Movie Reviews

May 31, 2011

new movies

"X-Men: First Class" (PG-13). Not reviewed. Kevin Bacon and January Jones are among the stars in this action-adventure about superheroes trying to prevent nuclear Armageddon. Opens Friday, June 3.

now playing

"Bridesmaids" (R). A bride to be (Maya Rudolph) worries that her upcoming wedding will be ruined by her increasingly jittery best friend and maid of honor (Kristen Wiig). This is an uneven comedy, but there are endearing performances and a few very funny scenes. Grade: B Owings Mills 17, Hunt Valley 12, AMC White Marsh

"Everything Must Go" (R). Derived from a Raymond Carver short story, this melancholic comedy features a well-cast Will Ferrell as a middle-class guy who loses his job, has his wife walk out on him, and ends up living on the front lawn of his suburban Arizona home. The plot feels stretched thin after awhile. Grade: B- Charles Theatre

"Fast Five" (PG-13). The latest "Fast and Furious" installment is, er, as fast and furious as ever. Its vaguely plotted story is really about muscles flexing and cars crashing in scenic Rio de Janeiro. The long running time will wear out all but the most ardent fans. Thespians include Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson and Paul Walker. Grade: C Owings Mills 17, Hunt Valley 12, AMC White Marsh,

"The Hangover Part II" (R). After what happened at a bachelor party in Vegas in the first movie, the guys apparently haven't learn anything. A pre-wedding night on the town in Bangkok in this sequel provides enough raunchy laughs to carry it along. Grade: B Owings Mills 17, Hunt Valley 12, AMC White Marsh, Rotunda Cinemas

"Jumping the Broom" (PG-13). A wedding is just the place to expose the tensions between a rich family and a working-class family. This comic melodrama makes that formulaic premise seem vibrant thanks to a gifted cast including Angela Bassett, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Mike Epps, Tasha Smith and the always-impressive Loretta Devine. Grade: B Owings Mills 17, AMC White Marsh

"Kung Fu Panda 2" (PG). Kids who liked the first movie will enjoy the title character's further adventures here. This is solid family entertainment. Grade: B Owings Mills 17, Hunt Valley 12, AMC White Marsh, Rotunda Cinemas

"Meek's Cutoff" (PG). Director Kelly Reichardt ("Old Joy," "Wendy and Lucy") persuasively takes us along on a 19th-century pioneer trip along the Oregon Trail, but the leisurely pace slows to a crawl. With Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Will Patton, Zoe Kazan, Shirley Henderson and Paul Dana.

Grade: B- Charles Theatre

"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" (PG-13). It seems fitting that the story concerns the search for the fountain of youth, because the fourth installment in this theme park-derived movie series shows signs of growing old. With Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane, Penelope Cruz, Richard Griffiths, Judi Dench and that fountain of wrinkles, Keith Richards. Grade: C+ Owings Mills 17, Hunt Valley 12, AMC White Marsh, Rotunda Cinemas

"Potiche" (NR). Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu bring their star power to French director Francois Ozon's rather forced social class comedy. Grade: B- Charles Theatre

"Queen to Play" (NR). A passive French woman becomes a more assertive individual when she starts playing chess. Although the plot developments tend to occur with glib predictability, this comedy does make the right moves. With Sandrine Bonnaire, Kevin Kline and Jennifer Beals. Grade: B Charles Theatre

"Rio" (G). Two tropical birds (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway) are chased by smugglers through the Brazilian rain forest and also through the carnival-festooned streets of Rio in this animated 3-D comedy. The hectic chases and colorful musical production numbers are likely to amuse the kids. Grade: B Hunt Valley 12, AMC White Marsh

"Something Borrowed" (PG-13). Kate Hudson, Colin Egglesfield, Ginnifer Goodwin and John Krasinski are friends who go through all sorts of complications as they sort out their feelings for each other. Manhattan and the Hamptons are the upscale backdrop for a romantic comedy that seems forced, but also has its share of enjoyable moments. Grade: B- Hunt Valley 12, AMC White Marsh

"Soul Surfer" (PG). This inspirational drama is based on the true account of a teen surfer in Hawaii who loses an arm in a shark attack, but is determined to competitively surf again. Predictable dialogue makes it seem a bit formulaic, but heartfelt conviction sees it through. With AnnaSophia Robb as the girl, and Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt as her parents. Grade: B- Hollywood 4

"35 and Ticking" (R). Uneven melodrama about thirtysomething professionals whose love lives are still unsettled. The cast includes an actor who grew up in Baltimore, Nicole Ari Parker. Grade: C+ Owings Mills 17

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