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Movie Reviews

An excellent origins story is bogged down by too many mutants with no motivation

In the swinging 1960s, two mutant men set very different goals for themselves. Charles Xavier (James McAvoy: Gnomeo and Juliet) is hoping to use his telepathic abilities to score college co-eds — oh, and to unite other mutants, in hopes of celebrating the beauty of genetics. Shoah survivor Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender: Jane Eyre) is set on using his metal manipulating skills to hunt down and murder the Nazis who experimented on him and killed his mother.

Po and his band of martial arts friends make feathers fly in this fun sequel

After becoming the famed Dragon Warrior in his last film, tubby panda warrior Po (Jack Black: Gulliver’s Travels) is living large. He trains, signs autographs and eats, while enjoying a partnership with the legendary Furious Five — Tigress (Angelina Jolie: Salt); Viper (Lucy Liu: East Fifth Bliss); Praying Mantis (Seth Rogen: Paul); Crane (David Cross: Running Wilde); and Monkey (Jackie Chan: The Karate Kid).

A fresh start offers the same old problems

A lonely Spanish fishing boat pulls up a man in its net. Clasping a map and suddenly reanimated, he mumbles something about the Fountain of Youth.     To the king!

Kristen Wiig proves that women can be funny too, when they write the script.

Annie (Kristen Wiig: Paul) isn’t having the best year. Her cake-baking business went under in the recession. She’s in a sex-only relationship with a vapid but handsome user (Jon Hamm: Mad Men). Now childhood friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph: Saturday Night Live) asks Annie to be her maid of honor.

The God of Thunder rumbles through two worlds in this fun comic book adaptation

Life ain’t easy when you’re the son of the Asgardian king. Well, actually, it’s pretty easy, but arrogant young Thor (Chris Hemsworth: Ca$h) makes life hard for himself.

A fractured fairytale gets more splintered with poor storytelling

If a terrible movie bombs at the box office, does anyone care what a reviewer writes about it?     We’re about to find out.

A G rating takes the teeth out of this lion and cheetah documentary

Cheetah mother Sita stalks an antelope in the tall grasses of the Kenyan savannah. She chases her quarry, closing the gap between them with bounding strides. Sita leaps, claws out, and lands upon the antelope’s hindquarters.     And cut!     The director returns to Sita later, face smeared with blood, feeding her hungry cubs. The antelope, curiously, is nowhere to be found.

Good slasher fun is marred by lectures about the good old days.

Wes Craven (My Soul to Take) wants you damn kids to get off of his lawn. Also, the director wants the You Tube generation to show some respect for old-school slasher films.     In the reboot of the Scream franchise, the curmudgeon director sets out to prove that fusing old-school scares and new-school pop culture smarts are his forte. Craven’s got a point. When he focuses on the gore and the fun, he makes a smart, scary flick.

An action fairytale pits a little girl against the big bad wolf.

Once upon a time there was teenager named Hanna (Saoirse Ronan: The Way Back) who lived alone in the woods with her father Erik (Eric Bana: The Time Traveler’s Wife). They spend nights reading by the fire, living off the frigid land of Finland and training in the art of the kill.

An uninteresting lead turns a brooding gothic classic into a tepid tale of inconvenient love

There is a fundamental problem with adapting Jane Eyre into film: Most people know what’s in the attic. To counteract the English Lit 101 plot, the movie has to make you invest in the characters so that you dread what you know will befall them.     At the very least, filmmakers need to make that attic creepy.