October 30, 2009 in Features

Films

 

Capsule reviews with star ratings are written by reviewers for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Opening today:

A Serious Man

Personal and professional crises lead a professor to seek advice from three rabbis. Running time: 1:45 Rating: R (violence, language, nudity)

River Park Square: 11:05 a.m., 1:40, 4:15, 7:10, 9:40.

Continuing:

Amazon

Filmmaker Kieth Merrill journeys through rain forests to follow the route of the Amazon River. Running time: :39 Rating: not rated

IMAX (Riverfront Park): 1, 3, 5.

Amelia

••• The role of pioneer aviatrix Amelia Earhart, who broke records, hearts and boundaries, fits Hilary Swank like a jumpsuit. Richard Gere co-stars in the evocative film from Mira Nair. Running time: 1:51 Rating: PG (language, sensuality)

River Park Square: 10:55 a.m., 1:35, 4:25, 7:15, 10. Riverstone: 1:15, 4:20, 7, 9:35.

Astro Boy

•• Slick, stylish CG-animated take on the vintage Japanese TV ’toon, but as robotic as its boy hero. With the voices of Nicolas Cage, Charlize Theron, Kristen Bell and Freddie Highmore as the kid with rockets in his feet. Running time: 1:34 Rating: PG (language, action/peril)

Hayden: 12:50, 3:05, 5:10, 7:15, 9:15. NorthTown Mall: 12:05, 2:20, 4:35, 6:50, 9:35. River Park Square: 10:40 a.m., 1:10, 3:40, 6:45, 9:15. Riverstone: 1:20, 3:55, 6:35, 9:20. Spokane Valley Mall: 12:45, 3, 5:15, 7:35, 9:45. Village Centre: 11:10 a.m., 1:10, 3:10, 5:15, 7:20, 9:25.

The Boys Are Back

••• Clive Owen shines in this potentially mawkish tale of a single dad struggling to juggle a sportswriting job and raise his sons. Set in Southern Australia, the film avoids the story’s pity-party pitfalls to deliver a real emotional wallop. Running time: 1:44 Rating: PG-13 (sexual language)

River Park Square: 11:50 a.m., 5, 9:55.

Capitalism: A Love Story

••• Folksy muckraker Michael Moore singles out those who profit from the misery and job insecurity of American workers. In passages, his movie is eloquent. In sum, it is scattershot. Running time: 1:57 Rating: R (language)

River Park Square: 10:45 a.m., 1:25. Village Centre: 11 a.m., 1:20, 4, 6:40, 9:20.

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant

A sideshow vampire (John C. Reilly) turns a teenager into one of the undead. Running time: 1:49 Rating: PG-13 (disturbing images, intense supernatural violence, language)

Hayden: 1:30, 4, 6:30, 8:45. NorthTown Mall: 12:15, 4:10, 7:15, 9:50. River Park Square: 10:35 a.m., 1:15, 3:50, 6:35, 9:30. Riverstone: 1:35, 4:30, 7:05, 9:55. Spokane Valley Mall: 12:05, 2:55, 7, 9:30. Village Centre: 11:40 a.m., 2:10, 4:40, 7:10, 9:45.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Townspeople become overwhelmed when an overabundance of food falls from the sky. Running time: 1:30

Rating: PG (language) Village Centre: 11 a.m., 1, 3, 5, 7, 9.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 3-D: NorthTown Mall: 12:25, 2:40, 4:55, 7:20. River Park Square: 11 a.m., 1:30, 3:55, 6:25, 9:05. Riverstone: 1:05, 3:50, 6:30. Spokane Valley Mall: 12:30, 2:45, 4:55, 7:05.

Couples Retreat

•• A tropical vacation turns out to be a relationship workshop for four couples. Vince Vaughn, Malin Akerman, Kristen Bell and Faizon Love are part of a large cast in a skimpy comedy that is more adult than its rating indicates. Running time: 1:54 Rating: PG-13 (language, sexual content)

Hayden: 1:15, 3:45, 6:20, 8:40. NorthTown Mall: 12:55, 4:05, 6:45, 10:10. River Park Square: 10:45 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 2:10, 3:30, 4:40, 7:20, 10:05. Riverstone: 1:25, 4:05, 6:50, 9:40. Spokane Valley Mall: 11:55 a.m., 2:20, 4:45, 7:15, 9:50. Village Centre: 11:45 a.m., 2:15, 4:45, 7:15, 9:40.

Dead Snow

Nazi zombies terrorize a group of medical students at a remote cabin in this Norwegian horror/comedy. Running time: 1:28 Rating: not rated

Garland: midnight.

Forces of Nature

Natural disasters are the focus of this IMAX film, namely volcanoes, earthquakes and tornadoes. Never has the power of a volcanic eruption seemed more in-your-face awesome. Running time: :40 Rating: not rated

IMAX (Riverfront Park): noon, 2, 4.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

••1/2 Channing Tatum stars in this loud, long, crowd-pleasing action film. The battles are so fast and furious, you’ll hardly notice how thin and cartoonish the plot is. With Marlon Wayans and Sienna Miller. Running time: 1:58 Rating: PG-13 (mayhem, violence)

Garland: 7:55.

Halloween II

Unstoppable Michael Myers (Tyler Mane) continues his murderous rampage in Haddonfield. Running time: 1:45 Rating: R (crude sexual humor, language, sexuality)

NorthTown Mall: 10:30. River Park Square: 7, 9:35. Riverstone: 10:20.

The Hangover

••• Four guys go to Vegas for a bachelor party, and mayhem and memory loss ensue. A loopy farce from the warped mind that brought you “Old School,” with a scene-stealing performance from indie comedy dude Zach Galifianakis. Running time: 1:39 Rating: R (nudity, language, sexual content, drug material)

Garland: 10:10.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

••• Slower and talkier than its predecessors, but not in a bad way, “HP6” is a bubbling cauldron of hormonal angst, as Harry, Hermione and Ron contend with Draco, the Death Eaters and the evil Professor Snape and with their respective amorous urges. Like a high school romance, only with wands, spells and potions. Running time: 2:33 Rating: PG (language, sensuality, scary images, violence)

Garland: 5:05.

The Informant!

••• Steven Soderbergh’s truth-based film about a compulsive liar wavers uneasily between corporate thriller and screwball comedy, with Matt Damon as an agribusiness exec who blows a whistle and his own horn at the same time. Running time: 1:48 Rating: R (language)

River Park Square: 11:25 a.m., 2:20, 5, 7:30, 10:15.

The Invention of Lying

••1/2 Ricky Gervais stars in this comedy as the lone fibber in a world where everyone else has no choice but to tell the truth. The cameo-studded satire has its moments until it turns sappy. Running time: 1:39 Rating: PG-13 (drug reference, language, sexual material)

River Park Square: 11:20 a.m., 4:30, 9:50. Riverstone: 1:50, 4:35, 7:35, 10:05. Spokane Valley Mall: 12:20, 6:45. Village Centre: noon, 2:15, 4:30, 6:45, 9:10.

Law Abiding Citizen

••1/2 Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler go toe-to-toe in this over-the-top, grisly criminal justice revenge thriller. A mash-up of “Death Wish” vigilante vengeance with “Silence of the Lambs” mad-genius-behind-bars puppet-mastery. Running time: 1:48 Rating: R (language, rape, strong bloody brutal violence, torture)

NorthTown Mall: 12:40, 4:40, 7:30, 10:20. River Park Square: 10:40 a.m., 1:30, 4:20, 6:50, 9:25. Riverstone: 1:10, 4:10, 7:10, 10:10. Spokane Valley Mall: 12:25, 3:15, 6:40, 9:35. Village Centre: 11 a.m., 1:40, 4:20, 7:10, 9:40.

Lorna’s Silence

•••1/2 An austere but oddly hopeful portrait of an Albanian woman trying to make a new life for herself in Belgium, dealing with Russian mobsters, false marriages and her own crises of conviction. With an amazing performance by Arta Dobroshi in the title role. Running time: 1:35 Rating: R (sexuality, language, nudity)

River Park Square: 2:25, 7:20.

Michael Jackson’s This Is It

Prior to his untimely death, the King of Pop rehearses for a series of sold-out comeback shows in London. Running time: 1:51 Rating: PG (scary images, suggestive choreography)

Hayden: 1:45, 4:20, 6:45, 9:05. NorthTown Mall: noon, 2:35, 3:45, 5:10, 7, 7:45, 9:45, 10:15, 12:30. River Park Square: 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 1:30, 2:05, 4:15, 4:55, 7, 7:35, 9:45, 10:15. Riverstone: 1, 1:30, 3:45, 4:15, 6:45, 7:30, 9:30, 10:15. Spokane Valley Mall: 12:30, 1, 3:45, 4:15, 7, 7:30, 9:45, 10:15. Village Centre: noon, 2:20, 4:40, 7, 9:20.

Paranormal Activity

A couple sets up video cameras throughout their home to capture evidence of a haunting. Running time: 1:26 Rating: R (language)

NorthTown Mall: 12:50, 2:55, 5:15, 7:55, 10. River Park Square: 11:35 a.m., 2:15, 4:25, 6:40, 9. Riverstone: 1:45, 4:45, 7:15, 9:45. Spokane Valley Mall: 12:50, 3:05, 5:25, 7:40, 10.

Saw VI

Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) emerges as the next heir to Jigsaw’s twisted legacy. Running time: 1:31 Rating: R (language, grisly bloody torture and violence)

Hayden: 12:55, 3, 5:05, 7:10, 9:10. NorthTown Mall: 1, 3:10, 5:25, 8, 10:35. River Park Square: 11:30 a.m., 1:55, 4:35, 6:55, 9:20. Riverstone: 2, 4:50, 7:20, 9:50. Spokane Valley Mall: 12:15, 2:35, 4:50, 7:10, 9:25. Village Centre: 11 a.m., 1, 3, 5, 7:15, 9:25.

The Stepfather

A young man (Penn Badgley) suspects that his mother’s new lover (Dylan Walsh) is up to no good. Running time: 1:45 Rating: PG-13 (sensuality, disturbing images, violence)

NorthTown Mall: 12:10, 10:05. River Park Square: 2:10, 7:25. Riverstone: 1:40, 4:25, 6:55, 9:25. Spokane Valley Mall: 2:50, 9:10. Village Centre: 12:45, 3, 5:15, 7:30, 9:45.

Surrogates

Murder jolts a utopian society in which people live vicariously through robots. Running time: 1:28 Rating: PG-13 (drug-related scene, disturbing images, violence, language, sexuality)

NorthTown Mall: 3:35, 6:35.

Toy Story in Disney Digital 3-D

Running time: 1:20

Rating: G Village Centre: 11 a.m., 2:40, 6:30.

Toy Story 2 in Disney Digital 3-D

Running time: 1:32

Rating: G Village Centre: 12:40, 4:20, 8:20.

Where the Wild Things Are

••• Spike Jonze dares to adapt Maurice Sendak’s sublime and scary children’s book classic, and conjures up a satisfyingly moody, melancholy, madcap live-action romp. No masterpiece, but it’s a brave undertaking and an oft-times transcendent one. Running time: 1:41 Rating: PG (language)

Hayden: 1, 3:10, 5:10, 8:30. NorthTown Mall: 12:35, 4:25, 7:05, 9:40. River Park Square: 10:30 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 1:15, 1:50, 3:50, 5, 6:30, 8, 9. Riverstone: 1:20, 4, 6:40, 9:15. Spokane Valley Mall: noon, 2:30, 5, 7:25, 9:55. Village Centre: 11:30 a.m., 12:15, 1:45, 2:30, 4, 4:45, 6:15, 7, 8:30, 9:15.

Whip It

••• Drew Barrymore’s delightful rookie feature about a Texas beauty-pageant princess (Ellen Page) who finds herself as a combative, competitive roller-derby queen. Wonderful performances from Page, Marcia Gay Harden and Kristen Wiig. Running time: 1:51

Rating: PG-13 (drug material, language, sexual content) River Park Square: 10:50 a.m., 1:20, 4:10, 7:05, 9:40.

Zombieland

••• Inspired zom-com road pic, with nervous ninny Jesse Eisenberg and cool cowboy Woody Harrelson teaming up to battle blood-spewing flesh-eaters across a wasteland U.S.A. With Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin and a truly great surprise cameo. Running time: 1:27 Rating: R (language, zombie horror violence/gore)

NorthTown Mall: 1:05, 3:20, 5:30, 7:50, 10:25. River Park Square: 10:35 a.m., 12:50, 3:05, 5:15, 7:45, 9:50. Riverstone: 1:55, 4:40, 7:25, 10. Spokane Valley Mall: 12:55, 3:10, 5:30, 7:50, 10:10. Village Centre: 11:30 a.m., 1:30, 3:30, 5:30, 7:30.

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