Film Capsules

When you just need a brief summary

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two

The eighth and final Harry Potter movie is everything you hoped it would be: big, beautiful, thrilling, emotional, and a gratifying conclusion to a series that's had more ups than downs over the past 10 years. It picks up where last year's dark Deathly Hallows: Part One left off, leading to a rousing and violent showdown between Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and the evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). This is a movie about tying up loose ends and bringing closure to all the stories and characters that populate Harry's world. In other words, if you haven't seen any of the other Harry Potter movies, don't start with this one. If you have, get ready for the best movie in the series and a spectacular finale to this magical universe. Goodbye, Harry, Ron, and Hermione. We're gonna miss you. Rated PG-13 (Michael Gallucci) Bad Teacher (R) — Cameron Diaz plays Elizabeth Halsey, quite possibly the sluttiest woman to ever lead a seventh-grade classroom. After her fiancé dumps her, Elizabeth tries to snag the nerdy new substitute teacher (Justin Timberlake). But instead of doing her job, Elizabeth gets high in the school parking lot, constantly shows movies in class, and organizes a car wash straight out of a Playboy fantasy. Rude, crude, and stuffed with dick jokes, Bad Teacher tries hard to offend — too hard at times. But there are some funny scenes. (Gallucci)

A Better Life — While it deals largely with the hardships of immigrants in America, this new film by Chris Weitz (About a Boy) is much more nuanced than that. It's a quietly heartbreaking father-and-son story fueled by clashes of age, social class, and culture. Carlos (Demián Bichir) is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico working as a landscaper and raising his 14-year-old citizen-son Luis (José Julián) by himself. When he makes the difficult decision to buy a truck to further his business opportunities, it's supposed to be the ticket to a better home and school for Luis. But when the truck is stolen, father and son are forced to work together to get it back. All this plays out in a sun-soaked haze on the streets of L.A., amid gang pressure and racial tension. It's hard not to care deeply for Carlos and Luis, but if you're looking for a feel-good salute to the system, find another movie. (Lydia Munnell)

The Double Hour (NR) — This movie has so much going for it: two sultry, on-the-rise actors; a rich color palette; sensual movement; and a psychological thriller angle that frightens and captivates. The only thing missing is a destination. Hotel maid Sonia (Kseniya Rappoport) meets Guido (Filippo Timi) at a speed-dating event. They're immediately ripped apart when they get caught in the middle of a burglary. Guido is shot dead. Sonia recovers, but she sees Guido's ghost everywhere. As secrets are revealed, the vaguely supernatural tragedies begin to mount. Then all hell breaks loose. Sonia is either stuck in an epic conspiracy or she's possibly the angel of death. But The Double Hour feels like an endless line of banquet trays, each containing a single green pea. Disappointing isn't quite the word for it. Infuriating is more like it. (Justin Strout)

Green Lantern (PG-13) — This is exactly the type of empty summer blowout they warn you about. Ryan Reynolds plays Hal Jordan, a hotshot test pilot who reluctantly becomes part of an intergalactic corps of peacekeepers after he inherits a glowing green ring that turns him into the titular hero. The movie can be harmless fun whenever Hal suits up. Unfortunately, most of Green Lantern is bogged down with Hal's boring backstory, his relationship with an ex-turned-boss (Blake Lively), and a subplot involving a scientist (Peter Sarsgaard). (Gallucci)

Horrible Bosses (R) — Jasons Bateman and Sudeikis, along with Charlie Day of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, play best friends with one thing in common: They hate their bosses. So when workplace misery reaches fever pitch, they decide to kill them. Jamie Foxx joins the mix as an unlikely hit man; Kevin Spacey, Colin Ferrell, and Jennifer Aniston are utterly hatable as the trinity of evil bosses. At times, the movie's post-Hangover vulgarity overshadows some genuinely funny material; Horrible Bosses is not a timeless noir comedy by any means, but it's just funny enough to get away with murder. (Munnell)

Submarine (R) — This perfectly clever, funny, and touching coming-of-age story centers around Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts), who provides voice-over narration to his existence as a fairly independent 15-year-old kid looking for a little meaning by losing his virginity and somehow solving his parents' problematic marriage. Director Richard Ayoade creates a solid and unwavering tone throughout his telling of this completely realistic story. If the 34-year-old director has such a deft handle on being a teenager, imagine how he might handle somebody his own age. (Wendy Ward)

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (PG-13) — There aren't too many movies as loud and obnoxious as 2009's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Thankfully, the third outing in the hit series scales back a bit, even as it expands (it's in 3-D and runs more than two and a half hours — yeesh!). This time there's a little history thrown into the big-ass-robots mix. Did you know that the Apollo 11 crew found a crashed spaceship on the moon? And did you know there was a conspiracy to keep it quiet? But that's not the worst of it; that honor goes to Shia LaBeouf, the Autobots' best human friend and quite possibly the most unlikable action hero ever. (Gallucci)

Winnie the Pooh (G) — Bucking the trend of so many maligned reboots and remakes, this subtle and charming animated movie is a delight for fans young and old. Pooh is once again hungry, and on his quest for honey in the Hundred Acre Wood he bumps into Eeyore, who's lost his tail. Again. But their journey is put on hold when Owl (voiced by Craig Ferguson) misreads a note: Christoper Robin may have been kidnapped by a monster. The familiar plot remains faithful to Pooh's character, world, and heritage, and John Cleese sets the perfect tone with his eloquent narration. Winnie the Pooh is charming, funny, and (best of all) short enough for the littlest ones to sit through. (Ben Gifford)

Zookeeper (PG) — Zookeeper asks you to accept an outlandish premise: that pudgy Kevin James is irresistible to two gorgeous women. Oh, and less implausibly, that animals can talk. Zookeeper takes an amusing kids' movie premise — that animals can speak and conspire to help their beloved zookeeper (James) win back his ex-girlfriend (Leslie Bibb) and stay at his job — and mucks it up with a haphazard array of slapstick and pee jokes. The movie's twin story lines never really mesh. A star-studded voice cast can't rescue a movie that has little to offer kids or adults. (Pamela Zoslov)

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