Film Capsules

In theaters this week

The Twilight Saga Marathon

We sure hope the Capitol Theatre and Chagrin Cinemas are hiring some muscle for the Twilight Saga Marathon happening Thursday. Starting at 4:45 p.m. with the first movie in the pouty-vampire series, the theaters will show all four Twilight movies, including the new Breaking Dawn Part 1, which premieres at midnight. That leaves plenty of time for Team Jacob and Team Edward to settle in ... and maybe settle some scores as New Moon (at 7:05 p.m.) and Eclipse (9:30 p.m.) unspool. A $12.50 ticket gets you into all of the first three movies, but you'll have to pay the regular price for the midnight showing of Breaking Dawn. — Michael GallucciJ. Edgar (R) — Director Clint Eastwood's stirring biopic looks at long-running FBI director J. Edgar Hoover (played with spot-on self-satisfaction by Leonardo DiCaprio), a deeply conflicted egomaniac whose personal agendas often broke the laws he had sworn to uphold. The movie crisscrosses eras and historical highlights from Hoover's life, but it isn't flashy — that's not Eastwood's style. It is supremely well-made, directed with insight and reverence and skepticism for Hoover and his story. The attention to detail and pinch of nostalgia make J. Edgar one of Eastwood's most old-fashioned movies and one of his best. (Michael Gallucci)

Like Crazy (PG-13) — Anton Yelchin (Star Trek) and newcomer Felicity Jones play Jacob and Anna, two attractive college kids who meet cute during class and immediately fall in love. They relate to one another in intimate, clipped conversations that were mostly improvised by the actors, and Jacob, an American furniture-design major, builds Anna, a British journalism student, a wooden chair to prove his devotion. Eventually, it's time for Anna to return home for the summer and renew her student visa. When their reunion moment comes, there's a snag: Anna's visa has been revoked. While the performances are fine, director Drake Doremus seems to fear the places Blue Valentine went. These are awful ties that bind long-distance relationships. Like Crazy is disappointingly incurious about them. (Justin Strout)

Martha Marcy May Marlene (R) — With its minimalist texture and deeply felt direction, Martha Marcy May Marlene is easy to love and impossible not to admire. That's also true of the film's breakout star, Elizabeth Olsen (sister of Mary Kate and Ashley), whose title character goes by any number of alliterative names for a variety of reasons. Martha is who she was born as and how her older sister Lucy refers to her when Martha, who has just escaped from years of seclusion in a cult, rings her up asking for help. Once in the relative safety of Lucy's sprawling vacation home, we learn via flashback that she was renamed Marcy May. The movie is a mighty achievement on the surface, but it has major structural problems, and an utterly baffling, abrupt ending answers nothing and only compounds the coldness. (Strout)

Margin Call (R) — The 2008 financial collapse was so large in scale that it begged for Hollywood's blustery myth-making. Margin Call, thankfully, resists the urge to go big, as it depicts the very moment when the owner of a fictional securities firm (played by the perfectly snaky Jeremy Irons) realizes the error of his firm's ways too late. Stanley Tucci plays a risk-management worker who, on the day he's downsized, passes on personal research to a rising underling (Zachary Quinto) who indicates the firm's path leads to a total meltdown. Margin Call's goal is to reassure us that this isn't about the evils of bankers or traders as a whole; they're pawns in a larger game — one controlled by shockingly few people. (Strout)

Puss in Boots (PG) — Shrek may have closed the book on his final chapter last year, but his furry friends are still around to keep the lucrative franchise alive. The first spinoff stars the swashbuckling cat (voiced by Antonio Banderas), who's on a quest for some magic beans and to redeem himself for some mistakes he's made. Along the way, he pounces on the usual visual gags, fairy-tale mashups, and pop-culture references that kept the Shrek series going for four movies. But like the last couple of the big green ogre's adventures, Puss in Boots runs out of ideas before it's half over. (Gallucci)

The Rum Diary (R) — "The book is hopeless," Hunter S. Thompson wrote about his semi-autobiographical novel The Rum Diary, which went unpublished until 1998. Even so, this zesty adaptation, with Hunter protégé Johnny Depp as journalist Paul Kemp, is the best Thompson piece to hit the screen. Kemp, a hard-drinking but idealistic newspaperman, lands at a failing San Juan daily, surrounded by a cynical editor, greedy capitalists bent on exploiting Puerto Rico's riches, eccentric boozy colleagues, and an unattainable beauty. The picaresque plot is secondary to the impeccable design and cinematography, ebullient acting, and the witty script. (Zoslov)

Take Shelter (R) — Curtis (Michael Shannon) has nightmares of a storm so unrelentingly fierce that it sends the family dog into a bloodthirsty frenzy and birds into swarming black armies. The dreams become so intense that he begins preparing for the apocalypse, worrying his co-workers and straining his relationship with wife Samantha (Jessica Chastain). Shannon gives one of the year's best performances as a man stuck in the center of a psychological torrent. Produced by Clevelander Tyler Davidson and shot in Lorain County, Take Shelter won't always connect with your heart, but it will mess with your head. (Gallucci)