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Movie picks 

Films recommended by our reviewers are indicated by an *.

*Bridesmaids (R)

In plenty of ways, the film sticks to a successful Apatow formula. The story structure is never so rigid that it won't allow room for freelancing a randomly (and hilariously) off-color conversation. The dialogue snaps with intelligence, and while belly laughs are the meat on the menu, there's a sentimental side. — Scott Renshaw

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Captain America: The First Avenger (PG-13)

This is a WWII-set comic book adventure about a once-meek U.S. soldier turned hero thanks to an experimental super serum that grants strength and agility far beyond that of a normal human being. — Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

The Change-Up (R)

Here's the ugly truth about genre formulas: They generally exist for good reason. While adhering to the formula is no guarantee of success, turning it sideways isn't inevitably a step in the right direction. — Scott Renshaw

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Cowboys & Aliens (PG-13)

Neither homage nor satire, it's more like a brainstormed shorthand checklist of plot points and payoffs. — Jonathan Kiefer

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Crazy, Stupid, Love. (PG-13)

The film offers up a terrific cast and some genuinely funny moments, but its inability to find real greatness can be encapsulated by one scene — an attempt at sophistication that's too often undercut by sitcom simplicity. — Scott Renshaw

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Fast Five (PG-13)

Maybe I'm just getting too old for this, but I'm tired of seeing people who do bad championed as heroes merely because the bad they do isn't that bad. — MaryAnn Johanson

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Friends With Benefits (R)

This film tries to make fun of rom-com conventions and subvert them, but then ends up in the same place that all rom-coms end up. It's a nice idea, but when you veer too far off course, everything is bound to crumble, and it does. — Dan Hudak

Chapel Hills 15, Hollywood Interquest

Green Lantern (PG-13)

Each sector of space is protected by a Green Lantern, which possesses a power ring that uses a powerful green energy to do anything within the limits of the user's imagination and willpower. When the Green Lantern assigned to this sector of space finds himself dying on planet Earth, he instructs the ring to quickly find an appropriate successor. — Not reviewed

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The Hangover Part II (R)

This feels exactly like a script that was thrown together quickly to capitalize on an unexpected success, duplicating the execution — and the flaws — of the first. — Scott Renshaw

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*Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (PG-13)

It's fair to say that while Hallows 2.0 is far from a perfect piece of filmcraft, director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves know exactly how to guide us through this final chapter. — Scott Renshaw

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Cinemark 16 IMAX, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

The Help (PG-13)

Set in Mississippi in the '60s, a southern society girl returns from college determined to become a writer, but turns her friends' lives upside down when she decides to interview the black women who have spent their lives taking care of prominent southern families. — Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

*Horrible Bosses (R)

Horrible Bosses is a rarity in that the story holds together throughout while just about every joke, quip, one-liner and physical gag works. — Dan Hudak

Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Kung Fu Panda 2 (PG)

Po is now living his dream as the Dragon Warrior. But his new life of awesomeness is threatened by the emergence of a formidable villain, who plans to use a secret, unstoppable weapon to conquer China and destroy kung fu. — Not reviewed

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Larry Crowne (PG-13)

It's impossible not to like the movie, since it features two of the most likeable movie stars of late-20th-century vintage. Yet aggressively meh is the best way to describe Larry Crowne. — MaryAnn Johanson

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*A Little Help (R)

Overall, A Little Help comes across like one of those vintage sitcoms that you liked for being funny and weren't sure about when it turned serious. You won't know if you can get behind it unless you try. — Jonathan Kiefer

Kimball's Peak Three

*Midnight in Paris (PG-13)

The film is a nicely executed, clever idea, if neither as groundbreaking nor as intelligent as Woody Allen's earlier work. — Anders Wright

Kimball's Peak Three

Monte Carlo (PG)

A young woman, her uptight stepsister and her best friend use their savings for a long-anticipated dream trip to Paris. When they decide to take a break and duck into the lobby of a five-star hotel, one of them is mistaken for a spoiled British heiress. — Not reviewed

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Mr. Popper's Penguins (PG)

This material deserved the Big Fish treatment, something with scope and intimacy, absurdist flourishes and a warm palette. Instead, the new film, starring Jim Carrey, isn't an adaptation, it's a crime scene. — Justin Strout

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Nabucco (NR)

An opera by Verdi based on the Biblical tale of Nebuchadnezzar. — Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (PG-13)

The creative team seems to have learned little from the mistakes of the past, while adding new ones. The attempt to give Jack Sparrow a romantic subplot feels like a misunderstanding of the character's nature, and there's never a genuine spark between Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz. — Scott Renshaw

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Rio (G)

Blu thinks he's the last of his kind, but when he learns about another macaw who lives in Rio de Janeiro, he heads to the faraway and exotic land to find Jewel, his female counterpart. — Not reviewed

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*Rise of the Planet of the Apes (PG-13)

Escapism isn't about what happens on the screen, but what happens to us: You want to lose yourself in a movie. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the essence of the summer flick, and this is how you do it. — MaryAnn Johanson

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

The Smurfs (PG)

A hybrid live-action and animated family comedy. When the evil wizard Gargamel chases the Smurfs out of their village, they're forced through a portal and into our world. They must find a way home. — Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

*Thor (PG-13)

Thor shows that director Kenneth Branagh grasps these fundamental realities: He nails a unique tone, and he has a lead actor who understands how to play a god. — Scott Renshaw

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Transformers: Dark of the Moon (PG-13)

Michael Bay's approach to filmmaking feels in desperate need of lightening, a sense of when to pare down. In keeping with its opening sequence, Dark of the Moon is yet another Bay movie in which any given 10 minutes would almost certainly be better as only three.. — Scott Renshaw

Carmike 10, Hollywood Interquest

The Tree of Life (PG-13)

It's not quite a dramatization, nor even a coherent philosophy, just apparently some ecstatic cross-cutting chronicle of primordial progress. For all its oddity and majesty, Tree forgoes real mystery. Terrence Malick's most genuine intimacy here is accomplished nonverbally, as he finally delivers his characters to an island of forgiveness. The appreciators will get there too, eventually. — Jonathan Kiefer

Kimball's Peak Three

Winnie the Pooh (G)

With the charm, wit and whimsy of the original featurettes, this all-new movie reunites audiences with the philosophical "bear of very little brain" and friends. — Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15

*X-Men: First Class (PG-13)

It's not Shakespeare — silly inner fangirl — but, as breezy, thoughtful summer comic-book movies go, it's damn close. — MaryAnn Johanson

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Zookeeper (PG)

Kevin James stars as a lovelorn zookeeper who gets a little help from his animal buddies in order to find a mate. — Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15

  • Our reviewers' recommendations for films playing around the area.

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