‘17 Again’ (PG-13) HHH
An unhappy man in his late 30s is transported back to his body at 17 and gets a chance to fix things with his alienated family. Zac Efron is a charmer as the teenager, and there is a completely unanticipated fanboy-fangirl romance that is comic genius. Pleasant, harmless. Language, some sexual material and teen partying.
‘Battle for Terra’ (PG) HHH
Aliens attack Terra. But the aliens are humans, and Terra is a peaceful planet inhabited by cute tadpole-like creatures with features of mermaids and seahorses. An imaginative animated sci-fi fantasy, with an excellent voice cast, although must everything be resolved in a big battle scene? The 3-D adds nothing; find it in 2-D if you can. Sequences of science-fiction action violence and some thematic elements.
‘Earth’ (G) HHH
A beautiful documentary of Earth’s climates and wild creatures, featuring spectacular photography. Distilled from the BBC/Discovery series "Planet Earth," and taking advantage of the big screen to make full use of its hi-def visuals. Younger audiences in particular will enjoy it. Narrated by James Earl Jones.
‘Fast & Furious’ (PG-13) N/A
When a crime brings them back to L.A., fugitive ex-con Dom Toretto reignites his feud with agent Brian O'Conner. But as they are forced to confront a shared enemy, Dom and Brian must give in to an uncertain new trust if they hope to outmanuever him. Starring Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Gal Gadot and Jordana Brewster. Intense sequences of violence and action, some sexual content, language and drug references. Not reviewed.
‘Fighting’ (PG-13) HHH
What’s advertised as a genre picture about New York professional street fighters turns out to be a lot more: The characters and actors bring uncommon interest to the story. Terrence Howard plays a mild-mannered boxing promoter who sidesteps all the cliches of such roles; Channing Tatum is a small-town Alabama kid in the big city, Zulay Henao is a sweetheart as a waitress in a rough club, and Altagracia Guzman steals her scene as the waitress’s protective older relative. Intense fight sequences, a sex scene and brief strong language.
‘Ghosts of Girlfriends Past’ (PG-13) HH
Matthew McConaughey plays a famous lecher who turns up at his kid brother’s wedding to discourage it and advocate a life of promiscuity. But the ghost of his late Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas) arrives as a spirit guide to take him on a tour of girlfriends past, present and future. Some funny lines and a warm performance by Jennifer Garner, but the hero is far from sympathetic. Sexual content throughout, some language and a drug reference.
‘Hannah Montana: the Movie’ (G) N/A
The Stewart family returns to Tennessee. With Billy Ray Cyrus, Miley Cyrus, Emily Osment, Jason Earles and Mitchel Tate Musso. Not reviewed.
‘Knowing’ (PG-13) HHHH
Among the best science fiction films I’ve seen — frightening, suspenseful, intelligent and, when it needs to be, rather awesome. Nicolas Cage plays an MIT astrophysicist whose son brings home a sheet of paper after a 50-year-old time capsule is opened at his grade school. The sheet is covered with numbers, which the scientist, despite all his training, becomes convinced mean something. Pluck this movie, and it vibrates. Disaster sequences, disturbing images and brief strong language.
‘Monsters vs. Aliens’ (Not in 3-D) (PG) HH1⁄2
Monsters from the 1950s are released from a secret federal prison to join the 49-foot, 11-inch Ginormica (voice by Reese Witherspoon) in saving Earth from hostile aliens. Probably fun for younger kids, but lacks the humor and personality of earlier DreamWorks films like "Shrek." The 3- D, not as bright as 2-D, is more a distraction than enhancement. Sci-fi action, some crude humor and mild language.
‘Obsessed’ (PG-13) N/A
Derek Charles, a successful asset manager who has just received a huge promotion, is blissfully happy in his career and in his marriage to the beautiful Beth. But when Lisa, a temp worker, starts stalking Derek, everything he's worked so hard for, are placed in jeopardy. Starring Beyonce Knowles, Idris Elba, Ali Larter, Jerry O’Connell and Christine Lahti. Sexual material including some suggestive dialogue, some violence and thematic content. Not reviewed.
‘The Soloist’ (PG-13) HH1⁄2
Jamie Foxx stars as a homeless street musician who is written about by a Los Angeles Times columnist (Robert Downey Jr.) and becomes an overnight celebrity. He was a child prodigy, studied at Juilliard, plays violin and cello, but is haunted by the demons of mental illness. All the pieces are in place and the actors are convincing, but the film never really delivers on the promise of the story. Thematic elements, some drug use and language.
‘Star Trek’ (PG-13) HH1⁄2
Using the device of time travel, the new movie reboots the original franchise with younger characters and actors, as we meet Kirk, Spock, Scotty, Uhuru and Bones in their younger days. Lacks the twists and challenges of classic "Star Trek" and is essentially a space opera, with young Kirk (Chris Pine) battling a Romulan super ship from the future. Leonard Nimoy is very effective as an elder Spock, who is, paradoxically, a Vulcan who seems the most human of the characters. Sci-fi action and violence, and brief sexual content.
‘State of Play’ (PG-13) HHH
Russell Crowe is a seasoned newspaper reporter and Rachel McAdams is the paper’s plucky young blogger; together, they uncover an unholy political and corporate alliance. Smart, well-made, good work by Crowe, McAdams, Robin Wright Penn and Helen Mirren as the editor. Mysteries are resolve a little too quickly at the end. Directed by Kevin Macdonald ("The Last King of Scotland"). Some violence, language including sexual references, and brief drug content.
‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ (PG-13) HH
Since the modern Wolverine has amnesia and at the end of this film he forgets everything in it, who cares about his origins? A monotonous, shallow and inarticulate character, used as a story device linking pointless action scenes. None of the charisma of the great superheroes. Intense sequences of action and violence, and some partial nudity.
Reviews by Roger Ebert unless otherwise noted.