Film Capsules

Pint-sized summaries because pints are the perfect size

The Adjustment Bureau (PG-13) — 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 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. But the love story is better, even if you have to sit through the muddy sci-fi to get to it. (Michael Gallucci)

Battle: Los Angeles (PG-13) — Why are hostile aliens so attracted to Los Angeles? They blew the fuck out of California in last year's Skyline, and in Battle: Los Angeles we really don't even get a reason for their invasion. When the movie starts, the city is already in flames. We eventually get some background, but does it matter? Nope. Neither do stars Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, or R&B singer Ne-Yo as screaming soldiers. This is mostly about the slimy, armor-protected, weapon-wielding creatures — who, to be fair, aren't attacking only L.A.; all of the world's major cities are under siege. The military fighting them consists of an interchangeable group of grunts basically used for target practice. Battle: Los Angeles looks more like a video game than a movie — a video game that has a crappy story and boring characters, and isn't very much fun. (Gallucci)

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. It 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. (Joe MacLeod)

Kaboom (NR) — Nineteen-year-old Smith (Thomas Dekker), a bisexual film-studies major, embarks on the adventure of his young and 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. (Milan Paurich)

Kill the Irishman (R) — This biopic about Cleveland mobster Danny Greene starts with a bang: Greene is driving down the street when suddenly his car blows up. Get used to it. Dozens of other vehicles (plus their unfortunate occupants) explode here, including the one that killed Greene in 1977. Ray Stevenson plays the Irishman as a hard-ass, a womanizer, a rabble-rouser, a loyal friend — even a progressive. In some ways, Kill the Irishman wants to be a straight-up gangster pic. But in so many other ways, it's a standard biopic that happens to be about a gangster. (Gallucci)

Lord of the Dance 3D (NR) — Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, feet of fire ... in your lap!

Limitless (PG-13) — Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper star in a thriller about a really cool drug that's actually shady.

The Lincoln Lawyer (R) — Josh Lucas, Matthew McConaughey, and Marisa Tomei star in a movie about an attorney who does business in his car.

Mars Needs Moms (PG) — Nine-year-old Milo (voiced by Seth Green) ends up with the adventure of a lifetime when he tries to rescue his mom (Joan Cusack) from a group of evil martians in this CGI movie directed by H.G. Wells' grandson. Milo hides on the spaceship that whisks away his mother and enlists the help of whiz-kid Gribble, who also once hitched a ride on a Mars-bound ship and ended up living there. The movie's message about family bonds is conventional, but the performance-capture animation is stunning. And there's enough going on to keep little ones from getting too restless. (Jeff Niesel)

Nora's Will (NR) — A woman commits suicide, leaving her ex-husband to deal with her funeral.

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

Paul (R) — Simon Pegg finds an alien, voiced by Seth Rogen. We're totally excited too.

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 sail over the heads of kids. 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)

Red Riding Hood (PG-13) — In 1984, Neil Jordan's The Company of Wolves explored the Freudian psychosexual themes of the Red Riding Hood fairy tale. In 2011, Catherine Hardwicke's Red Riding Hood explores that story's capacity for cheesy CGI effects, fake exteriors, bad acting, and oafish dialogue. Hardwicke's debut feature, Thirteen, showed promising talent, which she has since squandered on the Twilight series, from which this movie borrows its supernatural teen-angst theme. Set in a medieval village plagued by a werewolf, the none-too-bright residents bring in a werewolf hunter (Gary Oldman, spectacularly hammy) who imposes a reign of terror to root out the wolf, a scruffy CGI creation that has a special interest in the red-cloaked Valerie. Period authenticity be damned: Characters talk like modern high-schoolers; you half expect them to start texting. (Pamela Zoslov)

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)

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