Friday July 13, 2012

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. Although "Brave" is satisfying and spirited and laced with humor, it doesn't quite mark a return to form for Pixar following the digital house's disappointing 12th featyre, "Cars 2." HHH (Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer -- 6/23). 1:40.

ICE AGE 4: CONTINENTAL DRIFT (PG). When the Earth's tectonic plates start shifting, the breaking land separates Manny, Diego and Sid from the rest of the clan, sending them out to sea on an iceberg. There, they encounter -- what else? -- a villainous pirate orangutan.

KATY PERRY: PART OF ME (PG). The pop superstar gets the 3-D treatment in a music documentary featuring performances and behind-the-scenes access.

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. 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.

MAGIC MIKE (R). Channing Tatum takes it off again in a story inspired by his early work as a male stripper. Steven Soderbergh directs. If this mix of comedy and drama falls short of greatness, it is not by much. At the very least, it is exceptional and one of the best and most original pictures of 2012. HHH1/2 (LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle -- 7/5). 1:50.

MOONRISE KINGDOM (PG-13). Set on the fictional island of New Penzance, off the coast of New England, "Moonrise Kingdom" follows Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Heyward), a pair of teenagers hiding their romance from their parents.

PEACE, LOVE & MISUNDERSTANDING (R). A newly separated attorney packs up her two on-the-edge of adult kids and heads to Woodstock, N.Y. in search of respite and answers in the home of her mother with whom she has a 20-years-estranged relationship. The casting of Jane Fonda as her tie-dyed, weed-smoking, hippie mother gives this bland film an air of authenticity, or gimmickry or something in between. With Catherine Keener, Elizabeth Olsen. HH (Phillips, Chicago Tribune -- 7/11). 1:36.

SAVAGES (R). Based on Don Winslow's 2010 novel, Oliver Stone's dull, vacant new film tells the story of two handsome young marijuana dealers (Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson), the beautiful girl they both love (Blake Lively), and the vicious Mexican drug cartel that tries to move in on their turf. 1/2H (Biancolli, Houston Chronicle -- 7/6). 2:10.

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.

TED (R). A teddy bear come to life is every boy's dream -- until the thing sticks around into the kid's adult years. Mark Wahlberg stars in this comedy from Seth MacFarlane ("Family Guy"). HH1/2 (Biancolli, Houston Chronicle -- 7/4). 1:46.THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (PG-13). Andrew Garfield is quite good as the rebel with a cause superhero in this better than you might have expected origins reboot that more-or-less successfully pulls off the illusion that this is the first time we've seen this story. HHH (Phillips, Chicago Tribune -- 7/3/12). 2:18.

TED (R). A teddy bear come to life is every boy's dream -- until the thing sticks around into the kid's adult years. Mark Wahlberg stars in this comedy from Seth MacFarlane ("Family Guy"). HH1/2 (Biancolli, Houston Chronicle -- 7/4). 1:46.THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (PG-13). Andrew Garfield is quite good as the rebel with a cause superhero in this better than you might have expected origins reboot that more-or-less successfully pulls off the illusion that this is the first time we've seen this story. HHH (Phillips, Chicago Tribune -- 7/3/12). 2:18.

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.

TO ROME WITH LOVE (R). Woody Allen woos Italy and appears on-screen for the first time in years with an ensemble romance co-starring Penelope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni and Ellen Page. Unfortunately, the film lives up -- or rather, lives down -- to the superficial postcard sentiment of its title. HH (Germain, Associated Press -- 7/6). 1:52.

TYLER PERRY'S MADEA'S WITNESS PROTECTION (PG-13). Filmmaker Perry reprises his role as saucy grandma Madea, who takes in the family of a CFO (Eugene Levy) in witness protection.