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Movie picks 

Films recommended by our reviewers are indicated by an *.

30 Minutes or Less (R)

Director Ruben Fleischer, a former reality-show writer, is hardly the only culpable party in this wreck, in which Nick (Jesse Eisenberg), an overgrown pizza boy, is mugged and forced to wear a vest full of dynamite until he successfully robs a bank. — Justin Strout

Chapel Hills 15

Apollo 18 (PG-13)

In December of 1974, two American astronauts were sent on a secret mission to the moon, funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. What you are about to see is the actual footage that the astronauts captured on that mission. — Not reviewed

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

Bad Teacher (R)

After being dumped by her current boyfriend, a foul-mouthed, gold-digging seventh-grade teacher sets her sights on a colleague who is dating the school's model teacher. — Not reviewed

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*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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Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star (R)

The tale of a small-town guy who moves to Hollywood to follow in his parents' steps as a porn star. — Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

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

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

The Change-Up (R)

Here's the ugly truth about genre formulas (this one a body-swap comedy): 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

Chapel Hills 15

Colombiana (PG-13)

Cataleya, a young woman who witnessed the murder of her parents as a child, turns herself into a professional killer. — Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

*Contagion (PG-13)

This is no mere disaster movie; it's a meticulous doomsday scenario imagined by someone with a clear need to visualize the worst as a salve to his anxiety. — Justin Strout

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Cinemark 16 IMAX, Hollywood Interquest, Kimball's Peak Three, Tinseltown

Cowboys & Aliens (PG-13)

It's 1873 in Arizona Territory when a spaceship arrives. Neither homage nor satire, it's more like a brainstormed shorthand checklist of plot points and payoffs. — Jonathan Kiefer

Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Crazy, Stupid, Love. (PG-13)

For two hours, 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

Tinseltown

*The Debt (R)

The Debt, a new thriller, fleshes out a great scenario with fresh action beats, some killer acting and wonderful interplay between Jessica Chastain and Helen Mirren. — Justin Strout

Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

*Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (R)

The haunted-house thriller sometimes feels like a lost art. But like Insidious earlier this year, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is a triumph of mood and tone that dutifully holds us in suspense until the very end. — Dan Hudak

Carmike 10, Tinseltown

Green Lantern (PG-13)

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

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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, 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

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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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*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

Chapel Hills 15, Kimball's Peak Three

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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*Our Idiot Brother (R)

Fortunately, Our Idiot Brother is a bit complicated, because Ned (Paul Rudd) isn't an idiot. And it's surprisingly charming watching a fairly formulaic comedy that revolves around the radical notion of being fundamentally decent. — Scott Renshaw

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

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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*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

Seven Days in Utopia (G)

The film follows the story of Luke Chisolm, a talented young golfer. When his first big shot turns out to be a very public disaster, Luke escapes the pressures of the game and finds himself unexpectedly stranded in Utopia, Texas, home to eccentric rancher Johnny Crawford. — Not reviewed

Cinemark 16

Shark Night (PG-13)

Arriving by boat at her family's Louisiana lake island cabin, Sara and her friends quickly strip down to their swimsuits for a weekend of fun in the sun. The college friends soon discover the lake has been stocked with hundreds of massive, flesh-eating sharks. — Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, 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

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Spy Kids: All the Time in the World (PG)

Marissa Cortez Wilson's world turns upside down when the Timekeeper threatens to take over the planet and she is called back into action by the OSS. — Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15, Hollywood Interquest

*Super 8 (PG-13)

When J.J. Abrams gets away from the strengths of his own story, he turns it into something merely pretty good, instead of the kind of movie other filmmakers will be referencing a generation from now. — Scott Renshaw

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Transformers: Dark of the Moon (PG-13)

Dark of the Moon is yet another movie from Michael Bay in which any given 10 minutes would almost certainly be better as only three (minutes, that is). — Scott Renshaw

Carmike 10, Picture Show

*Warrior (PG-13)

It should be easy to knock down Warrior, the new mixed martial-arts film about two estranged brothers who face off in the cage for a winner-take-all prize. Despite the litany of sports-movie clichés, it's entertaining, engrossing and inspiring. — Anders Wright

Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

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

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

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