Film Capsules

Including Will Ferrell's new movie

Everything Must Go (R)

Writer-director Dan Rush takes a seven-page story by Raymond Carver and creates a lovely, mournful movie about an alcoholic on a downward spiral. The story serves as a skeleton upon which Rush drapes a thoughtfully written, fully realized drama. Will Ferrell demonstrates his capability for dramatic acting as Nick, a salesman who is fired for chronic alcoholism and arrives home to find his wife gone, locks changed, and all his possessions — from his ski machine to his father's LP collection — on the lawn. Camped outside on his recliner and chugging endless Pabst cans, Nick enlists the help of Kenny (Christopher Jordan Wallace), a neglected neighborhood kid, in conducting the yard sale of his life. Although many things happen, the film remains quiet and relatively static, staying true to Carver's brevity and theme of lonely alcoholic desperation. (Pamela Zoslov) Fast Five (PG-13) — In yet another Fast and the Furious sequel, the original crew (Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, et al.) heads to Rio to orchestrate an Italian Job-style heist that could just as easily have been staged in Santa Monica. The fifth entry in this decade-old boys-and-toys franchise is just loud and mindless enough to satisfy the fan base, but it probably won't win any new admirers. (Milan Paurich)

In a Better World (R) — Most of this Danish movie revolves around two boys, Elias and Christian, whose disparate paths cross when Christian stands up for the picked-on Elias and sends a bully to the hospital. Under Christian's wing now, Elias watches helplessly as the two are launched headfirst down a spiral of destruction and escalating vengeance. Countless subplots are thrown in until In a Better World (which won this year's Best Foreign Language Oscar) takes on the tone of a really well-acted school assembly. (Justin Strout)

Prom (PG) — Aimed at teenage girls (and maybe their nostalgic moms), this Disney flick crams in just about every romantic-comedy cliché in the book. First, there's a squeaky-clean class president and prom organizer (Aimee Teegarden), who just wants everyone to have an unforgettable night. When things don't work out with her date, she falls for the school's biker bad boy (Thomas McDonell), who's really super-soft underneath his tough-guy exterior. Breakups and make-ups take place as prom nears, but by the end, all dramas are resolved so the big dance can go off without a hitch. (Jeff Niesel)

Rio (PG) — The latest 3D CGI talking-animal movie is about a rare and pampered pet macaw named Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisensberg) who goes to Rio to breed with Jewel (Anne Hathaway) and save his species. But he ends up separated from his owner. It's standard fish-out-of-water stuff, with sassy sidekicks (Jamie Foxx, George Lopez, and Tracy Morgan), an evil cockatoo, and a major obstacle for the hero to overcome. (Michael Gallucci)

Something Borrowed (R) — When attorney Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) sleeps with law-school crush Dex (Colin Egglesfield) the night of her 30th birthday, it should be the start of a beautiful romance ... or at least a fun fling. Unfortunately, since Dex is already engaged to Rachel's high-maintenance best friend Darcy (Kate Hudson), their stealth affair is actually a lot closer to an old-fashioned bedroom farce. Director Luke Greenfield stumbles with this almost completely charmless romantic comedy, which blows its appealing cast (including The Office's John Krasinski, who earns the only laughs as Rachel's BFF) by making characters either clueless dolts or divas. (Paurich)

Thor (PG-13) — It's going to be a busy summer for superheroes, with Captain America, the X-Men, and Green Lantern all heading to the big screen. First up is the hammer-wielding god of thunder, who stumbles in his movie debut. Director Kenneth Branagh attempts to bring his usual and impeccable sense of Shakespearean heft to the Marvel Comics realm, but doesn't quite succeed. Thor (Chris Hemsworth), his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), and Thor's mortal pal Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) never really seem more than comic-book cutouts here. With any luck, next year's Avengers will bring out Thor's thundering potential. (Justin Brenis)

Water for Elephants (PG-13) — Depression-era Jacob (Twilight's Robert Pattinson) hops the train of a traveling circus, where he shovels manure until August (Inglourious Basterds' Christoph Waltz) enlists him as vet and trainer for his latest attraction, Rosie the elephant. As Jacob tries to protect the animals from vicious beatings, he ends up falling for the circus' star performer (Reese Witherspoon), who also happens to be the boss' bullied wife. While the movie reflects the sleazy glamour and base cruelty of 1930s circus life, the story's hokey tone recalls vintage Disney. Still, it's presented with some style. And Pattinson is surprisingly effective. (Zoslov)