Friday March 22, 2013

ADMISSION (PG-13). Tina Fey is Portia, an uptught, emotionally guarded admissions officer at Princeton and Paul Rudd is John, the free-sprited do-gooder founder of an alternative New England high school who has a perfect candidate for Princeton -- an odd but obviously brilliant student whom John believes is the child Portia gave up for adoption back when they were in college. With Lily Tomlin, Michael Sheen, Gloria Ruben.

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. In the end, it doesn't amount to a hill of beans. HH (Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune -- 3/2). 1:55.

OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN (R). A Secret Service agent (Gerard Butler) takes on North Korean terrorists who attack the White House.

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. 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.


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With Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins, Tom Courtenay. HHH (Moore, McClatchy Tribune News Service -- 2/15). 1:39.

SAFE HAVEN (PG-13). 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. 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.STOKER (R). India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) has just turned 18 -- on the day her father dies in a mysterious accident. She lives with her mother (Nicole Kidman) in a beautiful house in the country. And then, at the funeral for her father, an uncle (Matthew Goode) she never knew appears. And life in the Stoker home becomes very strange.

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.STOKER (R). India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) has just turned 18 -- on the day her father dies in a mysterious accident. She lives with her mother (Nicole Kidman) in a beautiful house in the country. And then, at the funeral for her father, an uncle (Matthew Goode) she never knew appears. And life in the Stoker home becomes very strange.

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. Berry brings her usual focus and feist, not to mention her beauty, to this otherwise sordid slice of abduction porn. HH (Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer -- 3/16). 1:35.

THE CROODS (PG). A Stone Age family has to adjust to a new life, and a new world, when the only world they've known is torn apart by a titanic volcanic upheaval. With the voices of Nicolas Cage, Cloris Leachman, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds.

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. Now you laugh at it, now you don't. With Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi. Jim Carrey. HH (Persall, Tampa Bay Times -- 3/15). 1:40.