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The Smurfs 2 Time flies when you’re not wondering about the welfare of the Smurfs, those diminutive, animated blue-skinned forest-dwellers. Turns out they’ve been just fine since their 2011 big-screen outing, but there’s trouble brewing in their new adventure-comedy, which mixes animation and live-action. The occasion of Smurfette’s (voiced by Katy Perry) birthday presents the opportunity for her to recall her conflicted origins — rather than a “true-blue” Smurf, she was actually created by the hapless, wannabe evil sorcerer Gargamel (Hank Azaria), who now intends to kidnap her from her enchanted-forest home to obtain the formula for the magical Smurf essence that Papa Smurf (Jonathan Winters, in his final film role) used to originally bestow her with blue-skinned bliss. Beyond a few chuckle-worthy one-liners and some amusing visual comedy, there’s not much to engage adults, although the wee ones should be distracted enough. With Christina Ricci, George Lopez, Anton Yelchin and Neil Patrick Harris. Rated PG, 105 minutes. Opened Wednesday. — The Hollywood Reporter


The Conjuring -- As sympathetic, methodical ghostbusters Lorraine and Ed Warren, Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson make this old-fashioned haunted-house horror film something more than your average fright fest. In 1971, they come to the Perrons’ swampy, musty Rhode Island farmhouse — newly purchased from the bank — to investigate the demonic spirit that has begun terrorizing the couple (Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor) and their five daughters. Director James Wan (Saw) succeeds in patiently building suspense not out of bloodiness, but those old standbys of slamming doors and flashes in the mirror. Rated R, 112 minutes. — The Associated Press

Despicable Me 2 Stealing the moon can be a tough act to follow. Despicable Me 2 finds reformed criminal mastermind Gru (voiced by the innately animated Steve Carell) more or less embracing his newly domesticated life after adopting Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and little Agnes (Elsie Fisher), even swapping his more nefarious activities for a startup jelly-and-jam-making operation. But he soon finds himself in a stickier situation when he’s dispatched by the top-secret Anti-Villain League to track down the perpetrator of a fresh heist involving a ginormous electromagnet. Returning directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud and the returning writing team of Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul again maintain the energy at a brisk, buoyant clip, while Carell and the rest of cast add an extra layer of dimension to those expressively drawn characters. Rated PG, 98 minutes. — HR

Fruitvale Station -- Ryan Coogler’s directorial debut is more than the dramatization of an obituary. It’s about empathy. In recounting (and slightly fictionalizing) the final day of 22-year-old Oscar Grant’s life, Coogler has made a film that piles small daily gestures — and one final, heartbreakingly tragic one — into an inspiring reminder about basic human decency. In a star-making performance, Michael B. Jordan (Friday Night Lights) plays Oscar, the San Francisco Bay Area ex-convict and former drug dealer who was fatally shot by a transit police officer early on New Year’s morning 2009. Jordan’s Oscar is a young black man trying his best in circumstances stacked against him. He struggles to balance his past, his unemployment and his family: girlfriend Sophina (Melonie Diaz), 4-year-old daughter Tatiana (Ariana Neal) and mother Wanda (Octavia Spencer). Rated R, 90 minutes. — AP

Grown Ups 2 It would be dishonest to call Grown Ups 2 the most repellent high-profile comedy in recent memory. But that’s largely because few moviegoers have memories kind enough to have already erased 2010’s Grown Ups — which offered almost every loathsome quality of this installment, plus Rob Schneider. Adam Sandler returns as Lenny, a Hollywood player who since the first film has moved his family to his rural hometown, where the kids can bike to school and Dad gets plenty of Guy Time with pals Eric (Kevin James), Kurt (Chris Rock) and Marcus (David Spade). Happily, this film’s conception of male friendship is less reliant on insults and abuse than its predecessor. Which is not at all to say that the humor has matured. Rated PG-13, 100 minutes. — HR

The Heat -- This familiar riff on the buddy-cop formula relies on the tart chemistry shared by Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock. Bullock stars as a no-nonsense FBI special agent sent to track down and capture a brutal drug lord. It’s not long before she crosses paths with a rough-and-tumble Boston cop (McCarthy), and the inevitable personality clash ensues. Directed by Paul Feig (reuniting with McCarthy after Bridesmaids). — Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Pacific Rim -- Guillermo del Toro co-wrote and directed this summer blockbuster about giant monsters that come from the bottom of the sea and threaten the world. Only a crew of manmade, Transformer-like machines can stop them. Or not. Entertaining silliness with spectacular special effects and plenty of action. Charlie Hunnam plays the once-fallen warrior now back for redemption against the creatures. Rated PG-13, 129 minutes. — Boo Allen

RED 2 -- The joy of RED was seeing a cast packed with Oscar winners (Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, Richard Dreyfuss, Ernest Borgnine) and very good actors (John Malkovich, Mary Louise Parker, Brian Cox and Karl Urban) flesh out and class up a Bruce Willis action film. If anything, this “Retired, Extremely Dangerous” sequel ups the ante. Somebody’s Wikileaked info about a secret bomb project that retired government assassins Frank (Willis) and Marvin (Malkovich) were linked to decades before. Now they need to survive the hit men (Neal McDonough and Byung-hun Lee) sent to get them. Frank and Marvin also have to find the mad scientist (Anthony Hopkins) who built the bomb to clear their names. The change in directors to comedy-specialist Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest) means there’s a laugh a minute amid all this mayhem. Rated PG-13, 108 minutes. — McClatchy-Tribune News Service

R.I.P.D. A pair of undead cops are dispatched by the Rest in Peace Department to protect the world from supernatural threats. With Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges and Mary-Louise Parker. Rated PG-13, 136 minutes. — Los Angeles Times

The To Do List In 1993 Idaho, high school valedictorian Brandy Klark (Aubrey Plaza) can’t escape her goody-good image and lack of worldliness. Facing her first year in university as a virginal freshman, Brandy decides to re-evaluate her priorities. Her more experienced BFFs (Sarah Steele and Alia Shawkat) are dubious that Brandy can go from bench-warmer status to home base in one short summer, but with the experienced guidance of her sister Amber (Rachel Bilson), Brandy sorts out her priorities and identifies a shortlist of candidates to help her get into the game. Writer-director Maggie Carey’s script nails the raunchy-sweet tone required to bring off this R-rated teen-centered comedy with remarkable charm and relatability. With Bill Hader and Connie Britton. Rated R, 103 minutes. — HR

Turbo -- Animated film about a snail (voiced by Ryan Reynolds), Turbo, with a fondness for speed. He accidentally ingests nitrous oxide and becomes so fast that a well-meaning man (Michael Peña) somehow enters the snail in the Indy 500. Kid stuff all the way but with a cast of recognizable voices, including Samuel L. Jackson, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez, Luis Guzman. Rated PG, 96 minutes. — B.A.

White House Down -- Staggeringly implausible, cartoonishly comical, Roland Emmerich’s White House Down is refreshingly dumb. The film is at its most entertaining when it’s a simple, ludicrous buddy movie, with Jamie Foxx’s President James Sawyer and his rescuer, Channing Tatum’s wannabe Secret Service agent, fleeing across the White House grounds, dropping one-liners as they go, eluding a gang of assailants led by a bitter turncoat (James Woods) and his ferocious henchmen (including Jason Clarke). With Richard Jenkins and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Rated PG-13, 137 minutes. — AP

The Wolverine -- This latest X-Men movie is a lot more existential than recent installments in this comic book series have been. The Wolverine is nothing if not ambitious — a moody, haunted tale of Logan the Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) coping with his ghosts and settling old debts — in Japan, no less. And if this James Mangold (Walk the Line) take on the superhero franchise stumbles up blind alleys, overreaches and turns long and repetitious by its bloody-bland predictable third act, at least it gives Jackman something worth chewing over for the first 90 minutes. But The Wolverine may leave you wanting the higher-minded movie this one promised to be — for a while. Rated PG-13, 120 minutes. — MCT