Now Playing: Movie Capsules

'Lawless' is a gangster film set during the Prohibition era.

"Lawless" is a gangster film set during the Prohibition era.

Capsule descriptions and starred mini-reviews by John Beifuss.

OPENING FRIDAY

The Apparition (PG-13, 104 min.) A young couple is haunted by a presence awakened by a university experiment in parapsychology.

Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Paradiso.

Bill W. (Not rated, 104 min.) See review.

Ridgeway Four.

Premium Rush (PG-13, 91 min.) See review.

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

2016: Obama's America (PG, 90 min.) Dinesh D'Souza, author of "The Roots of Obama's Rage," directed this alarmist documentary that depicts President Obama as an "anticolonial" threat to America's security and status.

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

Your Sister's Sister (R, 90 min.) See review.

Studio on the Square.

OPENING WEDNESDAY

Lawless (R, 115 min.) John Hillcoat ("The Proposition") directed this rural Prohibition gangster film, with Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain and Shia LaBeouf.

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

The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure (G, 88 min.) A promoter of the Teletubbies developed the colorful costumed characters who star in this live-action "interactive" film, which encourages kids and parents to dance in the aisles to such songs as Scratchy Sneezy and Milkshake March and Moo.

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

SPECIAL MOVIES

Ballet in Cinema: La Bayadere (Not rated, 180 min.) A Paris Opera Ballet production, filmed live onstage.

2 p.m. Sunday, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Tickets: $15, or $12 for museum members. Visit brooksmuseum.org.

Born To Be Wild: The latest IMAX film is "an inspiring story of love, dedication and the remarkable bond between humans and animals" that focuses on efforts to reintroduce rescued elephants and orangutans into the wild. Narrated by Morgan Freeman. Runs through Nov. 16.

IMAX Theater at Memphis Pink Palace Museum, 3050 Central. Call 901-636-2362 for show times, tickets and reservations.

Bully (PG-13, 99 min.) Director Lee Hirsch will introduce and participate in a question-and-answer "community conversation" after this special screening of his acclaimed documentary about the bullying problem in American schools. Hosted by Facing History and Ourselves.

6:30 p.m. Wednesday, White Station High School Middle School, 5465 Mason. Admission: free. Visit facinghistory.org.

Glee: The Concert Movie (PG, 90 min.) An outdoor screening of the recent concert documentary, shot during the "Glee Live! In Concert!" summer 2011 tour. Refreshments will be provided, and viewers invited to bring blankets and lawn chairs.

7:45 p.m. Friday, Millington Farmers' Market, 152 Easley. Admission: $5. Call (901) 873-5770.

Hugo (PG, 127 min.) Martin Scorsese directed this movie-mad children's adventure about a young boy (Asa Butterfield) who lives in secret inside a Paris train station.

7:40 p.m. Friday, The Avenue Carriage Crossing, Collierville. Visit shopcarriagecrossing.com/events.

The Pianist (R, 150 min.) This 2002 film about a Jewish musician struggling to survive after the Nazi invasion of Poland earned Oscars for Best Director (Roman Polanski) and Best Actor (Adrien Brody).

1:30 p.m. Sunday, Belz Museum of Asian & Judaica Art, 119 S. Main. Free, with $6 museum admission. Visit belzmuseum.org.

Qarantina (Not rated, 90 min.) A film from Iraq about a cold, devious professional assassin (Asaad Abdul Majeed) who disrupts the lives of his neighbors, a "typical" Baghdad family.

2 p.m. Friday, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Tickets: $8, or $6 for museum members; free for Indie Memphis members. Visit brooksmuseum.org.

To the Arctic: Narrated by Meryl Streep, this journey to the top of the world is the ultimate tale of survival. Become part of the lives of a polar bear family learning to adapt to their changing Arctic home. Runs through March 8, 2013. Tickets $8.25; $7.50 senior citizens, and $6.50 for ages 3-12.

IMAX Theater at Memphis Pink Palace Museum, 3050 Central. Call 901-636-2362 for show times, tickets and reservations.

Tornado Alley: Narrated by Bill Paxton, this IMAX film follows storm-chasing scientists who travel in rugged high-tech vehicles as they hunt raging tornadoes. Through Nov. 16. Tickets: $8.25 ($7.50 for senior citizens), $6.50 for children ages 3-12; combo/group tickets available.

IMAX Theater at Memphis Pink Palace Museum, 3050 Central. Call 901-636-2362 for show times, tickets and reservations.

NOW SHOWING

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (R, 105 min.) HH½ Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell.

Bartlett 10.

The Amazing Spider-Man (PG-13, 136 min.) HH Andrew Garfield is high-school science nerd turned web-slinging superhero Peter Parker.

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

The Avengers (PG-13, 143 min.) HHHH Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Beasts of the Southern Wild (PG-13, 93 min.) HHHH Lifted by a flood tide of festival awards and critical hosannas, this unexpected and unforgettable post-Katrina eco-fable — shot on location, with untrained actors, by filmmakers living "off the grid" — is unlike almost any movie you've seen, even as it suggests such past milestones of outsider regional independent cinema as David Gordon Green's "George Washington" (2000) and Charles Burnett's "Killer of Sheep" (1979). The hero and narrator is 6-year-old Hushpuppy (newcomer Quvenzhané Wallis), a spunky survivor with a nimbus of tangled reddish hair and a defiant stare that can freeze even a prehistoric auroch in its monstrous hoofed tracks.

Ridgeway Four.

The Bourne Legacy (PG-13, 125 min.) HH This is the "Curse of the Pink Panther" of Jason Bourne films: An attempt to expand a franchise even after the departure of its star, in this case Matt Damon, who portrayed the title superspy in three previous action-conspiracy movies. The story's events run parallel to and sometimes intersect those of the previous film, "The Bourne Ultimatum" (2007), so we occasionally hear references to Jason Bourne even as director/co-writer Tony Gilroy tries to interest us in new protagonist Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), another genetically enhanced covert agent on the run from his handlers/manufacturers.

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, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

The Campaign (R, 85 min.) HHH Backed by the sinister billionaire Motch Brothers (John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd), a naive weirdo Republican (Zach Galifianakis, never better) challenges an entrenched but vulnerable North Carolina horndog Democrat (Will Ferrell) for his longtime seat in Congress in this initially biting but ultimately toothless election-year comedy. The movie begins as a cartoonish yet explicit portrait of political greed and hypocrisy; even the invocation of the name of Jesus on the campaign trail is presented as a sign of candidate rascality and electorate gullibility. Unfortunately, the filmmakers decide they need a "likable" hero, so they embrace the pandering appeals to home and family they spoof in the campaign scenes, and, in the phony final act, reassure audiences that the corrupt will be punished and the best man will win. Of course, creating a political comedy in an era when Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and Donald Trump are treated as plausible candidates must be a challenge; perhaps director Jay Roach felt there was nothing in this script as unbelievable as the events depicted in his previous feature, the fact-based Sarah Palin HBO movie, "Game Change."

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, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

The Dark Knight Rises (PG-13, 165 min.) HHH½ Staking its claim as "The Godfather" of superhero cinema, Christopher Nolan's Bat-trilogy concludes with a confused but powerful nightmare vision of stock-exchange armed invasion, villain-imposed martial law and literal underground revolt — Occupy Gotham City, led by a musclebound madman, Bane (Tom Hardy), whose mouth-hugging, pain-abating mask covers the part of the face that Batman (Christian Bale) exposes. (Perhaps Batman should borrow the line spoken to him by the Joker in "The Dark Knight" in 2008: "You complete me.") Inspired by Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" (also a tale of a resentful underclass incited to violence by a sort of monster) and Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" (Cillian Murphy's Scarecrow leads a French Revolution-style kangaroo court), the movie — operatic, imposing, built to awe rather than seduce — barrels over its plot holes with the massive tread of one of Lucius Fox's Bat-vehicles; thank goodness for the light-footed and light-fingered Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), who steals scenes as well as pearls. It Takes a Thief, indeed: Catwoman's witty banter with Bruce Wayne is a sparkling and welcome contrast to all the grandiose talk of hope, corruption, the League of Shadows and the need for heroes. Necessarily more calculated and less intuitive than its incendiary predecessor (which struck a real nerve in the zeitgeist, as was demonstrated tragically in Aurora, Colorado), the movie nevertheless contains images destined to become classics of what we might call pretentious popular culture. For example: Batman and Bane, slugging it out on the steps of a neoclassical downtown building, in the midst of a sunlit snowstorm that suggests even the audacious Nolan is aware that the pitching world is indifferent to our drama and his art.

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.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (PG, 94 min.) The third "Wimpy" comedy, inspired by the popular books by Jeff Kinney.

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

The Expendables 2 (R, 103 min.) HH½ If every member of "The Avengers" had the personality, vocabulary and grace of the Hulk, the result might be like "The Expendables," Sylvesters Stallone's blood-soaked, meat-headed franchise homage to the pulpy men's adventure series novels of the 1970s ("The Destroyer," "The Executioner") and to the action movies of the 1980s that made many of his co-stars famous. The over-the-top violence in this sequel is more coherent than in the first film, thanks to director Simon West ("Con Air"), who takes the reins from co-writer Stallone; yet the movie is presented for the most part as a tongue-in-cheek, knife-in-gut comedy, with only Stallone — the leader of this mercenary group, in more ways than one — playing it straight. Most witless when it tries to be witty ("rest in pieces"), the script is filled with wincingly obvious jokey references to the greatest hits of Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and other members of its erratic roster; founding "psychotic mutts" Jason Statham and Dolph Lundgren stick around, but Jet Li literally parachutes away after contributing the movie's best fight scene. Meanwhile, as "the Lone Wolf," a frozen-faced Chuck Norris inexplicably drops in and out as needed, while convincingly sinister Jean-Claude Van Damme steals the show as a villain named Vilain. Perhaps the next sequel should be titled in homage to the waistlines of the aging stars' pants: "The Expandables.".

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, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

Hit and Run (R, 100 min.) A chase film with Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard.

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

Hope Springs (PG-13, 100 min.) HH½ An ultimately timid portrait of matrimonial hell inhabited by two of moviedom's more slyly charming devils, Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, this is like a Hollywoodized version of an Ingmar Bergman film — "Scenes from a Marriage" with a case of the cutes, and a truly dreadful soundtrack that holds the audience's hand to lead it to the "correct" emotional response. (One intense scene is disrupted by Rachel Yamagata.)

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

The Hunger Games (PG-13, 142 min.) HHH Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson.

Bartlett 10.

Ice Age: Continental Drift (PG, 94 min.) More computer-animated prehysteria.

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

The Intouchables (R, 86 min.) HH A sometimes irresponsible but irrepressible Senegalese immigrant and ex-con nicknamed Driss (Omar Sy, winner of the César Award for Best Actor) becomes the live-in employee and life coach of a paralyzed multimillionaire, Philippe (Franois Cluzet), in this theoretically uplifting buddy picture.

Cordova Cinema.

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (PG, 93 min.) The computer-animated zoo crew joins a traveling circus.

Bartlett 10.

Madea's Witness Protection (PG-13, 114 min.) Tyler Perry, Eugene Levy.

CinePlanet 16.

Magic Mike (R, 110 min.) HHHH Dropping dollar bills on a bank loan officer's desk is more humiliating than tucking them into a dancer's G-string in this wily, vivid and utterly All-American crowd-pleaser from restless, prolific director Steven Soderbergh, who uses a Tampa male strip club as a launchpad for not just funny, irresistible bump-and-grind choreography and offstage debauchery but a pointed commentary on an economic system built on illusion and exploitation.

Bartlett 10, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Men in Black 3 (PG-13, 106 min.) HH½ Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones.

Bartlett 10.

Moonrise Kingdom (PG-13, 94 min.) HHHH An "emotionally disturbed" pipsqueak orphan in a coonskin cap (Jared Gilman) and a "very troubled" girl in glamorous eye shadow (Kara Hayward), both 12, make themselves fugitives on a New England island in 1965 in this heartbreaking yet rapturous film from writer-director Wes Anderson, who abandons none of his elaborate dollhouse esthetic to delivers what may be his most direct and emotionally richest film yet.

Ridgeway Four.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green (PG, 104 min.) HH½ CJ Adams is the title elfin urchin, a 10-year-old boy who mysteriously — magically — appears one stormy night in the spacious farm home of the Greens (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton), a sadly childless working-class couple who went to bed after burying a box filled with notes delineating the wonderful attributes they'd love their dream offspring to possess.

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

ParaNorman (PG, 92 min.) HHH This second stop-motion 3D feature film from Laika, an Oregon-based animation studio, might be described as the little brother of its wonderful predecessor from 2009, "Coraline." Like most little brothers, it's ruder, rowdier, somewhat dumber and a good deal more gross and obvious than its sister; it's also funny, likable and smarter than the average movie, with a delightfully askew and Caligariesque production and character design. The story's boy hero, Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee), is an 11-year-old horror-movie enthusiast whose insistence that he can see and talk to ghosts has made him the town oddball and school punching bag; his talents prove useful, however, when a vengeful witch hanged 300 years earlier resurrects her Puritan tormentors as drooling zombies.

CinePlanet 16, 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), Stage Cinema (in 3-D).

Prometheus (R, 124 min.) HHH Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender.

Bartlett 10.

Ruby Sparks (R, 104 min.) HHHPaul Dano stars as Calvin Weir-Fields, a boy-wonder "genius" novelist with a years-long case of writer's block whose improbably pretentious name offers a clue to the Calvinist themes ahead: predestination vs. free will, and coercion vs. independence. In a burst of inspiration, Calvin begins typing a new book about his literal dream girl, Ruby Sparks; when the whimsical Ruby "manifests" in the impossible but all too available flesh, just as his words described her, Calvin is scared, then delighted, and eventually distressed, as his creation (Zoe Kazan) begins to show signs of restlessness and independence.

Ridgeway Four.

Runaway Slave (PG, 108 min.) HH Louisiana-born Baptist minister and former NAACP chapter president C.L. Bryant presents himself as the persecuted fugitive hero suggested by the title of this Tea Party-approved documentary about the "black conservative" movement. "Run, America!" urges Bryant, during the film's alarmist denouement. "Run away from socialism! Run away from progressivism! Run!" Loosely structured as a travelogue that follows Bryant as he visits like-minded African-Americans in Atlanta, Birmingham, Raleigh and other cities, the film — call it "Black Like Tea" — has some valid points to make about ideological conformity among black voters and the inheritance of a "slave" mentality, but its agenda-driven mission relies on buzzwords and memes ("Uncle Sam's plantation"), and fails to provide illumination or any real scope or context to its potentially provocative subject matter. Written and directed by Pritchett Cotten, from a "concept" by Bryant, the movie wastes only three minutes before linking Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with Glenn Beck; it also suggests legalized abortion is part of a Planned Parenthood plot to suppress black population growth. Despite such eyebrow-raisers, the movie is dull and humorless.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Savages (R, 131 min.) HHH Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively.

Bartlett 10.

Snow White and the Huntsman (PG-13, 127 min.) HHH Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron.

Bartlett 10.

Sparkle (PG-13, 116) Whitney Houston makes her final screen appearance in this Motown-inspired musical.

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

Step Up: Revolution (PG-13, 99 min.) The third in the popular dance series is the second in 3D.

Collierville Towne 16 (in 3-D), DeSoto Cinema 16 (in 3-D), Hollywood 20 Cinema, Paradiso (in 3-D), Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8 (in 3-D).

Ted (R, 106 min.) HH½ "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane wrote and directed this live-action fantasy about a Boston underachiever named John (Mark Wahlberg) whose lifelong companion is his foul-mouthed, pot-smoking, hooker-hiring teddy bear.

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

Think Like a Man (PG-13, 122 min.) Inspired by Steve Harvey's best-seller.

Bartlett 10.

Total Recall (PG-13, 118 min.) HH After watching this breathless yet boring misfire (most of the running time is literally just that), you'll want the memory of another, better movie implanted in your head — maybe the original 1990 version of the film, directed by Paul Verhoeven ("RoboCop," "Starship Troopers").

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

The Watch (R, 98 min.) HH In the wake of Trayvon Martin and the "Dark Knight" movie massacre, this knucklehead comedy about a misfit Neighborhood Watch group more interested in vigilante posturing and boy's-night-out roughhousing than crime prevention seems poised to make some trenchant points. But after the Watch members (Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade) discover that outer-space aliens have infiltrated their mostly white-bread Midwest suburb, the movie becomes increasingly confused and spineless, affirming rather than skewering the nativist insularity and xenophobia of its "heroes."

Summer Quartet Drive-In.

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