Capsule descriptionsby The Commercial Appeal movie writer John Beifuss.
Drive (R, 103 min.) See review.
CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Palace Cinema, Paradiso, 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.
CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Forest Hill 8, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Paradiso, 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).
Straw Dogs (R, 110 min.) A remake of the Sam Peckinpah classic, directed by Rod Lurie (who shot his last movie, "Nothing But the Truth," in Memphis), with James Marsden, Kate Bosworth and Alexander ("True Blood") Skarsgaard.
CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Forest Hill 8, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Paradiso, Stage Cinema, Summer Quartet Drive-In.
The Trip (Not rated, 107 min.) See review.
Father of the Bride (PG, 105 min.) Steve Martin and Diane Keaton star in this 1991 comedy about a nervous father unready to face the marriage of his daughter. Producer Howard Rosenman will introduce the film, and answer questions afterward.
7:30 p.m. Sunday, Evergreen Theatre, 1705 Poplar. Suggested donation: $5. Visit indiememphis.com.
Hubble: Narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, 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.
Opera in Cinema: Romeo et Juliette (Not rated, 165 min.) A performance of the Charles Gounod opera, filmed at Austria's Salzburg Festival.
10:30 a.m. Saturday, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Admission: $15, or $12 for museum members. Visit brooksmuseum.org.
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.
Vivre Sa Vie (Not rated, 85 min.) Anna Karina descends into prostitution in this famous 1962 French production from director Jean-Luc Godard. Described by Susan Sontag as "a perfect film," the movie unfolds through 12 distinct sequences, or "tableaux."
2 p.m. Sunday, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Admission: $8, or $6 for museum members. Visit brooksmuseum.org.
Apollo 18 (PG-13, 86 min.) Like 'Paranormal Activity,' but with astronauts.
CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Raleigh Springs Cinema, Stage Cinema, Summer Quartet Drive-In.
Attack the Block (R, 88 min.) Teenage public-housing hooligans battle toothy "Critter"-esque aliens in this vibrant, funny and exciting science-fiction indie-action film, buoyed by the novelty of its South London council-block setting, complete with rap-reggae soundtrack, melting-pot slang, impenetrable accents and underdog/bunker mentality -- part pride, part paranoia. Like a Brit Joe Dante, debuting writer-director Joe Cornish both respects and rattles the genre, and he transforms his low budget into a virtue: His imaginative special effects and fight sequences are not just convincing but delightful, offering a fresh alternative to the soulless digital perfection of the modern blockbuster. Even as the action becomes more claustrophobic, the viewer's heart soars -- swept along not just by the momentum of the narrative but by the enthusiasm of the filmmaker and his wonderful ensemble cast.
Studio on the Square.
Bad Teacher (R, 89 min.) Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake.
Bartlett 10, Summer Quartet Drive-In.
Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star (R, 96 min.) A rare achievement: a movie so poorly reviewed it registers 0 percent approval at RottenTomatoes.com.
CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Paradiso.
Captain America: The First Avenger (PG-13, 124 min.) Journeyman director Joe Johnston (whose "The Rocketeer" was a similar exercise in World War II-era superhero nostalgia) delivers the squarest Marvel Comics adaptation of the current cycle, and it's this old-school pulp sense of adventure and the characters' old-fashioned decorum (even brawling commando "Dum Dum" Dugan doesn't curse) that makes the film so satisfying. Chris Evans stars as Steve Rogers, a 4F weakling who is transformed into a star-spangled "super soldier" by the U.S. government; he soon finds himself battling a nefarious would-be world-conqueror, the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), leader of a rogue Nazi terrorist unit, HYDRA. As its subtitle indicates, the movie to some extent is a feature-length promotion for the upcoming superhero all-star epic, "The Avengers"; nevertheless, it's a more appealing stand-alone comic-book adaptation than most. Tommy Lee Jones adds needed grit as a tough Army colonel, while Hayley Atwell provides 1940s-style WAC glamor (and romantic possibilities) as a science officer.
Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, Stage Cinema.
The Change-Up (R, 112 min.) Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds.
Colombiana (PG-13, 108 min.) Cat-like Zoe Saldana is Cataleya (named for an orchid), a vengeful Bogota orphan turned coldblooded 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.)
CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Forest Hill 8, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Palace Cinema, Paradiso, Stage Cinema, Summer Quartet Drive-In.
Conan the Barbarian (R, 112 min.) A movie that includes a cast listing for "Topless Wenches" at least ought to have a kitschy sense of humor, but not this noisy, cheerless actioner; one imagines that director Marcus Nispel's eyes twinkled only when staging the skull-crackings, impalements and dismemberments that, paradoxically, are the movie's only signs of life. (Well, Nispel is the guy who helmed the remakes of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "Friday the 13th.") Amid the chaotic carnage (baby Conan himself is delivered by sword-administered C-section on a bloody battlefield), the one truly squirm-inducing moment finds the Barbarian sticking his finger up what's left of a bad guy's nose -- ouuucchh! Replacing Arnold Schwarzenegger as the "Hyborian Age" adventurer introduced by author Robert E. Howard in the "Weird Tales" pulp magazine in 1932, Jason Momoa ("Game of Thrones") has the requisite Frazettaesque sneer and physique, but the overcomplicated yet simple-minded premise -- set up by narrator Morgan Freeman, no less -- gives the Cimmerian little to do but slay and slay; distressingly, the Conan franchise itself appears to be among the victims. At least Rose McGowan's Freddy Krueger-clawed witch looks cool. The post-production 3D is worthless.
Hollywood 20 Cinema (in 3-D).
Contagion (PG-13, 106 min.) A plague devastates the Earth and an all-star cast. Steven Soderbergh directs.
CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Forest Hill 8, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Paradiso, Stage Cinema, Studio on the Square.
Cowboys & Aliens (PG-13, 118 min.) Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford.
Majestic, Stage Cinema.
Crazy, Stupid, Love. (PG-13, 118 min.) Steve Carell starred in a movie titled "Dinner for Schmucks," but the actor more accurately specializes in shnooks: people who are hapless and naive, rather than stupid and obnoxious. Here, he plays a husband-turned-"cuckold" whose life is thrown out of whack when his "soulmate" of 25 years (Julianne Moore) says she wants a divorce. Written by Dan Fogelman and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (the team that made its debut with the very worthwhile "I Love You Phillip Morris"), the film primarily labors to reunite the husband and wife; at the same time, it works to join a callow, expert ladies' man (Ryan Gosling, perfectly cast to make use of his trademark smugness and self-regard) with a disarmingly sweet would-be conquest (the vivid Emma Stone). In the circle-of-frustration fashion of the "Peanuts" comic strip, supporting characters (including a young teen boy played by Jonah Bobo and a babysitter played by Analeigh Tipton) have unrequited crushes of their own, so the film features many professions of love, both genuine and insincere. The movie is constructed with such professionalism and inhabited by such warm characters that it glides over the contrivances of its plot, even when it occasionally crosses the line of bad taste.
Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, Forest Hill 8, Paradiso, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.
Creature (R, 93 min.) Full-frontal female nudity occurs within the first few seconds of this already infamous box-office disaster, but it's all downhill from there, as a group of attractive young people decide to camp overnight near the rotten bayou shack that belonged to the legendary inbred gator-man, Lockjaw, played by a stunt man in an old-school scaly monster suit. (Imagine a buck-nekkid hostile version of Cayman, the reptilian alien from the 1980 Roger Corman production "Battle Beyond the Stars.") Debuting director/co-writer Fred M. Andrews assembles all the ingredients necessary for a tasty swampsploitation horror gumbo (snakes, rednecks, sleazy college sluts, Sid Haig), but ultimately fails to please the trash connoisseur's palate, sabotaging the meal with lame digital blur effects and a sinkhole ending that prophesied the movie's fate: A bomb for the record books, "Creature" attracted fewer than six patrons per show during its opening weekend on 1,507 screens.
The Debt (R, 113 min.) The good news is director John Madden's film has nothing to do with the national economy. The bad news is that the movie's deficiencies begin with its uninformative name; granted, "Nazi Gynecologist" would have been problematic, but shouldn't a movie that casts Helen Mirren as a scar-faced secret agent bear a more interesting title? A remake of "Ha-Hov," a 2007 Israeli film, this decades-spanning story of political intrigue and moral crisis concerns a trio of Israeli spies charged with capturing a Mengele-like Nazi war criminal who has reinvented himself as an East Berlin gynecologist. In the 1960s, the young Mossad agents are played by Jessica Chastain, Sam Worthington and Martin Csokas; in 1997, they are Mirren, Ciarán Hinds and Tom Wilkinson. The characters are haunted by their ethical compromises and the lies they told in support of what was supposed to be a good cause, Israeli morale; we can sympathize, and we can all agree that government honesty is important, but I couldn't help finding the suggestion of moral equivalency between the sins of a Mossad coverup and the crimes of the Nazi to be specious and even offensive.
CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Palace Cinema, Ridgeway Four, Studio on the Square, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.
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.
CinePlanet 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Palace Cinema, Paradiso, Raleigh Springs Cinema, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.
Fast Five (PG-13, 130 min.) Vin Diesel, Paul Walker.
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.
CinePlanet 16 (in 3-D), DeSoto Cinema 16 (in 3-D), Hollywood 20 Cinema (in 3-D), Majestic, Palace Cinema (in 3-D), Paradiso (in 3-D), Summer Quartet Drive-In.
Fright Night (R, 106 min.) It can't hold a flickering haunted-house candle to the 1985 original, but this vampire remake is a fine "B" film -- a witty (if frequently poorly motivated) chiller-thriller that justifies its 3D surcharge by tossing splattery vampire innards and "For Sale" yard-sign stakes at the audience. The movie benefits from a sly performance by Colin Farrell as hunky "Jerry the Vampire," who dresses like the construction worker in a male-stripper revue while attracting the suspicion of reformed nerd Charley (Anton Yelchin), his geeky best friend, Evil Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), and a Criss Angel-like stage magician (David Tennant). Directed by Craig Gillespie and scripted by "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" veteran Marti Noxon, the movie contains one ingenious twist: The action has been moved to suburban Las Vegas, where a vampire is less likely to be noticed because many of his casino-worker neighbors also sleep all day and rise at night. As in the original, the tensest moments are teasing rather than explicit, when Jerry fences with his wits rather than his fangs. (Assessing Charley's faddish footwear, Jerry comments: "It takes a real man to wear puce.")
Hollywood 20 Cinema (in 3-D), Majestic, Palace Cinema (in 3-D), Summer Quartet Drive-In.
Green Lantern (PG-13, 114 min.) Ryan Reynolds, Peter Sarsgaard.
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 seem 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.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (PG-13, 130 min.) Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson.
Hollywood 20 Cinema, Palace Cinema, Stage 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, Forest Hill 8, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Paradiso, Studio on the Square, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.
Horrible Bosses (R, 98 min.) Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston.
Bartlett 10, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.
Kung Fu Panda 2 (PG, 90 min.) Voices of Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman.
Mr. Popper's Penguins (PG, 95 min.) Jim Carrey, waterfowl.
Our Idiot Brother (R, 90 min.) Genial stoner Paul Rudd fails to mesh with sisters Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer and Elizabeth Banks.
Cordova Cinema, Palace Cinema, Paradiso, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (PG-13, 105 min.) "Curious George" meets "Splice" (with a dash of "The Yearling" and "Born Free") in this seventh "Apes" film and franchise reboot, which casts James Franco as a big pharma researcher whose retrovirus would-be cure for Alzheimer's transforms lab-born chimpanzee Caesar into the simian genius who foments the title anthropoidal rebellion. The remarkable computer graphics turn the apes into legitimate characters, and the final assault on San Francisco is spectacular and exciting; but the familiar contagion plot line prevents the film from achieving the allegorical charm or cautionary impact of the 1968 original. However, the movie may prove influential in raising consciousness about the ever more obvious kinship between ape and man: It's more PETA parable than action blockbuster. Directed by Rupert Wyatt; Andy Serkis -- who performed similar duty for Peter Jackson's "King Kong" -- is the actor whose motion-captured pantomime provided the basis for Caesar.
CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Forest Hill 8, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Paradiso, Raleigh Springs Cinema, Stage Cinema, Summer Quartet Drive-In.
Sarah's Key (PG-13, 111 min.) A journalist (Kristin Scott Thomas) investigates France's Nazi past.
Seven Days in Utopia (G, 98 min.) Lucas Black, Robert Duvall and Melissa Leo star in an inspirational golf drama.
CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema.
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), Collierville Towne 16 (in 3-D), Cordova Cinema (in 3-D), DeSoto Cinema 16 (in 3-D), Hollywood 20 Cinema (in 3-D), Majestic, Palace Cinema (in 3-D), Paradiso (in 3-D), Raleigh Springs Cinema, Stage Cinema (in 3-D), Summer Quartet Drive-In.
The Smurfs (PG, 103 min.) "Who smurfed in here?" That question -- uttered by one of the cheerful cerulean homunculi of Hollywood's latest 3D money grab -- is likely to be echoed in auditoriums across America as parents escort their offspring to this adaptation of the inexplicably popular 1980s Hanna-Barbera cartoon series. Directed by Raja Gosnell ("Beverly Hills Chihuahua") and co-scripted by former Memphian J. David Stem, the movie is no better or worse than you might expect, as the digitally animated Smurfs (or Schtroumpfs, in their native Belgium, where they were created for a 1958 comic strip) are sucked through a magical vortex into modern live-action Manhattan, to engage in "Alvin and the Chipmunks"-style antics with Neil Patrick Harris. The highlight is Hank Azaria's committed performance as Gargamel, the Smurf-hating sorcerer; a low point is the scene in which Harris, wearing a CBGB T-shirt, rocks out with Clumsy Smurf to a "Guitar Hero" rendition of the Aerosmith/Run-DMC hit, "Walk This Way." Historians may want to remember this sequence when they're trying to pinpoint the exact moment that rock and roll died. Jonathan Winters provides the voice of Papa Smurf, while Katy Perry is the voice of Smurfette, the lone female Smurf, who must live in a state of perpetual nightmare anxiety.
CinePlanet 16, DeSoto Cinema 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema (in 3-D), Majestic, Palace Cinema (in 3-D), Raleigh Springs Cinema.
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.
CinePlanet 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Forest Hill 8, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Palace Cinema (in 3-D), Paradiso, Stage Cinema.
Super 8 (PG-13, 112 min.) Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning.
30 Minutes or Less (R, 83 min.) Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride.
Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (PG-13, 157 min.)
Bartlett 10, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Palace Cinema, Stage Cinema.
Warrior (PG-13, 139 min.) Brothers Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy becomes mixed martial-arts competitors.
Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Paradiso, Studio on the Square.
X-Men: First Class (PG-13, 132 min.) James McAvoy, Kevin Bacon.
Zookeeper (PG, 101 min.) Kevin James, Rosario Dawson.