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Published: Thursday, 6/21/2012

Movie reviews: 6-21

Summaries are condensed from Blade reviews and reflect the theater schedule starting Friday. Films are rated on a scale of 5 stars (best) to Bomb (worst). The reviewer's name, movie running time, and abbreviations of the theaters where the movie is playing are at the end of each summary.

21 Jump Street. Schmidt and Jenko are more than ready to leave their adolescent problems behind. Joining the police force and the secret Jump Street unit, they use their youthful appearances to go undercover in a local high school to investigate a violent and dangerous drug ring. But they find that high school is nothing like they left it just a few years earlier -- and neither expects that they will have to confront the terror and anxiety of being a teenager again and all the issues they thought they had left behind. R ** 109 min. (Wire review) (MIT)

The Avengers not only matches the hype, it exceeds it. Written and directed by longtime comic-book fan Josh Whedon, The Avengers soars with a clever script that offers plenty of big-budget action as Earth's Mightiest Heroes team up to save the world from an evil demigod and an alien warrior race out to conquer Earth. Every superhero has more than a few spotlight moments on screen, and Whedon's zippy one-liners maintain the film's energy and fun during breaks between the CGI mayhem. The Avengers is Marvel's new flagship comic-book movie franchise, and the gold standard for popcorn entertainment this summer. In 3-D at select locations. PG-13 ***** 142 min. (Baird) (FP, LC, FT)

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. A group of British retirees decide to "outsource" their retirement to less expensive and seemingly exotic India. Enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel and bolstered with visions of a life of leisure, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self. Though the new environment is less luxurious than imagined, they are forever transformed by their shared experiences, discovering that life and love can begin again when you let go of the past. PG-13 *** 118 min. (Wire review) (LC)

Crooked Arrows. A story centered on a Native American lacrosse team making its way through a prep school league tournament. PG-13 105 min. (MIT)

Madagascar 3. Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, and Melman the Giraffe are still fighting to get home to their beloved Big Apple and, of course, King Julien, Maurice, and the Penguins are all along for the comedic adventure. Their journey takes them through Europe where they find the perfect cover: a traveling circus, which they reinvent -- Madagascar style. In 3-D at select theaters. PG ** 1/2 93 min. (Wire review) (FP, LC, FT, SDI)

Men in Black III is the proper sequel to the 1997 original, and not the 2002 laugh-free abomination. That praise aside, most of the clever moments and fun of the MiB concept was exhausted in the first film anyway. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones return as Agents J and K, with J going back in time to 1969 to prevent the assassination of his partner by a vengeful alien. Part III culminates in what can best be described as the only heart-warming moment in the series, a conclusion that could, and should, serve as a satisfactory finale to the franchise. PG-13 ** 1/2 106 min. (Baird) (FP, LC, FT)

Prometheus. Filmmaker Ridley Scott explores humanity's origins by revisiting the Alien universe he launched in 1979. So is Prometheus the Alien prequel fans have wanted for decades? Yes and no. The story of explorers, led by a pair of archaeologists (Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green), who journey to a distant world to connect with alien visitors from ages ago only to find our creators were not so benevolent, lacks the white-knuckle scares of Alien. But Prometheus is also bigger in scope and ambition than any of its Alien forebears, while standing alone as an engaging science-fiction film with as many questions as answers about our place in the universe. In 3-D at select theaters. R **** 124 min. (Baird) (FP, LC, FT, SDI)

Rock of Ages. A popular Broadway jukebox musical-turned film, Rock of Ages is the realization of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing," as small-town girl meets city boy, they fall in love, break up, and reunite in 1987's Los Angeles. The film features big-name actors who never convince us they're anything otherwise, especially Tom Cruise as a drunken rock-and-roll singer whose life is spiraling out of control yet he looks healthier than almost anyone else on screen. There's lots of '80s radio favorites throughout to tell the story, but skip this mess of a film and enjoy the music nostalgia at home. PG-13 * 123 min. (Baird) (FP, LC, FT, SDI)

Snow White & the Huntsman. In the epic action-adventure Snow White and the Huntsman, Snow White is the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen out to destroy her. But what the wicked ruler never imagined is that the young woman threatening her reign has been training in the art of war with a huntsman dispatched to kill her. PG-13 * 1/2 127 min. (Baird) (FP, LC, FT)

That's My Boy. While still in his teens, Donny fathered a son, Todd, and raised him as a single parent up until Todd's 18th birthday. Now, after not seeing each other for years, Todd's world comes crashing down on the eve of his wedding when an uninvited Donny suddenly shows up. Trying desperately to reconnect with his son, Donny is now forced to deal with the repercussions of his bad parenting skills. R Bomb 114 min. (Wire review) (FP, LC, FT)

The Three Stooges Left on a nun's doorstep, Larry, Curly, and Moe grow up finger-poking, nyuk-nyuking, and woo-woo-wooing their way to uncharted levels of knuckleheaded misadventure. Out to save their childhood home, only the Three Stooges could become embroiled in an oddball murder plot ...while also stumbling into starring in a phenomenally successful TV reality show. PG *** 92 min. (Wire release) (MIT)



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