"G.I. Joe: Retaliation" (PG-13) -- The evil Cobra Commandos have a big evil plan, and only the action-figure-inspired personnel of the G.I. Joe unit can stop them, again! This time, the Cobras have one of their operatives in the White House, so the Joes have a tiny nugget of plot to talk about between explosive action sequences. This time, Bruce Willis joins the crew to add his muscle mass to bulk already provided by Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson) and Duke (Channing Tatum).
Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to take this movie seriously -- even for a moment. This is a sequel to a movie based on a cartoon show that was produced to sell toys. It's like a big bowl of sugary cereal -- kids will love it and go nuts for hours after finishing; we grownups have a narrow chance of enjoying it, and we'll probably just get a headache.
"Filly Brown" (R) -- "Majo" Tonoro (Gina Rodriguez) has a gift for hip hop. She also has a manipulative mother trying to reach out from prison (Jenni Rivera), an impressionable younger sister, a worn-out father (Lou Diamond-Phillips) and bills to pay. While Majo's lyrics are personal and political, some local record producers notice that she could be a real moneymaker if she sold out and sexed-up her act. With all that talent and all that responsibility, Majo's path is a difficult one.
The story, as you may have figured by now, feels put together from a formula set for a new genre -- the underdog hip-hop artist. Instead of doing any plotlines that are too original, the film chooses to use as many cliched subplots as possible. The performances by Rodriguez and Phillips manage to shine despite the script.
"Cloudburst" (NR) -- Stella (Olympia Dukakis) and Dot (Brenda Frick) are an elderly couple living in a little cottage in Maine. Dot has lost her sight, and her clueless but well-intentioned granddaughter commits her to a nursing home. Stella breaks her out, and the two head to Nova Scotia to be legally married. Along the way, they pick up a young hitchhiker who wants to see his dying mother. This is not your average road-trip romp. With touching performances, a good script and the right visuals, this bit of drama is certainly worth checking out.
"Black Rock" (R) -- Three women who have been friends since childhood take a trip to a tiny wooded island in Maine -- but instead of bonding, they wind up bound to a tree. Shortly after arriving, the women meet three hunters who decide to take advantage of the isolation and attack the protagonists. What follows is a tense thriller where the relationship between hunter and prey shifts back and forth.