special-effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen's 1981 swan song lacks the campy charm of the original, even if brawny Sam Worthington (surprisingly dull here) is a more convincing slayer of giant scorpions than the earlier movie's Jim Morrison-tressed Harry Hamlin. Directed by Louis Leterrier, the movie was shot "flat" but converted to 3D in postproduction, so it lacks the eye-popping effects and immersive feeling of a true "dimensional" film, such as "Avatar"; see it in the standard format rather than paying extra for the fake 3D.

Forest Hill 8, Stage Cinema (in 3-D), Majestic, Collierville Towne 16 (in 3-D), DeSoto Cinema 16 (in 3-D), Studio on the Square, Cordova Cinema (in 3-D), Paradiso (in 3-D), CinePlanet 16 (in 3-D), Summer Quartet Drive-In.

Cop Out (R, 107 min.) Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan.

Hollywood 20 Cinema.

The Crazies (R, 101 min.) A car wash ambush, a truckstop assault and one or two other lively set pieces are all that distinguish director Breck Eisner's unilluminating remake of George Romero's brilliant and angry 1973 thriller about a military biological weapon accident that transforms a small town into a loony bin of ravening killers.

Majestic, Hollywood 20 Cinema.

Crazy Heart (R, 112 min.) As "Bad Blake," a broke, alcoholic country singer-songwriter nicknamed "the Wrangler of Love," Best Actor nominee Jeff Bridges brings all his four decades of deceptively casual charm and unpretentious smarts to what is proving to be his signature role.

Ridgeway Four.

Date Night (PG-13, 88 min.) A rare romantic evening on the town turns comically dangerous when Steve Carell and Tina Fey are mistaken for gangsters.

Forest Hill 8, Stage Cinema, Majestic, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

Death at a Funeral (R, 93 min.) Provocateur Neil LaBute is the unlikely director of this remake of a British comedy that's less than three years old. The cast includes Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence and (returning from the original) Peter Dinklage.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8, Majestic, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Raleigh Springs Cinema, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso, Palace Cinema, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (PG, 93 min.) Jeff Kinney's popular book series becomes a live-action comedy.

Forest Hill 8, Stage Cinema, Majestic, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso, Palace Cinema, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16.

From Paris With Love (R, 95 min.) John Travolta, Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

Bartlett 10.

The Ghost Writer (PG-13, 129 min.) The body that washes up on shore at the start of this film is not the first of many, which may surprise moviegoers accustomed to the bloodshed and chaos that characterize the modern so-called thriller. Instead of fireworks, director Roman Polanski — working from a clever and intelligent script, adapted from Robert Harris' novel — delivers a cool, methodical, adult mystery about a "ghost" (Ewan McGregor) — the character, tellingly, never is given a name — who becomes embroiled in conspiracy after he agrees to rewrite the memoirs of Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan), a once popular ex-British prime minister under investigation for international crimes involving the CIA and the "war on terror."

Ridgeway Four.

Hot Tub Time Machine (R, 99 min.) Accompanied by smart-mouthed teen nerd Clark Duke (who claims to understand time travel because he writes "Stargate" fan fiction), middle-aged failures John Cusack, Craig Robinson and Rob Corddry are transported by a malfunctioning ski-resort hot tub back to a fateful weekend in 1986, where they have a chance to relive — and perhaps revise — the triumphs and humiliations of their college heyday. Director Steve Pink's lowbrow high-concept comedy is more vulgar than it needs to be, but frequently very funny — and even suspenseful: You'll cringe every time you see Crispin Glover and his destined-to-be-amputated arm.

Majestic, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

How to Train Your Dragon (PG, 98 min.) Directors Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders (who previously collaborated on "Lilo & Stitch") deliver DreamWorks Animation's best feature film yet, a charming and sincere revamp of "Androcles and the Lion" in which a hapless teen Viking named Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) befriends an injured "Night Fury" dragon and helps his village end its ruinous, age-old battle with the flying, fire-breathing and misunderstood monsters that share the Norse seacoast. The dragon designs are wonderful, the action is exciting and the anti-warmongering message is timely and persuasive.

Forest Hill 8, Stage Cinema (in 3-D), Majestic, Collierville Towne 16 (in 3-D), DeSoto Cinema 16 (in 3-D), Raleigh Springs Cinema, Cordova Cinema (in 3-D), Paradiso (in 3-D), Palace Cinema, Hollywood 20 Cinema (in 3-D), CinePlanet 16 (in 3-D).

The Joneses (R, 95 min.) Demi Moore and David Duchovny are cast to perfection as attractive, enviable, professional phonies — the picture-perfect heads of a fake "family unit" that sets up shop in an Atlanta neighborhood of manicured lawns and gargantuan McMansions for the sole purpose of pushing expensive goods and products on their unwitting new "friends" and neighbors. The personification of pressures that debuting writer-director Derrick Borte apparently believes are already at work in society, these stealth salespeople begin to crack when the faux family — complete with two beautiful teenagers (actually, hand-picked sales associates) — becomes as dysfunctional as the authentic families that surround it. Despite unironic product placement that contradicts the message, this dark, handsome parody works surprisingly well until it succumbs to its inconsistency of tone and a final loss of nerve — it goes soft and even sentimental just when it should become more savage and cynical.

Studio on the Square.

Kenny Chesney: Summer in 3D (Not rated, 99 min.) The country superstar's first concert film.

Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso.

Kick-Ass (R, 118 min.) An adorable moppet in a makeshift crimefighter's costume, "Hit Girl" (11-year-old Chloë Grace Moretz), flips like an Olympic superhero, curses like a sailor, kills like a maniac and ignites yet another useful if irresolvable debate on the limits of screen violence, the desensitization of the culture and the wisdom of exploiting children for entertainment. Yet there's no doubt about it: Hit Girl is a kick, and Moretz is an instant child star — Shirley Temple for the Grand Theft Auto generation. Adapted from the self-conscious comic-book series by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. about "normal" people who long to be Marvel-ous, director Matthew Vaughn's jokey film is marred by its sub-Tarantino flourishes (Hit Girl's first rampage is accompanied by the "Banana Splits" theme song); but the story is gripping, as a skinny teen dork (Aaron Johnson) who dons a wet suit to become a hero named "Kick-Ass" finds himself part of a suddenly comic-booky world where even McLovin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) can become a supervillain named Red Mist.

Forest Hill 8, Stage Cinema, Majestic, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Studio on the Square, Raleigh Springs Cinema, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso, Palace Cinema, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlane 16, Studio on the Square.

The Last Song (PG, 107 min.) Miley Cyrus stars as a rebellious teen in a romantic drama, adapted from a best-seller by Nicholas Sparks.

Forest Hill 8, Stage Cinema, Majestic, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso, Palace Cinema, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16.

Letters to God (PG, 114 min.) This made-in-Florida debut release from "faith-based" Possibility Pictures is a sometimes awkward blend of sentimental family drama, cancer education and Christian proselytizing, targeted at the audience that turned 2008's "Fireproof" with Kirk Cameron into a surprise $33 million box-office hit. Tanner Maguire stars as an 8-year-old boy with cancer whose prayer letters to God ("It's like texting your best friend," he declares) are intercepted by an alcoholic postman (Jeffrey S.S. Johnson) in need of redemption. Inspired by a true story, director David Nixon's movie is most successful in the instructive moments when it deals with the day-to-day challenges facing the boy, at home and at school. ("He has cancer, not cooties!" a friend asserts, when classmates shun the boy.) Less useful for some viewers will be the scene in which the boy faces down a school bully with this instruction: "Pray and open your heart to Jesus."

Stage Cinema, Collierville Towne 16, Palace Cinema, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16.

Oceans (G, 84 min.) Stunning photography of undersea creatures highlights this Disneynature documentary.

Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso.

Our Family Wedding (PG-13, 103 min.) Director Rick Famuyiwa's modest culture-clash ensemble comedy distinguishes itself from the formula pack by treating its characters with respect, even in the sitcom-ready context of yet another guess-who's-coming-to-dinner moral fable. Perhaps it's a sign of progress that white folks aren't even involved: This time, it's a Latin law student (America Ferrera, of TV's "Ugly Betty") and an African-American doctor (Lance Gross) who want to get married. As usual in wedding comedies, much of the focus is on the tomfoolery of the amusingly stubborn fathers, played by Forest Whitaker and "Mind of Mencia" standup comic Carlos Mencia.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8, Majestic, Hollywood 20 Cinema.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (PG, 120 min.) Logan Lerman, Pierce Brosnan.

Bartlett 10.

The Perfect Game (PG, 118 min.) A "Hoosiers"-style based-on-a-true-story inspirational sports film, set in 1957, about a ragtag youth group from Mexico that becomes the first non-U.S. team to win the Little League World Series.

Majestic.

Remember Me (PG-13, 112 min.) Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin.

Bartlett 10.

Repo Men (R, 111 min.) Although lifted almost entirely from the recent would-be cult rock musical, "Repo! The Genetic Opera," the premise of this health-care-crisis sci-fi actioner is ingenious and witty: In the future, when artificial organs can be bought on credit, repossession agents such as Jude Law and Forest Whitaker will reclaim — with brute force and steel knives — your new kidney, liver or other body part if you can't make the payments. Unfortunately, the film leaves satire behind to become increasingly pretentious.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8, Palace Cinema.

The Runaways (R, 109 min.) The drop of menstrual blood that hits the pavement in the first shot signals that this flashy, colorful film about The Runaways — the hard-rocking "all-girl" band that linked the glam and punk eras of the 1970s — will offer a particularly female take on the cautionary blood-and-thunder, blood-sweat-and-tears musical passion play that audiences expect from their rock-and-roll biographies. Director Floria Sigismondi's focus is on the personal and artistic relationship between the glue-huffing, leather-jacketed "wild child" guitarist and songwriter, Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart), and the Bardot-meets-Bowie blond lead singer, Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning).

Ridgeway Four, Studio on the Square.

Sherlock Holmes (PG-13, 130 min.) Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law.

Bartlett 10, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Shutter Island (R, 138 min.) Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Kingsley.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

The Spy Next Door (PG, 92 min.) Jackie Chan.

Bartlett 10.

Tooth Fairy (PG, 102 min.) Director Michael Lembeck's self-consciously "cute" high-concept kids' comedy casts The Rock as a conceited, musclebound pro hockey player sentenced to serve time as a winged tooth fairy as punishment for telling kids not to believe in magic. The presence of such hip guest stars as Billy Crystal and gangly Ricky Gervais foil Stephen Merchant can't camouflage the film's formula insipidness, its avaricious product placement or the cynicism of its rote, lip-service tributes to the wonders of "imagination."

Bartlett 10.

Why Did I Get Married Too? (PG-13, 121 min.) Janet Jackson and Jill Scott in the latest from Tyler Perry.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8, Majestic, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Raleigh Springs Cinema, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso, Palace Cinema, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

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