Movie Capsules: Now showing

The 1984 comedy classic 'Ghostbusters,' starring Harold Ramis (from left), Bill Murrary and Dan Ackroyd, screens at  7 p.m. Thursday at the  Paradiso.

The 1984 comedy classic "Ghostbusters," starring Harold Ramis (from left), Bill Murrary and Dan Ackroyd, screens at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Paradiso.

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

OPENING TODAY

The Ides of March (R, 101 min.) See review.

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

Real Steel (PG-13, 127 min.) In the future, Hugh Jackman promotes robot boxing.

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

Restless (PG-13, 91 min.) See review.

Ridgeway Four.

SPECIAL MOVIES

The Future (R, 91 min.) See review.

7 p.m. Thursday, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Tickets: $8, or $6 for museum members. Visit brooksmuseum.org.

Ghostbusters (PG, 105 min.) The 1984 comedy classic about spook-zapping scientists makes a Halloween-month return to the big screen, the better to admire Slimer in all his gooey glory.

7 p.m. Thursday, Paradiso. Tickets: $10, or $6.50 for kids. Visit malco.com.

Hubble: This IMAX film explores the legacy of the Hubble Space Telescope and its impact on our understanding of the universe. Runs through Nov. 11. Tickets $8.25, $7.50 senior citizens, $6.50 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.

Illégal (PG, 105 min.) Dedicated to international cinema, the "Wider Angle Film Series" returns with this 2010 drama about a Russian woman living illegally in Belgium who is separated from her 13-year-old son. Written and directed by Olivier Masset-Depasse.

6 p.m. Wednesday, Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library , 3030 Poplar. Admission is free; children under 17 admitted with parent or guardian. Call 415-2726.

The Illusionist (PG, 80 min.) The Tournées Festival of French films concludes with this beautiful hand-drawn cartoon feature -- nominated for an Oscar this year for Best Animated Feature -- about a shy stage magician and a young woman. Adapted from a previously unfilmed script by Jacques Tati.

7 p.m. Tuesday, University Center Theatre, University of Memphis. Admission: free. Visit frenchtennessee.org/filmfestival.

Opera in Cinema: La Bohème: The Movie (Not rated, 109 min.) A 2008 version of Puccini's classic, starring renowned vocalists Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villózon.

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

Tangled (PG, 101 min.) An action-packed revamp of "Rapunzel," the recent hit Disney cartoon feature returns for a free outdoor "Screen on the Green" screening.

6:35 p.m. today, The Avenue Carriage Crossing, Collierville.

The Ultimate Wave Tahiti: Viewers will learn how waves influence and shape our planet while they ride alongside champion surfer Kelly Slater as he challenges Tahiti's toughest wave. Runs through March 2, 2012. Tickets $8.25, $7.50 senior citizens, $6.50 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.

NOW SHOWING

Abduction (PG-13, 106 min.) Taylor Lautner's on the run, and John Singleton's directing.

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, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

Bad Teacher (R, 89 min.) Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake.

Bartlett 10.

Captain America: The First Avenger (PG-13, 124 min.) Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving.

Bartlett 10.

Cars 2 (G, 112 min.) Voices of Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine.

Bartlett 10.

Colombiana (PG-13, 108 min.) Cat-like Zoe Saldana is Cataleya (named for an orchid), a vengeful Bogota orphan turned cold-blooded unstoppable killer in the latest saga of female kick-assery from the action-movie assembly line of producer/co-writer Luc Besson ("The Professional," "Nikita"). Directed by the appropriately named Olivier Megaton, the film might have been a classic, but the promise of the borderline-priceless early scenes with Amandla Stenberg as the 10-year-old Cataleya aren't quite fulfilled by the more predictable if clever and nicely staged set pieces with the adult assassin. (The highlight: a "Mission: Impossible"-worthy jailhouse hit.)

DeSoto Cinema 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Palace Cinema, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

Conan the Barbarian (R, 112 min.) Jason Momoa, Rose McGowan.

Bartlett 10.

Contagion (PG-13, 106 min.) A plague threatens the Earth and an all-star cast -- Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Winslet and many more -- in director Steven Soderbergh's creepy cautionary tale about a modern world in which the "viral" menaces include Internet rumors as well as deadly diseases. Shot with documentary grimness, the film crosscuts among several interconnected stories, as Centers for Disease Control scientists, World Health Organization officials and others seek a vaccine against the easily contracted infection, which spreads death through such commonplace vectors as elevator buttons and casino chips. The pro-government perspective is refreshing, but Soderbergh and writer Scott Z. Burns tax the story's credibility with their pulpish depiction of an irresponsible British blogger (Jude Law), who seems to have wandered from a Roland Emmerich or Michael Bay set. Ultimately, the movie's relative realism is less dramatically persuasive than the go-for-broke B-movie hysteria of such hydrophobic predecessors as George Romero's "The Crazies" and David Cronenberg's "Shivers."

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.

Courageous (PG-13, 130 min.) The faith values of four police officers are challenged in the latest Christian-themed film from Sherwood Pictures ("Fireproof") and distributor Affirm Films (the Memphis-made "The Grace Card.")

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

Crazy, Stupid, Love. (PG-13, 118 min.) Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

The Debt (R, 113 min.) Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson.

Palace Cinema, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Dolphin Tale (PG, 113 min.) Now a celebrity at Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida, Winter the bottlenose dolphin plays herself in this intelligently crafted family film, which demonstrates that an injury or disability need not diminish the quality or value of an individual's life, even if that individual breathes through a blowhole on the top of her head. Produced by Fred Smith's Alcon Entertainment company, the movie might be called the first cetacean biopic as it recounts the marine mammal's rescue and rehabilitation at a coastal animal hospital, where she must learn to swim with a prosthetic tail manufactured to replace her amputated flukes. Nathan Gamble stars as the young boy who bonds with Winter, and we see the story through his eyes. "He is so engaged, and it's not with a Game Boy -- it's with something alive and beautiful and real," enthuses the boy's mom (Ashley Judd) about her son's new passion. Director Charles Martin Smith could be accused of mawkishness; he has no problem cutting to a shot of a child in leg braces to establish Winter's kinship with the afflicted of all species. Even so, I have no problem recommending a movie that encourages love and respect for wildlife.

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 (in 3-D), Raleigh Springs Cinema, Stage Cinema (in 3-D).

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (R, 100 min.) Director Troy Nixon's remake of a famously spooky 1973 ABC Movie of the Week is an effective if overthought horror tale about the creepy "little things" that scuttle along baseboards, under beds and through air ducts -- not rats and roaches, in this case, but evil ugly fairies with a literal hunger for children's teeth. Leaving teethmarks of his own is producer/co-writer Guillermo del Toro; as in "Pan's Labyrinth," he connects a vulnerable child's yearnings to the attractions-turned-terrors of the supernatural realm. Bailee Madison stars as a little girl with issues whose stories of goblin-like imps are disbelieved by her architect father (Guy Pearce) and his new girlfriend (Katie Holmes), who are trying to restore a creepy old mansion in Rhode Island. As Peter Jackson did with "King Kong," del Toro is attempting to make a beloved influence as spectacular in fact as it appeared to have been to his childhood imagination, but this very impulse diminishes the power -- the mystery -- of the source material. By the end of this film, the impressively realized creatures have been revealed in so much detail that we recognize them as assignments from an artist's workshop, not escapees from a nightmare.

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

Dream House (PG-13, 110 min.) New homeowners Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz learn they need to replace the word "dream" with "haunted."

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

Drive (R, 103 min.) A movie with style and rubber to burn, Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn's action-suspense stunner is a candidate for the best film of the year, even when it becomes too pleased with its own remorseless coolness -- with the action-painting blossoms of blood and the acousticophiliac squish of heel to face that characterize its ultraviolent final act. The title is an an imperative, an action verb that describes momentum and movement; the word becomes flesh in the studied person of Ryan Gosling as the story's antihero, a nameless Hollywood stunt driver and underworld wheelman -- "I drive," he explains -- whose professional security and personal safety become compromised when he allows sentiment to enter his life by showing interest in a new neighbor (Carey Mulligan) and her young son. A marvel of elegant photographic composition and purposeful, pleasing sound design, the movie was adapted from a novel by Helena-born neo-noir author James Sallis and is indebted to Walter Hill and Michael Mann; the supporting cast includes Ron Perlman, Bryan Cranston and an Oscar-worthy Albert Brooks as a wry but ruthless gangster.

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

50/50 (R, 100 min.) Real-life best friends Seth Rogen (actor/producer) and Will Reiser (writer/producer) collaborated on this sincere, honorable and compromised attempt to construct a feel-good cancer movie for dudes and their dates, in contrast to the women-centric disease-of-the-week weepies of Hollywood's past (dubbed "griefsploitation" by one Variety reviewer). Inspired by Reiser's struggle with and triumph over cancer, the film casts Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a nice, cool, good-looking guy who loses none of his attractiveness despite his illness (Roger Ebert calls this "Ali MacGraw's Disease"); Rogen is his lovable-lug buddy, who exploits his pal's condition to gain sympathy and hook up with babes at singles bar. Probably drawn from real life, these candid details add spice, yet the movie remains unpersuasive as it transforms neurofibrosarcoma of the spine into a lucky break -- a short cut though the humdrum doldrums of the ordinary to a more fulfilling and purposeful life, complete with an attractive and charming age-appropriate cancer therapist (Anna Kendrick) to replace the unfaithful girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard). Directed with wan indie anti-flair by Jonathan Levine ("The Wackness").

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

Final Destination 5 (R, 92 min.) Contrary to rumor, Death never takes a holiday, as demonstrated yet again in this ultra-gory exercise in audience manhandling that begins with a spectacular high-tension bridge collapse that totally justifies the 3D surcharge. (See David Koechner enveloped by hot liquid asphalt!) Directed by feature newcomer Steven Quale, the film is little more than a series of nail-biting, sadistic set pieces, as invisible omnipresent Death (symbolized by series returnee Tony Todd, the "coroner") contrives a series of Rube Goldberg-like lethal coincidences to wipe out the demographically diverse and mostly photogenic young people who somehow missed their original dates with destiny. Repetitious? Yes, but so what? The "Final Destination" franchise is the Ramones discography of horror cinema: There's not a lot of variety, but if you liked the first release, there's no reason not to like the rest.

Hollywood 20 Cinema (in 3-D), Majestic.

Friends with Benefits (R, 110 min.) Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis.

Bartlett 10.

The Guard (R, 96 min.) Dropping casual F-bombs and calculated insults with an Irish brogue and an invisible wink, bearish character actor Brendan Gleeson is not just the title policeman but almost the entire justification of this extraordinarily entertaining film from writer-director John Michael McDonagh. Shot and set in County Galway, Ireland, the movie contains murders and shoot-outs but is more interested in painting a portrait of "the last of the independents" in the twilight of his career than in outlining corpses in chalk. Don Cheadle is the FBI agent who teams with Sgt. Boyle (Gleeson) to track down $500,000 in cocaine; the Yank-baiting Boyle seems more interested in offering racial slurs than assistance. The dialogue occasionally lapses into post-Tarantino glibness, but the movie's nuanced focus on the sly Boyle, its loose approach to the mechanics of the plot and its insistence on the guard's stubborn integrity in a world of insincerity and corruption represent a welcome novelistic approach to genre material.

Ridgeway Four.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (PG-13, 130 min.) Postpartum depression is a recognized disorder, but what about post-Potter depression? Could that be a legitimate threat to a generation of young people? We'll soon find out, as this eighth "Harry Potter" film marks the end of a remarkable saga that began in 1997 with the publication of J.K. Rowling's first novel; the faithful screen versions started four years later, to complement the books with an integrity of purpose, a respect for the rich source material and a level of quality that is unprecedented in the history of book-to-movie series adaptations. For all its fire-breathing dragons and cudgel-swinging giants, "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" is more elegiac than rousing, as the messianic aspect of Harry's purpose-driven life comes to the fore, and Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) -- "The Chosen One" -- learns that his death, his self-sacrifice, may be necessary to defeat evil/the devil/Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). It's not insignificant that the Dark Lord's familiar, Nagini, is a snake, or that a prop here is a "resurrection stone," or that the "horcruxes" literally contain pieces of a corrupted soul: This is very much an action-packed, adventure-laden rewrite of the Easter story, even if Rowling -- unlike C.S. Lewis -- is an entertainer first and a philosopher second. Unfortunately, in its rush to finish the story, this shortest of the "Potter" films -- which likely will be incomprehensible to the uninitiated -- is something of an anticlimax; it just doesn't have time to really showcase many of the series' now famous characters. This is one instance when cinematic self-indulgence and lollygagging would have been justified.

Bartlett 10, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Palace Cinema.

The Help (PG-13, 137 min.) This adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's phenomenally successful best-seller about "colored" maids and their white employers in early 1960s Jackson, Miss., is not only superior to the novel but it may be the most surprising movie of the year: a wide-release studio film about race relations that adopts a liberation rather than plantation mentality by suggesting that nothing good can come of a system in which one race controls the destiny of another. It's also one of the funnier movies of the year, with more than a dozen indelible, distinctive characters, played by relative newcomers (Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain) and Oscar-validated veterans (Sissy Spacek, Cicely Tyson). The ensemble is so delightful, it recalls the 1930s heyday of Hollywood women's pictures, such as "Stage Door"; the comedy is the movie's saving grace, and it prevents "The Help" from becoming pretentious or sanctimonious. Emma Stone plays "Skeeter," a socially conscious young Ole Miss grad so disturbed by the casual racism of her former classmates that she encourages the maids Aibileen (Viola Davis, the movie's emotional center) and Minny (scene-stealing Octavia Spencer) to share with her, in secret, "the truth" of their experiences working for white women, so she can publish these stories in book form. Unlike in many similar films, Skeeter is not presented as the black race's white savior (the film's ending is hardly upbeat); and while the book had three narrators, the movie reserves the voiceover for Aibileen, making this more her story than Skeeter's. The recurring "bathroom" theme, however, is problematic; it sometimes seems to strip the maids of the dignity the film otherwise insists upon. Directed by Stockett's longtime friend, Tate Taylor, and shot mostly in Greenwood, Miss., with several Memphians in the cast and crew.

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

Horrible Bosses (R, 98 min.) Longtime goofball friends Jason Bateman, Jason Sudekis and Charlie Day agree to murder their Bosses from Hell (Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston and an almost unrecognizalbe Colin Farrell) in director Seth Gordon's manic comedy, which squanders a promising dark premise and attractive production values for puerile gross-out humor, "shocking" sex talk, lazy plotting and a desperate and almost literal deus ex machina ending. The MVP is Jamie Foxx, very funny as a "murder consultant" with an unprintable name.

Bartlett 10, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

I Don't Know How She Does It (PG-13, 90 min.) A romantic comedy with Sarah Jessica Parker and Pierce Brosnan.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain (R, 89 min.) A comedy concert and documentary.

DeSoto Cinema 16, Majestic, Paradiso.

Killer Elite (R, 116 min.) Veteran hitman Jason Statham's retirement is postponed when he's forced to carry out a series of assassinations for the evil sheik who kidnapped his professional mentor (Robert DeNiro); Clive Owen is the British military agent who tries to stop Statham with murders of his own. Based on a controversial exposé/memoir by Ranulph Fiennes about secret English spy activity in Oman, director Gary McKendry's 1980s period piece is admirably hard-nosed, but hamstrung by its rather routine action sequences and its utterly clichéd "meaningful" dialogue ("Killing isn't hard. Living with it is," intones Statham). The highlight: Statham flips around and leaps through a window while still tied to a chair.

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

The Lion King (G, 89 min.) The animated Disney classic returns, rejiggered for 3D.

CinePlanet 16 (in 3-D), Collierville Towne 16 (in 3-D), Cordova Cinema (in 3-D), DeSoto Cinema 16 (in 3-D), Hollywood 20 Cinema (in 3-D), Paradiso (in 3-D), Stage Cinema (in 3-D).

Mr. Popper's Penguins (PG, 95 min.) Jim Carrey, waterfowl.

Bartlett 10.

Moneyball (PG-13, 133 min.) A shaggy-haired, crinkle-eyed Brad Pitt plays failed major-leaguer turned harried Oakland Athletics' general manager Billy Beane in this enjoyable but not entirely successful attempt to wrest a feel-good underdog sports movie out of the geeked-out content of "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game," a 2003 nonfiction best-seller by Michael Lewis (author of "The Blind Side") about the development of a statistical-analysis approach to baseball management known as "sabermetrics." The film follows Oakland during its remarkable 2002 season, when Beane and his new Yale economics-major adviser (Jonah Hill, playing a fictionalized character) defied conventional wisdom and the curmudgeons of the clubhouse to use computer statistics to build a winning team of undervalued misfits on a small payroll. Director Bennett Miller ("Capote") brings a loose 1970s vibe to much of the material (Beane's scenes with his young teen daughter, played by Kerris Dorsey, are sweet and charming), but "Moneyball" never reconciles the disconnect between its celebration of American innovation and the fact that sabermetrics discounts the value of empathy, gut instinct, exerpience and the other all-too-human attributes that typically characterize the anti-authoritarian movie hero.

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

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (PG-13, 105 min.) James Franco.

Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Stage Cinema.

Seven Days in Utopia (G, 98 min.) Lucas Black, Robert Duvall and Melissa Leo star in an inspirational golf drama.

Collierville Towne 16.

Shark Night 3D (PG-13, 91 min.) "Huge Teeth and Teenie-Weenie Bikinis," summarized the headline on the New York Times review; unfortunately, there's not quite enough of either in this nonetheless diverting genre fishing expedition from director David R. Ellis, who certainly has a flair for titles with bite: He also helmed "Snakes on a Plane." Sort of what a "Friday the 13th" movie might be like if Crystal Lake were stocked with cartilaginous rather than serial killers, the movie strands a cast of photogenic Tulane undergrads at a Louisiana private vacation home, where they are menaced by snaggle-toothed rednecks as well as razor-toothed fish. The film becomes oddly ambitious during its final act: I was expecting the man-eating hammerhead, but not the lecture on "moral relativism" from the local sheriff (Donal Logue).

CinePlanet 16 (in 3-D), DeSoto Cinema 16 (in 3-D), Hollywood 20 Cinema (in 3-D), Majestic.

The Smurfs (PG, 103 min.)

CinePlanet 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema (in 3-D), Palace Cinema (in 3-D).

Spy Kids: All the Time in the World (PG, 89 min.) In "4D," or "Aroma-Scope": Viewers will be given scratch-and-sniff cards so they can follow their noses throughout the "scentsational" film.

Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Stage Cinema.

Straw Dogs (R, 110 min.) It's Ole Miss vs. Harvard, Jaguar vs. pickup, classical music vs. Molly Hatchet and Southern California egghead vs. Deep South redneck in this redundant remake of Sam Peckinpah's controversial 1971 masterpiece by writer-director Rod Lurie, who transplants the action from the Cornish countryside to rural (and fictional) Blackwater, Mississippi: The name rhymes with "backwater," and also ironically alludes to the global military security company that makes millions through forms of legalized violence that dwarf the primitive, unprofitable brutalities of Lurie's smalltown villains. James Marsden is the bespectacled Hollywood screenwriter whose manliness is threatened by the resentful local yokels (led by Alexander Skarsgrd of "True Blood") who covet his sexy wife (Kate Bosworth); when hostility erupts into deadly violence in the final act, the intellectual hero must tap into his animal instincts to survive. Lurie (who shot his previous movie, "Nothing But the Truth," in Memphis) tries to eliminate the more problematic elements of Peckinpah's film, particulary in reference to the wife character, but in the process he loses what made the original such a transgressive, unsettling and mysterious landmark of screen violence; what's left is a sometimes poorly motivated glossy rape-assault horror-suspense-revenge movie, with no more hold on the public imagination than the remake of "The Last House on the Left."

CinePlanet 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Palace Cinema, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (PG-13, 157 min.)

Bartlett 10, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Palace Cinema.

Warrior (PG-13, 139 min.) Estranged brothers -- Tommy (Tom Hardy) is the antisocial ex-Marine, Brendan (Joel Edgerton) is the cash-strapped family man and schoolteacher -- become mixed martial arts competitors in this unlikely but compelling allegory of family love and loyalty expressed through bone-crunching spectator violence. Inspired by the biblical story of Jacob and Esau by way of "Rocky" and Bruce Springsteen, this is essentially a boxing film for a desensitized era that demands the bloody brutality of a new style of cage fighting; it's shamelessly, operatically emotional (Nick Nolte plays the recovering alcoholic father who craves his boys' love) but gritty/indie in style. The disconnect exposes the film as somewhat dishonest: Director Gavin O'Connor ("Miracle," "Pride and Glory") relies on the graininess of his dimly lighted shaky-camera shots rather than on the integrity of his narrative to convince viewers the film is more artful than cornball.

Hollywood 20 Cinema, Palace Cinem, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

What's Your Number? (R, 106 min.) A romcom with Anna Faris and Chris Evans.

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

The Whistleblower (R, 112 min.) Directer Larysa Kondracki's fact-based debut feature casts Rachel Weisz as Kathryn Bolkovac, a real-life Nebraska cop turned private-contract "peacekeeper" who refuses to keep quiet after she uncovers a sex-trafficking scandal and cover-up in postwar Bosnia involving a U.S.-based global security company and the United Nations. Frequently intense (some torture scenes venture near "Hostel" territory), the movie is somewhat unsatisfying, in part because the story is so faithful to the facts of the case that it lacks a satisfying resolution. The impressive supporting cast includes Vanessa Redgrave, David Strathairn and Monica Bellucci.

Ridgeway Four.

Zookeeper (PG, 101 min.) Kevin James, Rosario Dawson.

Bartlett 10.

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