Cars 2 (G)
The original "Cars" was admittedly my least favorite of the Pixar films, even though that's like picking the ugliest diamond at a gem shop. Still, anticipation overall has been revving full-speed for this return of star race car Lightning McQueen (returning voice of Owen Wilson), who travels with his tow-truck pal Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) overseas for a new adventure.
The Tree of Life (PG-13)
Celebrated but reclusive director Terrence Malick is known for taking extensive breaks between films (his last was 2005's "The New World," preceded by "The Thin Red Line" in 1998 and "Days of Heaven" in 1978). His style is marked by a languid pace and a lush, atmospheric sense of place. "Life" is no different, as it follows the journey of a man (Sean Penn) who recounts the loss of his childhood innocence and a complicated relationship with his hardened father (Brad Pitt). It features breathtaking cinematography.
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Also opening today
Bad Teacher (R)
Cameron Diaz stars in this comedy as a foul-mouthed middle-school teacher trying to earn enough money for breast implants to woo another teacher at her school (played by real-life ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake). Word is that this isn't the cute, charming Diaz we've been brainwashed into liking — I mean, that we're accustomed to.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Third in director Michael Bay's series of films inspired by the shape-shifting robotic toys. The second installment was a massive critical failure; maybe this outing will recapture the fun of the original.
The Third Man
The 1949 classic stars Joseph Cotten as a man who travels to Vienna only to find that the friend who invited him (Orson Welles) recently died in a car accident. Showing at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Rock Island Studios, 338 N. Mead. Admission is free.
The Murdock Theatre's film series offering this week stars Paul Giamatti in this film festival hit as a blunt and impulsive man who meets the love of his life on his wedding day — and it's not his new wife (played by Minnie Driver). Showing at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Murdock Theatre, 536 N. Broadway. Tickets are $7.