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Bill W. Documentary about Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous and, perhaps, inspiration to all the 12-step programs that followed. First-time filmmakers Kevin Hanlon and Dan Carracino explore the man who has helped countless addicts overcome their demons — and keep them at bay — since 1935.

Not rated, 104 minutes. — Lucinda Breeding

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, serving up half-hearted sight gags that have a habit of landing with an ominous thud. 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

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, with a soundtrack ranging from David Guetta and Bruno Mars to the Bangles and Simple Minds. Some performances will make you smile; others will give you chills. Starring Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and Hana Mae Lee. Rated PG-13, 112 minutes. — The Associated Press

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 that lumbers along like a math class droning multiplication tables. Directed and co-written by Daniel Barnz. Rated PG, 121 minutes. — AP




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. — Boo Allen

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

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

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. — LAT

House at the End of the Street A recent divorcee and her daughter move into a dream house in an upscale town, only to find that their new home hides dark secrets. With Jennifer Lawrence, Elisabeth Shue, Max Thieriot and Gil Bellows. Written by David Loucka. Directed by Mark Tonderai. Rated PG-13, 101 minutes. — LAT

Last Ounce of Courage Azle resident Marshall Teague plays war veteran Bob Revere, whose son is killed in combat. While raising his grandson, he is inspired to action when he feels that religious freedom and civil liberties are being violated. Rated PG, 101 minutes. — The Dallas Morning News

Lawless (***) Based on The Wettest County in the World, Matt Bondurant’s fictional tale of his grandfather and his brothers, moonshine masters who kept the Virginia hills good ’n’ liquored up during Prohibition. The brothers (Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Jason Clarke) find their tidy little operation threatened when a corrupt Chicago lawman (Guy Pearce) swoops in to shut them down. Rated R, 116 minutes. — AP

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.

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

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. His 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, and the running around town takes up much of the film. Rated PG, 92 minutes. — AP

The Possession The divorced parents of a 10-year-old girl are troubled by her increasingly erratic behavior, which seems to be linked to an antique wooden box she purchased at a yard sale. With Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick. Directed by Ole Bornedal. Rated PG-13, 91 minutes. — LAT

Resident Evil: Retribution In a world devastated by a zombie virus, one woman scours the globe to save humanity and stop an evil corporation. With Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Sienna Guillory and Kevin Durand. Rated R, 93 minutes. — LAT

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. — H.R.