Now Playing: Movie Capsules

AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Jaimie Trueblood
Duke (Channing Tatum, left), Roadblock (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and the rest of the team take on evil Cobra in “G.I. Joe: Retaliation.”

Photo by Jaimie Trueblood

AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Jaimie Trueblood Duke (Channing Tatum, left), Roadblock (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and the rest of the team take on evil Cobra in “G.I. Joe: Retaliation.”

AP Photo/IFC Films/Sundance Selects, Gregory Smith
Sal Paradise (Sam Riley, left), the Jack Kerouac character, and Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund), the Neal Cassady figure, in “On the Road.”$RETURN$$RETURN$

AP Photo/IFC Films/Sundance Selects, Gregory Smith Sal Paradise (Sam Riley, left), the Jack Kerouac character, and Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund), the Neal Cassady figure, in “On the Road.”$RETURN$$RETURN$

Fox Searchlight Pictures
Mia Wasikowska plays India, an odd and pale teenager with a metaphorical spider inside her, in Park Chan-wook’s “Stoker.”

Photo by Macall Polay

Fox Searchlight Pictures Mia Wasikowska plays India, an odd and pale teenager with a metaphorical spider inside her, in Park Chan-wook’s “Stoker.”

Capsule descriptions and starred mini-reviews by John Beifuss.

OPENING Friday

Baadshah (Not rated, 175 min.) An musical action-romance from India.

Hollywood 20 Cinema.

Evil Dead (R, 91 min.) See review on Page 12.

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 Gatekeepers (PG-13, 101 min.) See review on Page 13.

Ridgeway Four.

Jurassic Park 3D (PG-13, 127 min.) Can you say three-dimensional dilophosaurus?

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

Mindless Behavior: All Around the World (G, 86 min.) A tour documentary about the R&B/hip-hop boy band.

Majestic.

SPECIAL MOVIES

British National Theatre Live: The People (Not rated, 180 min.) Filmed live onstage, the latest play from writer Alan Bennett (“The Madness of George III,” “The History Boys”) is a sophisticated farce set in 1980s Thatcherite England.

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

Corpo Celeste (Not rated, 100 min.) Dedicated to international cinema, the Wider Angle Film Series continues with this “minutely observed, emotionally complex” (the Village Voice) 2011 film from writer-director Alice Rohrwacher about a 13-year-old girl (Yle Vianello) who moves with her mother from Switzerland to highly Catholic Southern Italy.

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.

Little Women (Not rated, 115 min.) George Cukor directed this lavish 1933 adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic, with Katharine Hepburn as Jo, Joan Bennett as Amy, Jean Parker as Beth and Frances Dee as Meg. The film will be introduced by Rhodes Colleges associate professor of English Leslie Petty, author of “Romancing the Vote: Feminist Activism in American Fiction, 1870-1920,” and a specialist in 19th century American literature and gender and sexuality studies; Petty also will lead a discussion after the film.

2 p.m. Saturday, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Admission: $8, or $6 for museum members. Visit brooksmuseum.org.

Sound City (Not rated, 108 min.) Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters directed this documentary about the famed San Fernando Valley recording studio, Sound City, where his previous band, Nirvana, recorded its masterpiece, “Nevermind,” and where Fleetwood Mac recorded “Rumors.” A love letter to analog, the film includes appearances by Paul McCartney, Tom Petty and Trent Reznor, among many others.

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

Titans of the Ice Age: Narrated by Christopher Plummer, this IMAX feature film transports you to the otherworldly frozen landscapes of the northern hemisphere 10,000 years before modern civilization. Runs through June 21. 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.

To Fly! Documentary shows the history of flight, from 19th Century balloons through 21st Century space probes. Runs through June 21. 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.

War Witch (Not rated, 90 min.) HHH½ Rachel Mwanza stars as a 12-year-old girl forcibly recruited to be a child soldier by African rebels. An Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film. See review at TheBloodshotEye.com.

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

NOW SHOWING

Admission (PG-13, 107 min.) HH Career women, you will find happiness by embracing your maternal instincts. Parents and high-school students, you are right to obsess over college. Tina Fey, continue your domestication process. These are among the depressing affirmations of this wan romantic comedy that picks up where “30 Rock” left off by surrounding the comic actress and comedy role model with a diverse demographic of kids, including at least one nonhuman: The movie milks the motherhood theme with such vigor it even requires Fey’s character to help a distressed cow deliver her calf. (From “Bossypants” to bossy’s midwife.) Fey plays an unmarried, childless “superstar” admissions counselor at Princeton who is a surrogate mother of sorts to a world of hopeful would-be Ivy Leaguers; Paul Rudd is a comically progressive local schoolteacher with an adopted son. He’s as free-spirited, nomadic and earnest as the admissions counselor is button-down, stable and wary; think they’ll meet in the middle? Directed by Paul Weitz, from the novel by Jean Hanff Korelitz.

CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Ridgeway Four, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Argo (R, 120 min.) HHH Winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Bartlett 10.

Beautiful Creatures (PG-13, 123 min.) Memphis’ Molly Mickler Smith is among the producers of this Southern supernatural hot teen/old witch saga, adapted from the popular young adult novel.

Bartlett 10.

The Call (R, 94 min.) HH½ The world didn’t know it needed a movie in which a heroic 911 operator played by Halle Berry rescues the “Little Miss Sunshine” girl from a serial killer until the arrival of this instant camp classic from reformed art-horror director Brad Anderson (“The Machinist”), who stylizes the violence with disorienting extreme close-ups, brief slo-mo and quick freeze frames. “We’re Capricorns, and we’re fighters!” the operator reassures her caller, a kidnap victim played by 16-year-old Abigail Breslin, who has grown up a bit since “Sunshine,” as “The Call” insists on reminding us with a multiplicity of Breslin bra shots; but can even an upbeat horoscope reading provide much comfort when you’re the captive of a psycho who washes your hair to the music of Boy George, and who plays Taco’s version of “Puttin’ on the Ritz” while he has you locked in his car trunk?

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

The Croods (PG, 98 min.) HH½ The humor’s classic or prehistoric, depending on your tolerance for slapstick. The 3D animation is state of the art. And the life lessons are all too wearily contemporary in this energetic DreamWorks digital cartoon feature about some cave dwellers who are so Stone Age they make the Flintstones look like the Jetsons. Eep (voiced by Emma Stone) is the story’s heroine and the audience’s focus for identification, a brave — as in “Brave” — young rebel frustrated with her loving but overprotective dad, Grug (Nicolas Cage), and the Neolithic status quo that keeps her confined to the dark, dull security of a cave. Unusually sturdy and athletic (rather than Disney-princess svelte, like most animated heroines), Eep is inspired to “go for the light” after she meets a more highly evolved (literally) young guy named Guy (Ryan Reynolds), who introduces the teen and her cavekin to the concepts of shoes, pets (Guy travels with a lovable scene-stealing sloth) and extinction.

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.

Django Unchained (R, 165 min.) HHH Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz. .

Bartlett 10.

Emperor (PG-13, 106 min.) Tommy Lee Jones is Gen. Douglas MacArthur in this drama set in Japan after the end of World War II.

Ridgeway Four.

Escape from Planet Earth (PG, 95 min.) From the producers of “Hoodwinked!”

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

G.I. Joe: Retaliation (PG-13, 110 min.) HH Tea Party paranoia about Obama’s alien identity and fascist agenda apparently motivated this disappointing sequel, which pits the Joes against an impostor U.S. president (Jonathan Pryce) working for the evil forces of Cobra. Inspired by the Marvelesque superhero-style 1980s additions to the traditional Hasbro toy line, the film has plenty of pulpy characters (Storm Shadow, a ninja; Firefly, an explosives expert) but it replaces the surprising fun of its 2009 predecessor with a distasteful firearms fetishism and high body county more suitable for an R-rated action film. It also introduces a pair of big names: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a Joe commando called Roadblock and Bruce Willis as the original G.I. Joe, proud owner of Patton’s revolver and a “1776” access code to his well-stocked armory. The sci-fi gadgets are impressive, and the bravura ninja-vs.-ninja cliff battle deserves a spot in the Action Sequence Hall of Fame; but director Jon M. Chu otherwise delivers little of the gracefulness one expects from a graduate of the “Step Up” dance franchise.

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), Studio on the Square.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (R, 88 min.) HH½ Played by Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton, the title kid trespassers turned almost witch snacks turned adult avengers-for-hire kick much hag butt in this bloody and frenetic fairy-tale/comic book/video game blend, which marks the English-language directorial debut of Norway’s Tommy Wirkola (“Dead Snow”).

Bartlett 10.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (PG-13, 170 min.) HHH More J.R.R. Tolkien. Bartlett 10.

The Host (PG-13, 125 min.) Alien invaders possess human minds. Based on the best-seller by “Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer.

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.

Identity Thief (R, 111 min.) HH Melissa McCarthy is a professional pilferer.

CinePlanet 16, Cordova Cinema, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (PG-13, 101 min.) Steve Carell and Jim Carrey are rival magicians.

Summer Quartet Drive-In.

Jack the Giant Slayer (PG-13, 115 min.) HHH Ignore the unconscionable $200 million budget and you may enjoy this comic book/fairy tale adventure about a plucky farm boy (Nicholas Hoult) and a pretty princess (Eleanor Tomlinson) carried by a fast-growing, tendrilous beanstalk to a land of man-eating giants in the clouds.

Hollywood 20 Cinema (in 3-D), Majestic, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

The Last Exorcism Part II (PG-13, 93 min.) Young Nell (Ashley Bell) is subjected to more devilish high jinks.

DeSoto Cinema 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema.

Les Misérables (PG-13, 157 min.) HH Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Life of Pi (PG, 127 min.) HHH Winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Director.

Bartlett 10, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Lincoln (R, 150 min.) HHHH Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field.

Bartlett 10.

Olympus Has Fallen (R, 117 min.) HH½ America is emasculated when terrorists knock the tip off the Washington Monument during an attack on the nation’s capital; lucky for us, he-man Gerard Butler, cast as a Secret Service agent in need of redemption, is nearby, to inject testosterone into the body politic and some knives into the bad guys’ necks. Basically “Die Hard in the White House,” the film is an attempt to exorcise the trauma of 9/11 through a symbolic re-enactment with a more pleasing outcome; director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”) delivers many inflammatory shots of a bullet-riddled flag, but we know Old Glory will rise again. Part 1970s disaster movie (check out the all-star cast) and part 1980s Cannon Group gung-ho action flick, it’s also the second film in less than four months (after “Red Dawn”) to imagine a North Korean invasion of the U.S.; thus, campy “patriotic” highlights are many: Butler uses an Oval Office Lincoln bust to crush a Korean skull, and Secretary of Defense Melissa Leo yells out the Pledge of Allegiance as she’s dragged away for torture. With Aaron Eckhart as the President and Ashley Judd as the First Lady; the Speaker of the House, is Morgan Freeman, apparently hired so we can hear that famous voice intone, at a moment of potential nuclear calamity: “You’ve just opened the gates of hell.”

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.

Oz the Great and Powerful (PG, 131 min.) HH½ Derived from the novels of L. Frank Baum but motivated by the popularity of MGM’s “The Wizard of Oz,” Disney’s would-be franchise-igniter — presented as an unofficial prequel to the 1939 movie — contains exciting witch battles, the memorably emotional introduction of a literally fragile character (a living china doll, voiced by Joey King) and the fun pop touches one expects from director Sam Raimi, including monster flowers that might have sprouted from “The Evil Dead” and a friendly flying monkey (voiced by Zach Braff) whose bellhop uniform is an homage to the nattily garbed scene-stealing capuchins of Three Stooges and Our Gang shorts. Unfortunately, the candy-colored, largely computer-created film cheapens the achievements of the feminist Baum and the memory of Judy Garland: It’s as much a man-flattering parable of androgen entitlement as one of those 1950s B-movies in which the presence of a hunky All-American astronaut disrupts the order of an extraterrestrial Amazon society. Deposited in Oz by a Kansas twister, the wizard (a smirky James Franco) is a fraudulent womanizer, yet the beautiful, powerful witch sisters — Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams) -- accept him as a savior and are so smitten that Theodora turns literally Margaret Hamilton green with jealousy. .

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), Studio on the Square, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

Parental Guidance (PG, 104 min.) HH Borscht Belt humor combines with serious schmaltz to produce this gummy formulaic family comedy about the high jinks and hugs that transpire when a curmudgeonly and suddenly jobless minor league baseball announcer (Billy Crystal) and his “tornado with lipstick” wife (Bette Midler) are enlisted as emergency weekend baby sitters for the coddled young children of their type-A daughter (Marisa Tomei) and her tech-innovator husband (Tom Everett Scott). Directed by Andy Fickman, the film is surprise-free and visually bland (the setting is Atlanta — where else?) but also mildly amusing, as long as the focus is on the “old school” Crystal’s clashes with a generation of helicopter parents that serves “soysauges” for breakfast and eggless egg salad for lunch; the movie, too, is a type of mushy comfort food, easily digestible for members of all generations.

Bartlett 10.

Safe Haven (PG-13, 115 min.) A mystery woman (Julianne Hough) and a young widower (Josh Duhamel) find romance in the latest Nicholas Sparks adaptation.

CinePlanet 16, Forest Hill 8, Paradiso, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Silver Linings Playbook (R, 122 min.) HHH½ “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.

Hollywood 20 Cinema, Studio on the Square, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Snitch (PG-13, 112 min.) HHH Presented as an actor first, impressive physical specimen second, Dwayne Johnson — who has banished his more famous professional-wrestling alias, “The Rock,” from his movie credits — stars as a distraught construction-company owner who deceives his employees, endangers his wife and makes a Faustian bargain with self-interested politicians in order to save his 18-year-old son from a prison sentence.

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

Spring Breakers (R, 94 min.) HHHH The new movie from Nashville-reared radical grunge auteur Harmony Korine already is famous — infamous, perhaps? — for placing former Disney tween princesses Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens within (a) bright bikinis and (b) a deservedly R-rated rampage of drugs, sex, machine guns, beer bongs and beachside booty bouncing. This is MTV’s Spring Break as a prophecy of the end times, the American dream as a nightmare of self-involvement, self-objectification, anomie and racial alienation. A truly Southern story (its preoccupations are religion and race), the film takes its four attractive coeds (the others are Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine, the director’s wife) from an empty campus to a teeming beach resort, where they are embraced by the personification of their idea of black culture, a white “gangsta” rapper and devil figure named Alien (James Franco).

CinePlanet 16, Cordova Cinema, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Paradiso.

Stoker (R, 99 min.) HHHH A study in psychological terror and the struggle for identity that can trace its bloody, muddy footprints to the spadework of Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch, the first English-language film from South Korean director Park Chan-wook is a subjective coming-of-age story about just-turned-18 India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska), a girl with a spider inside her. That’s a metaphor to suggest India is at once a victim and predator within the sinister web of her dissolute family history, but Park literalizes the idea with shots of a spindly arachnid creeping up the girl’s sock, toward the sanctuary beneath her skirt.

Ridgeway Four.

Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (PG-13, 111 min.) Now, that’s a movie title. Kim Kardashian and Brandy are among those caught up in the drama.

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

Warm Bodies (PG-13, 97 min.) HHH A collector of vinyl record albums as well as an eater of brains, a cute teen emo zombie (Nicholas Hoult) becomes increasingly alive after he meets a beautiful young human survivor (Teresa Palmer) of the walking-dead apocalypse.

Bartlett 10.

Wreck-It Ralph (PG) HHH½ Avatars inside video games come to life.

Bartlett 10.

© 2013 Go Memphis. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.