Movies & TV » Film Clips

Capsule reviews of recently released films

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OPENING FRIDAY

CRAZY ON THE OUTSIDE (PG-13) Tim Allen directs and stars in this comedy about a prison parolee who discovers the quirks of life "on the outside" in the company of his eccentric sister (Sigourney Weaver) and her friends.

DAYBREAKERS (R) See review.

THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS 2 stars (PG-13) See review.

LEAP YEAR (PG) Amy Adams plays a single woman with an elaborate scheme to propose to her boyfriend (Matthew Goode) in Ireland on Feb. 29, but travel complications may ruin her plans for marital bliss. Another film sure to advance the feminist cause.

THE LOSS OF A TEARDROP DIAMOND (PG-13) Bryce Dallas Howard stars in this tale of a 1920s Memphis debutante. Jodie Markell, best known as a television actress, directs this long-lost screenplay by Tennessee Williams.

YOUTH IN REVOLT (R) See review.

DULY NOTED

ICHI THE KILLER (1968) (NR) "Vomit bags" were handed out at the Toronto International Film Festival in advance of this ultraviolent crime drama from the director of Audition. Splatter Cinema. $8-$12. 9:30 p.m. Wed., Jan. 12. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-873-1939. www.plazaatlanta.com.

CONTINUING

2012 2 stars (PG-13) Solar flares and Mayan mumbo jumbo spell a world-ending catastrophe, even for an upstanding White House science adviser (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a divorced novelist (John Cusack) and the U.S. president (Danny Glover). You can say what you want about director Roland Emmerich: The man’s the John Holmes of disaster porn and delivers jaw-dropping money shots of quakes wrecking Hollywood, Yosemite National Park erupting, a tsunami wiping out Washington, D.C., etc. The trouble is, it’s two and a half hours long and not even as cheesily fun as The Day After Tomorrow— Curt Holman

ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE SQUEAKUEL (PG) Here’s hoping the New Oxford Dictionary had time to add the word “squeakuel” to its 2010 edition. Jason Lee reprises his role as the human straight man to a trio of piercing-voiced mammals. The trailer hints that the follow-up will include girl chipmunk singers, too. Uh-oh.

ARMORED (PG-13) Hungarian-American Antal Nimród, who directed the fascinating foreign film Kontroll, helms this heist thriller about security guards who decide to knock over one of their armored cars. The cast includes Matt Dillon, Jean Reno and Laurence Fishburne. 

AVATAR 3 stars (PG-13) On the planet Pandora in the 22nd century, disabled ex-marine (Sam Worthington) downloads his intelligence into a cloned body of the 10-foot-high catlike natives and begins to take their side against the human military-industrial interests bent on exploiting the planet. James Cameron’s first feature film since Titanic mostly lives up to its years of hype as a 3-D space opera with the finest special effects money can buy and narrative momentum far superior than, say, the Star Wars prequels. Despite Pandora’s lighter-than-Earth gravity, the tree-hugging themes prove surprisingly heavy-handed, but it’s still an entertaining, eye-popping sci-fi epic that will probably inspire consumers to buy Blu-Ray players next year. — Holman

BROKEN EMBRACES 4 stars (R) A blind screenwriter (LluÌs Homar) flashes back to his doomed, on-set love affair with his leading lady (Penélope Cruz), the mistress of a ruthless financier (José Luis Gumez). Despite dropping meta-references to his breakout comedy Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), Spanish director Pedro Almodovar presents a controlled, downbeat melodrama with overtones of Alfred Hitchcock. Cruz and the cast provide vivid performances, but Almodovar's plot twists seem too personal to resonate with many audiences. — Holman

DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE MORGANS? (PG-13) Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant play estranged couple relocated from New York to small-town Wyoming as part of a witness-protection program. From the writer/director of Music and Lyrics, who also wrote the Miss Congeniality films.

EVERYBODY’S FINE 2 stars (PG-13) Robert De Niro plays a retired widower who pays surprise visits to his grown children (including Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell and Drew Barrymore) and gradually ferrets out the secrets they’ve been keeping “for his own good.” This sleepy remake of a 1990 Marcello Mastroianni vehicle of the same name tends to be at once bland and heavy-handed, and De Niro doesn’t really reconcile his role’s contradictions as a remote, demanding Dad prone to chat up his fellow travelers. Apart from a few highlights (including a surreal dream scene), Everybody only aspires to be fine. — Holman 

FANTASTIC MR. FOX 4 stars (PG) Wes Anderson’s loose adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s book casts George Clooney as the voice of middle-class Mr. Fox, whose midlife crisis and poultry-stealing habit incurs the wrath of local farms. Despite the inexpressiveness of the stop-motion animated characters, Fantastic Mr. Fox brings charming, idiosyncratic personality to the overpolished genre of contemporary family films. It turns out that Anderson’s trademark obsessions — fussily formal compositions, period pop songs, father-son friction — suit animation better than live-action, and lend Fantastic Mr. Fox humanity and heart, despite its cast of woodland creatures. — Holman 

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