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Movie picks 

Films recommended by our reviewers are indicated by an *.

*50/50 (R)

The comedy-drama manages to be more than a collection of caustic anecdotes because of how committed Joseph Gordon-Levitt is to his character's humanity. Which makes it all the more frustrating that 50/50 is merely good, but definitely it'as not great. — Scott Renshaw

Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Kimball's Peak Three, Tinseltown

Abduction (PG-13)

The film focuses on a youth who discovers the parents who raised him aren't his real folks, a revelation that triggers events and leaves him running for his life. — Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15

The Big Year (PG)

Three disparate men, each facing his own unique personal challenges, try to outdo each other in the ultimate bird-watching competition in 1998 — which was the year that El Niño brought an unprecedented number of species to North America. — Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, 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

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Cars 2 (G)

It felt like Pixar promised us that it would remain grounded in something more vital than the sparkle and speed of contemporary computer-generated movie-making. But with Cars 2, it feels as though that promise has been broken. — Scott Renshaw

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*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, Tinseltown

Courageous (PG-13)

As law enforcement officers, Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, David Thomson, and Shane Fuller are confident and focused. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them are truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood. — Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Cowboys & Aliens (PG-13)

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

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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

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Dolphin Tale (PG)

The amazing true story of a brave dolphin and the compassionate strangers who banded together to save her life. — Not reviewed

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

Dream House (PG-13)

A suspense thriller about a family that unknowingly moves into a home where grisly murders were committed only to find themselves the killer's next target. — Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

*Fright Night (R)

This delightfully perverse vampire movie makes me nostalgic for '80s movies. Director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) invokes the retro without being cheesy, the amusing without winking, and the creepy without being awkward. — MaryAnn Johanson

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*Footloose (PG-13)

The fidelity with which this film attempts to reproduce the original is something rarely seen in remakes. And by doing very little that's different, it does a whole lot right. — Scott Renshaw

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

*The Guard (R)

Even when the movie ends in a hail of violence, you don't know whether you're being played by the cop in question, a bad man in the eyes of society, but who is good at the end of the day. And that is exactly how they want it. — Anders Wright

Kimball's Peak Three

*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

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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

Chapel Hills 15, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

The Ides of March (R)

The political film's first half moves fast enough to avoid losing viewers to inside-the-Beltway chatter, and the punchy script provides enough entertaining situations. But everything in the film ultimately pivots on the way Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling) reacts when cornered and that's where it hits a wall. — Scott Renshaw

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

The Lion King (G)

A chance to catch Walt Disney Pictures' 32nd animated film again, in theaters for two weeks only. — Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Tinseltown

*Moneyball (PG-13)

This could have been a standard-issue "underdog sports team" tale, and in some sense, it is. But Moneyball takes angles on these components that are at times completely original, and at times so well-executed that they feel completely original. — Scott Renshaw

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

*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

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Real Steel (PG-13)

A film set in the near-future, where the sport of boxing has gone hi-tech, Real Steel stars Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton, a washed-up fighter who lost his chance at a title when 2,000-pound, 8-foot-tall steel robots took over the ring. — Not reviewed

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

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

Escapism isn't about what happens on the screen, but what happens to us in our lives: 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

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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

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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

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The Thing (R)

Not everything needs to be explained — we're talking about frozen aliens in Antarctica, after all — but it is anyway. The end result is that there's no mystery in The Thing. — Anders Wright

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

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (PG-13)

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

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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

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

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