Capsule descriptions by The Commercial Appeal movie writer John Beifuss.
Lottery Ticket (PG-13, 99 min.) See review on Page 13.
Forest Hill 8, 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.
Nanny McPhee Returns (PG, 109 min.) Emma Thompson is back as a Mary Poppins with a W.C. Fields nose.
Forest Hill 8, Stage Cinema, Majestic, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16.
Piranha 3D (R, 89 min.) Flesh-eating fish, comin' at ya!
Stage Cinema, Majestic (non-3D), Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16, Summer Quartet Drive-In (non-3D).
Restrepo (R, 93 min.) See review on Page 18.
The Switch (PG-13, 101 min.) See review on Page 19.
Stage Cinema, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Studio on the Square, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16.
The Alps: Runs through Nov. 12. Tickets $8, $7.25 senior citizens, $6.25 children ages 3-12; children under 3 are free.
IMAX Theater at Memphis Pink Palace Museum, 3050 Central. Call 320-6362 for show times, tickets and reservations.
The Art of the Steal (Not rated, 101 min.) This 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 and museum officers determined to exploit "the most important and valuable collection of Post-Impressionist and Early Modern art in the world."
2 p.m. Sunday, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Tickets: $8, or $6 for museum members. Call 544-6200 or visit brooksmuseum.org.
Dolphins and Whales: Tribes of the Ocean: A new adventure from Jean-Michel Cousteau, narrated by Daryl Hannah. IMAX film runs through March 4, 2011. Tickets $8, $7.25 senior citizens, $6.25 children ages 3-12; children under 3 free.
IMAX Theater at Memphis Pink Palace Museum, 3050 Central. Call 320-6362 for show times, tickets and reservations.
Gone with the Wind (R, 238 min.) The Oscar-hogging ultimate expression of classic-era Hollywood professionalism and showmanship returns; and yes, that is George "Superman" Reeves as one of the Tarleton twins. A costume contest precedes the film.
2 p.m. Sunday, the Orpheum. Tickets: $7, or $6 for 12 and younger, cash only. Call 525-3000 or visit orpheum-memphis.com.
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.
IMAX Theater at Memphis Pink Palace Museum, 3050 Central. Call 320-6362 for show times, tickets and reservations.
Merlove (Not rated, 139 min.) This 2008 documentary by Napa Valley-based filmmaker Rudolf McClain rises to the defense of merlot, the wine that had its reputation besmirched so memorably by Paul Giamatti in "Sideways." Preceded by a merlot tasting presented by Michael Hughes of Joe's Wine & Liquor.
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Tickets: $15, or $12 for museum members. Call 544-6200 or visit brooksmuseum.org.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (R, 100 min.) Time-travel back to 1975 to do the time warp again, with Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon and Meat Loaf. A costume contest precedes the film.
8 p.m. today, the Orpheum. Tickets: $7, or $6 for 12 and younger, cash only. Call 525-3000 or visit orpheum-memphis.com.
The A-Team (PG-13, 118 min.) Liam Neeson, Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson.
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (PG, 85 min.) The warring pet species put their ancient feud on hold to band together to battle a sinister cat spy with plans for world conquest.
Stage Cinema, Majestic, Collierville Towne 16 (in 3-D), DeSoto Cinema 16 (in 3-D), Raleigh Springs Cinema, Cordova Cinema, Palace Cinema, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16.
Charlie St. Cloud (PG-13, 99 min.) Zac Efron is a grieving young man who maintains a ghostly bond with his younger brother.
CinePlanet 16, Summer Quartet Drive-In.
Date Night (PG-13, 88 min.) Tina Fey, Steve Carell.
Despicable Me (PG, 95 min.) "When we got adopted by a bald guy, I thought this would be more like 'Annie,'" wise-cracks an adorable moppet in this clever but inconsequential computer-animated 3D tale about a follicle-challenged super-villain whose heart (if not his patented freeze-gun) is melted by the big eyes of the three little orphan girls who stare up at him and dream, "Daddy." Steve Carell voices the title dastard, the Euro-accented Gru, a sort of Left Bank Uncle Fester (the animation was produced in France) who operates, absurdly (like the Addams Family), in a mundane suburban environment. This is the first production from Illumination Entertainment, a new company founded by Chris Meledandri, whose features for 20th Century Fox Animation ("Ice Age," "Horton Hears a Who!") also seemed motivated more by the need to manufacture product for the marketplace than by Pixarian passion.
Stage Cinema (in 3-D), Majestic, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16 (in 3-D), Cordova Cinema (in 3-D), Paradiso, Palace Cinema, CinePlanet 16.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid (PG, 93 min.) Zachary Gordon, Chloë Grace Moretz. .
Dinner for Schmucks (PG-13, 114 min.) Paul Rudd recruits goofy Steve Carell as his guest for a "dinner for idiots" in which participants compete to discover the biggest buffoon.
Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso, Palace Cinema, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16.
Eat Pray Love (PG-13) "Ruin is the road to transformation." "God dwells within me as me." "Sometimes to lose balance for love is part of living a balanced life." One wonders: Was this screenplay presented to star Julia Roberts as a traditional bound manuscript, or as a catalog of bumper stickers? Directed with little style or surprise by "Glee" creator Ryan Murphy, this adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert's hugely popular 2003 memoir of globetrotting self-discovery is carried from start to finish entirely on the slender shoulders of Roberts; the actress' performance appears relaxed and effortless, even as it requires her to embody the agonies of a character wracked by midlife self-doubt but with the wherewithal to travel from New York to Italy to India to Indonesia in pursuit of enlightenment and, ultimately, a Brazilian hunk (Javier Bardem) with the passion for life that -- according to American movies like this one -- can be found in anybody who's not an American.
Forest Hill 8, Stage Cinema, Majestic, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Studio on the Square, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16.
The Expendables (R, 103 min.) Not since Rocky worked out in a meat locker has Sylvester Stallone surrounded himself with so much aging beef: Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke (as "Tool") and Arnold Schwarzenegger (in a jokey cameo) are among the cured hams who join the star/auteur for this violent, silly, disappointing but diverting men-on-a-mission movie, directed in the bloody, chaotic style of the most recent "Rambo." Stallone plays the leader of the title mercenary group, which heads to South America to overthrow a puppet dictatorship controlled by a ruthless capitalist (Eric Roberts). The presence of Giselle Itié and Charisma Carpenter dilutes the testosterone, but our heroes are much more interested in busting heads than in knocking boots.
Forest Hill 8, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8, Majestic, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Studio on the Square, Raleigh Springs Cinema, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso, Palace Cinema, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16, Summer Quartet Drive-In.
The Girl Who Played with Fire (R, 129 min.) Americans don't mind translations, but they're not crazy about subtitles. Perhaps that's one way to explain the discrepancy between the remarkable success of the books in the late Stieg Larsson's so-called "Millennium Trilogy" and their considerably less popular Swedish-made movie adaptations, which play to limited audiences in "art" theaters even as the novels -- also Swedish -- dominate U.S. best-seller lists. Directed by Daniel Alfredson, this sequel to "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is less intense but more complicated than its predecessor; it's loaded with backstory and foreshadowing as it delves into the conspiracies swirling around crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) and the title "girl," Lisbeth Salander (the excellent Noomi Rapace), who may be the most indelible series character since Harry Potter. The film is glossy and entertaining, in the manner of a made-for-cable crime program, with dollops of sex and violence; the prurient sequence this time is not another sadistic rape but a lesbian tryst involving Lisbeth and a curvaceous roommate.
Grown Ups (PG-13, 102 min.) High-school buds Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider reunite for a Fourth of July weekend.
Stage Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Raleigh Springs Cinema, Cordova Cinema, Palace Cinema, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16.
I Am Love (R, 120 min.) A secret love affair leads to tragedy and perhaps liberation -- at an incredible cost -- in this proudly swooning melodrama from Italy's Luca Guadagnino. Frequently stunning and sometimes shameless (an al fresco coupling takes place amid closeups of Lepidopteran proboscises and insect-caressed stamens), the movie casts Tilda Swinton as the Russian wife of a wealthy Italian textile manufacturer, whose palatial Milanese villa is ground zero for Shakespearean family tension and haute bourgeoisie indulgence. When the wife becomes obsessed with a handsome young chef (Edoardo Gabbriellini) who is the best friend of her son (Flavio Parenti), desire and responsibility clash. Compiled from the work of modern classical composer John Adams, the music score adds an element of tension to even the most seemingly tranquil pictorial compositions; meanwhile, the luminous cinematography of Yorick Le Saux transforms each of these shots into something exquisite -- wine glasses shine like jewels, and a plate of prawns and ratatouille radiates a celestial glow.
Inception (PG-13, 148 min.) This metaphysical heist film is motivated by a challenge as great as that facing its dream-burgling heroes: The movie is writer-director Christopher Nolan's attempt to crack the Great Film vault -- to produce a distinctive, grandiose artistic masterpiece and commercial blockbuster that will demonstrate the director of "The Dark Knight" doesn't need superheroes to mesmerize the mass audience with a state-of-the-art fantasy. Brilliantly imagined and beautifully realized, on a technical level, this accidental companion piece to "Shutter Island" ultimately is burdened by its need to be the thinking person's action film; it works best during its witty, William Gibsonesque first half, in which "extractor" Leonardo DiCaprio -- cast, as in "Shutter," as a guilt-ridden widower with a crumbling concept of reality -- assembles a team of crackerjack conspirators who literally can plunder the contents of a sleeping subject's subconscious. As the team digs deeper into dreamland during a protracted, patience-trying finale, the pretentiousness that lurked beneath the cowl of "The Dark Knight" exposes its full face, and Nolan sacrifices revealing character action for grim musings about the nature and limits of perception. Still, many scenes are exhilarating, including a dream slugfest in which the brawlers move impossibly up the walls like Fred Astaire dancing on the ceiling in "Royal Wedding."
Forest Hill 8, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8, Majestic, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Studio on the Square, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso, Palace Cinema, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16, Summer Quartet Drive-In.
Iron Man 2 (PG-13, 125 min.) Robert Downey Jr., Mickey Rourke.
Just Wright (PG, 101 min.) Queen Latifah, Common.
The Karate Kid (PG, 140 min.) Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan.
Hollywood 20 Cinema.
The Kids Are All Right (R, 104 min.) Just another all-American family tale: A teen brother (Josh Hutcherson) and sister (Mia Wasikowska) conceived through artificial insemination track down their sperm-donor father (Mark Ruffalo) without telling their parents, a longtime lesbian couple played by Annette Bening (as a workaholic semi-uptight lawyer) and Julianne Moore (as a hippy-dippy landscaper). The drama and comedy and conflict and reconciliation that result are fairly conventional, despite the unconventional context; what elevates the material are the marvelous performances and the agreeably loose vibe established by director/co-writer Lisa Cholodenko ("High Art"), who both celebrates and gently spoofs a California culture in which the use of locally sourced produce becomes a moral imperative and familiarity with Joni Mitchell's Blue is a signifier of sensitivity.
Studio on the Square.
Killers (PG-13, 100 min.) Perhaps some future social scientist will explain why the traditional romantic comedy transformed during the first decade of the 21st century into the screwball action-comedy, in which bonds of love are strengthened by gunplay, car chases and explosions (see also "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," "Knight and Day" and "The Bounty Hunter"). In this prime example of the trend, charming Katherine Heigl learns that the family that slays together stays together when she discovers her hunky new husband (an unconvincing Asthon Kutcher) is a retired professional assassin with a price on his head. Tom Selleck and Catherine O'Hara are amusing as Heigl's parents; the director is Robert Luketic ("Legally Blonde").
Knight and Day (PG-13, 110 min.) Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz.
Bartlett 10, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.
The Last Airbender (PG, 103 min.) The title has the ring of prophecy: Although the movie frustrates viewers with a cliffhanger ending that includes the literal last-minute introduction of a new villain, it's hard to believe viewers of this wan, anime-inspired hand-me-down will demand a second "Airbender." Working from the Nickelodeon animated series, writer-director M. Night Shyamalan -- hoping to revive his floundering commercial and critical reputations -- has fashioned a sometimes cool-looking but confusing and deadly dull fantasy saga in which a messianic 12-year-old boy (Noah Ringer) leads freedom-loving "waterbenders" and "earthbenders" against the warmongering invaders of the Fire Nation. The wooden acting matches the platitudinous dialogue: "Nothing is ever truly lost," "It is in the heart that all wars are won," and so on. The 3D, added in postproduction, is lousy.
Hollywood 20 Cinema.
Marmaduke (PG, 88 min.) Owen Wilson, a Great Dane.
The Other Guys (PG-13, 108 min.) Both homage and raspberry to the "Lethal Weapon"-style buddy-cop action-comedies of years past, the latest collaboration between star Will Ferrell and director/writer Adam McKay is (as usual) a stew of anything-for-a-laugh aggression, surreal plotting and non sequitur characterization. Ferrell plays a college pimp-turned-uptight police "forensics accountant" who is an embarrassment to his tough-guy partner, Mark Wahlberg; together, they stumble on a corrupt investment scheme masterminded by greedy capitalist Steve Coogan that gives the film an overt if unpersuasive political slant. A bonus: the closing credits song, "Pimps Don't Cry." A big minus: the ugly, ugly cinematography.
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, Summer Quartet Drive-In.
Predators (R, 107 min.) Mercenary Adrien Brody, special-ops soldier Alice Braga, death row inmate Walton Goggins and mystery man Topher Grace are among the "prey" transported to a jungle planet that functions as a game preserve for the title crab-faced aliens in this fourth and probably best followup to 1987's "Predator." Nimbly directed by Nimród Antal ("Armored"), this is something of a throwback to 1980s action-exploitation: The emphasis is on special makeup effects and brawny physicality rather than computer-generated imagery.
Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8, Majestic, Hollywood 20 Cinema.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (PG-13, 116 min.) Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Kingsley. .
Ramona and Beezus (G, 104 min.) Joey King is third-grade scamp Ramona Quimby and Selena Gomez is her long-suffering older sister, Beezus, in the first screen adaptation of the classic children's novels by Beverly Cleary.
Stage Cinema, Collierville Towne 16.
Robin Hood (PG-13, 131 min.) Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett.
Salt (PG-13, 100 min.) A seasoned action movie Fury, statuesque Angelina Jolie -- she of the celebrated cheekbones, Chester Gouldian jaw, pneumatic lips and canyonesque philtrum -- is cast as Evelyn Salt, a CIA super-agent who appears to go rogue after being accused of being a Russian sleeper spy -- a post-Soviet "Manchurian candidate." Like its star, this overandrenalized, implausible and entertaining spy thriller rarely pauses for breath -- it's essentially one long chase sequence, as well as a throwback to the now oddly comforting conventions of the Cold War thriller, when the masterminds threatening to destroy the world weren't motivated by religion. An old-school trouper rather than a newfangled wink-and-nudger, journeyman director Philip Noyce ensures that the film keeps a straight face, even when Jolie's acrobatics suggest Lara Croft more than Langley, Virginia.
Stage Cinema, Majestic, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Raleigh Springs Cinema, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso, Palace Cinema, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16, Summer Quartet Drive-In.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (PG-13, 108 min.) Director Edgar Wright ("Shaun of the Dead," "Hot Fuzz") is now three for three: This witty, inventive comic-book adaptation -- in which geeky stealth ladies' man Michael Cera must fend off attacks from the superpowered ex-lovers of his new girlfriend (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) -- is an absurdist knockout. The cartoonish special effects and stylized visual design (complete with onscreen onomatopoeia, in the manner of the "Batman" TV show) are inspired by comics, anime and old-school videogames, but -- like Wright's previous films -- this is at heart a genre satire, reinventing the John Hughes 1980s teen dramedy for the plugged-in, post-postmodern mashup generation. The Hughes-worthy supporting cast of instantly memorable friends, siblings, crushes and rivals includes Kieran Culkin, Anna Kendrick, Alison Pill, Ellen Wong, Jason Schwartzman and ex-Superman Brandon Routh.
Forest Hill 8, Stage Cinema, Majestic, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16, Summer Quartet Drive-In.
Shrek Forever After (PG, 93 min.) The voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice (PG, 109 min) The latest built-to-please product from the Disney/Bruckheimer assembly line was nominally inspired by the famous Mickey Mouse episode in Disney's "Fantasia" (1940), but its true incentive is the blockbuster saga of Harry Potter, which finds its dumbed-down equivalent in this special-effects showcase about a New York physics-geek college student (Jay Baruchel) who is tutored by a master "777th-degree" sorcerer (Nicolas Cage) so he can fulfill his destiny as "the Prime Merlinian" and defeat the evil Horvath (Alfred Molina). The film is obvious, oblivious to logic and overblown, but fun in its mindless escapist fashion -- and less insulting than director Jon Turtletaub's "American Treasure" films.
Stage Cinema, Majestic, Collierville Towne 16.
Step Up 3D (PG-13, 107 min.) 3D is an expensive technology, yet what it does best is deliver cheap thrills -- and thrills don't come much cheaper than the pop-and-lock, hip-hop, foot-in-your-face acrobatics of this instant camp classic, in which eye-popping dance-floor awesomeness and jaw-dropping dramatic awfulness combine to produce the must-see dumbest movie of the year. Stylishly stubble-chinned Rick Malambri stars as Luke, a hunky videographer who leads a multiculti "pseudo-family" of "B-FABB (Born from a Boom Box)" hoofers to the "World Jam" dance contest, where they must battle the sinister House of Slytherin, er, House of Samurai. Adam G. Sevani -- the apparent result of a genetic experiment in which Michael Cera and the "Wiz"-era Michael Jackson were combined with bits of Arnold Horshack -- co-stars as the incongruously named Moose, whose Fred Astaire-inspired single-take on-location street dance represents director/ choreographer Jon Chu's wittiest contribution. With Sharni Vinson as Luke's love interest, an alleged terpsichorean marvel whose most impressive dance move seems to be wearing a man's hat, plus such other dancers (according to the end credits) as "Flipz," "Flearock," "Boogie Frantick" and Anthony "Invertebrate" Rodriguez.
Stage Cinema, Majestic (non-3D), Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16.
Toy Story 3 (G, 109 min.) Among many other wonderful things, the latest Pixar triumph is a very witty spoof of the classic Hollywood jailbreak drama; from now on, any list of the best prison movies will have to include this Disney release alongside "I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang" and "Cool Hand Luke." In director Lee Unkrich's marvel, however, there is no failure to communicate: The themes of loyalty, abandonment, the inevitability of age and, yes, love, come through loud and clear -- even the stoniest viewers may have to clench their face like a fist to keep from bawling like a baby before the movie's over. (And I don't mean Big Baby, the movie's scary plastic infant with the lazy marble eye and the Crayola tattoos.) In this installment, the boy Andy (who has grown up parallel to the real-life kids enraptured by the first "Toy Story" in 1995) is bound for college, causing a crisis in the toy box: What will happen to Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen) and the rest when Andy's gone? Viewers will think of the plight of pets and even of old folks and orphaned or unwanted children during these debates. If these notions are tough on adults, younger viewers may be more disturbed by a frenzied finale in which the toys face destruction on a junkyard conveyor belt: The "G" rating doesn't take into account the strong sense of deadly peril conveyed during the brilliantly animated action scenes.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (PG-13, 124 min.) "Well, I am hotter than you." This supposed reference to body temperature, uttered by werehunk Jacob (Taylor Lautner) to sparkly teen vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson), is not just the funniest and most self-aware line in the third "Twilight" film but a nice distillation of the tension that now drives the series, as the tiresomely humorless Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) tries to stay true to her Byronic bloodsucking beau while resisting the literal animal magnetism of Forks, Washington's most frequently shirtless lycanthrope. Director David Slade ("30 Days of Night") is a more robust storyteller than his predecessors, but the clunky narrative mandates of author Stephanie Meyer's source novel inhibit any real invention.
Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16.
Vampires Suck (PG-13, 80 min.) The creators of "Date Movie," "Epic Movie" and "Disaster Movie" skewer the "Twilight" saga. They keep making these things, so I guess they make money...
Forest Hill 8, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8, Majestic, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso, Palace Cinema, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16.
Winter's Bone (R, 100 min.) Part murder mystery, part coming-of-age drama, director Debra Granik's shot-on-location adapation of Daniel Woodrell's novel transports moviegoers to a real place most of us haven't seen before: the darkling woods of the Missouri Ozarks, where clannish mountainfolk stew squirrels and cook methamphetamine with apparently equal gusto. Jennifer Lawrence stars as the story's resourceful amateur sleuth, 17-year-old Ree, whose search for her missing father is met with hostility and suspicion by her raw-boned, off-the-grid neighbors. Winner of the Grand Jury prize for drama at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, the movie to some extent mistakes authenticity -- the documentary-like visual detail is astonishing -- for profundity. Still, it shouldn't be missed. "Wish I was a little sparrow," folklorist Marideth Sisco warbles on the soundtrack, and the desperate Ree's desire for flight -- for transformation -- is palpable.