Short takes: Aug. 16-22


Anime Academy for Adults

Movie and book discussion group on Japanese animation and comics for ages 18+. Featuring screenings of recent anime releases AirTV and Innocent Venus. Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, 507-3458. 8/18, 2 pm, free.

Care Bears: Oopsy Does It!

Voices of Ian James Corlett, Tabitha St. Germain, Tracey Moore. Directed by Davis Doi. 60 minutes. Rated G.

The Care Bears must go up against their enemy, Grizzle. Oopsy Bear surprises everyone by rising to the challenge. Galaxy Theatres Cannery, 2121 E. Craig Road, 639-9779. Daily, 10 am, $3.

The Cat in the Hat

Mike Myers, Dakota Fanning, Spencer Breslin. Directed by Bo Welch. 82 minutes. Rated PG.

Sally and Conrad are two bored kids whose life is turned upside-down when a talking cat comes to visit them. The District at Green Valley Ranch, 2300 Paseo Verde Parkway, Henderson, 564-8595. 8/17, 8 pm, free.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara. Directed by John Hughes. 102 minutes. Rated PG-13.

A high school wiseguy is determined to have a day off from school, despite what the principal thinks of that. Sahara West Library, 9600 W. Sahara Ave., 507-3630. 8/18, 2 pm, free.

The Getaway

Steve McQueen, Ali McGraw, Ben Johnson. Directed by Sam Peckinpah. 122 minutes. Rated PG.

A recently released ex-con and his loyal wife go on the run after a heist goes awry. Whitney Library, 5175 E. Tropicana Ave., 507-4010. 8/19, 11:30 am, free.


Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean. Directed by George Stevens. 210 minutes. Rated G.

A sprawling drama of two generations in a wealthy Texas cattle clan. Hudson stars as the headstrong family head, Taylor as his wife and Dean as the ranch hand in love with Taylor. Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, 507-3400. 8/21, 1 pm, free.

The Goonies

Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman, Martha Plimpton. Directed by Richard Donner. 114 minutes. Rated PG.

A group of kids embark on a wild adventure after finding a pirate treasure map. MonteLago Village, Lake Las Vegas. 8/23, 8 pm, free. Info:

IMAX Theatre

Deep Sea 3D, Fighter Pilot, Mystery of the Nile, Dinosaurs Alive, Lions 3D: Roar of the Kalahari

Call for showtimes. $11.99 each show.

Luxor, 3900 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 262-4629.


Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw. Directed by Steven Spielberg. 124 minutes. Rated PG.

When a gigantic great white shark begins to menace the small island community of Amity, a police chief, a marine scientist and a grizzled fisherman set out to stop it. The District at Green Valley Ranch, 2300 Paseo Verde Parkway, Henderson, 564-8595. 8/18, 8 pm, free.

John Tucker Must Die

Jesse Metcalfe, Brittany Snow, Ashanti, Sophia Bush. Directed by Betty Thomas. 89 minutes. Rated PG-13.

Three ex-girlfriends of a serial cheater (Metcalfe) set up their former lover to fall for the new girl in town so they can watch him get his heart broken. Whitney Library, 5175 E. Tropicana Ave., 507-4010. 8/17, 2 pm, free.

The Last Mimzy

Chris O’Neil, Rhiannon Leigh Wryn, Joely Richardson, Timothy Hutton. Directed by Robert Shaye. 90 minutes. Rated PG.

Two siblings begin to develop special talents after they find a mysterious box of toys. MonteLago Village, Lake Las Vegas. 8/16, 8 pm, free. Info:

Mother of Mine

Topi Majaniemi, Maria Lundqvist, Marjaana Maijala. Directed by Klaus Haro. 111 minutes. Not rated.

During World War II, more than 70,000 Finnish children were evacuated to neutral Sweden to avoid the conflict. Nine-year-old Eero increasingly feels abandoned by his biological Finnish mother and yet not attached to his Swedish surrogate mom. When he is returned to Finland, his confusion intensifies. In Finnish and Swedish with English subtitles. Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, 507-3400. 8/21, 7 pm, free.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Tim Curry. Directed by Jim Sharman. 100 minutes. Rated R.

The perennial 1975 cult classic is a mix of horror, comedy and musical, featuring sex, transvestites and the Time Warp. Augmented by a live cast and audience participation. Tropicana Cinemas, 3330 E. Tropicana Ave., 243-7469. Sat, midnight, $10. Info: Onyx Theater inside The Rack in Commercial Center, 953 E. Sahara Ave., #101. First & third Sat of month, 11:30 pm, $7. Info: 953-0682 or

Saturday Movie Matinee

Watch movies for ages 3-11 in the Young People’s Library. Enterprise Library, 25 E. Shelbourne Ave., 507-3760. 8/18, 8/25, 11 am, free.


Arctic Tale (not reviewed)

Narrated by Queen Latifah. Directed by Adam Ravetch and Sarah Robinson. 90 minutes. Rated G.

Two narratives—the life cycle of a mother walrus and her calf, and the life of a polar bear and her cubs—are used in this documentary to illustrate the harsh realities of existence in the Arctic.

Death at a Funeral * 1/2

Matthew MacFadyen, Rupert Graves, Daisy Donovan, Peter Dinklage. Directed by Frank Oz. 90 minutes. Rated R.

See review Page 41.

Interview ** 1/2

Sienna Miller, Steve Buscemi. Directed by Steve Buscemi. 84 minutes. Rated R.

 See review Page 41.

The Invasion * 1/2

Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Jackson Bond. Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel. 93 minutes. Rated R.

See review Page 40.

The Last Legion (Not reviewed)

Colin Firth, Ben Kingsley, Aishwarya Rai. Directed by Doug Lefler. 110 minutes. Rated PG-13.

As the Roman empire crumbles, young Romulus Augustus embarks on a perilous voyage to Britain to track down a legion of supporters.

Superbad ***

Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse. Directed by Greg Mottola. 114 minutes. Rated R.

See review Page 40.


Becoming Jane ** 2/12

Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy, Julie Walters. Directed by Julian Jarrold. 120 minutes. Rated PG.

Jane Austen fans, be warned: Becoming Jane is highly unlikely to teach you anything new about your favorite English novelist of manners; in fact, it may drive you a little bit nuts, since the filmmakers take a rather freewheeling approach to the groundbreaking female author, extrapolating an entire life-altering romance from a few lines in some of Austen’s letters that survived after her death. By reducing Austen’s talent to a somewhat crude cause-and-effect relationship between her writing and her brief courtship with roguish lawyer Tom Lefroy (McAvoy), they do a disservice to Austen’s legacy, as well as to the legions of writers and admirers who look up to her. Mostly, though, they just tell a second-rate Jane Austen story. –JB

The Bourne Ultimatum *** 1/2

Matt Damon, David Strathairn, Joan Allen, Julia Stiles. Directed by Paul Greengrass. 115 minutes. Rated PG-13.

Everything that Jason Bourne (Damon) does is in pursuit of his single goal: to discover who he was and how he became the ruthless government super-agent he no longer wishes to be. In the last movie, Bourne’s girlfriend was killed, and he was framed for the murder of two U.S. agents; after extracting a confession for those crimes from a high-ranking CIA official at the end of The Bourne Supremacy, Bourne is still on the run from the U.S. government, determined to track down the people responsible for his training. Ultimatum is a smart, exciting and stylish mix of 1970s conspiracy thrillers, modern over-the-top action movies and new-world-order espionage like TV’s 24. –JB

Bratz (Not reviewed)

Nathalia Ramos, Janel Parrish, Logan Browning, Skyler Shaye. Directed by Sean McNamara. 95 minutes. Rated PG.

During their first year of high school, four best girlfriends face off against the domineering student-body president who wants to split them up into different social cliques.

Daddy Day Camp (Not reviewed)

Cuba Gooding Jr., Paul Rae, Lochlyn Munro, Tamala Jones. Directed by Fred Savage. 93 minutes. Rated PG.

This sequel to Daddy Day Care finds dads Charlie Hinton (Gooding) and Phil Ryerson (Rae) in another kid-harried adventure as they take over running a summer day camp.

El Cantante ** 1/2

Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, John Ortiz. Directed by Leon Ichaso. 106 minutes. Rated R.

Ichaso really rips into the first section of this biopic of Puerto Rican-born singer Hector Lavoe (Anthony), who was at the forefront when salsa music caught on in the United States in the 1970s. He cuts to the rhythm of infectious drums, swaying rhythms and sweaty dancing. El Cantante eventually succumbs to the typically broad biopic canvas. It hits nothing but highlights, and misses the singer’s soul. Anthony has a wonderful singing voice—warm, rich and dramatic—but he’s a rather more limited thespian and not skilled enough to project much past Lavoe’s trademark dark glasses, worn throughout most of the film. –JMA

Evan Almighty **

Steve Carell, Morgan Freeman, Lauren Graham. Directed by Tom Shadyac. 94 minutes. Rated PG.

God (Freeman, reprising his Bruce Almighty role) has set his sights on Evan (Carell), who’s left his TV job in Buffalo after being elected to the U.S. Congress. Evan’s barely had time to settle into his new house and job before the smarmy deity shows up and demands that he build an ark in anticipation of a coming flood. Predictably, the ark is less about global disaster and more about Evan learning some important lessons about making time for his family and—most relentlessly and heavy-handedly—caring for the environment. Not that what passes for humor is worth a whole lot—there’s an entire montage of Carell falling down and/or getting hit with things, and far more jokes about bird poop than should ever be in one movie. –JB

Hairspray *** 1/2

Nikki Blonsky, John Travolta, Amanda Bynes, Zac Efron. Directed by Adam Shankman. 117 minutes. Rated PG.

It’s been nearly 20 years since cult filmmaker John Waters cleaned up his act long enough to make Hairspray, the tale of pleasantly plump ’60s teen Tracy Turnblad, who fights to get on a local TV dance show and subsequently fights to desegregate the program. Since then, the beloved cult classic has inspired a hit Broadway musical, which has now inspired another silver-screen treatment, which has inspired John Travolta to dress in heavy latex drag. The songs are quick, catchy and frequent. But while they initially push the narrative forward at a satisfying speed, they eventually slow things down to give everyone some time in the spotlight. –MSH

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ***

Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint. Directed by David Yates. 138 minutes. Rated PG-13.

There are at least a few significant things going on in Phoenix, which once again finds Harry (Radcliffe) at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, facing the imminent threat of Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). When you have a film series that’s seven installments long, eventually you are going to get to the placeholder chapter, and that’s where the Harry Potter series has ended up with its fifth big-screen outing. Longtime Potter fans will probably be eager to forgive Phoenix’s flaws, and even casual viewers will still find plenty to like, but the feeling of marking time, of nothing especially momentous going on in the latest incremental step toward Harry’s final showdown with evil wizard Voldemort, is fairly hard to shake. –JB

Hot Rod *

Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, Bill Hader. Directed by Akiva Schaffer. 88 minutes. Rated PG-13.

The script is a barebones take on the sports movie formula with the sport being daredevil stunts. Saturday Night Live star Samberg plays Rod, whose motivation to win stems from a desire to earn enough money for his emotionally abusive stepfather’s heart transplant. Rod wants his stepfather well again so he can kick the guy’s ass, proving his manhood, and he figures he can earn the money by jumping 15 school buses with his moped. Every joke crashes, face-plants and slides across the asphalt until its teeth explode out the back of its head. –MSH

I Know Who Killed Me (Not reviewed)

Lindsay Lohan, Julia Ormond, Neal McDonough. Directed by Chris Siverston. 105 minutes. Rated R.

An idyllic small town is rocked when Aubrey Fleming (Lohan), a bright and promising young college student, is abducted and tortured by a serial killer. When she manages to escape, the traumatized young woman who regains consciousness in the hospital insists that she is not who they think she is—and that the real Aubrey is still in mortal danger.

I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry **

Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Jessica Biel. Directed by Dennis Dugan. 115 minutes. Rated PG-13.

Never is the possibility addressed that straight firefighters Chuck (Sandler) and Larry (James) could convince the world of the veracity of their sham domestic partnership by doing anything other than embodying loud gay stereotypes. The pair enter into the deception thanks to a plot contrivance that prevents widower Larry from assigning his insurance benefits to his two children. Told the only way around this problem is to get married, Larry enlists best bud Chuck to join him in a partnership that’s meant to exist only on paper. Chuck & Larry ends up patronizing both the frat-boy Sandler audience—presuming they need lectures on tolerance—and the potential gay audience, excusing stereotypes by asserting that the characters have learned it’s wrong to use the word “faggot.” –JB

Knocked Up ***

Seth Rogen, Katherine Heigl, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann. Directed by Judd Apatow. 129 minutes. Rated R.

The wholesome values in Knocked Up are effectively intermixed with the movie’s real selling point, its outrageous humor, but it’s clear which side wins out. That makes the film either an act of subversive genius—getting stoners and slackers to appreciate the importance of parenthood—or a strangely conservative scolding in the guise of a dumb comedy. As tempting as it is to give Apatow credit for subversion, it might be safer to say that he’s really just telling his audience to grow up and accept some responsibility. That’s exactly what happens to Ben Stone (Rogen), a prototypical representative of the Apatow demographic, when his one-night stand with driven E! news producer Alison Scott (Heigl) results in an unplanned pregnancy. –JB

La Vie en Rose ***

Marion Cotillard, Gerard Depardieu, Jean-Pierre Martins. Directed by Olivier Dahan. 140 minutes. Rated PG-13. In French with English subtitles.

La Vie en Rose is a film for lovers. Despite focusing on French singer Edith Piaf’s tortured life, the biopic has a romantic heart. We see Edith evolve from a street singer who is discovered by a club owner to her debut in a music hall. Until the scene in the music hall, La Vie en Rose doesn’t have much to recommend it. The first portion of the film is conventional melodrama. But with Piaf’s debut at the music hall, director Dahan starts to gain command and use his imagination. The rest of the film engages. –TM

License to Wed * 1/2

Robin Williams, Mandy Moore, John Krasinski. Directed by Ken Kwapis. 90 minutes. Rated PG-13.

You’ve seen Meet the Parents, right? Well, here comes Meet the Pastor! Instead of Robert De Niro’s intimidating paternal figure, we get Williams’ oddball religious figure, but everything else remains the same. The character is still the only thing standing in the way of marital bliss between the well-meaning would-be groom and his personality-deprived bride-to-be. There will be awkward moments with the potential in-laws and escalating slapstick abuse that culminates in the alienation of the young man’s fiancée, who must inevitably call off the wedding by the end of the second act. But when hero and antagonist finally bond, the whole debacle will end in wedding bells. It’s a tired formula even when done right, but License to Wed gets it all wrong. –MSH

Live Free or Die Hard ***

Bruce Willis, Justin Long, Timothy Olyphant, Maggie Q, Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Directed by Len Wiseman. 128 minutes. Rated PG-13.

Live Free or Die Hard is the fourth installment in the increasingly ludicrous action series about everyman New York City cop McClane (Willis) single-handedly stopping massive terrorist attacks. Criminal mastermind Thomas Gabriel (Olyphant, coolly menacing) is a former U.S. intelligence expert now bent on taking down the system he was once hired to protect. McClane’s (and the country’s) only hope against Gabriel’s crippling of the U.S. transportation, financial and utilities infrastructure is hacker/slacker Matt Farrell (Long). Wiseman seems far more interested in concocting ever-more-gigantic action sequences than in examining McClane’s personal life. But, oh, those action sequences: Using a minimum of CGI, Wiseman stages some mind-boggling stunts. –JB

No Reservations ** 1/2

Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart, Abigail Breslin. Directed by Scott Hicks. 104 minutes. Rated PG.

No Reservations stars Zeta-Jones as New York City chef Kate Armstrong, a no-nonsense taskmaster at work whose personal life is (surprise!) not nearly as focused or together. Off-screen tragedy dumps a little bundle of lesson-learning in her lap, in the form of niece Zoe (Breslin), whose single mother dies in a car accident. Kate also has to contend with her new sous-chef, Nick (Eckhart), a free spirit who likes to play opera CDs while cooking and to whom Zoe takes an instant liking. Will Kate, too, fall for Nick? Only every single person watching the movie knows for sure. Rather than attacking a familiar formula with gusto, No Reservations moves sluggishly from plot point to plot point. –JB

Ocean’s Thirteen ***

George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Al Pacino. Directed by Steven Soderbergh. 113 minutes. Rated PG-13.

As in the first film, our heroes have targeted a fabulous Las Vegas casino—this one owned not by Andy Garcia’s Terry Benedict, who’s partially bankrolling the operation, but by a preening, back-stabbing mogul named Willie Bank (Pacino). Their objective isn’t quite what you’d expect, though. Ocean & Co. don’t want Bank’s vast fortune for themselves—they’d just prefer that Bank, who’s both humiliated and hospitalized their jovial mentor, Reuben (Elliott Gould), possess a whole lot less of it. For the most part, Ocean’s Thirteen reverts to the breezy, weightless antics—charismatic men plotting byzantine schemes in exotic locales—that made Eleven such forgettable fun. –MD

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End *

Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Geoffrey Rush. Directed by Gore Verbinski. 168 minutes. Rated PG-13.

At World’s End picks up, as these things tend to do, roughly where its slightly less inflated predecessor ended, with Elizabeth Swann (Knightley) allied with Captain Barbossa (Rush) and the surviving swabbies of the Black Pearl to rescue Jack Sparrow (Depp) from the very euphemistically named Davy Jones’ locker. Even if you loved The Curse of the Black Pearl and Dead Man’s Chest, this dour, tedious, aggressively unfunny, egregiously padded helping of celluloid fluff will only waste your time and money. –MH

Ratatouille ***

Voices of Patton Oswalt, Lou Romano, Brad Garrett, Janeane Garofalo. Directed by Brad Bird. 110 minutes. Rated G.

It’s a cute and well-animated movie about a Parisian rat named Remy (Oswalt) who has a taste for gourmet food and idolizes a rotund celebrity restaurateur named Gusteau (Garrett). Gusteau’s gone to the great kitchen in the sky, and his eponymous eatery has been taken over by his money-grubbing sous-chef. When Remy finds himself by chance in the restaurant’s kitchen, he inadvertently helps busboy Alfredo Linguini (Romano) create a marvelous dish and becomes a sort of culinary Cyrano de Bergerac to the nervous young man. The plot moves along familiar beats, setting up its conflicts simply and resolving them the same way. –JB

Rescue Dawn ***

Christian Bale, Steve Zahn, Jeremy Davies. Directed by Werner Herzog. 126 minutes. Rated PG-13.

The film scotches virtually all backstory on Dieter Dengler (Bale) and picks up as he prepares to fly his first mission as a U.S. Navy bomber pilot into Laos in 1965. Things go horribly wrong from there: Dengler is shot down and stranded in the jungle, where he’s captured, tortured and finally interned in a remote POW camp. Once inside, he cooks up an escape plan with gentle Air Force pilot Dwayne Martin (Zahn), whose psyche is hanging by a thread, and clashes with a veteran prisoner (Davies). There’s little here that we haven’t seen in The Great Escape or countless Vietnam War movies, but Herzog juices the genre trappings by hanging them on his customary man-versus-nature/individual-versus-collective framework. –MH

Chris Tucker dances his way through Rush Hour 3

Rush Hour 3 *

Chris Tucker, Jackie Chan, Yvan Attal. Directed by Brett Ratner. 91 minutes. Rated PG-13.

At the start of this inept, brain-dead new sequel, Tucker’s detective James Carter has been understandably demoted to directing traffic, while Chief Inspector Lee (Chan) has been assigned to protect a Chinese ambassador, who in turn is assigned to bring down the Triads. Of course, the ambassador is murdered, and Carter and Lee find themselves flying to Paris to find a secret list that contains the names of the top 13 Triad leaders. If you can’t make the connection between an assassinated Chinese ambassador and Paris, neither can writer Jeff Nathanson, who leaves plot holes big enough for the Eiffel Tower to pass through. Nathanson and director Ratner’s biggest crime, however, is their inability to combine comedy and action, to say nothing of their ineptitude at each element by itself. –JMA

The Simpsons Movie ***

Voices of Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith. Directed by David Silverman. 87 minutes. Rated PG-13.

There are plenty of laughs in the beginning of the film, which in typical Simpsons fashion takes a circuitous route to the actual plot, and the movie showcases many of the show’s best features, including clever voice cameos (Green Day, Tom Hanks), incisive political satire and hilariously oddball references to obscure bits of culture. Things slow a little as soon as the story kicks into gear, with Simpson patriarch Homer inadvertently sparking an environmental disaster that causes the government to lower a giant dome over Springfield. This feature-length version of the TV show has some snazzier animation but otherwise amounts to a decent oversized episode. –JB

Skinwalkers (Not reviewed)

Jason Behr, Elias Koteas, Rhona Mitra. Directed by James Isaac. 110 minutes. Rated PG-13.

A 12-year-old boy and his mother become the targets of two warring werewolf packs.

Stardust ** 1/2

Charlie Cox, Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer. Directed by Matthew Vaughn. 128 minutes. Rated PG-13.

The English village Wall is aptly named as it borders a wall beyond which is the mystical realm Stormhold. Residents are forbidden to cross this wall, but an enterprising young man does so anyway, and while on the other side he has a dalliance with a young woman who claims to be an imprisoned princess. Cut to 18 years later, and the product of their union is now the awkward young man Tristan (Cox), your standard peasant boy who is secretly of royal blood. Promising the haughty object of his affection that he will catch her a fallen star, he too jumps the wall and tracks down said star, which in this realm takes the convenient form of a beautiful woman named Yvaine (Danes). There are just too many ill-advised digressions for Stardust to completely work. –JB

Sunshine ***

Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Michelle Yeoh, Rose Byrne. Directed by Danny Boyle. 107 minutes. Rated R.

Sunshine’s doomsday premise has the sun’s own fuel tank running on empty, necessitating an emergency mission to more or less jump-start it by imploding a nuclear bomb deep in its guts. A previous spacecraft, Icarus I, vanished without detonating its payload; Icarus II is mankind’s final hope to avoid imminent extinction. When its crew picks up a distress signal from Icarus I, suggesting that somebody onboard might still be alive seven years after its last known transmission, our heroes must decide whether the needs of the many—namely, everyone on Earth—truly outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Despite a paltry (by Hollywood standards) f/x budget, Sunshine manages to evoke a vivid, dreadful-yet-reverent sense of mankind’s cosmic insignificance, transforming an object we usually associate with warmth and happiness (sunny disposition, etc.) into an ominous, lethal adversary. –MD

Talk to Me ***

Don Cheadle, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Taraji P. Henson, Martin Sheen. Directed by Kasi Lemmons. 118 minutes. Rated R.

Talk to Me is the story of Washington, D.C., radio DJ Petey Greene, a controversial firebrand who served as a voice for the disenfranchised black community from the late 1960s until his death in the early 1980s. Greene was an ex-con, a heavy drinker and a recovering drug addict, so he’s the perfect subject for a standard-issue biopic. Lemmons and the screenwriters don’t really deviate from the expected formula, right down to the montages set to period music and the judicious deployment of historical stock footage. Up until the final third, which follows Greene beyond the radio station, the movie is engaging and enjoyable to watch. –JB

Transformers **

Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Jon Voight, Josh Duhamel. Directed by Michael Bay. 140 minutes. Rated PG-13.

Giant robots that beat each other up are inherently exciting, so it’s frustrating to see the filmmakers behind this behemoth actually turn such a premise into something tedious and boring, stretched out to nearly two-and-a-half hours and saddled with a tone too somber for camp and too silly to be taken seriously. Basically, there’s this thing that’s really important, and both the good guys and the bad guys are after it. Given the relative simplicity of the story and fans’ desire to see as much hot robot-on-robot action as possible, it’s baffling that Bay and his writers pace the movie so slowly, with numerous diversions and dull sidetracks delaying the inevitable Autobot/Decepticon showdown. –JB

Underdog (Not reviewed)

Peter Dinklage, Patrick Warburton, voices of Jason Lee, Amy Adams. Directed by Frederik Du Chau. 84 minutes. Rated PG.

A lab accident gives a hound named Shoeshine super powers—a secret that the dog eventually shares with the young boy who becomes his owner and friend.

Who’s Your Caddy? (Not reviewed)

Antwan Andre Patton, Jeffrey Jones, Terry Crews. Directed by Don Michael Paul. 93 minutes. Rated PG-13.

When a rap mogul from Atlanta tries to join a conservative country club in the Carolinas, he runs into fierce opposition from the board president—but it’s nothing that he and his entourage can’t handle.

JMA Jeffrey M. Anderson; JB Josh Bell; MD Mike D’Angelo; MH Mark Holcomb; MSH Matthew Scott Hunter; TM Tony Macklin

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