DEAD MAN DOWN (R). Murky, rhythmless tale of violence, revenge, duplicity and betrayal. With Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Terrence Howard, Dominic Cooper, Isabelle Huppert. H (Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer -- 3/11). 1:50.
ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH (PG). A nerdy alien has to go to Earth to save his super-heroic space-exploring older brother who has been captured in a fiendish scheme in this computer-animated adventure featuring the voices of Brendan Fraser, Rob Corddry, William Shatner, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba, George Lopez, Sofia Vergara, Jane Lynch.
IDENTITY THIEF (R). When Denver accounts representative Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman) discovers his identity has been purloined and his credit cards are maxed out, trashing his good name, his employer declares him a bad risk for their startup company. He is given one week to retrieve the con woman (Melissa McCarthy) responsible for the mess. Debilitatingly witless. H (Phillips, Chicago Tribune -- 2/11). 1:51.
JACK THE GIANT SLAYER (PG-13). You know the story but in this version, it's not without its reinventions, embellishments and twists. It struggles to find the right balance of elements to amuse kids, thrill action-hungry adolescents and entertain adults. Instead, it feels like a film made by committee. In the end, it doesn't amount to a hill of beans. HH (Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune -- 3/2). 1:55.
KOCH. Documentary about the life and leagcy of one of
LIFE OF PI (PG). Ang Lee combines a lifetime of storytelling finesse with arguably the most artful use of 3-D technology yet seen to bring to life novelist Yann Martel's saga of an Indian youth lost at sea with a ravenous Bengal tiger aboard his small lifeboat. A gorgeous, ruminative film that is soulfully, provocatively entertaining. HHH1/2 (Germain, Associated Press -- 11/21). 2:06.
OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL (PG). Oz isn't a merry old land in Disney's garishly produced barely necessary prequel to one of the most beloved tales of all time. As the future wizard of Oz, a traveling circus charlatan named Oscar Diggs, James Franco shows only traces of charm in a role that requires flamboyance and affable insolence. A fitful fantasy that reminds us that much more amazing things in Oz were yet to come. HH (Persall, Tampa Bay Times -- 3/9). 2:10.
QUARTET (PG-13). The retired musicians at Britain's Beecham House may not have the cash or relatives to ensure they pass their last years at home, but they still have their wit, their love of rehearsal and the fading vestiges of their talent in this dainty, adorable and adorably predictable film of Ronald Harwood's play. With Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins, Tom Courtenay. HHH (Moore, McClatchy Tribune News Service -- 2/15). 1:39.
SAFE HAVEN (PG-13). Set in a picturesque North Carolina coastal town, this formulaic adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel stars Josh Duhamel as a convenience store owner and widowed father of two children, who falls for a new waitress in town (Julianne Hough), who is on the run from a mysterious past in Boston. There's tragedy and heartbreak; a story that involves no heavy lifting, few surprises, and so "safe" that there's nothing that anyone would consider "edgy." HH (Moore, McClatchy Tribune News Service-- 2/18). 1:55.
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (R). Just out from eight months in a Baltimore psych ward, a high school teacher who has lost his job and his wife to another man recuperates in his parents' Philadelphia home and meets, at a dinner, a young widow suffering from bouts of depression and low self-esteem. A head-spinning wonder of a movie about love, pain, reinvention, rehabilitation and the totemic power of a National Football League franchise. With Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro. HHHH (Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer -- 12/29). 2:00.
SNITCH (PG-13). Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson stars as a father who goes undercover for the DEA to clear the name of his wrongfully accused son. Johnson leaves his preening wrestling persona at the door in this gritty, streetwise and, until the last 20 minutes, fairly credible drama. HHH (Persall, Tampa Bay Times -- 2/22). 1:52.
21 AND OVER (R). On the night before his important medical school interview, a straight-A pre-med student is taken out by his two best friends on a 21st birthday celebration that turns into a night of self-indulgence and debauchery. A youth comedy that is leering, offensive, politically incorrect, at times even disgusting, and yet one of the more appealing movies of the season. HHH (Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune -- 3/4). 1:30.
THE CALL (R). Halle Berry plays a dedicated 911 operator trying to locate and save a kidnapped teen (Abigail Breslin) who calls 911 from the trunk of a car.
THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE (PG-13). A once hugely popular Las Vegas magic act duo faces a stiff challenge from a cocky Internet illusionist wonder. With Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi. Jim Carrey, Olivia Wilde, James Gandolfini, Alan Arkin. Review, D2
WARM BODIES (PG-13). A funny teen romance, set against the background of the Zombie Apocalypse, about a flesh-eating teen (Nicholas Hoult) who starts to develop feelings -- not hunger -- for a girl (Teresa Palmer). HH (Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service -- 2/1). 1:32.