Movies

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THEATERS

 

Cinemark Denton 2825 Wind River Lane off I-35E. 940-535-2654. www.cinemark.com .

Movie Tavern 916 W. University Drive. 940-566-FILM (3456). www.movietavern.com .

Rave Motion Pictures 8380 S. I-35E, Hickory Creek. 940-321-2788. www.movietickets.com .

Silver Cinemas Inside Golden Triangle Mall, 2201 S. I-35E. 940-387-1957.

 

OPENING FRIDAY

 

Frankenweenie (***1/2) Feature-length version of the 1984 short that revealed early glimmers of the veteran director’s darkly humorous style. Both films are about the powerful bond between a boy and his dog, one that goes on even after death. Beautifully detailed and painstakingly rendered in 3-D, black-and-white, stop-motion animation, Frankenweenie is a visual and thematic return to the best Burton has offered in his earliest films (Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice). Rated PG, 88 minutes. — The Associated Press

The Oranges (***) Two families, and longtime good friends, live across the street from each other in West Orange, N.J. The middle-aged husband (Hugh Laurie) of one family begins having an affair with the twenty-something daughter (Leighton Meester) of the other. Instead of hiding in shame, they indulge themselves, causing endless problems and often finding humor in the awkward situations. With Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt, Allison Janney, Alia Shawkat and Adam Brody. Rated R, 90 minutes. At the Angelika Dallas and Cinemark West Plano. — Boo Allen

The Revisionaries (**1/2) What could have been an incendiary indictment turns into an often lethargic documentary about how the Texas Board of Education examines and then adopts school books, with specific interest paid to the teaching of evolution and various social topics. Filmmaker Scott Thurman combines lengthy interviews with stock footage from several board meetings. Interesting enough, but it could have been more incisive. Not rated, 92 minutes. At the Magnolia in Dallas. — B.A.

Taken 2 (**1/2) In this repetitive sequel, Liam Neeson again plays former CIA agent Bryan Mills. The father (Rade Serbedzija) of the men Mills killed in the original now seeks revenge, which results in more of the same: Mills using his detecting and tracking skills to ferret out locations, beating up and killing an army of men, and taking part in endless car chases, this time through Istanbul. The main difference is that mother (Famke Janssen) and daughter (Maggie Grace) get to participate. Lucky them. Rated PG-13, 91 minutes. — B.A.

 

NOW PLAYING

 

Dredd 3D (***1/2 ) A wickedly dark comic streak breaks up the vivid violence and relentless bleakness of this 3-D incarnation of the cult-favorite British comic series 2000 A.D. Karl Urban stars as the stoic Judge Dredd, an enforcer who serves as judge, jury and executioner in a dystopian future. Olivia Thirlby has a calm yet confident presence as a rookie judge who’s assigned to Dredd for training one particularly bloody day. Visceral visuals shot in 3-D by Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle. Rated R, 98 minutes. — AP

End of Watch (****) Mismatched buddy cop movie in which the cops record their daily activities while on patrol, from mercilessly teasing each other in the squad car between calls to tracking bad guys through the dangerous streets and narrow alleyways of South Central Los Angeles. Co-stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena have such tremendous chemistry with each other, they make you want to ride alongside them all day, despite the many perils in store. With Cody Horn, America Ferrera and David Harbour. Rated R, 108 minutes. — AP

Finding Nemo 3D A 3-D version of the animated tale about an overprotective clownfish on a journey to rescue his young son. With the voices of Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould and Willem Dafoe. Rated G, 107 minutes. — Los Angeles Times

Hotel Transylvania Despite the proven talents of first-time feature director Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter’s Laboratory), writers Peter Baynham (Arthur Christmas) and Saturday Night Live vet Robert Smigel, and a voice cast headed by Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg, the collaboration falls flat virtually from the get-go. Overprotective daddy Dracula (Sandler) constructs a refuge of an exclusive resort where he and his monstrous ilk can feel free to be themselves. But a party crasher turns up in the form of Jonathan (Samberg), a slacker human backpacker who catches the eye of Dracula’s daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez). Rated PG, 91 minutes. — The Hollywood Reporter

Looper (***) Joseph Gordon Levitt plays Joe, a looper — someone who disposes of bodies sent to him by organized crime from the future. When a job is botched, and another unexpected person (Bruce Willis) returns, Joe flees to the isolated farmhouse of a woman (Emily Blunt) and her son, all for vague reasons. Writer-director Rian Johnson delivers an engaging, if often confusing, time-travel saga, filled with twists and turns but, as in most time-travel movies, with little logic. Rated R, 118 minutes. — B.A.

The Master (**1/2) Philip Seymour Hoffman plays an L. Ron Hubbard-like cult leader in the early 1950s who draws many to him, including an unstable ex-serviceman (Joaquin Phoenix). This sixth film from Paul Thomas Anderson sports a wide, talented cast, an attention to period details, and some flavorful settings and costumes. Rated R, 137 minutes. — B.A.

Pitch Perfect (****) Cheeky and snarky but with an infectious energy, this comedy set in the world of competing college a cappella groups makes us fall in love with the very thing it’s making fun of. It’s ridiculous and predictable but also just a ton of fun, so you may as well give up and give into your inner musical theater geek. The debut feature from director Jason Moore (Broadway’s Avenue Q) and writer Kay Cannon (30 Rock), based on the nonfiction book by Mickey Rapkin, feels like a mash-up of Glee and Revenge of the Nerds. Starring Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and Hana Mae Lee. Rated PG-13, 112 minutes. — AP

Trouble With the Curve Corny, conventional and quite enjoyable father-daughter reconciliation story set mostly in the minor league baseball world of the South. Clint Eastwood plays an old-fashioned scout who disdains computers and fancy statistical charts in favor of his own time-tested instincts. Making his directorial debut, Eastwood’s longtime producer Rob Lorenz knows just how to pitch the story to take advantage of the humorous side of his star’s obstinate crankiness, and Amy Adams makes a good match as the career-driven daughter with festering resentments. Rated PG-13, 110 minutes. — THR

Won’t Back Down (**1/2) The focus of this save-our-school drama practically assures it will fail to join the ranks of great, or even good, education tales. The movie takes the story out of the classroom and into the halls of bureaucracy, leaving almost every kid behind to center on two plucky parents battling entrenched administrators and union leaders to turn around a failing school. So essentially, it’s a school board meeting. Or school bored. Despite earnest performances from Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis as a pair of moms leading the fight, the movie lives down to its bland, us-against-them title with a simple-minded assault on the ills of public schools. Directed and co-written by Daniel Barnz. Rated PG, 121 minutes. — AP

 

 


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