Reel Picks

Reel Picks

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The Back-Up Plan (PG-13)

It’s hard to have a romance with Stan (Alex O’Loughlin), a come-lately Mr. Right, when you’ve just been successfully artificially inseminated, but leave it to Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) to deliver. An over-the-top dose of cute.

2.5 shells

Date Night (PG-13)

3.5 shells

Death at a Funeral (R)

Nothing brings out the worst in a dysfunctional family than a funeral, and in this one with Loretta Devine, Chris Rock, Danny Glover, Regina Hall, Martin Lawrence, and Tracy Morgan, what comes up is nasty: revelations, bizarre goings-on, blackmail, and general hysteria. You gotta be in the mood.

2.5 shells

Greenberg (R)

Director Noah Baumbach (“The Squid and the Whale,” “Margot at the Wedding”) brings out the best in Ben Stiller and Greta Gerwig in this slow moving, funny/sad character study. Greenberg (Stiller), released from a psychiatric institution, packs up his neuroses and retreats to his brother’s home where he remains self-absorbed, needy, and contagiously uncomfortable.

3.5 shells

How To Train Your Dragon (PG)

An affectingly told fairy tale with a message. Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), the son of a dragon slayer, and his puppy-like fire-breathing dragon have an uplifting affect.

4 shells

Iron Man 2 (PG-13)

High energy, high-tech sequel to the first blockbuster has billionaire inventor (Robert Downey Jr.) being pressured to share his technology with the military. With Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle.

4 shells

Kick-Ass (R)

Perfectly cast Nicolas Cage, Chloe Moretz, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse play characters who join forces with Kick-Ass, a.k.a. Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), the kid who buys a green wetsuit online, sets up on My Space and You Tube and wages battle against evil. Violent, vulgar, funny, and you’ll wind up loving these guys.

4 shells

Secrets of Jonathan Sperry (PG)

Sunday School lessons abound in the independent Christiano Film Group’s religious-themed 1970s tale of the devout Sperry (Gavin MacLeod) who teaches Bible lessons to local boys in exchange for lawn work. Scenes and characters as predictable as bridge repairs on Martha’s Vineyard.

1 shell

Vincere (R)

Award-winning Italian film based on the story of Benito Mussolini’s first wife. Ida Dalsar, a well-to-do salon owner who sells all her possessions to fund her ambitious but impoverished husband’s political newspaper, winds up abused, disallowed, and driven mad. With archival footage.

3 shells