Film Capsules

Bite-sized, like popcorn

Hop (PG) — It's the story of two twentysomething slackers with overbearing fathers. One (James Marsden) is a jobless human; the other (voiced by Russell Brand) is the future Easter Bunny, who'd rather play drums than deliver baskets. Their worlds collide when Fred the human hits E.B. the rabbit with his car and reluctantly agrees to take him in. This live-action/animation hybrid features a typically restless performance by Brand and a few clever visual gags. The scenes that take place in the candy-colored animated world are better than the ones in the blah real world, but the mix never quite settles into a comfortable rhythm, like it's trying to cram two so-so movies into one kinda-cute family comedy. (Michael Gallucci)

Insidious (PG-13) — Josh and Renai move their two boys into a hulking old house. When the older son falls into a mysterious coma, Renai becomes convinced that something is horribly wrong. The family flees to a new house, only to discover it wasn't the house that's haunted. Genre nerds will have a blast with Insidious, trainspotting the various borrowed genre staples and lifts from specific classics (Poltergeist, Psycho, The Haunting). Then again, one of the reasons scary movies scare you is that you know what's coming — or, even better, you think you know what's coming and it turns out you don't. The Saw team of screenwriter/actor Leigh Whannell and director James Wan have a field day here, mixing and matching and generally going nuts with skilled variations of classic horror tropes. (Lee Gardner)

Jane Eyre (PG-13) Literary adaptations are tough, especially when you have a book as well-known — and long — as Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. Cary Fukunaga, director of the gritty immigrant tale Sin Nombre, seems an unlikely choice for the latest take on this classic, but it may be the loveliest version ever put on film. Alice in Wonderland's Mia Wasikowska plays the orphan girl who endures a harsh childhood and goes to work as a governess for the brooding Mr. Rochester (Michael Fassbender), falling in love with him and unaware of his terrible secret. This is a beautiful, tasteful Eyre, with painterly cinematography and impeccable Victorian costumes. (Pamela Zoslov)

Limitless (PG-13) — Director Neil Burger turns Alan Glynn's modern Faustian tale The Dark Fields into a techno-thriller about the folly of ambition. Bradley Cooper plays Eddie Morra, a slovenly and creatively blocked novelist who is dumped by his exasperated girlfriend. A chance meeting with his Mephistophelean ex-brother-in-law introduces Eddie to a mysterious designer smart drug that gives him superhuman learning abilities. He rapidly becomes a multimillionaire day trader whose prophecies are sought by a powerful oil baron (Robert De Niro). Personality transformed, Eddie flies high while descending into addiction and dodging dangerous fellow addicts. Smartly written first-person narration draws us into Eddie's story, and imaginative editing conveys the thrill ride of his astonishing mental adventures. (Pamela Zoslov)

Paul (R) — Two British nerds (Shaun of the Dead's Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who also wrote the script) traveling across the U.S. in a rented RV to check out UFO landmarks find a pot-smoking, foul-mouthed alien (voiced by Seth Rogen) on the run from mysterious men in black. This geekfest crams in tons of sci-fi references and quotes many classics. Director Greg Mottola (Superbad) brings Apatowian gags about boobs, balls, and anal probes, as well as the movie's bromance. (Gallucci)

Source Code (PG-13) — When we first meet Army helicopter pilot Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal), he's on a Chicago-bound commuter train, disoriented and confused. Moments later an explosion tears through the train, killing everyone on board. Suddenly Colter is alone in a capsule, being quizzed via monitor. He's told Find the bomb and you will find the bomber who will strike again. Suddenly, he's back on the train, replaying the scene we just saw with slight variations — like a more ominous version of Groundhog Day. Director Duncan Jones builds suspense as he replays Colter's predicament time and time again, turning Source Code into a pretty good action thriller. (Gallucci)

Soul Surfer (PG) — This biopic about surfing champion Bethany Hamilton, a teen who lost an arm in a shark attack, is a hard sell. For one thing, you know what's coming. And while the cast isn't filled with big names — Dennis Quaid, Helen Hunt, and Kevin Sorbo are the ones you might know — they are reliable ones, and AnnaSophia Robb, who plays Bethany, steals every scene she's in. Biopics often border on sappy, but Soul Surfer earns its feel-good-movie status. (Justin Brenis)

Sucker Punch (PG-13) — Zack Snyder's totally bonkers new action movie resembles live-action anime brought to vibrant but largely incoherent life. Committed to a maximum-security asylum where she's scheduled to receive a lobotomy in five days, Baby Doll (Emily Browning) unleashes her inner fantasy life. Her prison morphs into a tony brothel, where a thickly accented Polish madam (Carla Gugino) pimps out her young charges, and Babydoll does battle with Nazi zombies, fiery dragons, and other beasties in eye-popping video-game-style conflagrations. This is Snyder's first movie based on original material, and it looks a lot like the graphic novels that sourced his earlier and better flicks 300 and Watchmen. The CGI effects are as impressively state-of-the-art. (Milan Paurich)

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