Friday April 27, 2012

DR. SEUSS' THE LORAX (PG). A furry orange creature tries to stop an enterprising man from cutting down Truffula trees -- the key resource for his new invention, a soft and multipurpose thing called a Thneed. Despite the fact that the film exploits few of the book's loopy rhymes and loopier neo-Seussisms, the whole thing is harmless. HH1/2 (Biancolli, Houston Chronicle -- 3/5). 1:26.

FOOTNOTE (PG). A prestigious award, intended for one scholar, is mistakenly bestowed on another. Trouble ensues. This kind of mix-up might raise an eyebrow or a chuckle in the faculty lounge, but surely the rest of us have more important things to worry about than the wounded vanity of intellectuals. The genius of "Footnote" is that it is about those important things too. Deftly turning the law of inverse proportions on its head Amertican-born Israeli director Joseph Cedar spins a committee-room squabble into something authentically grand: a piercing satire, a poignant family drama and an investigation of the competing claims of honesty, loyalty, ambition and love. Really, the stakes could hardly be higher. (Scott, New York Times -- 4/ 23). 1:45.

LOCKOUT (R). In 2079, an orbiting prison with 500 of the world's most violent and dangerous criminals cryogenically frozen is overrun by a group of prisoners who take a dignitary's visiting daughter hostage. With Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace.

SAFE (R).


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As Luke Wright, Jason Statham goes up against a triumvirate of Russian mobsters, Chinese bad guys and dirty New York cops, in an effort to save the life of a young Chinese girl who's valued by the villains because of her mathematical skills.

SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN (PG-13). A wealthy sheik devises a mad scheme to build a dam ensuring the water supply to his part of Yemen, and to have fish ladders built into it so he can import salmon and introduce his favorite sport -- Scottish fly fishing -- to the high desert of the southern Arabian peninsula. A seeming satire that is, at heart, a by-the-numbers love story. With Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Amr Waked, Kristin Scott Thomas. HH (Macdonald, Seattle Times -- 4/2). 1:47.

THE CABIN IN THE WOODS (R). Five archetypal college friends walk into a sinister cabin in the woods and one by one meet a bloody end. Dir ector Drew Goddard and co-writer Joss Whedon tease this set-up, turn the joke on its head and deliver a well-concocted mix of shudders, titters and, yes, sorrow. HHH (Kennedy, Denver Post -- 4/14). 1:35.

THE DEEP BLUE SEA (R). Director Terence Davies' refashioning of British playwright Terence Rattigan's 1952 drama which centers upon a woman, pushing past 40, who leaves her wealthy older husband for a passionate relationship, her first, with a former RAF pilot. With Rachel Weisz, Simon Russell Beale, Tom Hiddleston. Review, this page

THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT (R). A sous chef (Jason Segel) at an up scale San Francisco restaurant, proposes to his girlfriend (Emily Blunt) on the one-year anniversary of the night they met: New Year's Eve. But as they're planning their wedding, she gets accepted to the University of Michigan to study for her doctorate in psychology, so they postpone their big day for the first of many times.

THE HUNGER GAMES (PG-13). The first of four films based on Suzanne Collins' hugely popular literary trilogy set in a totalitarian North America a century or so from now in which 24 teens are selected annually to fight to the death before a national television audience. The film earns its PG-13 rating honestly. The killings mean something in emotional terms and are meant to have cumulative effect on the crafty, stoical heroine, Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence with ferocity and purpose. With Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Wes Bentley, Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones, Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks. HHH (Phillips, Chicago Tribune -- 3/22). 2:22.

THE KID WITH A BIKE (PG-13). Convinced it will help him put his life back in order, an 11-year-old boy runs away from the state-run boys home where his unemployed father has left him in search of his bicycle. When he finds it, he literally grabs on to a stranger to keep the authorities from taking him back. A wonderfully human and humane story about none of those lost-and-found children who tend to slip through society's not-so-safe safety net. In French, with English subtitles. (Sharkey, Los Angeles Timese -- 4/20). 1:27.

THE LUCKY ONE (PG-13). Zac Efron stars as a U.S. Marine sergeant who tracks down a beautiful woman (Taylor Schilling) whose photograph he believes saved his life in Iraq. Based on the best-selling novel by Nicholas Sparks, so you know what you're getting and Sparks delivers. The leads' chemistry is more theoretical than actual. Still, the sunsets and sunrises and sunbeams through the window fall easily on the eyes. HH (Phillips, Chicago Tribune -- 4/20). 1:41.

THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS (PG). Accompanied by a rag-trag crew, an eager pirate captain sails the Seven Seas, determined to vanquish his rivals in an effort to be named Pirate of the Year. Review, D2

THE RAVEN (R). Edgar Allan Poe is enlisted by a Baltimore police detective to help solve a string of killings inspired by the author's macabre stories. With John Cusack.

THE SALT OF LIFE (NR). Forced into retirement years earlier and struggling to make do with a pension, a married 60ish gentleman decides what he needs in his life is an affair. In Italian, wth English subtitles. Review, D2

THE THREE STOOGES (PG). The Farrelly Brothers ("Dumb and Dumber," "There's Something About Mary") bring back the depression-era knuckleheads in a new feature film that finds the trio trying to raise money to save the orphanage in which they were raised. A retro exercise that is little more than a stare-out-loud cover-band project. With Sean Hayes, Chris Diamontopoulos, Will Sasso. HH (Phillips, Chicago Tribune -- 4/16). 1:32.

TITANIC 3D (PG-13). After 15 years, this grand epic wears its blockbuster weight with ease. Thanks to the 3-D conversion -- which may be a tad darker than when first released -- James Cameron's grand romance is aging surprisingly well, a meticulous recreation of a great ship and a great tragedy built around a good, old-fashioned popcorn picture. With Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Bill Paxton, Gloria Stuart, Kathy Bates. HHH (Moore, McClatchy-Tribune -- 4/4). 3:14.

WRATH OF THE TITANS (PG-13). This 3D sequel to the 2010 "Clash of the Titans" remake charts new ground for the demigod Perseus (Sam Worthington). Though the film short-changes us on the promise of its title, providing only one titan, it is overkill in most other regards. With Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy, Rosamund Pike. HH (Covert, Minneapolis Star-tribune -- 4/4). 1:39.