Film Capsules

Small summaries for when you only need a small summary

Just Opening:

Battle: Los Angeles (PG-13) -- Aliens attack Earth. Again. This time they're in L.A.

The Housemaid (NR) -- Thriller about a guy who gets busy with the maid. Bad idea.

Kaboom (NR) -- Gregg Araki's latest is a sci-fi parable about a bunch of horny college students.

Kill the Irishman (R) – Cleveland mobster Danny Greene butts head with some bad Italian guys.

Mars Needs Moms (PG) – Space aliens kidnap a boy's mom in this animated movie.

Red Riding Hood (PG-13) -- The girl with the picnic basket gets the Twilight treatment.

The Adjustment Bureau (PG-13) — It's based on a Philip K. Dick story. And there's a sci-fi element to it. But The Adjustment Bureau is no Blade Runner. But, thankfully, it's no A Scanner Darkly either. This muddled story about a popular politician (played by a coasting Matt Damon) whose fate is in the hands of some mysterious agency loses itself between worlds. There's a love story, with Emily Blunt as a dancer who stumbles into his life the night he loses a big election. Then there's the story of the shady committee of hat-wearing men who monitor all aspects of Damon's life. And they don't like it one bit when it steers off course, thanks to the impulsive Blunt. So they spend the entire movie trying to keep them apart. The "people who make sure things go as planned" can read Damon's mind, stop time, and wipe out memories. But The Adjustment Bureau isn't a mind-fuck like Inception. And it certainly isn't as thrilling (characters go through lots of doors). But the love story is better, even if you have to sit through the muddy sci-fi to get to it. (Michael Gallucci)

Beastly (PG-13) — A teen take on the Beauty and the Beast story, starring Vanessa Hudgens.

Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (PG-13) — Martin Lawrence puts on a dress again. Brandon T. Jackson joins him.

Black Swan (R) — Nina (Natalie Portman) has finally scored her big break with the New York City Ballet. But a new dancer, Lily (Mila Kunis), goes deeper and darker, threatening Nina's star-making turn. Director Darren Aronofsky's most psychologically unhinged film is one of the most twisted thrillers of the decade. (Michael Gallucci)

Cedar Rapids (R) – Ed Helms (so funny in The Office and The Hangover) plays Tim Lippe, an insurance salesman from a small town in Wisconsin who's traveling to the big city of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for the first time for a convention. He ends up sharing a room with two other guys, including a crass blowhard from a rival agency played by John C. Reilly. Their adventures over the next 90 minutes pretty much amount to a Midwest version of The Hangover. But there's a little more to the funny and sweet Cedar Rapids than that. Tim – who's having an affair with his seventh-grade teacher (played by Sigourney Weaver) and is stymied by hotel keycards – learns a few things about the outside world during his trip. He gets drunk for the first time. He crashes a gay wedding. He has sex with a married woman (Anne Heche). And he smokes crack. Plus, Helms spends a good chunk of the movie in his underwear. (Michael Gallucci)The Company Men (R) — Salesman Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck) had a great morning on the golf course and practically whistles as he walks into a meeting in a very quiet conference room. "Who died?" he asks his stone-faced team. Minutes later, he's fired — one of three men let go during a purge in this meditation on the recession. The Company Men is a wake-up call to reassess more than your résumé. (Wendy Ward)

Drive Angry (R) – The first 45 minutes of this steaming slop bucket of fresh-ground movie will make you poop in your popcorn bag. There's gore, T&A, shit blowing up, bitch-slapping, guns, stabbing, electrocuting, and car crashes. This flick tries really hard to be almost all 100 percent Good Parts. Billy Burke, Amber Heard, and freaky-ass William Fichtner chew on all the scenery and spit it in your face -- all in 3D. Plus Nicolas Cage as a guy who revs out of hell in search of the devils who killed his family. Interestingly enough, the car chases are kinda boring and they slow the flick down, so we hope they can fix that in the sequel, or maybe switch to power boats. We can't wait to see that at the drive-in. (Joe MacLeod)

Gnomeo and Juliet (G) — Shakespeare's classic told with garden gnomes, in 3D.

Hall Pass (R) — Owen Wilson leads a cast of horny guys who get the OK from their wives to have a little fun on the side in the latest comedy by the Farrelly Brothers.

I Am Number Four (PG-13) — An alien who looks like a teenager is hunted by other aliens in a small Ohio town.

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (G) — Documentary about the pop music sensation. It's in 3D.

Kaboom (NR) -- Nineteen-year-old Smith (Thomas Dekker), a bisexual film-studies major at a Southern California university, embarks upon the adventure of his young and sexually promiscuous life in Queer Cinema stalwart Gregg Araki's perverse Pop Art alien-apocalypse freakout. Animal-masked men, a Scientology-like cult, and sexual permutations of every conceivable variation figure prominently in the overheated action. While the whole thing threatens to spin hopelessly out of control at any minute, it never does, thanks to Araki's new maturation as an artist. Kaboom's ending may be a tad deflating, perhaps because it actually makes sense (where's the fun in that?). But until then, Araki and his ridiculously attractive cast serve up a wild and wooly ride that makes every other movie now playing look positively out of date. (Milan Paurich)

The King's Speech (R) — The future King George VI of England (an excellent Colin Firth) stammers whenever he's asked to speak in public. His loyal, persistent, and tough wife (Helena Bonham Carter, also excellent) finds Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush, terrific too), a speech therapist who guarantees he can cure George's stammer. They spar furiously at their first meeting, but you just know their relationship will turn all warm and fuzzy on the way to George's recovery. One of the best movies of 2010. (Gallucci)

No Strings Attached (R) — Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher play a sex-only couple whose relationship turns into something more.

Rango (PG) – Rango, a lost pet chameleon voiced by Johnny Depp, stumbles on a beat-up old western town whose residents (various birds, bugs, and rodents) are worried about their dwindling water supply, which is lorded over by an old mayor and protected by a group of mean critters. So he proclaims himself a hero gunfighter and becomes sheriff. The animated movie is loaded with references – to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Apocalypse Now, and especially Chinatown – sure to go over the heads of kids. It has a darker streak than other recent CGI extravaganzas, with plenty of death, desperation, and drinking. There's also a deliberate sense of storytelling that slows down the movie occasionally. But the animation looks great, focusing on details that are usually steamrolled over in CGI. By concentrating on story and character instead of overstuffing its frames with empty flash, Rango doesn't look at all like the Megaminds you're used to. It kind of drags, but there's a certain appeal to this old-fashioned adventure. (Michael Gallucci)

The Roommate (PG-13) — Remember Single White Female? It's like that.

Take Me Home Tonight (R) — A night in the life of a bunch of drunken post-college kids in the late '80s. Anna Faris and Topher Grace star.

True Grit (PG-13) — This redo by the Coen brothers is a bit detached. Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin) kills 14-year-old Mattie Ross' (Hailee Steinfeld) dad for no other reason than he's a mean bastard. So Mattie tracks down one-eyed U.S. marshal Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) and hires him to bring Chaney to justice. (Gallucci)

Unknown (PG-13) — Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) awakens from a coma with amnesia. He remembers enough to head back to the hotel he's staying at in Berlin. His wife eyes him frostily and produces a new husband (Aidan Quinn), parading as Dr. Martin Harris. The new Dr. Harris whips out a driver's license and wedding photo to prove it. Even a Google search confirms Quinn is Dr. Harris. Making matters worse, Neeson is being followed by shifty Europeans in black SUVs. Unknown is chock-full of cheap thrills: car accidents, eye-gouging, bloodied bodies, an explosion. It tosses terrorism and bioengineered corn in the hopper and churns out a headache-inducing genre flick, complete with extreme close-ups, shallow focus, and rapid cuts that make you want to rip the camera from director Jaume Collet-Serra's hands and zoom out. (Jenn Ladd)