Movie Capsules: Now showing

Capsule descriptions and starred mini-reviews by The Commercial Appeal movie writer John Beifuss.


Certified Copy (Not rated, 106 min.) See review.

Ridgeway Four.

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer (PG, 91 min.) Megan McDonald's popular book series for young readers comes to the screen.

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

Midnight in Paris (PG-13, 100 min.) See review.

Cordova Cinema, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Ridgeway Four, Studio on the Square.

Rejoice and Shout (PG, 115 min.) See review.

Majestic, Ridgeway Four.

Super 8 (PG-13, 112 min.) See review.

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


An American in Paris (Not rated, 113 min.) Director Vincente Minnelli's 1951 musical with Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron — winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture — will be screened on the Hughes Terrace.

7 p.m. Thursday, Dixon Gallery and Gardens, 4339 Park. Regular admission; cash bar. Visit

Beyond the Myth: A Film About Pit Bulls and Breed Discrimination (Not rated, 90 min.) Director Libby R. Sherill will attend this special screening of her documentary, hosted by Mid-South Spay and Neuter Services.

7 p.m. Wednesday, Studio on the Square. Tickets: $12. Visit

The Big Lebowski (R, 117 min.) The Dude — like the Orpheum's mighty Wurlitzer organ — abides.

7:15 tonight, the Orpheum, 203 S. Main. Admission: $7 per adult, $5 per senior or child (12 and under). Visit or call 525-3000.

Blank City (Not rated, 94 min.) Jim Jarmusch, Thurston Moore, Amos Poe and Lydia Lunch are among the luminaries who appear in this documentary look at the 1970s heyday of the New York indie filmmaking scene, with its "No Wave Cinema" and "Cinema of Transgression" movements.

2 p.m. Sunday, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Admission: $8 or $6 for museum and Indie Memphis members. Visit

The Color Purple (PG-13, 154 min.) Steven Spielberg directed this 1985 adaptation of Alice Walker's best-seller, with Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover. The screeing benefits the Outflix Film Festival.

7 p.m. Thursday, Studio on the Square. Suggested donation: $10. Visit

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 (901) 320-6362 for showtimes, tickets and reservations.

The Importance of Being Earnest (Not rated, 150 min.) Tony-nominated Brian Bedford stars in this live-via-satellite production of Oscar Wilde's classic comedy about sexual and social hypocrisy.

1 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Tuesday, Paradiso. Tickets: $20. Visit

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 (901) 320-6362 for show times, tickets and reservations.

The Light Thief (Not rated, 80 min.) The summer "Global Lens Series" devoted to international cinema begins with this 2010 film from Kyrgyzstan about a village electrician ironically caught in a corrupt web of darkness.

7 p.m. Thursday, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Admission: $7 or $5 for museum members; free for Indie Memphis members. Visit

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (PG-13, 230 min.) An "extended cut" of the first film in the J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy, with a special introduction by Peter Jackson, from the set of "The Hobbit"; the two "extended" sequels screen June 21 and June 28.

7 p.m. Tuesday, Paradiso. Tickets: $12.50. Visit

Metropolitan Opera: Madama Butterfly (Not rated, 201 min.) Patricia Racette takes the title role in this repeat of a live-from-New York satellite transmission of the famous Puccini opera.

6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Paradiso. Tickets: $22. Visit

Opera: The Girl of the Golden West (Not rated, 138 min.) A taped version of a performance of Puccini's Wild West satire, presented by the Netherlands opera company and philharmonic orchestra.

10:30 a.m. Saturday, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Admission: $15, or $12 for museum members. Visit

Stephen Sondheim's Company (Not rated, 150 min.) An all-star cast — Stephen Colbert! Patti LuPone! "Joan" from "Mad Men"! — joins the New York Philharmonic for this special filmed-live-onstage production.

7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Paradiso. Tickets: $18. Visit


Bridesmaids (R, 125 min.) Advertised as a sort of female response to "The Hangover," this frequently hilarious film is as much a coronation as a wedding celebration, with current "Saturday Night Live" MVP Kristen Wiig emerging as a successor to Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett as the new queen of knockabout comedy. Directed by Paul Feig ("Freaks and Geeks") and produced by Judd Apatow (who apparently is responsible for a soon-to-be-infamous food-poisoning sequence and other male-friendly gross-out moments), the movie — despite its wonderful ensemble cast and generous plural title — is Wiig's show all the way, with the actress cast as an unlucky-in-love Milwaukee failure facing her role as Maid of Honor in the marriage of her lifelong best friend (Maya Rudolph) with a mix of pride, dread and jealousy; the latter emotion is compounded when she meets a bridesmaid (Rose Byrne) who seems to be using her beauty, poise and prestige Chicago address to insinuate herself into the bride's life as a new best friend. This rivalry is wonderfully played and convincingly written, by Wiig and her longtime comedy collaborator, Annie Mumolo.

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

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (PG, 100 min.) Zachary Gordon, Devon Bostick.

Bartlett 10.

The Double Hour (Not rated, 95 min.) Beautifully photographed in the Turin region of northern Italy, director Giuseppe Capotondi's thriller begins swiftly, with a desperate suicide and a speed-dating session for not-yet-that- desperate singles. At both events, a wan but pretty thirtysomething hotel chambermaid named Sonia (Ksenia Rappoport) is present; at the latter, she meets a soulful ex-cop (Filippo Timi). Soon, the dating couple is victimized during a violent burglary: coincidence or set-up? The movie is intriguing, but it loses its way not in the multiple twists of its clever narrative but in a dispiriting fog of mind games and art-house pretensions, as Capotondi becomes more interested in meditating on the nature of romance and reality than in generating suspense.

Ridgeway Four.

Fast Five (PG-13, 130 min.) A pedal-to-the-metal paean to reckless driving and fuel inefficiency, this fifth film in the rubber-burning franchise is the most spectacular and elaborate yet, bringing new meaning to the term "muscle car" by pitting series regular Vin Diesel (who plays an ex-con street racer) against former wrestling superstar Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (who plays a U.S. super-agent). When the two bodybuilding behemoths finally go toe to toe and pec to pec, the movie achieves its "King Kong vs. Godzilla" moment — but even that Rumble in Rio pales in comparison to the giddy high-speed chase finale in which Diesel and co-star Paul Walker destroy much of Brazil's mecca of tourism and tropicália by towing a gigantic bank vault through the streets, wiping out lampposts, storefronts and pursuing police vehicles as the strong box — "10 tons of top-of-the-line security" -- swings from side to side like a cubical wrecking ball. Directed (like the previous two installments) by Justin Lin, the movie is part action epic and part heist film.

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

Gnomeo & Juliet (G, 84 min.) Voices of Emily Blunt and James McAvoy.

Bartlett 10.

The Grace Card (PG-13, 108 min.) Michael Joiner, Michael Higgenbottom.

Bartlett 10.

The Hangover Part II (R, 102 min.) Mistaking meanness for edge, borderline racism for irreverence and disregard for women as "boys will be boys" solidarity, this "Part II" is as horrifying as a "Saw" sequel, but with fewer laughs — it may represent the ugliest portrait of a foreign land and culture since jailed American student Brad Davis was driven to bite off a stoolie's tongue in a hellhole Turkish prison in "Midnight Express." Director Tod Phillips basically repeats the ingenious formula of the first film, but ups the obnoxiousness: This time, the so-called "Wolfpack" (groom-to-be Ed Helms, smooth Bradley Cooper and weirdo man-child Zach Galifianakis) wakes up in Bangkok, again with no memory of the bachelor party-gone-bad night before. Retracing their steps through a torture-porn slapstick Thailand that is so dirty, dangerous and disgusting that even its prostitutes are, in the film's view, monsters, the characters seem more like bullies than heroes, especially when they treat an ancient Buddhist monk like a comedy prop. Check it out, world: Americans overseas, running roughshod over the locals, wrecking the place, and returning home to laugh about it.

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

Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil (PG, 85 min.) Voices of Hayden Panettiere, Patrick Warburton.

Bartlett 10.

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

Bartlett 10.

Insidious (PG-13, 103 min.) Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne.

Majestic, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8,

Jumping the Broom (PG-13, 113 min.) An all-star ensemble — Angela Bassett, Paula Patton, Loretta Devine — converges on Martha's Vineyard for a wedding.

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

Kung Fu Panda 2 (PG, 90 min.) The dark storyline — parents, are you ready to explain panda genocide? — seems more appropriate for a classic Shaw Brothers martial-arts film than for a spoofy pastiche, but the stunning production design and superb digital animation make this action-comedy (with a surprising emphasis on action) worth seeing. The voice actors return, including Jack Black as the roly-poly panda "dragon warrior," Po, and Dustin Hoffman as his Yoda-esque red panda mentor; the newcomer is Gary Oldman as a villainous peacock whose unfurled fan-like tail is one of the film's most striking visual elements. Directed by longtime animator Jennifer Yuh Nelson.

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

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

Bartlett 10.

The Lion of Judah (PG, 87 min.) The film's website calls this the "first ever 3-D animated, family-friendly, faith-based movie," but you may call it "The Passion of the Christ" meets "Babe," or "Ben-Hur" meets "Old MacDonald," because this is a computer-generated cartoon in which one of the most significant utterances in Western civilization — "It is finished," the final words of Christ on the cross, according to the Gospel of John — occurs before an audience consisting of a horse, a cow, an ass, a pig, a rat, a chicken and a couple of ravens. Borderline unwatchable due to the ugliness of the animation (produced in South Africa) and the clumsiness of the storytelling, the film at least becomes jaw-droppingly bizarre after it abandons its "Hee Haw"-in-the-Holy Land critter comedy to focus on its evangelical message and follow its zoo's-who cast of animal characters from Bethlehem to Jerusalem to Golgotha to the tomb of Jesus, where a little lost lamb who thinks he's a lion — the symbolic title character — is the most faithful witness of what will come to be called the Easter miracle. Another miracle will occur if this film is embraced by children who have experienced the far more sophisticated animation produced by Pixar and DreamWorks: "The Lion of Judah" is more likely to send youngsters fleeing to "Kung Fu Panda 2" than to church. Walter Elias Disney and C.S. Lewis, forgive them, for they know now what they do. E-i-e-i-o. (For a more palatable presentation of the story of Jesus as seen through the eyes of furry four-legged witnesses, watch the 1977 Rankin-Bass TV special, "Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey.")

Palace 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 rambunctious Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis).

DeSoto Cinema 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Raleigh Springs Cinema, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (PG-13, 137 min.) This fourth film in the series originally inspired by a Disney theme park ride chronicles a quest for the fabled fountain of youth, and the movie itself represents a desire for rejuvenation: It's an attempt to rewind the clock back, back, all the way back to those halcyon days of, um, 2003, when the lively, jokey "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" was embraced by moviegoers and even most movie reviewers as a breath of fresh blockbuster air. Scuttling the unnavigable plot complications of the previous two sequels, this is essentially a rebooters' reboot, with Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) — he of the carroty Coppertone sunburn, mincing Glimmer Twin body language, Foster Brooks slur and Bogey/Bugs Bunny facial tics — reconnecting with the now peg-legged pirate Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and encountering zombies, mermaids, Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and Penélope Cruz, cast as a sort of swashbuckling projection of Sparrow's anima. New director Rob Marshall ("Chicago") is a less interesting filmmaker than his predecessor, Gore Verbinski, but his journeyman's approach helps shape the overstuffed story; the movie is overlong but entertaining, with a few standout sequences (the mermaids), and a relative coherence that is probably due to its source material. (The script was adapted for Sparrow from Tim Powers' 1987 fantasy pirate novel, "On Stranger Tides.")

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

Priest (PG-13, 88 min.) A horror/sci-fi revamp (pun intended) of "The Searchers," with vampires instead of Indians, a post-apocalyptic wasteland instead of Monument Valley and a kung-fu warrior priest (Paul Bettany) instead of John Wayne, on the hunt for his kidnapped niece (Lily Collins, last seen as the Tuohy daughter in "The Blind Side"). The inspiration may be John Ford and the credited source may be a Korean comic book, but director Scott Charles Stewart ("Legion") delivers something that resembles one of producer Roger Corman's 1980s "Mad Max" rip-offs, but pumped up with charmless and overbusy 21st-century digital effects.

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

Prom (PG, 103 min.) A Disney high school comedy-drama.


Rango (PG, 107 min.) Voice of Johnny Depp.

Bartlett 10.

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.

Majestic, Palace Cinema (in 3-D), Stage Cinema.

Scream 4 (R, 112 min.) Emma Roberts, Rory Culkin.

Bartlett 10.

Something Borrowed (PG-13, 113 min.) Like a caramel glaze on a suspect apple, the glossy sheen that represents the house style of Alcon Entertainment ("The Blind Side") can't quite sugarcoat the duplicity and betrayal at the center of this so-called romantic comedy, populated by characters who are cute and charming, yes, but also self-centered and two-faced. The tension between the film's happy public surface — the generic pop songs that spackle over the transitions and montages; the alluring images of beautiful young people in beautiful places — and the thorny realism of its interior themes of guilt and deception gives the movie a weird sort of kick — a seemingly unintentional "romcom noir" distinctiveness. ("You're all going to hell, anyway, so do something for yourself," advises supporting character John Krasinski, delivering a line that would not be out of place in the most cynical heist film.) Adapted from the best-seller by Emily Giffin and produced by Memphis' Molly Mickler Smith, the movie represents a sort of starring-role coming-out party for another native Memphian, Ginnifer Goodwin, cast as Rachel, a seemingly sweet-natured lawyer who begins a serious love affair with the fiancé (Colin Egglesfield) of her lifelong best friend, a show-off party girl played by Kate Hudson. Is Rachel more of a hypocrite if she denies herself a chance at happiness, or if she continues her affair? Does love justify all? Director Luke Greenfield stages the action with a shrewd breeziness intended to camouflage the more nettlesome aspects of the story from the film's target "chick lit" demographic.

Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso.

Soul Surfer (PG, 106 min.) AnnaSophia Robb, Dennis Quaid.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Source Code (PG-13, 93 min.) Jake Gyllenhaal.

Bartlett 10, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

Thor (PG-13, 114 min.) Entertaining and instantly forgettable, the latest Marvel Comics would-be blockbuster is as much a promo for the upcoming "Avengers" superteam flick as an origin story, as moviegoers are introduced to the title Norse God of Thunder (a perfectly cast Chris Hemsworth), who is exiled to Earth from the "Realm Eternal" of Asgard by his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), who hopes his impetuous son will develop insight and maturity to match the muscles that enable him to heft Mjolnir, his mighty magic hammer. As expected, director Kenneth Branagh is comfortable with the faux-Shakespearean dialogue of the Asgardians, and he handles the action and drama efficiently (I've always enjoyed Branagh's signature use of Dutch angles); but the multimillion-dollar computer-generated environments and effects seen here pale next to the singular imagination on display in Jack Kirby's drawings in the old Thor comic books. Natalie Portman is charming if unnecessary as the Earth astrophysicist smitten by Thor's golden locks and silver tongue; Tom Hiddleston is amusing as Thor's treacherous "brother" god, Loki.

CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema (in 3-D), Majestic, Palace Cinema (in 3-D), Paradiso, Stage Cinema, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

Water for Elephants (PG-13, 121 min.) Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon.

Forest Hill 8, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

X-Men: First Class (PG-13, 132 min.) Say it loud, I'm mutant and I'm proud: As perhaps befits the early 1960s setting, this origin story from director Matthew Vaughn ("Kick-Ass") abandons the coming-out-of-the-closet motif of the previous X-Men films to embed a racial metaphor (blue-skinned Mystique, played by Jennifer Lawrence, learns to accept her dark complexion and un-straight hair) within its Marvel Comics superheroics, "alternate history" science-fiction (the X-Men are part of the Cuban Missile Crisis) and James Bond-esque Cold War international intrigue (Kevin Bacon is Sebastian Shaw, a sort of mutant Blofeld; his companion is January Jones, whose signature hardness and coldness are put to good use — she's Emma Frost, who can transform herself into living diamond). James McAvoy is the young Charles Xavier (not yet paralyzed or bald); cool Michael Fassbender is the Holocaust survivor who will become the antagonist master of metal, Magneto. The supporting mutants — the blue-furred Beast, the winged Angel Salvadore, the chest-beam-blasting Havok — are goofy enough that their battles suggest Toho monster rallies, especially when Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones) blows sonic energy rings, like the baby monster in "Son of Godzilla."

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

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

Summer Quartet Drive-In.

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