Movies opening this weekend, still in theaters
Updated: August 31, 2012 12:44PM
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★ ★ ½
Rated R for strong sexual content throughout, language and some drug use
Lauren Miller, Ari Graynor, Justin Long
Former college enemies (Miller and Graynor) find themselves sharing a Manhattan apartment out of necessity and starting a phone-sex business for the same reason. Jamie Travis makes his feature debut as director from a script co-written by Miller.
Rated R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexuality/nudity
Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce
Three bootlegging brothers (Hardy, LaBeouf and Jason Clarke) in Depression-era Virginia have to face down crooked lawmen and a competing gangster to stay in business. John Hillcoat (“The Proposition,” “The Road”) directed the crime drama from a script by Nick Cave.
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving violence and disturbing sequences
Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick, Natasha Calis
Much to the concern of her parents (Morgan and Sedgwick), a young girl (Calis) behaves more and more strangely after buying an antique box at a yard sale. Danish director Ole Bornedal (“Deliver Us from Evil”) directed the supernatural thriller.
No MPAA rating
Mike Birbiglia, Lauren Ambrose, James Rebhorn
A stand-up comedian (played by comedian Birbiglia, who also co-directed and co-wrote this adaptation of his memoirs), copes with chronic sleepwalking, a stalled career and a stagnant relationship with his longtime girlfriend (Ambrose). Ira Glass of “This American Life” co-wrote and co-produced the comedy, which won an Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Festival.
HIT AND RUN
★ ★ ★
Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, graphic nudity, some violence and drug content
Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell, Bradley Cooper, Tom Arnold
If you enjoy genres (ranging from car-chase epic to romantic comedy) mashed together, you’re likely to find “Hit and Run” a pleasant surprise. Romance provides the framework as former getaway driver turned witness-protection runaway Charlie Bronson (Shepard, who also wrote, co-directed and edited) drives girlfriend Annie (Bell) cross-country for a dream-job interview. Things get complicated, though, when assorted homicidal maniacs from Charlie’s past, and a well-intentioned, but dangerously incompetent federal marshal (Arnold) give chase. Annie begins to realize Charlie hasn’t been entirely honest about his past. Fortunately, the male/female negations, while charming and intelligent, are punctuated by just enough crazed, comedically tinged action to keep the situation lively.
★ ★ ★
Rated PG for scary action and images, thematic elements, some rude humor and language
Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Anna Kendrick, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Very much a children’s film (though some of the horrific images may be too much for very young or sensitive kids), this frightfully entertaining family-horror-comedy pits 11-year-old town “freak” Norman against a vengeful witch — who wants to destroy small-town Blithe Hollow with a zombie army on the 300th anniversary of the townsfolk burning her alive. Writer/co-director Chris Butler, moving up from storyboard work on “Coraline” and “The Corpse Bride,” makes effective use of stop-motion animation to establish a wonderfully morbid mood and move things along at a fast pace with plenty of flashy camera moves, with an emphasis on ghastly humor throughout. While also touching on some surprisingly serious moral philosophy from time to time. There’s plenty of stuff in “ParaNorman” to entertain adults as well, especially if they appreciate old-school horror films.
★ ★ ★ ½
Rated PG-13 for some violence, intense action sequences and language
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez
Writer/director David Koepp (whose A-list screenwriting efforts include “Mission Impossible,” “Jurassic Park” and “Spider-Man”) knows how to craft compelling, crowd-pleasing movies — a knack that’s evident from the first frames of this adrenaline-pumping two-wheeler action opus. There’s just enough story (revealed in flashback as a means to punctuate the action) to justify one long chase between fearless Manhattan bike messenger Wilee (Gordon-Levitt) and the dirty cop (Shannon, alternating bug-eyed comic relief with freaky menace) who’s desperately trying to settle a gambling debt by hijacking a mysterious envelope. The real attraction comes from the film’s breakneck pace, dazzling camera work and 90 minutes of death-defying, minimal-CGI stunt work. It’s a wild ride, even if it is on a bicycle.~.