Summaries and mini-reviews of movies playing now, from e3 magazine:
AFTER EARTH. A crash landing leaves Kitai Raige and his father Cypher stranded on Earth, 1,000 years after events forced humanity's escape. With Cypher injured, Kitai must embark on a perilous journey to signal for help. Stars include Will Smith, Jaden Smith and Isabelle Fuhrman. Directed by M. Night Shyamalan. (Internet Movie Database). 100 minutes. Rated PG-13. AMC, SAV.
BRIDESMAIDS. (Starts Friday). Successfully combining raunchy humor with a sweet love story, this film from the pen of Kristen Wiig finds her starring, too, as Annie, a down-on-her-luck baker who is doing her best to be happy for her engaged friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph). Serving as her maid of honor, Annie inadvertently sabotages the nuptials whenever she interacts with the other bridesmaids. While the film overstays its welcome, it contains enough big laughs and just enough poignancy to make it a winner. 3 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 120 minutes. Rated R. ART.
EPIC. Spectacular visuals are the highlight of this animated feature that's bogged down by an all-too-familiar story. A teenage girl finds herself in the midst of a war between microscopic warriors of the Green and the denizens of the Rot. There are an adequate number of "Oh wow!" moments here, but the story lacks urgency, making for a movie that seems to be spinning its wheels rather than blazing any new trails in animation. 2 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 102 minutes. Rated PG. AMC, HAR, ONA, SAV.
FAST & FURIOUS 6. Vin Diesel returns as high-octane thief Dominic Toretto, who gets his crew together one more time to stop an arms dealer who's creating havoc in Europe. Pictures proving that his old flame Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is still alive prompt him to do what he thought he'd never do — work with the authorities, as represented by federal agent Luck Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). The story is nothing new and there's a sense the film is spinning its wheels, recycling many of the same stunts. A step down from the previous entry as the action becomes too ridiculous to be believed, even by this franchise's standards. 2 Stars (Chuck Koplinski). 130 minutes. Rated PG-13. AMC, HAR, SAV.
FAT KID RULES THE WORLD. (Opens Thursday, June 6). Jacob Wysocki ("Terri") is a troubled high school kid who befriends a drop-out wishing to start a punk-rock band in this indie comedy. High-spirited! 97 minutes. Rated R. A Beyond Normal Films' Choice! NOR.
GIMME THE LOOT. (Wednesday). Adam Leon's scruffy, scrappy thrift-store-budget indie follows a pair of teen taggers around the Bronx and Manhattan as they try to find $500 to pull off a graffiti coup: tagging the New York Mets' Home Run Apple. Trouble — and the impossible charms of the two leads — ensue. 3 stars (Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer). 85 minutes. Not rated. ART.
THE GREAT GATSBY. Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of the seminal American classic is an ambitious, flawed marvel that adheres closely to F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, though the director's grandiose style sometimes tramples on the author's subtle tone. Leonardo DiCaprio takes on the title role of the mysterious millionaire who transforms himself in order to win back Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan). There's an undeniable energy to the film and the cast; in particular, Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway and Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan, are impressive. Unfortunately, Luhrmann's overwrought style trumps the substance of Fitzgerald's work at times, making for an uneven but still watchable effort. 3 stars (Chuck Koplinski). Rated PG-13. 143 minutes. SAV.
HANGOVER PART III. Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis return to the roles that made them stars as the Wolf Pack finds itself looking for Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong), who has something that ruthless crime lord Marshall (John Goodman) wants and will kill their buddy Doug (Justin Bartha) to get. Though it does not reach the inspired lunacy of the first film, this entry moves at a brisk pace and contains some solid gags and an ending that's worthy of the characters and the series. An apology of sorts from director Todd Phillips for the misguided "Part II." 3 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 100 minutes. Rated R. AMC, HAR, SAV.
THE INTERNSHIP. (Sneak preview, Saturday, Monday). Two salesmen whose careers have been torpedoed by the digital age find their way into a coveted internship at Google, where they must compete with a group of young, tech-savvy geniuses for a shot at employment. Stars Rose Byrne, John Goodman, Vince Vaughn. Directed by Shawn Levy. (Internet Movie Database). 119 minutes. Rated PG-13. SAV.
IRON MAN 3. Marvel Films' first misstep finds Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) on the run from a maniacal terrorist (Ben Kingsley) with a ven- detta against him while he tries to deal with post-traumatic stress syndrome stemming from the events in "The Avengers." The film, as directed by screenwriter Shane Black, is a scattered affair that never builds up a full head of steam while it lacks the sense of fun that buoyed the first two entries in the series. Equally troubling are the many lapses in logic contained in the screenplay, which become too numerous to ignore. 2 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 130 minutes. Rated PG-13. PRI, SAV.
NOW YOU SEE ME. An FBI squad goes after a quartet of professional illusionists who fleece corrupt businessmen during their performances and shower the stolen profits on their audiences. With Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo and Woody Harrelson. Written by Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin and Edward Ricourt. Directed by Louis Leterrier. (Los Angeles Times). 116 minutes. Rated PG-13. AMC, SAV.
THE SAPPHIRES. (Opens Friday). This adaptation of the hit musical from Australia follows the trials and tribulations of a women's quartet who try to break into the pop music scene by entertaining troops during the Vietnam War. There's nothing all that new here as far as story is concerned, but the performances from the principals in the group — Jessica Mauboy, Miranda Tapsell, Deborah Mailman and Shari Sebbens, and Chris O'Dowd as their manager — save it from being a rote exercise. Old-fashioned and charming, this is an entertaining film that's a welcome respite from the usual summer fare. 3 stars (Chuck Koplinski). 103 minutes. Rated PG-13. ART.
STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS. The reboot of the adventures of the Starship Enterprise continues under the steady hand of director J.J. Abrams, who delivers another rip-roaring, though derivative, adventure. Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the crew find themselves pursuing a mysterious villain (Benedict Cumberbatch) into Klingon territory and, in the process, risk plunging the two civilizations into war. Nothing is as it seems as Abrams pulls out one surprise after another while the numerous action sequences are done with great enthusiasm and imagination. The film's plot may leave some Trek purists enraged, but there's no denying that the movie is made with great skill and reverence for the characters. 3 Stars (Chuck Koplinski). 132 minutes. Rated PG-13. AMC, HAR, SAV.
TCHAIKOVSKY'S SWAN LAKE. (Thursday). Broadcast live in a stunning new re-interpretation. This exclusive event, presented by the Cameron Pace Group along with NCM Fathom Events and Omniverse Vision Ltd., will be captured at the historic Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. Led by multi-award winning Artistic Director Valery Gergiev and featuring Mariinsky's principle ballerina Ekaterina Kondaurova in the main role as Odette, this classic ballet will be the first of its kind to use the Academy Award-winning technology created by the Cameron Pace Group for films such as "Avatar," "Hugo" and "Life of Pi." SAV.
VINTAGE CARTOON FEST. See some vintage cartoon classics on the big screen! Rare oldies — lots of fun for all ages. 85 minutes. Rated G. NOR.