KEY: Four stars: superior. Three stars: good. Two stars: average. One star: poor. D (drug use), L (language), N (nudity), S (sexual situations, references), V (violence). Ratings by Dann Gire, Daily Herald Film Critic, unless otherwise noted.
"Cyrus" -- Versatile Jonah Hill stars as a man living with his single mother (Marisa Tomei). He uses diabolic tricks to sabotage a new suitor (John C. Reilly) trying to date Mom. A quietly riotous comedy of characters. (R) L, S. . . .
"Despicable Me" -- Conventional but still appealing animated comedy about a supervillain (Steve Carell) who intends to steal the moon by zapping it with a shrink ray. Then he meets three orphan girls and becomes domesticated. In 2-D and 3-D formats. (PG) 95 minutes. . . .
"Dinner for Schmucks" -- With a promotion hanging in the balance, an ambitious young executive (Paul Rudd) considers taking a bumbling but good-hearted nerd (Steve Carell) to a dinner hosted solely for the purpose of making fun of such people. Funny, if not groundbreaking. Reviewed by Matt Arado. (PG-13) L, S, N. . . .
"Inception" -- Brilliantly realized sci-fi thriller about a team of "extractors" paid to enter the dreams of an industrialist's heir and plant an idea that will ruin his empire. Written and directed by Christopher "Dark Knight" Nolan with smarts, sophistication and a belief we can actually keep track of five different levels of reality all unfolding at the same time. Utterly astonishing! With Leonardo DiCaprio and Marion Cotillard as his wife, now only a malevolent memory in his dreams. (PG-13) V. 148 minutes. . . . .
"The Kids Are All Right" -- Lesbian parents (Julianne Moore and Annette Bening) are forced to deal with the sperm donor who "fathered" their children in Lisa Cholodenko's comic look at parenting. Reviewed by David Germain, Associated Press. (R) D, L, N, S. 104 minutes. . . .
"Shrek Forever After" -- The popular animated series (No. 4) is becoming slightly arthritic, but still packs moments of great fun as Shrek (Mike Myers) makes a deal with Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn) to go back to his single days. Instead, he discovers what the world would be like if he hadn't been born. The 3-D really cuts down on the color saturation and light. (PG) 93 minutes. . . .
"Toy Story 3" -- The best movie of 2010 so far! The phenomenal second sequel to the 1995 original animated comedy takes up with Andy leaving for college, and the toys, led by Woody, going to a day-care facility that seems normal, but it's not! A witty blend of genres, smart dialogue and the scariest moment in animation history since the gunshot that killed Bambi's mother. In 2-D and 3-D. (G) 103 minutes. . . . .
"The A-Team" -- Silly and sometimes diverting summer action film based on the 1980s TV series about four framed U.S. vets trying to prove their innocence. Another breakout role for "District 9" star Sharlto Copley as Madman Murdock. (PG-13) L, V. 118 minutes. . . 1/2
"Agora" -- Politically volatile but emotionally muted account of famous philosopher and scholar Hypatia (Rachel Weisz), killed in the 4th century by a Christian mob angered by her questioning of God and the cosmos. At the Century Centre in Chicago. (NR) N, V. 127 minutes. . . 1/2
"Charlie St. Cloud" -- "High School Musical" heartthrob Zac Efron stars in the sappy tale of a young man who survives a car crash with the unique ability to see the dead -- including his little brother. Reviewed by Michael Wilmington. (PG-13) L, S. 109 minutes. . .
"Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky" -- A triumph of set design and costumes over characters and story. Designer Coco (Anna Mouglalis) takes in the Russian composer (Mads Mikkelsen) and destroys his marriage. At the Century Centre in Chicago and the Renaissance Place in Highland Park. (R) L, N, S. 115 …
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Publication information: Article title: Movie Guide. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL). Publication date: August 2, 2010. Page number: 3. © 2009 Paddock Publications. COPYRIGHT 2010 Gale Group.