Movie Capsules: What's Showing

Capsule descriptions and starred mini-reviews by John Beifuss.

OPENING FRIDAY

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (R, 90 min.) Before he directed the zomrom.com “Warm Bodies,” Jonathan Levine helmed this well-reviewed slasher update with Amber Heard, now receiving a belated theatrical release seven (!!) years after its festival run.

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Captain Phillips (PG-13, 134 min.) See review elsewhere on gomemphis.com.

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

Inequality for All (PG, 89 min.) Economist, University of California, Berkeley professor and Clinton administration U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich hosts a documentary look at the country’s widening economic gap.

Studio on the Square.

The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete (R, 108 min.) Anthony Mackie and Jennifer Hudson top the cast of this drama about a pair of inner-city youths left to fend for themselves after the arrest of their mother.

DeSoto Cinema 16, Paradiso.

Machete Kills (R, 98 min.) See review elsewhere on gomemphis.com.

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

Romeo and Juliet (PG-13, 118 min.) Screenwriter Julian Fellowes (“Downton Abbey”) adapted this latest version of Shakespeare’s tale of star-crossed lovers, played here by Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”) and Douglas Booth.

Studio on the Square.

SPECIAL MOVIES

Acquire the Fire Presents: Surge (Not rated, 90 min.) A youth-oriented Christian concert film featuring rock-and-roll bands, comedians and motivational speakers.

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, Paradiso. Tickets: $12.50. Visit malco.com.

Aqui y Allá (Not rated, 110 min.) A man returns to his mountain village home in Guerrero, Mexico, after years of working in the U.S. in this 2012 drama from Mexican writer-director Antonio Méndez Esparza.

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

Birth of the Living Dead (Not rated, 76 min.) The “Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers” continues with this documentary about the production and impact of George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” (1968), the movie that introduced the concept of the flesh-eating zombie to popular culture. Director Rob Kuhns and producer Esther Cassidy will attend.

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Studio on the Square. Tickets: $8; $6 for seniors; free for students and Indie Memphis members. Visit indiememphis.com.

The General (Not rated, 107 min.) A rare public screening of Buster Keaton’s 1926 silent comedy masterpiece, with musical accompaniment from master concert organist Walt Strony.

7 p.m. Friday, St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, 700 Poplar. Admission: free. Visit stmarysmemphis.org.

Great White Shark: This 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 showtimes, tickets and reservations.

La Camioneta: The Journey of One American School Bus (Not rated, 72 min.) Every day dozens of decommissioned school buses are driven to Guatemala, to be resurrected as brightly painted work vehicles that are the frequent targets of murderous bandits. Director Mark Kendall’s 2012 documentary traces the “life” of one such bus.

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

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (R, 100 min.) The monthly screening of the ultimate audience-participation sci-fi rock ’n roll musical cult classic.

11:30 p.m. Friday, Evergreen Theatre, 1705 Poplar. Tickets: $10. Visit rockyhorrormemphis.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, when humans shared the tundra with mammoths and other woolly beasts. 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.

Unreal Film Festival: Recent short and feature-length horror movies from around the world receive their Memphis public-screening debuts.

Wednesday through Oct. 19, Evergreen Theatre, 1705 Poplar. Day passes: $8, or $5 in advance. Visit unrealfilmfest.com.

ALSO SHOWING

Baggage Claim (PG-13, 96 min.) HH½ This romantic-comedy showcase for statuesque Paula Patton is formulaic and predictable in the extreme, and often distressingly retrograde in its suggestion that a woman’s value is dependent on her association with a man; yet it is frequently funny, and it offers the not insubstantial pleasure of watching a number of talented pros hit their marks without condescension, even if the material offers little challenge to their talents. (The chief scene-stealer is Jenifer Lewis as Patton’s haughty five-times-married mother.) Patton portrays unlucky-in-love flight attendant Montana Moore, whose desperate deadline quest for a date is writer-director David E. Talbert’s excuse to place his star in a variety of uncomfortable situations opposite such suitors as a conceited politician (Taye Diggs), a zillionaire hotel owner (Djimon Hounsou), a henpecked rapper (Trey Songz) and a literal Mr. Right, neighbor William Wright (Derek Luke). If the process is humiliating for Montana, it’s liberating for Patton: The actress reveals herself to be a sort of sexier Lucille Ball, gamely hiding in garbage cans, clambering over fences, lurking on fire escapes and otherwise agreeably sacrificing her dignity in pursuit of laughs.

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

Battle of the Year (PG-13, 109 min.) Another 3D teen dance competition drama.

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

Besharam (Not rated, 145 min.) Ranbir Kapoor stars as a street-smart car thief in this Bollywood romantic action-comedy musical.

Hollywood 20 Cinema.

Blue Jasmine (PG-13, 98 min.) HHHH Cate Blanchett is intense, unlikable, pathetic, sympathetic, hateful, clueless, charming, fragile and frightening as an Upper East Side socialite turned San Francisco sponge in writer-director Woody Allen’s 45th film, a “Streetcar Named Desire” gloss about a spoiled, self-medicating, suddenly broke woman who is forced to move in with her unglamorous working-class sister (Sally Hawkins) after her millionaire husband (Alec Baldwin) is revealed to be a Bernie Madoff-esque crook.

Forest Hill 8.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 (PG, 95 min.) HHH½ The “ecosystem of living food” that inhabits this digitally animated sequel to 2009’s “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” contains many types of adorable and hostile eatables, but the movie itself is pure eye candy — a rubbery rainbow rush of colors and shapes that’s almost enough to send the retinas into sugar shock. That’s a compliment: Credited to “Powerpuff Girls” veteran Justin Thompson, the production design here is so imaginative and amusing that it makes not only most live-action fantasy films but most computer-animated features — with their paradoxical insistence on photorealism — look conventional and timid. If the first movie was a disaster-film spoof, the sequel ventures into “Jurassic Park” territory, as nerdy inventor Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader), his meteorologist girlfriend (Anna Faris) and the other returning characters venture to land of living “tacodiles,” “shrimpanzees” and other “foodimals”; new to the cast is a Steve Jobs-esque “San Franjose”-based corporate guru-sage (Will Forte) whose aggressively hip presence (he supplies his employees with “quinoa lattes”) is intended to impress adults with the filmmakers’ cleverness rather than to amuse children. Directed by veteran animators Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn.

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

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 — creepy dolls and puppets, loud music cues, figures lunging from shadows — and demonstrates why they continue to unnerve. Inspired by (supposedly) true events, this Amityville-esque chiller set in 1971 casts Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, asked to examine a haunted farmhouse occupied by a working-class couple and their five daughters.

Bartlett 10.

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

Bartlett 10, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Don Jon (R, 90 min.) A romantic comedy about a sex addict, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who also directed) and Scarlett Johansson.

CinePlanet 16, Cordova Cinema, DeSoto Cinema 16, Stage Cinema, Studio on the Square.

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 clean green place of classical music and almost magical health care, protected by a stern pant-suited Defense Secretary (Jodie Foster).

Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Enough Said (PG-13, 91 min.) HHH½ Writer-director Nicole Holofcener emerges every few years from the economic security of episodic television to deliver another wry, acutely observed, character-based contemporary comedy-drama; her latest is a small gem of a so-called romcom that benefits from a winning lead performance by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, in a rare movie role, and from the suddenly dear presence of bearish James Gandolfini, in his next-to-last film, as an unlikely, even cuddly love interest. Set in a perpetually sunny Southern California, the movie casts Louis-Dreyfus as a traveling massage therapist whose cumbersome portable table is the symbol of her Sisyphean struggle on the incline of personal happiness and romantic satisfaction; Gandolfini is a similarly divorced parent with the burden of a combative ex-wife. The “unbelievable coincidence” of the key plot twist is pure sitcom, yet the movie retains its grown-folks charm: “Our middle-agedness is comforting,” Louis-Dreyfus says to Gandolfini, after their first date blossoms into a relationship. “And sort of sexy.” Yes, it is.

Ridgeway Cinema Grill.

The Family (R, 111 min.) A mafia clan led by Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer is relocated to France in this action-comedy.

Collierville Towne 16, Palace Cinema, Stage Cinema.

Grace Unplugged (PG, 118 min.) A teenage Christian singer (AJ Michalka) tries to balance fame and faith.

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

Gravity (PG-13, 91 min.) Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are lost in space in a science-fiction adventure that may be the best-reviewed studio movie of the year to date.

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, Paradiso (in 3-D), Ridgeway Cinema Grill (in 3-D), Stage Cinema (in 3-D), Studio on the Square, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

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.

Bartlett 10, CinePlanet 16.

Insidious: Chapter 2 (PG-13, 105 min.) Less than two months after the arrival of his “The Conjuring,” director James Wan delivers another ghost story.

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.

Instructions Not Included (PG-13, 100 min.) Mexican TV superstar Eugenio Derbez directed and stars in this Spanish-language comedy-drama about a party-hearty man suddenly saddled with the daughter he never knew he had.

Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

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.

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

Metallica: Through the Never (R, 95 min.) An apocalyptic fictional storyline is threaded through this concert film, directed by Nimród Antal (“Predators”).

Paradiso (in 3-D).

Monsters University (G, 118 min.) HHH½ A prequel to 2001’s “Monsters, Inc.” the 14th Pixar feature film lacks the grandeur and ambition that characterize the company’s most impressive work but succeeds absolutely as a clever, beautifully rendered “Revenge of the Nerds” campus comedy and origin story for the friendship of high-energy walking eyeball Mike Wazowksi (voiced by Billy Crystal) and his shaggy bearlike friend, Sulley (John Goodman). Despite its state-of-the-art digital animation, the movie is old-fashioned in the best sense; It generates humor through situation, characterization and relevant jokes, rather than with catchphrases, pop culture references, bathroom humor and winks at the parents in the audience.

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.

CinePlanet 16.

Parkland (PG-13, 92 min.) An all-star cast — Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden, Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton, and more — in a recounting of the chaotic events at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital on the day of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

Ridgeway Cinema Grill.

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).

CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Stage Cinema.

Planes (PG, 92 min.) An airborne “Cars” spinoff.

CinePlanet 16, Collierville Towne 16, Summer Quartet Drive-In.

Prisoners (R, 153 min.) A dark tale of missing children and vigilantism, with Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal.

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

Pulling Strings (PG, 112 min.) Mexican pop-TV-movie star Jaime Camil plays a mariachi singer who romances a U.S. diplomat (Laura Ramsey) in Mexico City.

Paradiso.

Raja Rani (Not rated, 165 min.) A Tamil-language family-friendly musical romantic comedy, starring the male and female Indian pop idols known as Arya and Nayantara.

Hollywood 20 Cinema.

Red 2 (PG-13, 116 min.) HHH Bruce Willis, John Malkovich.

Bartlett 10, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

Riddick (R, 119 min.) HH Producer-star Vin Diesel and writer-director David Twohy wisely jettison the mythopoetic bloat of 2004’s “The Chronicles of Riddick” for a retreat to the simple man-vs.-monsters formula that made the first film, “Pitch Black,” a surprise hit in 2000; this time, bad-ass antihero Riddick (Diesel) battles weasely mercenaries as well as wiggly creatures after being marooned on a rocky, desolate planet. (He also befriends an alien “dog,” in the most Robinson Crusoe-like aspect of this survival saga.) The result is too Riddick-ulous to recommend, although a few of the more outlandish effects are a hoot (gore fans will dig what the captive Riddick does with that machete).

Hollywood 20 Cinema, Majestic, Palace Cinema.

Runner Runner (R, 91 min.) A college student (Justin Timberlake) who is an online poker ace is recruited into the inner circle of an offshore gambling tycoon (Ben Affleck).

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

Rush (R, 123 min.) HHH Thirty-six years after making his directorial debut with “Grand Theft Auto,” Ron Howard again puts the pedal to the metal with one of his better films, a rubber-burning Formula One race saga that is less a paean to the power of the internal combustion engine than a portrait of two strong personalities in conflict (as one expects from the work of screenwriter Peter Morgan, whose credits include “The Queen” and “Frost/Nixon”). The clash here is between real-life 1970s race-track rivals James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth, golden and godlike even without his Thor armor), a reckless jet-setting ladies’ man, and conceited and disciplined Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl), an analytical Austrian with the warmth of Mr. Spock and the front teeth of Nosferatu (hence, his nickname of “The Rat”); the tracks that challenge these men contain plenty of hairpin curves, but the most exciting twist is the way the story reverses expectations, eventually making both Hunt and Lauda as sympathetic as they are, yes, driven.

Collierville Towne 16, Cordova Cinema, Palace Cinema, Paradiso.

Smurfs 2 (PG, 105 min.) HH “It’s in my face!” complained a young girl new to 3D at the Memphis preview for this film; child, we feel your pain.

Bartlett 10.

Turbo (PG, 96 min.) A snail dreams of winning the Indy 500 in the latest DreamWorks Animation release.

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 drug lord (James Edward Olmos) and a rogue Navy Intelligence officer (James Marsden) in this unpretentious actioner, elevated by the high likability of its wry star duo. Riffing on Don Siegel’s “Charley Varrick” (1973) and the “anti-buddy” films of Walter Hill (“48 Hrs.”), director Baltasar Kormákur keeps the pace and patter loose and lively; the result is almost refreshing — a run through a sprinkler on a summer movie-season lawn cluttered with junked blockbusters.

Majestic, Palace Cinema.

We’re the Millers (R, 110 min.) Pot dealer Jason Sudeikis and stripper Jennifer Aniston form a fake family to elude the Feds.

Cordova Cinema, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

White House Down (PG-13, 132 min.) HH Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx.

Bartlett 10.

The Wolverine (PG-13, 129 min.) HHH½ Hugh Jackman, Rila Fukishima.

Bartlett 10, Wolfchase Galleria Cinema 8.

You’re Next (R, 96 min.) HHH Mumblecore may be dead but mumblegore is alive and, well, pretty grisly, judging from this tongue-in-cheek, blender-in-head home-invasion horror thriller from director Adam Wingard, whose cast of (mostly doomed) characters includes such fellow lo-fi auteurs as Joe Swanberg, Amy Seimetz and Ti West. With its action confined almost entirely to a large isolated house, the film is a clever and convincing throwback to the heydays of the drive-in and grindhouse.

Bartlett 10.

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