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Movie picks


Films recommended by our reviewers are indicated by an *.

Alice in Wonderland (PG)

In Tim Burton's disappointing take on Lewis Carroll's classic, it's nice to meet actress Mia Wasikowska as an independent-minded teen Alice; less nice that the adventure involves donning armor, beheading a dragon, and drinking its blood. — Jonathan Kiefer

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*The A-Team (PG-13)

Don't let claims that this cinematic version of the 1980s TV series The A-Team is "wonderfully stupid" or "dumb fun" fool you: It takes a lot of smarts and a tank full of instinct to pull off something this exhilarating. — Justin Strout

Chapel Hills 15, Hollywood Interquest

The Back-up Plan (PG-13)

A single woman (Jennifer Lopez) finally meets a man she thinks might be "the one" on the day she's scheduled for an artificial insemination. — Not reviewed

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Clash of the Titans (PG-13)

Perseus and Co.'s battles — which include giant scorpions, a cursed king, a squadron of flying harpies, and the snake-haired Medusa — are all edited together with frantic inefficiency. The result is a movie that moves without creating any real tension. — Scott Renshaw

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*Date Night (PG-13)

Steve Carell and Tina Fey add flavor to this comedy about a couple trying to invigorate their marriage with a date night. — Scott Renshaw

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Death at a Funeral (R)

In this remake starring Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence, a father's funeral leads to a series of family arguments, exposing dark secrets and possibly murder. — Not reviewed

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Furry Vengeance (PG)

When a real estate developer's latest project threatens the local forest creatures, the animals seek revenge by turning a peaceful cul-de-sac under construction into a battlefield. — Not reviewed

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Get Him to the Greek (R)

English comedian and force of nature Russell Brand was the best part of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and now he's back starring as sex-crazed rocker Aldous Snow, this time with Jonah Hill as the record company drone who must corral the party animal and get him to his comeback concert. — MaryAnn Johanson

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*The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (NR)

Based on the novel by Stieg Larsson, the film won Sweden's Oscar-equivalent for Best Picture. Noomi Rapace is unforgettable as Lisbeth, a 24-year-old Goth punk who's angry and antisocial, but also brilliant. — Tricia Olszewski

Kimball's Peak Three

Grown Ups (PG-13)

Five guys — played by Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider — reunite for the funeral of their former basketball coach. None of them have actually grown up, merely gotten older and, it seems, infinitely more malicious. — MaryAnn Johanson.

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

*How to Train Your Dragon (R)

How to Train Your Dragon opts for the most overused premise in kid-flick-dom, that of a misfit whose unique gifts are destined to be valued by those who once mocked him. But, the film's dragon flying sequences make the ticket price seem worthwhile. — Scott Renshaw

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Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (PG)

Summer Kids' Series: Do you remember how The Flintstones was really The Honeymooners, except as a prehistoric cartoon? Well, in a similar way, the Ice Age movies are sitcoms. Which leaves me thinking, there are a couple things that we should let go extinct. — MaryAnn Johanson

Chapel Hills 15

The Karate Kid (PG)

In this remake of 1984's The Karate Kid, martial arts master Jackie Chan will enunciate the movie's moral — something about getting back on a horse, but more Chinesey — and then young Dre (Jaden Smith) will repeat it back later, for audience members who've awakened from their naps. — MaryAnn Johanson

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

*Knight and Day (PG-13)

From the opening airplane fistfight, to the first wild car chase, to a motorcycle dash from raging Spanish bulls, Knight and Day (starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz) plays out like a James Bond movie from the Roger Moore days: too busy inspiring smiles to generate concerns about plausibility. — Scott Renshaw

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

The Last Airbender (PG)

In this live-action fantasy from M. Night Shyamalan, Aang (Noah Ringer) discovers he is the lone avatar with the power to manipulate all four elements: air, earth, fire and water. — Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

The Last Song (PG)

In a small beach town, an estranged father spends the summer with his reluctant teen daughter (Miley Cyrus), who'd rather be home in New York. — Not reviewed

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Marmaduke (PG)

Based on the newspaper comic strip about a Great Dane, this live action adaptation follows the Winslow family and their dog as they move into a new neighborhood and wreck havoc. — Not reviewed

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Mother and Child (R)

A story of three women just trying to cope with life. Elizabeth (Naomi Watts) uses her sex appeal to control a situation; Karen (Annette Bening) lashes out, bitter about giving up a child she had at age 14; Lucy (Kerry Washington) has failed to conceive, and so must adopt. — Not reviewed

Kimball's Peak Three

*Please Give (R)

Catherine Keener plays Kate, a woman whose upper-class guilt compels her to hand out money or food virtually every time she walks down her street — acts that are occasionally intercepted by her teenage daughter. ("He looked homeless," Kate reasons. Her daughter replies, "He looked like a black man waiting for a table!") — Tricia Olszewski

Kimball's Peak Three

Robin Hood (PG-13)

Robin Hood was supposed to be awesome. Did not Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott implicitly promise me awesome with their Gladiator-in-Sherwood-Forest trailer? What happened? — MaryAnn Johnson

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*The Secret in Their Eyes (R)

A recently retired federal investigator decides to write a book on a case that has dogged him over two decades. Hitchcockian tension, a breathtaking chase, and ambiguous victims and villains seamlessly coexist alongside existential musings in this Oscar-winning thriller. — Tricia Olszewski

Kimball's Peak Three

*Shrek Forever After (PG)

Many of us have suspected it all along, but it's official: The Shrek film series is actually a sitcom. For those who won't find a change of personality any great loss, however, it's a pleasant surprise. — Scott Renshaw

Chapel Hills 15

*Splice (R)

How do we account, Splice asks, for the kindred dorkdom of lab-cloistered scientists and monster-movie completists? Are we talking nature or nurture here? — Jonathan Kiefer

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*Toy Story 3 (G)

The 11 years since Toy Story 2 have passed almost in real time, with a now-17-year-old Andy (John Morris) preparing for college. And due to a mixup, Woody, Buzz and company end up at Sunnyside Day Care, in yet another triumph of profoundly felt storytelling from Pixar that explores the theme of letting go. — Scott Renshaw

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (PG-13)

The Twilight producers keep trying; you've got to give them that. Yet the truth is, the movies are stuck with Stephenie Meyer's books as a foundation. Yet this is also fundamentally an adolescent melodrama, and melodrama is hard for even the best actors in the best circumstances. Neither is the case here. — Scott Renshaw

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Cinemark 16 IMAX, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

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