Midnight in Paris (Sony)
Woody Allen's best movie in years includes everything you'd want in a romantic comedy by the guy who made one of the all-time best: likable leads (Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams), lovely scenery (see title), fantasy spiked with cultural history — even appearances by Ernest Hemingway and Cole Porter. Wilson plays a Hollywood screenwriter visiting Paris with his bitchy fiancée (McAdams). Through a bit of movie magic, he starts palling around with some of the world's greatest artists and writers for a breezy tale that's charming, nostalgic, and, best of all, funny. The few extras are skimpy, but we're not complaining.
Dolphin Tale (Warner)
Winter the dolphin plays herself in this family movie based on a true story. After losing her tail, Winter gets some help from a friendly and omniscient black man played by (who else?) Morgan Freeman. Cute, but overfilled with sap.
Straw Dogs (Sony)
Bloody remake of Sam Peckinpah's 1971 revenge fantasy skips the earlier movie's flimsy ruminations on violence and replaces them with bland performances and a shameful sense of joy toward all of the brutality. The story still pushes buttons, just not the right ones.
This surprisingly strong family drama about a pair of brothers and their recovering-alcoholic father treads some familiar ground, but Tom Hardy (from Inception and the upcoming Dark Knight Rises) brings gravity to his role as a conflicted war veteran-turned-MMA champ.
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