-- Director Zack Snyder ("300") and writer Chris Nolan ("The Dark Knight" trilogy) try to reboot Superman, but forget to include the colorful comic book stuff. The movie catches up with Supes (Henry Cavill) when he's a bearded drifter, experiencing flashbacks to his childhood while he looks for more information about his origins. He's pulled back into action by the arrival of General Zod (Michael Shannon) -- a fellow Kryptonian who happens to be bent on Earth's destruction.
Everything has a clammy grey tint to it. Everyone is somber and stoic -- Superman scares people more than he amazes them, apparently. The action is certainly intense; it's just not fun. The whole grim and gritty approach may have worked well in Nolan's reimagining of Batman, but these colors don't look good on the Man of Steel.
"Prince Avalanche" (R)
- - Alvin (Paul Rudd) "reaps the rewards of solitude" on his job painting traffi c lines in the remote woodland. Lance (Emile Hirsch) is Alvin's impetuous young assistant and his fiance's younger brother. With oddball pacing and absurd dialog, the two (somewhat dimwitted) characters stumble upon revelations about life and stuff.
Rudd and Hirsh are dramatic actors who have shown their talent in other movies. Rudd has an easy approach to comedy, and all of this works to support a dreamy kind of script that sits on a line between drama and comedy. It's not the comedy for everyone, but "Prince Avalanche" can connect with viewers able to find its offbeat rhythm.
-- Dr. Amin Jaafari is a Palestinian surgeon who lives in Tel Aviv. He's respected by his peers, and fully integrated into Israeli society. After a suicide bombing attack that kills 19 people, Amin learns that his wife is dead, and that she was the bomber. The movie follows Amin in the time before, during and right after the attack. Then, the film follows Amin's journey into the West Bank to discover how his wife could have done such a thing. The film doesn't offer any answers for unending conflict, but rather gives an image of a desperate search for peace when it seems none can exist.
-- This documentary examines how killer whales are kept in captivity, and what can go wrong when dealing with such powerful animals. In interviews with trainers and marine biologists, we see how killer whales live in family units and have sophisticated methods of communication. The second point the film drives is that the practice of catching orcas and keeping them in captivity traumatizes them. The movie goes into the details behind the death of Dawn Brancheau, a SeaWorld trainer who was attacked and held underwater by a trained orca.