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8-17 Kam's Kapsules: Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun

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For movies opening August 17, 2012

BIG BUDGET FILMS

The Expendables (R for pervasive graphic violence) Bombastic beefcake sequel features a reunion of the crack team of mercenaries for a death-defying adventure to avenge the murder of one of their own at the hands of a bloodthirsty rival (Jean-Claude Van Damme). Matinee idol ensemble includes Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Jason Statham, Chuck Norris, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Liam Hemsworth and Yu Nan.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green (PG for mature themes and mild epithets) Fanciful fairytale about a young boy (CJ Adams) who miraculously sprouts out of the ground in the garden of a childless couple (Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner) desperate for a baby. With Rosemarie DeWitt, Odeya Rush, Dianne Wiest, David Morse, Ron Livingston and Common.

ParaNorman (PG for scary action, mature themes, rude humor and mild epithets) Animated adventure about a misunderstood ghoul whisperer (Kodi Smit-McPhee) whose ability to communicate with the dead comes in handy when witches, ghost and zombies descend on his quiet hometown. Featuring voice work by Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, John Goodman, Tempestt Bledsoe and Jeff Garlin.


Sparkle
(PG-13 for violence, profanity, drug use, smoking, mature themes and domestic abuse) The late Whitney Houston makes her final screen performance in this remake of the musical drama, set in the Sixties, about three sisters' (Jordin Sparks, Tika Sumpter and Carmen Ejogo) whose singing group becomes Motown's latest sensation only to have sudden fame tear their close-knit family apart. With Mike Epps, Derek Luke, Cee-Lo Green and Omari Hardwick.

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS
The Awakening (R for violence, nudity and sexuality) Haunted house horror flick set in the wake of World War I at a British boarding school where a professional skeptic (Rebecca Hall) summoned to debunk recent ghost sightings as a hoax instead gets the surprise of her life when she encounters real supernatural phenomena for the first time. With Dominic West, Imelda Staunton and John Shrapnel.


Beloved
(Unrated) Romance drama about a pretty Parisian hooker (Ludivine Sagnier) who falls head over six-inch stilettos for a dashing doctor (Radivoje Bukvic) only to learn that he has a wife back in Czechoslovakia. With Milos Forman, Catherine Deneuve and Paul Schneider. (In French, English and Czech with subtitles)

Brother, Can You Spare a Dollar? (Unrated) Unsentimental retrospective celebrates the guts and glory of the Depression Generation while speculating about the prospects of America's post-industrial economy.

Chicken with Plums (PG-13 for drugs, smoking, sensuality and violent images) Maudlin, character-driven drama, set in Teheran in the Fifties, about an inconsolable violinist (Mathieu Amalric) who loses the will to live after his wife (Golshifteh Farahani) destroys his beloved instrument during a heated argument. Cast includes Edouard Baer, Maria de Medeiros and Eric Caravaca. (In French and English with subtitles)

Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same (Unrated) Sci-fi comedy about the cross-species romance between a shy, greeting card store clerk (Lisa Haas) and a woman she has no idea might be from another planet (Susan Ziegler). With Jackie Monahan, Cynthia Kaplan and Dennis Davis.

Compliance (R for profanity, sexuality and nudity) Fact-based drama about a prank caller (Pat Healy) pretending to be a police officer who tricks the manager (Ann Dowd) of a fast food restaurant into conducting a strip search of a cashier (Dreama Walker) unfairly accused of stealing. With Bill Camp, Philip Ettinger and James McCaffrey.

Cosmopolis (R for violence, profanity, graphic sexuality and frontal nudity) David Cronenberg directed this adaptation of the Don Delillo novel of the same name chronicling a very eventful day in the life of a miserably-married, self-destructive billionaire (Robert Pattinson) With Paul Giamatti, Juliette Binoche, Samantha Morton and K'naan.

Robot & Frank (PG-13 for profanity) Unlikely-buddy comedy about a retired cat burglar (Frank Langella) who comes out of retirement to pull one last heist with the help of the cyborg (Peter Sarsgaard) purchased by his children (James Marsden and Liv Tyler) to look after him. Support cast includes Susan Sarandon, Jeremy Strong and Bonnie Bentley.

Why Stop Now? (Unrated) Road comedy about an aspiring piano prodigy (Jesse Eisenberg) who finds his car commandeered by his mother's (Melissa Leo) miffed drug dealer (Tracy Morgan) on the day of his big audition. With Isiah Whitlock, Jr., Sarah Ramos and Tanya Wright.

Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze. Read more reviews by Kam Williams.

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