Movie Capsules: What's Showing

Capsule descriptions and starred mini-reviews by John Beifuss.

OPENING FRIDAY

Blue Jasmine (PG-13, 98 min.) See review on Page 12.

Ridgeway Cinema Grill.

The Spectacular Now (R, 95 min.) See review on Page 13.

Studio on the Square.

The World’s End (R, 109 min.) See review on Page 16.

Paradiso, Studio on the Square.

You’re Next (R, 96 min.) A home-invasion horror thriller with a “mumblecore” pedigree. Directed by Adam Wingard, the cast includes fellow lo-fi auteurs Joe Swanberg, Amy Seimetz and Ti West.

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

OPENING WEDNESDAY

Closed Circuit (R, 96 min.) Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall are London lawyers caught up with international terrorists and the British Secret Service.

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

SPECIAL MOVIES

An Affair to Remember (Not rated, 119 min.) Already involved with other people, playboy Cary Grant and singer Deborah Kerr fall in love on a cruise ship; they agree to meet in 18 months at the Empire State Building. Will they keep their date? A classic 1957 romance.

7 p.m. Friday, the Orpheum, 203 S. Main. Tickets: $7, or $5 for kids 12 and under. Visit orpheum-memphis.com.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua (PG, 91 min.) A pampered Southern California celeb-u-dog (voiced by Drew Barrymore) is lost in Mexico in this 2008 live-action comedy.

7:38 p.m. Friday, Central Park, The Avenue Carriage Crossing, Collierville. Admission: free. Visit shopcarriagecrossing.com.

Big Star: Live in Memphis (Not rated, 71 min.) The first public screening of a concert film of Big Star’s famous 1994 “reunion” show at the New Daisy, with original members Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens joined by Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow of the Posies.

8:20 p.m. Saturday, Levitt Shell. Admission: free. Visit indiememphis.com or levittshell.org.

Grandma’s Big Vote: The Play (Not rated, 90 min.) A filmed version of a recent play, based on a true story, about Memphis woman Alice Gandy’s 2008 vote for Barack Obama — the first vote ever cast by the 106-year-old woman.

7 p.m. Tuesday, the Salvation Army Kroc Center, 800 E. Parkway South. Admission: $15.

Great White Shark: Imax feature film takes a close look at this predator’s place in our imaginations and fears while exploring the shark’s reality and role at the top of the ocean food chain. Runs through Nov. 22. 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.

Interior. Leather Bar. (Not rated, 60 min.) A week before its Sept. 6 “Opening Night,” the Outflix Film Festival hosts a screening of James Franco’s experimental film in which he and actor Val Lauren imagine the 40 minutes that director William Friedkin says he was forced by censors to cut from his infamous 1980 S&M serial killer movie, “Cruising.” A party precedes the film at 6 p.m.

7 p.m. Thursday, Evergreen Theatre, 1705 Poplar. Admission: $10. Visit outflixfilmfestival.org.

In the House (R, 105 min.) The line between fantasy and reality blur when a 16-year-old boy insinuates himself into the home of a fellow high-school student in the latest film from writer/director Franois Ozon (“Swimming Pool”). The cast includes Kristin Scott Thomas.

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

The March (Not rated, 55 min.) A free preview screening of the PBS documentary celebrating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, featuring interviews with Memphians Johnnie Turner and Joan Nelson.

2 p.m. Saturday, WKNO Digital Media Center, 7151 Cherry Farms Road Visit wkno.org or call (901) 729-8735.

Shyamal Uncle Turns Off the Lights (Not rated, 65 min.) The “Global Lens” series continues with this 2012 Indian film about a stubborn octogenarian retiree who “fights city hall” in an attempt to get the streetlights near his house turned off during daylight hours.

2 p.m. Sunday, Meeting Room C, Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar. Admission: free. Visit indiememphis.com

Student (Not rated, 90 min.) A young man commits a senseless murder-robbery in this 2012 “Global Lens” drama, inspired by Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment.” The film akes place in modern Kazakhstan, where a ruthless dog-eat-dog capitalism has replaced despotic Soviet Communism.

6 p.m. Monday, Meeting Room C, Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar. Admission: free. Visit indiememphis.com.

Titans of the Ice Age: Go back to the beautiful and foreign frozen landscapes of North America, Europe and Asia 10,000 years before civilization Runs through Nov. 22. 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

Chennai Express (Not rated, 141 min.) A Bollywood romantic road-trip action-comedy, with songs.

Hollywood 20 Cinema.

The Conjuring (R, 112 min.) HHH America’s stealth auteur, James Wan (“Saw,” “Insidious”) directs unpretentious, inexpensive, stylistically consistent horror movies that spook audiences and scare up enormous profits; he embraces the genre’s tropes and demonstrates why they continue to unnerve. Inspired by (supposedly) true events, this Amityvillesque chiller set in 1971 casts Patrick Wilson and the impeccable Vera Farmiga as real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, asked to examine a haunted farmhouse occupied by a working-class couple (Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston) and their five daughters.

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

The Croods (PG, 98 min.) HH½ The 3D animation is state of the art.

Bartlett 10.

Despicable Me 2 (PG, 98 min.) Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) and his minions return.

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

Epic (PG, 103 min.) HH A teenage girl (voiced by Amanda Seyfried) discovers a hidden forest world of tiny warriors and talking slugs when she is shrunk to bug-size. Adapted from a children’s picture book by the celebrated William Joyce (also one of the film’s scripters and production designers), the latest computer-generated cartoon feature from director Chris Wedge and Blue Sky Studios (“Ice Age”) boasts sometimes photorealistic animation, some cool concepts (the heroic “Leafmen” ride hummingbirds like horses) and a circle-of-life eco-message that parents may appreciate (“Many leaves, one tree”), but it’s grounded by the cliché aspects of everything else, from the harmless (slobber slapstick involving the family dog) to the dubious (the war between the Leafmen and the literally rotten Boggans is surprisingly violent, even deadly).

Bartlett 10.

Elysium (R, 109 min.) HHH½ Like much purposeful science fiction, Neil Blomkamp’s follow-up to “District 9” is not so much a vision of another world as an exaggerated picture of our own. The writer-director has taken note of the growing gap between the world’s have and have-nots and made it literal by imagining a “diseased, polluted and vastly overpopulated” slum of a future Earth that has been abandoned to the so-called 99 percent while the privileged 1 percent lives in security and luxury on the ring-shaped orbiting “habitat” of Elysium, a green, clean place of classical music and almost magical health care, protected by a stern pantsuited Defense Secretary (Jodie Foster) who shoots down the “illegals” in “undocumented” ships who try to infiltrate her Year 2154 paradise. .

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.

Fast & Furious 6 (PG-13, 130 min.) HH Vin Diesel.

Bartlett 10.

Fruitvale Station (R, 85 min.) HHHH In the wake of the Trayvon Martin verdict, writer-director Ryan Coogler’s feature debut arrives with the immediacy of a news dispatch and the urgency of a tent-revival sermon. A compassionate portrayal of the last day in the life of a 22-year-old black man, the film reclaims the humanity of victims transformed into political symbols and provides context for black America’s distrust of the so-called justice system — a distrust that dismays those who think it was the news media and not George Zimmerman’s bullet that “injected race” into the Martin killing.

Hollywood 20 Cinema, Paradiso.

Grown Ups 2 (PG-13, 101 min.) HH Jettisoning the earlier film’s egregious schmaltz for an overload of (literal) gags involving vomit, loaded diapers and a CG urinating deer, this Happy Madison remedial-school version of “This Is 40” is as insane and dumbfounding and worthy of WTF mock-cult status as “The Room” or “Manos, Hands of Fate,” even if it did earn $42 million on 3,491 screens its first weekend.

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

The Heat (R, 117 min.) Slobby Melissa McCarthy and uptight Sandra Bullock are an “odd couple” of cops.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

The Internship (PG-13, 128 min.) Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson seek jobs with Google.

Bartlett 10.

Iron Man 3 (PG-13, 128 min.) HHH Terrorist and anxiety attacks prove equally dismaying to Marvel’s superheroic “man in a can” in this witty, satisfying sequel.

Bartlett 10.

Jobs (PG-13, 122 min.)

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

Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain (R, 75 min.) A standup comedy concert film, shot at Madison Square Garden.

Bartlett 10.

Kick-Ass 2 (R, 107 min.) HH Maligned by most critics, this gruesome, frequently tasteless, ethically dubious sequel to 2010’s comic book-inspired superhero riff “Kick-Ass” offers a convenient punching bag for those who want to equate the gunplay and youth violence in movies with their manifestations off-screen, when teenagers, in fact, probably are the ideal audiences to both enjoy and see through this clumsy, anti-social, contradictory, nuance-free and bathetic cartoon, with its spurting blood (and worse). This time, self-made teen superheroes Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) are joined by such newcomers as Night Bitch (Lindy Booth) and Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey, with little to do) in a cut-rate Justice League that earns the enmity of the self-proclaimed world’s first supervillain (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), vengeful survivor of the first film. At times writer-director Jeff Wadlow (replacing the earlier film’s Matthew Vaughn) seems to understand these are psychologically damaged souls; elsewhere, he embraces the obviously self-defeating vigilantism of the broken heroes as a legitimate response to crime. The spinning, kicking, killing Hit Girl is not quite as irresistible a teenager as she was as an 11-year-old, but Moretz is once again a go-for-broke marvel, and Mintz-Plasse almost matches her.

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.

Lee Daniels’ The Butler (PG-13, 132 min.) HHH Loosely inspired by the true story of Eugene Allen (1919-2010), who worked as a domestic servant at the White House from the Truman through Reagan administrations, this is a history lesson and symbolic portrait of U.S. racial alienation and aspiration presented through the strong, dignified, inspirational yet somewhat tragic figure of Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), orphaned in the cotton fields of Georgia and taught to be a “house Negro”; it’s a testimony to Gaines’ character and perhaps evidence of the depth of his emotional damage that he absorbs the lesson so well he becomes what might be called the ultimate “house Negro,” the head butler at “America’s house,” the White House. There’s irony in this success story, but also a wary appreciation for Gaines’ talent at donning “two faces” (one for work, one for home) and for making himself “invisible” in the potentially dangerous presence of white people; as Martin Luther King (Nelsan Ellis) says in a key sequence at the Lorraine Motel, the “subservient” African-American worker is “subversive, without even knowing it,” by demonstrating honesty, competence and diligence to his hostile white employers.

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.

Man of Steel (PG-13, 143 min.) HHH As an epic movie “event” and attempt by director Zack Snyder (“Watchmen”) and producer Christopher Nolan (the “Dark Knight” trilogy) to galvanize DC Comics into a legitimate big-screen rival to Marvel, the first sobersided Superman movie is a smash success; as a coherent film, it’s problematic.

Bartlett 10.

The Mortal Instruments: The City of Bones (PG-13, 130 min.) A New York teenager (Lily Collins) battles demons in the latest post-“Harry Potter” would-be fantasy franchise-starter, inspired by the Young Adult novel series by Cassandra Clare.

CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Forest Hill 8, Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Paradiso, Stage Cinema, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

Now You See Me (PG-13, 116 min.) HH½ Celebrity magicians Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson and Dave Franco pull off various “impossible” heists and capers while being dogged by detective Mark Ruffalo, Interpol agent Mélanie Laurent and magic debunker Morgan Freeman in this slick, sparkly thriller/puzzler from director Louis Leterrier (“The Transporter”).

Bartlett 10.

Paranoia (PG-13, 106 min.) Corporate skulduggery with Liam Hemsworth, Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman.

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

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (PG, 106 min.) HH “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” director Thor Freudenthal graduates to adolescent demigods in this second special effects-heavy adventure inspired by Rick Riordan’s fantasy book series about the teen son of Poseidon, Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman). The sleek hippocampus (a literal sea horse) is cool, and Percy’s clumsy new Cyclops half-brother (Douglas Smith) is amusing; but the movie rarely sets foot — or cloven hoof, in the case of Percy’s satyr pal, played by Brandon T. Jackson — in the world outside magic and mythology; with little mundane contrast to the Olympian antics, Percy’s peripatetic quest for the healing Golden Fleece quickly becomes tiresome. Underplotted, the movie works best as a comedy: The most memorable scene doesn’t showcase the Confederate zombies inside Charybdis’ giant stomach or the reawakened Kronos but “Firefly” star Nathan Fillions as Hermes, god of speed, dressed like a parcel-service messenger and bemoaning the fact that the best TV shows are “of course, canceled.”

CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Forest Hill 8, Hollywood 20 Cinema (in 3-D), Majestic, Palace Cinema (in 3-D), Paradiso, Stage Cinema.

Planes (PG, 92 min.) This airborne “Cars” spinoff is a production of DisneyToons, not Pixar, so expect to be amused, not stunned.

CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Forest Hill 8, Hollywood 20 Cinema (in 3-D), Majestic, Palace Cinema (in 3-D), Paradiso, Stage Cinema, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

The Purge (R, 85 min.) HHH A state-of-the-art home security system and an exclusive gated address provide insufficient protection when an all-American family (led by father Ethan Hawke) is besieged by psycho thugs in this effective horror-thriller.

Bartlett 10.

Red 2 (PG-13, 116 min.) HHH Directed with snap by Dean Parisot (“Galaxy Quest”), this witty follow-up to 2010s DC Comics-inspired sleeper hit succeeds largely on the charm of its wily veteran cast, with top comedy honors going to John Malkovich as Marvin Boggs, a paranoid ex-“black ops” agent.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

R.I.P.D. (PG-13, 96 min.) HH

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Smurfs 2 (PG, 105 min.) HH CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Hollywood 20 Cinema (in 3-D), Majestic, Palace Cinema (in 3-D), Paradiso, Stage Cinema, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

Star Trek Into Darkness (PG-13, 132 min.) HHH Director-fanboy J.J. Abrams’ follow-up to his franchise-reviving 2009 “Star Trek”is a super-glossy spectacle of bludgeoning action and emotion.

Bartlett 10.

2 Guns (R, 109 min.) HHH A pair of undercover agents (Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg) become reluctant allies after they attract the violent interest of the DEA, a Mexican druglord (James Edward Olmos) and a rogue Navy Intelligence officer (James Marsden) in this unpretentious actioner.

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