Friday June 7, 2013

AFTER EARTH (PG-13). Set in a future where nature has turned on humans and survivors were forced to start a new civilization on another planet. Jaden Smith plays a trainee trying to follow in the footsteps of his father, a famous military leader played by Will Smith. When the two crash-land on an inhospitable Earth, Jaden's character must prove his own abilities to survive, and save his father in the process. Nothing happens that isn't telegraphed in the first 30 minutes. Fans of either Smith will be sorely disappointed. The elder has never before appeared this listless on screen, and the younger has misplaced his unforced rapport with the camera that made the "Karate Kid" reboot so impressive. H1/2 (Persall, Tampa Bay Times -- 5/3). 1:40.

EPIC (PG). A young human is drawn into the struggle between the forces of life and decay in a forest inhabited by Leaf Men (and women) sprites and reptilian bog dwellers in this animated feature based upon children's author William Joyce's novel "The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs." Derivative as all get out and plainly concocted by committee, this children's animated film is more entertaining and emotional than it has any right to be. HH1/2 (Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service -- 5/25). 1:42.

FAST & FURIOUS 6 (PG-13). With the promise of a full government pardon, Dom, Brian and their team of speed demons are lured out of retirement to help a U.S. agent take down a car-jacking gang in London. At some point, it's simply wise to toss your hands in the air and let the dumbness wash over you. Don't ask how this or that could possibly happen or wonder if anyone in the audience is actually gullible enough to believe it could. Just breathe. Through your mouth, of course. With Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson. HH1/2 (Persall, Tampa Bay Times -- 5/24). 2:10.

FRANCES HA (R). Director-writer Noah Baumberg's new film stars Greta Gerwig (who co-wrote the screenplay) as a hapless 27-year-old dancer wanna-be who comes to New York from California in search of a life she has difficulty establishing.

IRON MAN 3 (PG-13). A little too much and a little not enough, "Iron Man 3" nonetheless has everything Disney and Marvel need to keep the "Avengers" superhero constellation shining and regenerating well into the 23rd century. As this sequel begins, the climactic alien melee in last year's all-star reunion "The Avengers" has left Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark nerve-racked and an insomniac workaholic. A new global terrorist, very much in the Bin Laden mold, has oozed onto the scene; fire-breathing mutants are wreaking havoc; and, if all that weren't enough, unfinished business from the past resurfaces. Overall, last year's "Avengers" delivered the bombastic goods more efficiently than this year's Marvel. With Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall. HH (Phillips, Chicago Tribune -- 5/3). 2:09.

MUD (PG-13). Matthew McConaughey delivers a tour de force turn as a drifter hiding out in an abandoned cabin cruiser jammed high in a tree on a mid-river island in Arkansas, who enlists the help of two boys who have the run of the river and live and breathe boats to help him fix up his boat and "court" a dishy woman he's had his eye on for some time. A down-and-dirty if entirely too long mythic melodrama in the "Tobacco Road" tradition. With Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, Reese Witherspoon, Ray McKinnon, Michael Shannon, Sam Shepard. HHH (Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service -- 5/3). 2:10.

NOW YOU SEE ME (PG-13). A slick and kind of murky entertainment in which a quartet of street-charlatans-turned-Las Vegas stars pulls off an epic heist -- using the tricks of the magic trade. With Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo. HH (Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer -- 5/4). 1:56.

SIGHTSEERS (NR). An offbeat British romantic comedy about an unremarkable couple who can't quite get life right and, by accident, wind up going bad.

STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS (PG-13). Kirk, Spock and the Enterprise crew match wits with a mysterious terrorist who has an odd connection to a Star Fleet admiral. Brawny, funny, ingeniously constructed for appeasl to both devoted fans and reluctant converts. With Zachary Quinto, Chris Pine, Benedict Cumberbatch, Bruce Greenwood, Zoe Saldana, Peter Weller. HHH (Persall, Tampa Bay Times -- 5/17). 2:12.

THE GREAT GATSBY (PG-13). Armed with a hip-hop score and 3D, F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic Roaring Twenties novel about an enigmatic man living the high life in an enclave in Long Island comes to the big screen for the fifth time in an aggressively bold treatment that takes the excesses and conspicuous consumptions of Fitzgerald's characters to their illogical ends. Yet as a purely sensory experience at the movies you'd be hard pressed to find anything more dazzling than the movie's first 90 minutes. With Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire. HH1/2 (Persall, Tampa Bay Times -- 5/11). 2:23.

THE HANGOVER PART III (R). The comedy series about (almost) ordinary guys in remarkably screwed-up situations takes a swing into Tijuana before landing back in Vegas. The writing team piles on the extreme comedy gags. Bad things happen and people get hurt. So do animals. Mercifully, "Part III" feels like the final chapter to a series that began with craziness that felt inspired, not contrived. Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis. HH (Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer -- 5/24). 1:40.

THE INTERNSHIP (PG-13). "Wedding Crashers" costars Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson team up again, this time as two watch salesmen who apply for an unpaid internship at Google when the company they've been working for suddenly folds.

THE PURGE (R). Sci-fi horror film in which a security-biz entrepreneur and his family come under seige during the annual "Purge," a nationwide 12-hour catharsis during which the violent, even homicidal unleashing of rage is encouraged as a patriotic duty. With Ethan Hawke.

WHAT MAISIE KNEW (R). A present-day treatment of Henry James' novel about a divorcing couple and how they and their marital problems are viewed by their 7-year-old daughter. With Julianne Moore, Steve Coogan, Onata Aprile.