Movie Capsules: Now showing

OPENING FRIDAY

Anna Karenina (R, 130 min.) See review on Page 12.

Ridgeway Four.

The Collection (R, 82 min.) Somehow, the 2009 horror movie "The Collector" (worldwide gross: $9 million) earns a sequel.

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.

Killing Them Softly (R, 97 min.) See review on Page 14.

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

Talaash: The Answer Lies Within (Not rated, 139 min.) A cop, a housewife and a prostitute cross paths in this Bollywood suspense musical.

Hollywood 20 Cinema.

SPECIAL MOVIES

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (R, 91 min.) A documentary about fearless Chinese activist artist Ai Weiwei, who is acclaimed by the international art community but beaten, arrested and imprisoned by his homeland government.

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

The Light Before Christmas: Stop-Motion animated holiday film tells the story of The Candleman, an old sage who imparts wisdom, hot chocolate and stories to two lost children. Through Dec. 31. Tickets $8.25, $7.50 senior citizens, $6.50 children ages 3-12.

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

The Metropolitan Opera: La Clemenza di Toti (Not rated, 154 min.) Live via satellite from New York, a performance of one of Mozart's final works, about the Roman emperor Titus.

11:55 a.m. Saturday, Paradiso. Tickets: $20. Visit malco.com.

The Mystery in Old Bathbath (Not rated, 46 min.) In collaboration with her musical and filmmaking associate, the keyboard-pumping Mr. Quintron, the New Orleans puppeteer and musician known as Miss Pussycat screens her first feature film as a director, an adventure starring the whimsical handcrafted puppets known as Trixie and the Treetrunks.

Midnight Friday and Saturday, Studio on the Square. Tickets: $10. Visit malco.com.

The Nutcracker — Mariinsky Ballet (Not rated, 105 min.) Filmed live onstage, this production of Tchaikovsky's famous ballet was staged at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, where the ballet had its premiere in 1892. The Mariinsky Ballet is regarded as one of the world's great classical dance companies, and this presentation will be faithful to Tchaikovsky's original intentions.

7:30 p.m. Monday, Paradiso. Tickets: $12.50. Visit malco.com.

Pulp Fiction (R, 154 min.) Bring out the Gimp: The 1994 movie that made Quentin Tarantino a brand name and directing superstar returns, accompanied by new special features.

7 p.m. Thursday, Paradiso. Tickets: $12.50. Visit malco.com.

Reservoir Dogs (R, 115 min.) Ear today, gone tomorrow, or lobe it or leave it: The infamous Stealers Wheel-scored ear-slicing is just one highlight of Quentin Tarantino's directing debut about a diamond heist gone wrong. The movie returns to the big screen for a 20th anniversary presentation, accompanied by new special features and a Tarantino-curated selection of vintage trailers from movies that inspired him.

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

Santa vs. The Snowman: The animated IMAX film holiday film returns. Through Dec. 31. Tickets $8.25, $7.50 senior citizens, $6.50 children ages 3-12.

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

Thunder Road (Not rated, 92 min.) An irregular Central Library film series dubbed "Memphis at the Movies" begins with this 1958 drive-in classic starring Robert Mitchum as a Korean War vet who runs moonshine through Kentucky to Memphis. Wayne Dowdy, manager of the library's History Department, will introduce the film.

6 p.m. Thursday, Memphis Room, Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 5050 Poplar. Admission: free.

To the Arctic: Narrated by Meryl Streep, this journey to the top of the world follows a polar bear family as it adapts to its changing environment. 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.

NOW SHOWING

Alex Cross (PG-13, 102 min.) Tyler Perry trades Madea drag for the shoulder holster and scowl of a genius police psychologist-detective, but this movie couldn't be any sillier if the title sleuth pursued the story's sadistic professional killer in a gray wig and granny panties.

Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Argo (R, 120 min.) Inspired by the unlikely true story of the secret rescue of six U.S. diplomats from Tehran in 1980 (while 52 of their less-fortunate colleagues were held hostage by militants in the American embassy), this is an entertaining and intelligent suspense film.

Studio on the Square, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

The Bourne Legacy (PG-13, 125 min.) Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz.

Bartlett 10.

Brave (PG, 101 min.) The latest from Pixar.

Bartlett 10.

The Dark Knight Rises (PG-13, 165 min.) Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway.

Bartlett 10.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (PG, 94 min.) The third "Wimpy" comedy.

Bartlett 10.

Flight (R, 139 min.) Returning to live action after a decade of disappointing experimentation with performance-capture animation, director Robert Zemeckis provides Denzel Washington with one of the more complex roles of the actor's career as an airline pilot whose skill and heroism are matched by his alcoholism and drug addiction. As excerpted in the film's trailer, the harrowing airplane crash sequence suggests that screenwriter John Gatins has revamped the disaster genre, but this is less an update of "Airport" than of "The Lost Weekend," with a spiritual emphasis also found in such past Zemeckis films as "Cast Away" (also about a plane crash) and "Contact" (with Jodie Foster as another type of sky worker, an astronomer). The fine supporting cast includes Kelly Reilly as a junkie (think Robin Wright in "Forrest Gump"), Don Cheadle as a pilots' union lawyer and John Goodman as a scene-stealing Dr. Feelgood.

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

Here Comes the Boom (PG, 105 min.) H½ Kevin James.

CinePlanet 16.

Hotel Transylvania (PG, 91 min.) Count Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) opens a "human-free" castle hostelry in a computer-animated tribute to old-school ghouls that more or less pretends the past 50 years of horror movies never happened, even though it's aimed at kids who may be more familiar with Freddy, Jason and Chucky than Boris, Bela and Vincent.

Summer Quartet Drive-In, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

House at the End of the Street (PG-13, 101 min.) Ignoring the concerns of mom Elisabeth Shue, teen Jennifer Lawrence befriends sensitive, soft-spoken Max Thieriot, whose parents were murdered in the scary house next door.

Bartlett 10.

Ice Age: Continental Drift (PG, 94 min.) The climate change of cliché has melted most of the charm and novelty from this computer-animated comedy-adventure series that showcases an ever-expanding prehistoric ensemble headed by now boring Manny the mammoth (voiced by Ray Romano), dull Diego the sabertooth (Denis Leary) and reliably funny Sid the sloth (John Leguizamo, who, with the artists, has created a character worthy of the classic Looney Tunes cartoons). The beautiful animation (sequences with a whale and some deadly "sirens" are especially impressive) and wonderful character design (new characters include a gang of animal pirates) continue to impress, but the seafaring action is sunk by sub-sitcom-level lessons about family and friendship, motivated by Manny's worries over his teenage daughter (Keke Palmer). Only the pure slapstick with Scrat the acorn-obsessed squirrel makes the movie worth seeing. Directed by Steve Martino and Mark Thurmeier.

Bartlett 10.

Life of Pi (PG, 127 min.) A boy, a boat, a Bengal tiger.

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

Lincoln (R, 150 min.) Returning to the themes of race, bondage and liberation that marked not just "Amistad" and "Schindler's List" but "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," director Steven Spielberg delivers his most actor-centric and word-heavy film, and the result is as much a tour de force as was "Jurassic Park" — and as much a glorious resurrection of an extinct species: If only some amber-trapped DNA could be discovered to bring some of these great men back to life. The cast (including Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, David Strathairn as Secretary of State William Seward and Tommy Lee Jones as Pennsylvania abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens) is terrific, but Daniel Day-Lewis' wise, rustic, gnarled Lincoln truly seems a creature from another age; remarkably, there's no apparent vanity in the actor's somewhat hobbled gait or high, thin voice.

Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Paradiso, Stage Cinema, Studio on the Square. Opens Wednesday at the CinePlanet 16 and Hollywood 20 Cinema.

Looper (R, 119 min.) Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Bartlett 10.

The Man with the Iron Fists (R, 96 min.) The RZA directs a martial-arts action epic.

Hollywood 20 Cinema.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green (PG, 104 min.) Jennifer Garner.

Bartlett 10.

ParaNorman (PG, 92 min.) A kid battles stop-motion zombies and witches.

Bartlett 10.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (PG-13, 103 min.) Hogswart graduate Emma Watson plays the free-spirited crush of an emotionally troubled high-school freshman (Logan Lerman).

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Pitch Perfect (PG-13, 112 min.) Can freshman Anna Kendrick and her female singing group beat the men's team in the campus vocal competition?

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

The Possession (PG-13, 92 min.) Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

Bartlett 10.

Red Dawn (PG-13, 94 min.) North Koreans replace Soviets and Chris Hemsworth replaces Patrick Swayze in this remake of the 1984 Cold War invasion actioner.

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

Rise of the Guardians (PG, 97 min.) Inspired by the "Guardians of Childhood" chapter books by William Joyce, this DreamWorks Animation action-fantasy imagines that Santa Claus (voiced by Alec Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), the mute Sandman and newcomer Jack Frost (Chris Pine) are the members of a sort of bedtime-story Justice League, dedicated to protecting the kids of the world from the sinister Pitch Black, aka The Boogeyman (voice cast MVP Jude Law). First-time feature director Peter Ramsey (a longtime storyboard artist) delivers a series of absolutely stunning set pieces and painstakingly detailed tableaux that make the movie a visual feast, but its willfully blinkered secular message is a mess, and a serious miscalculation: Unlike the classic TV specials "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "A Charlie Brown Christmas," which demonstrated that the significance of Christmas transcends material goods, this movie tells us that if kids don't get toys and colored eggs, they stop believing, and Christmas and Easter die.

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

The Sessions (R, 95 min.) Paralyzed poet Mark O'Brien's quest to perform sexual intercourse with a paid "sex surrogate" is transformed into an inspirational saga of "courage and perseverance" in this unlikely fact-based crowd-pleaser from previously unheralded writer-director Ben Lewin. Don't let the potentially corny and/or lurid subject matter scare you away: At its best, the film works wonderfully as a period (1988 Berkeley) comedy about the absurdity of the human condition (think Woody Allen in an iron lung), thanks to John Hawkes' sure-to-be-Oscar-nominated and almost entirely horizontal performance as the witty, articulate O'Brien.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Silent Hill: Revelation (R, 94 min.) A sequel to the 2006 surreal supernatural chiller "Silent Hill."

Bartlett 10.

Silver Linings Playbook (R, 122 min.) "Screwball" is a slang term for "crazy," and perhaps this is what inspired David O. Russell to literalize as well as update the screwball comedy genre in this charming and surprisingly affecting film, which continues the fascination with dysfunctional extended families that characterized the writer-director's previous feature, "The Fighter." Bradley Cooper is Pat Solitano Jr., an "undiagnosed bipolar" history teacher who moves back home with his working-class Philadelphia parents (Jacki Weaver and Robert De Niro, both wonderful); Jennifer Lawrence (never more adult, or hotter) is the neighborhood "crazy slut with a dead husband" who seems determined to catch Pat, literally: She sometimes bursts into the frame, in running shoes and sweats, to intrude on the teacher's daily jogs (the revealingly demoralizing plastic garbage bag Pat wears as an exercise smock tells us his anti-"negativity" self-help slogans aren't doing much good). Shot in a deceptively casual manner, with lots of shoulder-high handheld camerawork that gives the moviegoer the point of view of a participant in the action, this adaptation of a novel by Matthew Quick is unlike most recent romantic comedies in that it earns its happy ending with hard, sincere effort on the part of the characters (who literally work up a sweat) as well as the filmmakers.

Ridgeway Four.

Skyfall (PG-13, 143 min.) Like "The Dark Knight Rises," this is not so much a stand-alone adventure as the concluding episode in a trilogy (following "Casino Royale" and "Quantum of Solace") that transforms an overexposed pulp hero into a battered and weary warrior against anarchy and terror, but one with mythic overtones (both Batman and Bond are required essentially to rise from the dead before they can save mankind). A certain pretentiousness accompanies this redesign, but if our 21st-century spies must be dark instead of Pop, let them be presented with as much conviction, professionalism and entertainment value as in this 23rd MGM 007 feature film, the best yet with Daniel Craig as a particularly vulnerable bruiser of a Bond for a cynical post-Cold War era.

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

Taken 2 (PG-13, 91 min.) Auspiciously named director Olivier Megaton ("Colombiana") delivers a real dud: a sequel to the 2008 action-thriller that is so absurd and moronic we'd assume it was a spoof if not for its insistent score, which demands our earnest appreciation, whether returning CIA hero Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is giving his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace), a driving lesson or watching his wife (Famke Janssen) have her throat punctured by Albanians.

DeSoto Cinema 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Palace Cinema, Summer Quartet Drive-In, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 (PG-13, 116 min.) An increasingly risible parody of not just itself but the multitude of supernatural-romance series that have followed in its alternately preening and mopey wake, the "Twilight" so-called saga comes to its overdue end with another kitschy "indie" pop-scored story of hemoglobin-hungry eternally young people (the actors' faces appear to have been digitally scrubbed of blemishes) and their coarser if sometimes hunky were-neighbors. The novelty this time is that Bella (Kristin Stewart) is not just newlywed to her hooded-eyed bloodsucking beau (Robert Pattinson) but a vampire herself, with a fast-growing daughter (Mackenzie Foy), cursed with not just the redneck name of "Renesmee" but the panting omnipresence of werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner), who, in one of author Stephenie Meyer's weirder conceits, has "imprinted" on the girl to be his mate. (This may be the most awkward way to resolve a love triangle since Luke discovered Leia was his sister.) The movie almost redeems itself with a wintry and surprisingly violent headzapoppin' Cullens-vs.-Volturi action climax that finds Michael Sheen (as the evil vampire overlord Aro) mincing and sinister-laughing all the way to the bank, reputation if not dignity intact.

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.

Wreck-It Ralph (PG) This arcade version of "Toy Story" imagines that when the lights are out and the players gone home, the avatars inside video games come to life with their own stories and personalities; if the premise is gimmicky, the execution is brilliant, as the title lovable lug of a villain (voiced to perfection by John C. Reilly) attempts to transcend his programming and become a hero, with the help of bratty Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), the "glitch" trapped inside the girlie go-kart game, "Sugar Rush." Witty and genuinely heartwarming, this Disney production is looser and less insistent on your emotional acquiescence than its Pixar counterparts; plus, the video game premise is ideally suited to the digital animation process that brings it to life. Directed by Rich Moore, a veteran of "The Simpsons" and "Futurama.".

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), Stage Cinema (in 3-D), Summer Quartet Drive-In.

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