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Movie picks


Films recommended by our reviewers are indicated by an *.

*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

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Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (PG)

Former cat spy Kitty Galore has gone rogue and launched a plan to leash her canine enemies as well as her former kitty comrades, making the world her scratching post. — Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Charlie St. Cloud (PG-13)

Even though Charlie St. Cloud made me roll my eyes more than once, I found it impossible not to fall in love with Zac Efron's Charlie in this romantic melodrama about a young man dealing with the aftermath of his kid brother's death. — MaryAnn Johanson

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Despicable Me (PG)

There's nothing actively wrong with Despicable Me; you'll find plenty of laughs. It's just that the whole enterprise feels somewhat lazy, the creation of people who want to make a movie without having anything interesting to say. — Scott Renshaw

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

Dinner for Schmucks (PG-13)

Few moviegoing experiences are as excruciating as watching two gifted comics struggle with terrible material. The guilty parties in this comedy, which pits a reluctant jerk against an enthusiastic idiot, are Steve Carell and Paul Rudd. — Tricia Olszewski

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Eat Pray Love (PG-13)

A woman (Julia Roberts) who once made it her goal in life to get married, rear children and achieve domestic bliss, finds her priorities suddenly shifting in this adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert's best-selling memoir. — Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

The Expendables (R)

Sylvester Stallone directed, wrote and stars in the film along with a gaggle of other fading sorta-action heroes including Steve Austin and Dolph Lundgren?! A more proper name for this ensemble would have been The Meatheaded Geriatrics. — Tricia Olszewski

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

The Girl Who Played With Fire (R)

There is enough whodunit in this second adaptation of Stieg Larsson's Millennium series to keep the story engaging, but it's not nearly as thrilling as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, our intro to the brilliant, dark, violent force of nature that is Lisbeth Salander. — Tricia Olszewski

Kimball's Peak Three

*How to Train Your Dragon (R)

How to Train Your Dragon opts for an overused kid-flick premise, that of a misfit whose gifts are destined to be valued by those who once mocked him. But, the dragon-flying moments make the ticket price worthwhile. — Scott Renshaw

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*Inception (PG-13)

In an unspecified future, the technology exists for people to enter one another's dreams. Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) has become a fugitive corporate spy stealing ideas from the subconsciouses of executives. The Christopher Nolan film proves remarkably nimble at getting us to the payoff, and what a payoff it is. — Scott Renshaw

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

*Iron Man 2 (PG-13)

With its wily script, the film featuring Robert Downey Jr. returning in the title role is hearty and swiftly paced, but not helped by having so many characters. Still, director Jon Favreau and Co. has a knack for meeting superhero blockbuster expectations. — Jonathan Kiefer

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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

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*The Kids Are All Right (R)

At its simplest, this film is about two teenagers seeking out their sperm-donor father. But really the film is about family, from pretty much every angle you can imagine. — Tricia Olszewski

Kimball's Peak Three

*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

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The Other Guys (PG-13)

In this serviceable comedy, Will Ferrell plays an NYPD forensic accountant who loves his desk job. His resentful partner is played by Mark Wahlberg, who adds some comic embellishments of his own. — Marjorie Baumgarten

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

Predators (R)

Set 13 years after the events in Predator 2, the film follows Royce (Adrien Brody), a mercenary soldier, who is dropped on an alien world where humans are hunted for sport by the Predators. — Not reviewed

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Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (PG-13)

Here we are, with a hairy, hunky Jake Gyllenhaal and a pretty, pouty Gemma Arterton, in an epic adventure about a dagger that is also a time machine. Sure, Prince of Persia is watchable, but only as a video game that's been rendered unplayable. — Jonathan Kiefer

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Ramona and Beezus (G)

The adventures of young Ramona Quimby (Joey King) and her big sister Beezus (Selena Gomez) come to life in this film based on the best-selling books by Beverly Cleary. — Not reviewed

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*Restrepo (R)

Thrill-addicted journalist Sebastian Junger and fellow war-zone regular Tim Hetherington embedded with a platoon of American soldiers in Afghanistan's "deadliest place on Earth," the Korengal Valley. The film has been shorn of context or comment, and is a distillation of the experience of being on the ground with them. — Jonathan Kiefer

Kimball's Peak Three

*Salt (PG-13)

Angelina Jolie is a Russian spy. Or maybe not ... You'll simply have no idea what to believe, and it's downright thrilling to be kept on edge. — MaryAnn Johanson

Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

*Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (PG-13)

On the surface, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World seems like a meticulously faithful adaptation of Bryan Lee O'Malley's graphic novel series about a guy who must defeat his new girlfriend's seven evil exes to win her love. But in the end, it struggles to find the rhythms that gave the original its soul. — Scott Renshaw

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

*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

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The Sorcerer's Apprentice (PG)

Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage) is a master sorcerer in modern-day Manhattan trying to defend the city from his arch-nemesis, when Balthazar recruits a seemingly average guy as his reluctant protégé. — Not reviewed

Hollywood Interquest

Step Up 3D (PG-13)

NYU freshman Moose (Adam G. Sevani) and his dance cohorts ignore school to compete in an underground contest worth $100,000. The good news: The 3D in Step Up 3D looks great — it's bold, striking and vivid. The bad news: Everything else about the movie is terrible. — Dan Hudak

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

*Toy Story 3 (G)

The 11 years since Toy Story 2 have passed almost in real time, with Andy (John Morris) now 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. — Scott Renshaw

Cinemark 16

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (PG-13)

The Twilight producers keep trying; you've got to give them that. But the truth is, the movies are stuck with Stephenie Meyer's books as a foundation. Yet, despite its vampire vs. werewolf story line, this is fundamentally an adolescent melodrama, and melodrama is hard for even the best actors in the best circumstances. Neither of those exist here. — Scott Renshaw


*Winter's Bone (R)

Most films waste little time introducing their critical characters, and in the rural film-noir thriller Winter's Bone, it's the place (the Ozark Mountains in southern Missouri) that lives and breathes. Equally remarkable is that the story's human protagonist, 17-year-old Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence), proves just as compelling. — Scott Renshaw

Kimball's Peak Three

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