Film Capsules

Popcorn-sized summaries of movies you may or may not want to see

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

Biutiful (R) — Alejandro González Iñárritu's latest, starring Javier Bardem as a father and petty crook who takes stock of his life after he's diagnosed with cancer.

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)

Blue Valentine (NC-17) — This portrait of a relationship's beginning and end has a gift for realizing and capturing the unvarnished slivers of everyday life. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams possess the subtle intelligence and controlled bravery to realize the two lead characters as utterly fallible human beings. It's meant to contrast love at the beginning and end, but the juxtaposition actually illuminates the fact that people grow and change over time, and not always at the same pace or in the same direction. (Bret McCabe)

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)

Country Strong (PG-13) — It might be unfair to judge Country Strong against other movies, because while it looks like a movie, it's actually a collection of clichés so tired they wouldn't surprise a second grader. There's the damaged country legend on a comeback tour (Gwyneth Paltrow, woefully miscast); her distant husband/manager (Tim McGraw); the guitar-slinging young buck caught between them; and the Taylor Swiftian country-pop princess nipping at Paltrow's career. Not one of them is worth rooting for. (Chuck Kerr)

Drive Angry (R) — Nicolas Cage stars in a movie about some dude who escapes from hell to hunt down the bastards who destroyed his family. Really.

The Eagle (PG-13) — Roman soldier Marcus Aquila (played with stoic determination by Channing Tatum) goes on a quest to bring back a treasured golden eagle emblem lost, along with a squad of men, 20 years ago. Based on the 1954 novel The Eagle of the Ninth, this adaptation has more in common with 300 and other crimson-colored epics set in the time of tunics and leather lappets. The Eagle wants to go deeper than its predecessors, but ends up a shallow reflection of them. (Gallucci)

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

The Green Hornet (PG-13) — Sure, the 2011 version of The Green Hornet is about fighting evil, walking away from explosions, and having cool one-liners. But the real drama is the conflict going on between Seth Rogen's playboy hero and Jay Chou's deadly serious sidekick Kato. Any bad guys that get taken down aren't so much defeated as they are ground up between this pair's egos. The movie is also funny. Very funny at times. (Stephen Graham Jones)

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.

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)

The Mechanic (R) — A hit man schools a young kid on how to get things done. Jason Statham stars.

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

The Rite (PG-13) — Anthony Hopkins stars as a priest who schools students on the finer points of exorcisms.

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

Sanctum (R) — 3D movie about people trapped in an underwater cave.

Straw Dogs — Remake of 1971 movie about a couple who retreat to the woods, only to be terrorized by a bunch of hillbilly locals.

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)

Scroll to read more Movie Reviews & Stories articles


Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.