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Published: Thursday, 7/18/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Movie reviews: 7-18

Summaries are condensed from Blade or wire 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.

Despicable Me 2. The animated sequel brings laughs, love, and lots more minions as reformed evil genius Gru (Steve Carell) has settled into single parenthood and suburban life. But his new life is upended when he's recruited by a secret agency to help stop a mysterious new supervillain, and in the process falls for a female agent (Kristen Wiig). In 3-D at select theaters. PG; 3 1/2 stars; 98 min. (Baird) (FP, FT, LC, BG, SDI)

Epic. Epic tells the story of an ongoing battle deep in the forest between the forces of good and the forces of evil. When a teen age girl finds herself magically transported into this secret universe, she must band together with a rag-tag team of fun and whimsical characters in order to save their world ... and ours. In 3-D at select times. R; 3 stars; 105 min. (Wire review) (MIT)

Fast & Furious 6. The Fast and the Furious movies are about souped-up cars and the quirky-but-lovable people who drive them. The sixth installment in the franchise adds even more cars, more mayhem, more action and stunts. There’s also the a thin plot to tie everything together: a former British Special Forces soldier and his road crew are stealing pieces to a destructive new weapon. Stars Vin Diesel and Paul Walker return, along with Dwayne Johnson. PG-13; 3 stars; 130 min. (Baird) (MIT)

Grown Ups 2. Lenny Feder (Adam Sandler) moves his family back to his hometown to be with his friends, but he finds that — between old bullies, new bullies, party crashers and more — he didn't leave the crazy life behind in Los Angeles. Lenny's friends must also cope with their own challenges: Eric (Kevin James) must face his ultimate fear, Kurt (Chris Rock) has gone back to work as a cable repairman, and Marcus (David Spade) learns that he has an 18-year-old son. PG-13; 1/2 star; 101 min. (Wire review) (FP, FT, LC, BG, SDI)

The Heat is a buddy-action cop comedy with a feminist twist, as Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock are mismatched law-enforcement agents paired to take down a Boston drug lord. McCarthy and Bullock have great chemistry onscreen. They also have a strong supporting cast and a consistently funny script, as well as the guiding hand of director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids), all of which makes for a winning comedy. R; 3 1/2 stars; 116 min. (Baird) (FP, FT, LC, SDI)

Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain. Filmed at a sold-out performance at Madison Square Garden, comedian Kevin Hart delivers material from his 2012 Let Me Explain concert tour. R, 2 stars; 75 min. (Wire rerview) (FP)

The Lone Ranger. Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp play the Masked Man and faithful companion Tonto, respectively, in this origin story of the western heroes as they battle ruthless villains and often each other. Director Gore Verbinski's The Ranger Lone is big and overblown, and more about large-scale action sequences than its titular legend. PG-13; 2 stars; 135 min. (Baird) (FP, FT, LC)

Monsters University. Billy Crystal and John Goodman return as the voices of one-eyed Mike and furry Sulley, best friends forever in the Monsters, Inc. In this prequel, however, they're bitter college freshman rivals who must learn to trust each other and work together to remain in the university's elite scare program. Monsters University is a delightful, witty, and warm film that delivers exactly what audiences want and expect. And as a Pixar film, that's good enough. In 3-D at select theaters. G; 4 stars; 102 min. (Baird) (FP, FT, LC)

Pacific Rim. Colossal alien beasts from another dimension are invading and destroying Earth, so mankind fights back with giant mechanical men controlled by human pilots. Director Guillermo del Toro’s super-sized homage to Godzilla and other Japanese monster films is a grand spectacle made for the big screen (the bigger the screen, the better the experience) and a lot of fun. In 3-D at select theaters. PG-13; 4 stars; 131 min. (Baird) (FP, FT, LC, BG)

White House Down.(FT, LC) 131 min. (Wire review) PG-13; 2 1/2 stars; While on a tour of the White House with his young daughter, a Capitol policeman springs into action to save his child and protect the president from a heavily armed group of paramilitary invaders.

World War Z. Based on Max Brooks' popular novel, World War Z is the account of a worldwide pandemic that turns humans into fast-moving zombies within seconds, and our struggle to survive the plague of undead. Brad Pitt plays everyman hero Gerry Lane, a former U.N. inspector who helps lead a global search on the origins of the zombie virus and how to stop it. There's not much depth or subtext to World War Z, as the film prefers to rocket along as a pure action thriller for 90 minutes, before an abrupt change in pace kills the film's rollicking momentum for a final half-hour of so-so chills. In 3-D at select theaters. PG-13; 3 stars; 116 min. (Baird) (FP, FT, LC)



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