Movie Capsules: Now showing

Capsule descriptions by The Commercial Appeal movie writer John Beifuss.

OPENING TODAY

African Cats (G, 89 min.) A Disney nature documentary that shows how a family of lions and a family of cheetahs teach their cubs to survive in the wild.

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

Dum Maaro Dum (R, 132 min.) Six disparate Indians become entangled with the Asian drug mafia in this song-and-action-packed Bollywood production.

Hollywood 20 Cinema.

Madea's Big Happy Family (PG-13, 105 min.) Tyler Perry doubles down on the comedy when his drag alter ego is joined by the equally rambunctious Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis).

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.

Of Gods and Men (R, 122 min.) See review.

Ridgeway Four.

Water for Elephants (PG-13, 121 min.) In this adaptation of Sara Gruen's best-seller, a veterinary student (Robert Pattinson) in charge of a Depression circus menagerie has his life changed by two females: a beautiful equestrian (Reese Witherspoon) and Rose, the elephant.

Ridgeway Four, Forest Hill 8, Stage Cinema, Majestic, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Studio on the Square, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16.

SPECIAL MOVIES

Hubble: Narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, this new IMAX film explores the legacy of the Hubble Space Telescope and its impact on our understanding of the universe. Runs through Nov. 11. 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.

Legends of Flight: Experience aerial innovation at the dawn of a new era in flight transportation; an insider's view of how a modern aircraft is built. Through Nov. 11. 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.

Memphis (Not rated, 132 min.) A filmed-live-on-stage presentation of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical.

7:30 p.m. Thursday, Paradiso. Tickets: $20. Visit malco.com.

Metropolitan Opera: Capriccio (Not rated, 205 min.) A live-via-satellite-from-New York production of Richard Strauss' 1942 masterpiece about a countess torn between her love for a poet and a composer. (In other words, which is more important: Words or music?)

Noon Saturday, Paradiso. Tickets: $20. Visit malco.com.

Metropolitan Opera: Le Comte Ory (Not rated, 200 min.) An encore presentation of Rossini's comic opera of the Crusades.

6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Paradiso. Tickets: $20. Visit malco.com.

NOW SHOWING

The Adjustment Bureau (PG-13, 99 min.) Matt Damon, Emily Blunt.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Arthur (PG-13, 110 min.) Cartoonish Russell Brand takes the Dudley Moore role in debuting feature director Jason Winer's unsteady remake of the 1981 smash-hit romantic comedy about an alcoholic multimillionaire man-child who discovers -- cue Christopher Cross -- that "the best that you can do is fall in love." The dialogue is fairly witty (Arthur is proud of his "savantish gift for defying death with fun"), but the film is burdened by studio mandates (Arthur's fleet of automobiles is loaded with such Warner Bros.-franchise vehicles as the Batmobile) and p.c. partypoopery (Arthur ends up in AA), and it staggers like a drunk between moments of make-'em-laugh mania and sobersided stasis. The fine supporting cast includes Helen Mirren as Arthur's loyal nanny; Jennifer Garner as a ruthless social climber manufacturing what Arthur calls "a macabre conspiracy to inveigle me into a loveless marriage"; and Greta Gerwig (whose I-can't-help-it-if-I'm- adorable act has never been so shameless) in the Liza Minnelli role of the kooky working-class free spirit who wins Arthur's heart.

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

Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 (PG-13, 102 min.) Paul Johansson.

Ridgeway Four, Studio on the Square.

Battle Los Angeles (PG-13, 117 min.) Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez.

Majestic.

Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (PG-13, 108 min.) Martin Lawrence, Brandon T. Jackson.

Bartlett 10.

The Conspirator (PG-13, 122 min.) A fascinating, little-known episode in American history provides a pretext for a post-9/11 allegory and a related lecture on constitutional law in the latest yawner from director Robert Redford, a man whose politics are now easier to admire than his movies. Robin Wright -- excellent in a role that mostly requires her to maintain a Christ-like preternatural dignity in the face of unjust, imminent execution -- stars as Mary Surratt, the only woman charged as a co-conspirator in what is referred to as "the most grievous crime in our nation's history," the assassination of Abraham Lincoln; James McAvoy is the young lawyer assigned to defend her before a military tribunal. Redford seems more interested in commenting on current events than in digging deep into the past; the dialogue -- with references to "keeping fear alive" and the public's desire for vengeance -- repeatedly connects the injustices of 1865 to the excesses of the current War on Terror, which the director addressed directly in his previous film, "Lions for Lambs."

Collierville Towne 16, Studio on the Square, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (PG, 100 min.) Inspired by the Jeff Kinney book series.

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

Drive Angry (R, 104 min.) Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard.

Bartlett 10.

Gnomeo & Juliet (G, 84 min.)

Bartlett 10.

Hanna (PG-13, 111 min.) Saoirse Ronan is remarkable in the title role of this beautifully crafted coming-of-age story/chase thriller about an adolescent assassin whose marksmanship and multilingualism don't prepare her for the challenges of teenage friendship or kissing (an activity that "requires a total of 34 facial muscles," she recites, as efficiently as Watson on "Jeopardy!"). Raised in isolation in snowy Finland (Hanna stalks and slays a reindeer in the opening scene, to set up the film's poisoned-apple relationship to fairy tales), the motherless 16-year-old is presented as an almost magical refugee from an obsolete Brothers Grimm world that bears little relationship to the chaos of civilization, with its professional killers and pop-culture distractions (director Joe Wright is as interested in Hanna's fish-out-of-water friendship with a typically frivolous teen -- nicely played by Jessica Barden -- as in the action set pieces). As Hanna is pursued through Morocco, Spain and Berlin, her environment becomes increasingly Westernized, until she confronts her own Big Bad Wolf, a CIA operative obsessed with oral hygiene (my, what big teeth Cate Blanchett has!). Joe Wright ("Atonement") directs with style, but the script drops clues that never pay off, and the story seems incomplete; the result is a distinctive movie that disappoints, despite a powerhouse set-up, some knockout sequences, a propulsive score by the Chemical Brothers and admirable cinematography and production design.

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

Hop (PG, 95 min.) A young computer-animated rabbit (voiced by Russell Brand) who is destined to be the next Easter Bunny runs away from home to seek fame as a rock drummer in live-action Hollywood in this tiresome holiday-themed (but utterly secularized) "Alvin and the Chipmunks" retread from "Alvin" director Tim Hill. The bunny wears a Stax T-shirt and jams with the Blind Boys of Alabama, but he's a poseur: On his own, he drums along to soulless auto-tuned corporate pop-rock. He also poops jelly beans, which provides a nice metaphor: The film is slick and colorful, but it's formulaic crap.

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

I Am Number Four (PG-13, 110 min.) Alex Pettyfer, Dianna Agron.

Bartlett 10.

Insidious (PG-13, 103 min.) For one loopy moment in this unpretentious we-just-want-to-scare-you horror movie, the trilly sound of "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" wafts through a spook-plagued California home, and it seems as if the story's unfortunate family is being haunted by the ghosts of Tiny Tim and his ukulele. No such luck: In an inevitable letdown, the chief demon/poltergeist isn't a pasty-faced vibrato song stylist but what appears to be a cloven-hoofed Darth Maul. Even so, producer Oren Peli ("Paranormal Activity") and the "Saw" team of writer Leigh Whannell and director James Wan have delivered an efficient chiller, which favors loud BUMPS in the night and other gore-free frights over explicit gross-outs. The story is pure "Poltergeist," as suburban couple Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne hire spiritualist Lin Shaye and her team of ghost-hunting techno-nerds to rescue their comatose young son from the threat of supernatural possession.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8, Majestic, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Raleigh Springs Cinema, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso, Palace Cinema, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16.

Jane Eyre (PG-13, 120 min.) Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender.

Studio on the Square.

Just Go With It (PG-13, 117 min.) Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston.

Bartlett 10.

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (G, 105 min.) Bieber fever infects the third dimension.

Bartlett 10.

The King's Speech (PG-13 version, 118 min.) Oscar's Best Picture of 2010 returns in an edited family-friendly version, shorn of its frequent F-words.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Limitless (PG-13, 106 min.) Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro.

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

The Lincoln Lawyer (R, 119 min.) Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei.

Stage Cinema, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema.

Madea Goes to Jail (PG-13, 103 min.) The title promises to return the spotlight (as well as the prison-yard searchlight) to Tyler Perry's signature drag comedy creation, the pistol-packing, straight-talking Madea; but unfortunately (if not unpredictably), the writer-director devotes much of the film to a simplistic Christian morality tale about a young lawyer (Derek Luke) who jeopardizes his impending marriage by saving an old classmate (former "Cosby" kid Keshia Knight Pulliam) from her life of drug addiction and prostitution. Marginal details are more interesting than the action at center stage, as when Perry stages a meeting of assistant district attorneys that includes but one token white guy, in a reversal of the typical movie casting decision. The standout in the ensemble cast is Viola Davis, who brings welcome depth to the stock role of a social reformer.

Summer Quartet Drive-In.

Paul (R, 116 min.) Simon Pegg, Nick Frost.

CinePlanet 16.

Rango (PG, 107 min.) Sergio Leone meets "The Shakiest Gun in the West" at "High Noon" on the way to "Chinatown": That's one way to describe this odd and original (for all its pop-culture references) computer-animated movie about a chameleon who -- credit the filmmakers for their cleverness -- doesn't blend in.

CinePlanet 16.

Red Riding Hood (PG-13, 100 min.) Draped in the blood-hued garment that symbolizes the onset of sexual maturity (hence, her appeal to "wolves"), Amanda Seyfried stars as the title fairy tale heroine, and my, what big eyes she has. The better to see -- what? Like director Catherine Hardwicke's previous features ("Thirteen," "Twilight," and, yes, "The Nativity Story"), this is an extreme coming-of-age story about young people coping with extraordinary circumstances, but the soap opera/murder mystery tone is wobbly and the focus is unclear.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16.

Rio (G, 99 min.) A pampered pet Minnesota macaw named Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg) who never learned to fly is brought to Brazil to mate with proudly independent Jewel (Anne Hathaway) and save their species in this colorful, musical computer-animated film from Rio-born director Carlos Saldanha and Blue Sky Studios ("Ice Age"). The urban/tropical landscapes and Carnival backdrop add vibrancy to a smart romance-adventure that borrows from classic Bob Hope suspense-comedies and even Hitchcock's "The 39 Steps" as the nebbishy Blu and the sassy Jewel flee from exotic-bird thieves and, inevitably, fall into each other's, um, wings. A treat for grownups as well as kids.

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 (in 3-D), Hollywood 20 Cinema (in 3-D), CinePlanet 16 (in 3-D), Summer Quartet Drive-In.

The Roommate (PG-13, 92 min.) Minka Kely, Leighton Meeser.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Scream 4 (R, 112 min.) Director Wes Craven, writer Kevin Williamson and stars Neve Campbell (the "survivor"), Courtney Cox (the reporter) and David Arquette (the cop) are back in this effective "Ghostface Killer" franchise revival, aimed at the plugged-in social-media teen generation represented by such series newcomers as Emma Roberts (who plays Campbell's niece), Rory Culkin (a geeked-out cinephile) and Hayden Panetierre (a stylish smart-aleck). The self-referential "meta" cleverness of what may be the talkiest slasher film ever made may annoy viewers who prefer their scares straight, but the movie works as both a well-cast horror-comedy and a multiple-suspects mystery thriller that demonstrates that the sudden ring of an old-fashioned telephone is a lot scarier than any downloaded ringtone or text-message ping.

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, CinePlanet 16, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

Soul Surfer (PG, 106 min.) AnnaSophia Robb stars as blond, ukulele-strumming Bethany Hamilton in this true-life parable of the 13-year-old Hawaiian girl who returned to competitive surfing after losing her left arm to a shark attack. A sincere and well-made tale of teenage triumph set against the warm backdrops of the beautiful Pacific surf and the minimally referenced Christian faith of the lead characters, director Sean McNamara's movie should prove especially engrossing to young girls eager for purposeful role models and be especially appealing to parents seeking wholesome but not inane entertainment for their daughters. With Dennis Quaid -- who, at 56, still has a broadly boyish surfer-dude smile -- and Helen Hunt as Bethany's loving, sandaled-and-swimsuited parents.

Stage Cinema, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso, Palace Cinema, Hollywood 20 Cinema, CinePlanet 16.

Source Code (PG-13, 93 min.) Director Duncan Jones (the son of David Bowie) follows his striking feature debut "Moon" with a confident action-suspenser about a soldier (Jake Gyllenhaal) who wakes up in another man's body on a doomed Chicago commuter train and discovers he's part of a military program that essentially enables him to re-live eight minutes of the past.

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

Sucker Punch (PG-13, 110 min.) Director Zack Snyder ("300," "Watchmen") adds "Inception"/"Shutter Island" metaphysics to the expected sci-fi/comic-book stew in this ambitious failure, in which a victimized young woman identified as "Babydoll" (Emily Browning) retreats from the horrific circumstances of her forced insane-asylum incarceration into computer game-like levels of fantasy, in which she and a fan boy's wet-dream army (Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung) battle Majin-like giant samurai, Nazi zombies, a cool fire-breathing dragon and other surrogate threats.

Palace Cinema, Hollywood 20 Cinema.

Tangled (PG, 101 min.) Voices of Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi.

Bartlett 10.

Tron: Legacy (PG, 125 min.) Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund.

Bartlett 10.

True Grit (PG-13, 110 min.) Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld.

Bartlett 10.

Unknown (PG-13, 113 min.) Liam Neeson, January Jones.

Bartlett 10.

Win Win (R, 106 min.) The third feature from writer-director Tom McCarthy ("The Station Agent," "The Visitor") is perhaps more timid than its predecessors, but it's honest, resourceful and funny. Paul Giamatti stars as a hangdog New Jersey lawyer, family man and high-school wrestling coach stressed by "work, money, everything"; newcomer Paul Shaffer is the taciturn teen runaway and wrestling phenom whose unexpected arrival in the lawyer's life proves to be both a complication and a blessing. As the movie's believable if frequently comical characters cope with economic responsibilities and emotional challenges while also working to make amends for poor decisions, you may be reminded in some ways of a good episode of "The Andy Griffith Show" -- and I mean that as praise.

Ridgeway Four.

Your Highness (R, 102 min.) James Franco, Danny McBride.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, Hollywood 20 Cinema.

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