Friday June 22, 2012

ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER (R). Catch the 16th president (Benjamin Walker) as he emancipates the land from blood-suckers.

BERNIE (R). Richard Linklater's black comedy is the true-life tale of a mannered, devout mortician, Bernie Tiede (Jack Black), who in 1997 was arrested for killing the elderly millionaire heiress Marjorie Nugent (a bitter, hardened Shirley MacLaine). The remarkable thing about the case is just how out of character such an act is for Tiede. As Black plays him, he's cartoonishly cheerful -- not just a churchgoing man, but a member of the choir and just about every other community group. The film never quite rises to full comedy, but remains locked in a state of satirical curiosity, marveling at its own contradictions. Black never gives in to a punch line, but his grand, absurdist performance is closer to parody than realism. This is Linklater's Preston Sturges comedy, an ode to small-town Texas life, where civil society is prized so much as to outweigh a little ol' thing like murder. With an excellent Matthew McConaughey as a self-promoting district attorney. HHH (Coyle, Associated Press -- 6/14). 1:43.

BRAVE (PG). A Scottish lass (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) must undo the chaos her defiance has unleashed on her kingdom in the latest from the animation maestros at Pixar.

MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE'S MOST WANTED (PG). On the run from a cruel French animal control officer in Monaco, the zoo animals hide in plain sight in a traveling circus bound for London.


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One of the funniest, most carefully assembled cartoons ever put on the screen. With the voices of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Frances McDormand, Cedric the Entertainer. HHH (Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune -- 6/11). 1:32.

MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS (PG-13). Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, Thor, the leather-clad assassin Black Widow, the lethal archer Hawkeye and the superheroes' one-eyed wrangler, Nick Fury, bunch together in the service of defeating Thor's malevolent brother, the god Loki, who hails from the interstellar world known as Asgard, and who yearns to conquer Earth with an all-powerful blue energy cube called the Tesseract. Essentially an extended action sequence interrupted by an extended soul search in the middle. Director Joss Whedon is both a wiseacre and a sincere devotee of Marvels' durable, malleable ensemble of lugs and indestructibles. "The Avengers' is both a culminator and a set-up for more, more, more. With Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Stellan Skarsgard. HHH (Phillips, Chicago Tribune -- 5/4). 2:22.

MEN IN BLACK 3 (PG-13). Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones return to fight aliens in a time-traveling action comedy that adds a terrific Josh Brolin as the young version of Jones' Agent K. A clever, well-played pleasure. HH1/2 (Kennedy, Denver Post -- 5/26). 1:46.

POLISSE (NR). Multi-character drama about the police who work inside Paris' child protection unit. Review, D5

PROMETHEUS (R). "Alien" creator Ridley Scott returns to the sci-fi genre with a cousin to his 1979 space horror tale starring Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender. A ride that is often more thought-provoking than thrilling. HH1/2 (Kennedy, Denver Post -- 6/11). 2:05.

ROCK OF AGES (PG-13). Glam rock and heavy metal are the soundscape for this big-screen version of the long-running Broadway jukebox musical, set in 1987 Los Angeles. A wholesome blonde (Julianne Hough) fresh off the bus from Oklahoma who hopes to make it as a singer in Los Angeles ends up working as a waitress at the venerable (and fictional) Bourbon Room on Sunset Strip, where she quickly falls for aspiring rocker Drew (Diego Boneta). A perfectly fine, backward-looking, trivia-centered, guilty pleasure. With Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alec Baldwin, Bryan Cranston, Paul Giamatti. HHH (Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune -- 6/16). 1:57.

SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD (R). A portrait of two very lonely hearts in the closing weeks of humanity's run on Earth. With Steve Carell, Keira Knightley. Review, D5

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN (PG-13). Kristen Stewart's the fiercest in the land as she teams with a tough guy (Chris Hemsworth) to battle an evil queen (Charlize Theron). Theron's queen turns out to be the fairest of them all in a fairy tale turned action movie that takes everything mythic about "Snow White" and pounds it out until it's flat and dead. H (LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle -- 6/1). 2:07.

THAT'S MY BOY (R). Adam Sandler tries to grow up as a bad dad hoping to make things right with his estranged grown son (Andy Samberg). May this centiry never vsee a stupider comedy. 0H (Phillips, Chicago tribune -- 6/18). 1:55.

THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL (PG-13). This clunky, groggy paced, old folks passage to India finds a group of UK retirees searching for inexpensive, exotic accommodations in India but winding up, instead, in a decrepit palace advertised by its owner as a bustling, lively guesthouse. With Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson. H (Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune -- 5/28). 2:02.