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Celeste and Jesse Forever (***) Sporadically funny but ultimately slight romantic comedy built on the single premise of a married couple (Andy Samberg and co-writer Rashida Jones) who work better apart than together. Once apart, their relationship becomes close enough to annoy friends and family. But inevitably, feelings for other people begin to complicate matters. Lee Toland Krieger directs, letting his likable actors carry the load. Rated R, 91 minutes. At the Angelika Dallas. — Boo Allen

The Expendables 2 After a seemingly routine mission goes awry, a band of mercenaries seek revenge against an adversary and stumble onto a global threat. With Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li and Dolph Lundgren. Directed by Simon West. Rated R, 103 minutes. — Los Angeles Times

ParaNorman (**1/2) No one wants to tell 60 puppet makers that their months of toil were ill spent. But the frequently wondrous and whimsical visuals far surpass the disappointingly slipshod story of an 11-year-old boy named Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) who can see and speak to the dead. ParaNorman is from the creators of 2009’s Coraline, and bears much of the same fantasy-horror spirit. It also has some of the comic elements of the British studio

 Aardman Animations (Wallace and Gromit). Norman’s uncle (John Goodman) bequeaths to him the duty of pacifying a witch that has haunted their town for 300 years. After failing in the ritual, Norman and an improvised gang flee from zombies. The running around town takes up much of the film. Rated PG, 92 minutes. — The Associated Press

Sparkle In Motown-era Detroit, a talented young singer tries to balance a new romance with her manager, her family life and her ambition to become a star. With Jordin Sparks, the late Whitney Houston, Derek Luke and Mike Epps. Directed by Salim Akil. Rated PG-13, 111 minutes. — LAT

360 (**1/2) Fernando Meirelles (City of God) directed this fragmented film, jumping among various locales — Vienna, Austria; London; Denver; Bratislava, Slovakia — to tell Peter Morgan’s superficially woven story involving various characters. People meet, interact and have influences on others’ lives, as seen in several other similar films. Boosting the overall effect are a late action sequence and some good performances, including Anthony Hopkins as a grieving father and a terrific Ben Foster as a paroled sex offender. Rated R, 110 minutes. At the Angelika Dallas. — B.A.




The Bourne Legacy (***) This fourth film in the Bourne franchise may seem heady and intentionally disorienting and hard to follow at first — until you realize it’s really about drug addiction. That may help as you compare it with the first three films in the series that starred Matt Damon. Jeremy Renner stars as Aaron Cross, who finds he’s the target of a legitimate threat when the supersecret government spy program he’s a part of hastily gets shut down. Turns out, Jason Bourne was not the only person who was given a whole new identity and transformed into a killing machine. With Rachel Weisz. Rated PG-13, 135 minutes. — AP

Brave Disney and Pixar teamed up to create the Little Princess Who Wouldn’t — wouldn’t consider marriage her destiny, that is. Meet Princess Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald), an expert archer known for her defiance and her explosion of screaming red curls. Neither pleases her father, King Fergus (voiced by the incomparable Billy Connolly), or her mum, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). While the queen is looking to land a good young man for her daughter, Merida is looking for a spell that will change her destiny. Rated PG, 93 minutes. — Lucinda Breeding

The Campaign When a long-running congressman commits a public gaffe ahead of an election, two wealthy CEOs arrange for a puppet candidate to challenge him. With Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis and Katherine LaNasa. Directed by Jay Roach. Rated R, 85 minutes. — LAT

The Dark Knight Rises (**1/2 ) Director Christopher Nolan directs the last of his three Batman films with Christian Bale again playing the dark knight. A villain (Tom Hardy) steals a nuclear weapon and threatens to blow up Gotham, while several other plot points play out in this overwritten opus. Anne Hathaway, as an undesignated Catwoman, and Marion Cottillard appear as eye-candy femme fatales. A mediocre movie, not bad — just not as good as earlier versions. Rated PG-13, 164 minutes. — B.A.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days An adolescent boy tries to survive summer misadventures in such fraught situations as swimming at the public pool and going camping. With Zachary Gordon, Devon Bostick, Rachael Harris and Robert Capron. Rated PG, 94 minutes. — LAT

Hope Springs (****) The first produced script from television writer and producer Vanessa Taylor (Alias, Game of Thrones) explores the complicated dynamics that develop over a long-term relationship with great honesty and little judgment. Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) live a sexless life in a comfortable Nebraska suburb. When Kay finally decides she’s sick of their complacent routine, she insists Arnold join her for a week of intensive couples therapy with a renowned psychologist (Steve Carell). Rated PG-13, 99 minutes. — AP

Ice Age: Continental Drift (**1/2) There’s considerably less drift in the latest in a long line of lucrative cartoons from Blue Sky Studios and their friends at Fox. It’s all sight gags and action beats, which tends to cover the shortcomings these assembly-line farces are infamous for. Manny the mammoth (voiced by Ray Romano), Diego the saber-toothed tiger (Denis Leary), Sid, the innocent but accident-prone sloth (John Leguizamo, always funny) and Sid’s Granny (Wanda Sykes) are adrift on an iceberg. That’s when they meet the pirates. Rated PG, 94 minutes. — McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D A documentary about daredevils attempting to pull off extreme stunts. With Travis Pastrana, Jolene Van Vugt and Erik Roner. Directed by Gregg Godfrey and Jeremy Rawle. Rated PG-13, 80 minutes. — LAT

The Odd Life of Timothy Green (**1/2) Adapting a short story by Ahmet Zappa (son of Frank), writer-director Peter Hedges (Pieces of April) tries for old-fashioned wholesomeness only to flounder amid a well-intended but sappy tale of a childless couple mystically granted a test run at parenthood. Hedges assembled an impressive cast, led by Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton as parents to a mystery boy (CJ Adams) who comes into their lives, and the actors buy into the story’s conceits wholeheartedly. But a movie’s in trouble when the characters are just as unbelievable as the premise. Rated PG, 104 minutes. — AP

Step Up Revolution Newly arrived in Miami, an aspiring dancer falls for the leader of a local dance crew, and together they battle a wealthy developer. With Ryan Guzman, Kathryn McCormick, Misha Gabriel and Peter Gallagher. Rated PG-13, 97 minutes. — LAT

Total Recall In the future, a factory worker’s role-playing mental vacation as a super-spy goes awry, leaving him a hunted man and blurring the lines between reality and fantasy. With Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel and Bryan Cranston. Directed by Len Wiseman. Rated PG-13, 118 minutes. — LAT

The Watch (**1/2) In this neighborhood-watch-discovers-an-alien-invasion comedy, Vince Vaughn is second banana to Ben Stiller, trying like heck to keep from being third-billed to Jonah Hill. The screenwriters (Seth Rogen among them) took inspiration from the Twilight Zone episode “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” and The ’Burbs in trying to cook up some reason to get these guys together, talking dirty, swilling beer and growing increasingly paranoid at the bizarre murders popping up in their quiet suburb. Sometimes ponderous, sometimes explosively funny. Rated R, 102 minutes. — MCT