Now Playing: Movie Capsules

Capsule descriptions and starred mini-reviews by John Beifuss.

OPENING Friday

Ginger & Rosa (PG-13, 90 min.) See review on Page 12.

Ridgeway Four.

Home Run (PG-13, 113 min.) A faith-based baseball drama, with Scott Elrod and Vivica A. Fox.

Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16.

Oblivion (PG-13, 126 min.) Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman in a sci-fi adventure on a post-disaster Earth.

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.

SPECIAL MOVIES

The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia (Not rated, 60 min.) A 2012 Sundance Film Festival premiere, this documentary visits “super-achieving” adult dyslexics in several fields, and invites people with dyslexia and their families to take a more hopeful view of the condition. A public discussion will take place after the film.

9:30 a.m. Saturday, Studio on the Square. Admission: free.

Django (Not rated, 92 min.) Directed by Spaghetti Western master Sergio Corbucci, the violent 1966 inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s recent “Django Unchained” stars Franco Nero as a mysterious casket-dragging gunslinger who battles red-hooded Texas racists and gold-hungry Mexican revolutionaries.

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

On Location: Memphis International Film & Music Fest: See story on Page 4.

Thursday through April 28, Paradiso, Studio on the Square. Visit onlocationmemphis.org.

The Playroom (Not rated, 83 min.) The sister team of Julia Dyer (director) and Gretchen Dyer (writer) created this 2012 film of 70s suburban angst, in which self-absorbed adults (including Molly Paker and the great John Hawkes) soak up the gin while the neglected children upstairs troll for mischief.

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

Star Trek: The Next Generation — The Best of Both Worlds (Not rated, 120 min.) The starship Enterprise battles the alien assimilators known as the Borg in this classic two-episode arc from “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” originally broadcast in 1990, now digitally remastered in high definition and edited into a single feature film.

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

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.

NOW SHOWING

Admission (PG-13, 107 min.) HH This wan romantic comedy picks up where “30 Rock” left off by surrounding the comic actress and comedy role model with a diverse demographic of kids. Tina 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.

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

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,” 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? The film is so improbable, ridiculous and earnest that you may watch it with a sense of impatience, disbelief and, finally, elation.

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

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. 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.

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.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Evil Dead (R, 91 min.) HH½ Shot in the backwoods of East Tennessee as barely more than a student project, neophyte director Sam Raimi’s “The Evil Dead” (1981) was a slapstick splatterfest made with enthusiasm and ingenuity as well as many gallons of Karo syrup blood formula; produced by the now-celebrated Raimi, this more elaborate yet unnecessary remake increases the back story and the blood. Once again, a group of college friends are trapped in a haunted cabin in the woods; this time, the “final girl,” Mia (Jane Levy), is ready for a fight: She’s a junkie used to battling drug-spawned if not supernatural demons. Directed by Uruguay’s Fede Alvarez, making his feature debut.

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

42 (PG-13, 128 min.) Chadwick Boseman is Jackie Robinson in this biopic about the Hall of Famer who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball.

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.) HHH Director Dror Moreh’s unsettling Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature seems to confirm the idea that “you can’t make peace using military means,” in the words of one of the movie’s subjects. Modeled on Errol Morris’ Robert McNamara portrait, “The Fog of War,” the film is essentially an oral history of the Shin Bet, the intelligence agency “charged with defending Israel against terrorism, espionage and the release of state secrets”; Moreh’s coup was to convince six past agency directors to break their tradition of silence and grant on-camera interviews about the apparent futility of their mission, from the Six-Day War of 1967 to today.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation (PG-13, 110 min.) HH Inspired by the Marvel-esque 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 count 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).

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

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

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

Bartlett 10, CinePlanet 16, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

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

Bartlett 10.

Jack the Giant Slayer (PG-13, 115 min.) HHH Ignore the unconscionable $200 million budget (how many thousands could have been saved by eliminating the CG giant booger scene?) 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. The movie is perhaps too violent for children, but worse is its irresponsible stereotyping: Many of the primitive, savage, “ugly” giants are vaguely ethnic (some have kinky African hair), while the attractive and “normal” humans are entirely European. Directed by “X-Men” veteran Brian Singer.

Majestic, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Jurassic Park 3D (PG-13, 127 min.) HHHH Sentiment is explained by science as the family impulse that motivates so many Steven Spielberg stories is revealed to be an evolutionary imperative in this thrilling, near-perfect 1993 action-adventure; the dinosaur special effects, which combined new digital technology with then state-of-the-art live-action techniques, were groundbreaking yet remain unsurpassed. Sam Neill is the child-averse paleontologist who develops an appreciation for kids (Ariana Richards, Joseph Mazzello) as well as fossils; Laura Dern is the doc’s (apparently eagerly fertile) collaborator/girlfriend; Jeff Goldblum is the witty scene-stealing “chaos” mathematician; and Richard Attenborough is the Disney/Frankenstein entrepreneur whose would-be island theme park of cloned dinosaurs becomes a nightmare. Based on a novel by Michael Crichton, the warning here is at least as old as the one W.W. Jacobs delivered in “The Monkey’s Paw” (1902): You will be punished if you bring life to that which fate has decided should be dead. Yet the ultimate message is hopeful: “Life will find a way,” even if it requires a Tyrannosaurus to become a pelican.

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

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

Bartlett 10.

Mama (PG-13, 100 min.) HHH Jessica Chastain is the punk-rock girlfriend who becomes reluctant guardian to her injured boyfriend’s disturbed and essentially feral nieces (rescued after five years in the woods) in this dark modern fairy tale from writer-director Andrés Muschietti and producer Guillermo del Toro.

Bartlett 10.

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

Majestic.

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., and camp “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, 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 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. 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, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Forest Hill 8, Paradiso, Stage Cinema.

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 and easily digestible for members of all generations.

Bartlett 10.

The Place Beyond the Pines (R, 140 min.) Ryan Gosling is a motorcycle stunt-rider turned bank robber and Bradley Cooper a rookie cop in the latest from writer-director Derek Cianfrance (“Blue Valentine”).

Cordova Cinema, Ridgeway Four.

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.

Bartlett 10, Paradiso, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Scary Movie 5 (PG-13, 85 min.) The now-Anna Faris-free horror-spoof franchise rises from the grave after a seven-year hibernation.

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.

Silver Linings Playbook (R, 122 min.) HHH½ Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence.

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 to save his 18-year-old son from a prison sentence.

Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Summer Quartet Drive-In, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Trance (R, 101 min.) HH½ In this alternately bewitching and annoying heist film, director Danny Boyle employs his signature hyper-style — rapid editing, wide-angle compositions, garish colors, mirrored images, slice-and-dice chronology, electronic music — to place us inside the confused mind of an amnesiac London fine-art auction-house employee (James McAvoy) who can’t remember where he hid a purloined masterpiece, Goya’s “Witches in the Air.” Vincent Cassel is the thug mastermind determined to get the Goya; Rosario Dawson is the sexy Harley Street hypnotherapist hired to crack the auctioneer’s coconut. “To be yourself, you have to constantly remember yourself — it’s a full-time job,” the hypnotherapist says. Perhaps, but “Trance” might have been more fun for moviegoers if unraveling its mysteries felt less like a “full-time job” and more like a lark. Boyle and cinematographer Christopher Dod Mantle seem to be having a field day, but none of their more elaborate compositions and set pieces have the impact of the movie’s most memorable image, a sudden full-length shot of Dawson, as smooth and bare as a Renaissance Venus. This is a startling example of cinema’s original and still unsurpassed special effect: the human figure. (The penance for enjoying this shot comes later, when a gun is fired almost point blank into a thug’s crotch.)

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 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 The zomromcom..

Bartlett 10.

Wreck-It Ralph (PG) HHH½ Video game avatars come to life.

Bartlett 10.

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