Forty dollars will buy you a back-room doctor who will remove a bullet from your leg in Sin City, but notwith anesthesia.

Nisha Grayson didn’t travel to Goa, India, to vacation. She wanted to understand how her life began, and what it might have been like if she had not been given up for adoption.

Now and then, Hollywood magic results from something decidedly non-glamorous – like a guy reading a book on a pile of smelly football shoulder pads.

His first romantic comedy represents another well-plotted step in the actor’s post- ‘Harry Potter’ career

Moviegoers continued to shell out for "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," while Sylvester Stallone's action ensemble "The Expendables 3" was easily out-gunned in its weekend debut.

It’s crunch time for the 24 Sacramento filmmakers facing a Sunday deadline to complete their short entries for the Sacramento Film and Music Festival’s “10x10 Filmmaker Challenge.”

In the post-Apocalypse, order is all-important. We know this, not only because that makes intuitive sense, but because, just in the past few months, we’ve seen “Snowpiercer” and “Divergent,” which also deal with what happens after a civil collapse. “The Giver,” the latest in this weird trend, approaches a now-familiar topic from a new angle, and, of the three, it’s the most visually arresting.

The romantic comedy recipe is so well-known and foolproof that the great mystery about them is how rarely the romantic fools in Hollywood get it right.

The French scenery is lovely, but the script is thin and the romantic pairing is lacking in sparks.

Scarlett Johansson’s character Lucy in the eponymous hit movie in theaters has such a highly functioning brain that she develops telepathy and telekinesis. When Lucy is accidentally drugged and harnesses her brain’s full potential, she achieves superhuman powers.

“Expendables 3” could have been called “The Dependables” for its return of the action-movie stars we’ve come to expect, including ringleader Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and 3rd Dan black belt and real-life chemical engineer Dolph Lundgren.

Robin Williams showed an acting range like no comedic actor before him. But he was too bursting with life – with humor, empathy and personal authenticity – to stick to one path.

It’s rare that a movie is as good as the book on which it’s based. It’s even more unusual when it’s better

Current films are reviewed each week to provide parents a guide to decide what may be appropriate to younger viewers

“Into the Storm” is as close to a real tornado as most of us would ever want to get. Its effects are so spectacular that it makes “Twister” look like “The Wizard of Oz.” You wonder, as immersive as all those objects flying off the screen are, why they didn’t film it in 3D. Secretly, you’re grateful they didn’t.

The steroidal title characters in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” look as if they’re going to end up on a cartoon version of the Mitchell Report. Some day, historians will look back at this generation’s baseball players, Outback Steakhouse appetizers and ninja turtles as symbols of the era’s excess.

The film is worth seeing, however, just for Helen Mirren’s and veteran Indian actor Om Puri’s performances

Its big stars hidden in voice roles, the space-set blockbuster allows lesser-knowns like Chris Pratt and Dave Bautista to shine.

Film shot over 12 years carries the audience along through a maturation process.

Documentary offers fascinating insights into the late movie reviewer’s relationships to his wife and to fellow critic Siskel

Current films are reviewed each week to provide parents a guide to decide what may be appropriate to younger viewers.

‘Get on Up” is a movie of uncompromising soul, unadulterated funk and unalloyed joy.

Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” is a coming-of-age story in which the lead actor (Ellar Coltrane), as well as his character, literally come of age before viewers’ eyes. Linklater began filming in 2002, reconvening his cast for three- or four-day shoots for the next 11 years to tell the fictional story of a Texas boy named Mason.

The smart spy thriller, based on a John le Carré novel, stars the late actor as an anti-terror specialist.

The actress brings a matter-of-fact toughness to her role as woman with drug-induced mental super powers, but the film becomes a silly mishmash of ideas.

Two old pros show the kids how chemistry works in a romantic comedy in “And So It Goes,” a love-the-last-time-around romp that’ll give its target audience the warm fuzzies.

Zach Braff’s “Wish I Was Here” is a sweet and jokey feature film that is so at home in the punchline rhythms of TV sitcoms that you may think to yourself, “When’s his best friend/former ‘Scrubs’ co-star Donald Faison showing up?”

Current films are reviewed each week to provide parents a guide to decide what may be appropriate to younger viewers

In Mike Cahill movies, bad things happen to good people, and other good people are guilt-ridden as a result. But the human connections and the spare sci-fi logic that characterized “Another Earth,” Cahill’s ethereal romantic dramatic debut, are muddied in his second feature, “I Origins.”

The unholy bond between religion and politics is the background for “Persecuted,” a confused and confusing thriller about a TV preacher ruined by a sinister government plot.

Attendance keeps climbing as festival refines its mix of recent Japanese films and classics

Current films are reviewed each week to provide parents a guide to decide what may be appropriate to younger viewers

The cinematic equivalent of herpes, “Sex Tape” is an uncomfortable embarrassment to raunchy comedies everywhere. Fortunately no medication is required after being exposed to it: The effects are not permanent, only painful.

New DVD release for this week include ‘Rio 2’ and ‘Under the Skin’

“The Grand Seduction” slowly brings its story into focus and then sneaks up and becomes quite funny. It’s an English-language Canadian film based on a 2003 French-Canadian film (“Le Grand Seduction”), which only goes to show that if you have a bilingual country, you can make everything twice.

“Planes: Fire & Rescue” is roughly twice as good as its predecessor, “Planes,” which was so story- and laugh-starved it would have given “direct-to-video” a bad name. Yes, there was nowhere to go but up.

“Third Person,” the latest interlocking puzzle from Paul Haggis, is about love. But it’s not a soft and fuzzy sort of love. As Leona Lewis put it in the pop hit a few years ago, it’s the “you cut me open and I keep bleeding, keep keep bleeding” sort. Haggis uses a double-edged sword – and a relatively blunt one at that – to hack away at it.

An HBO documentary with Sacramento ties was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award Thursday.

The Zombie Walk that starts it always commands more attention (flesh eaters are such drama queens), but the six-week-long Trash Film Orgy late-night movie series offers its own pleasures.

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” a superior sequel to the already good 2011 film “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” subtly condemns prejudices born of fear, along with blind loyalty to one’s supposed tribe.

City has paired with Palladio 16 Cinemas operator in a plan to turn the dilapidated 1937 theater, vacant since 2010, into a gleaming multiplex

In an otherwise bright summer filled with dragon trainers, transforming robots and ninja turtles, here comes “Deliver Us From Evil” – like a dead cat floating in the punch bowl.

Current films are reviewed each week to provide parents a guide to decide what may be appropriate to younger viewers

Is college, specifically the elite four-year residential model, overrated? Is it worth its ever-increasing cost? Has it been oversold as the key to a child’s brighter future? The stimulating documentary “Ivory Tower” asks all these tough questions and, most provocatively of all, declines to give definitive answers.

“There’s the Mooch,” says Ben Falcone brightly as his wife, Melissa McCarthy, enters the room.

It has been a banner year for Texas-set indie films. From Nicolas Cage’s comeback in “Joe” and Michael C. Hall’s turn as a man pushed to his limits in the thriller “Cold in July” to the moving slice-of-life drama “This Is Where We Live” – not to mention Richard Linklater’s extraordinary “Boyhood,” which opens next month – the Lone Star State is the backdrop for some of 2014’s best-told cinematic stories.

New DVD releases this week include ‘The Lunchbox,’ ‘The Unknown Known’

Adam Levine knows pop stars-turned-actors are greeted suspiciously. And he’s hesitant to make any grandiose declarations about suddenly transforming into an actor. But he can’t help himself.

Sincere and spirited, the PG-rated “Earth to Echo” evokes those 1980s kid-adventure tales such as “E.T.” and “Stand By Me.” Except the visuals are jerkier and the tug on the heartstrings lighter.

Keira Knightley’s singing voice, a little too girlish, a bit too breathy yet somehow still lovely, is “Begin Again” at its essence. This film, in which a fledgling singer-songwriter (Knightley) and a foundering record executive (Mark Ruffalo) pair up to make an album, can be picked apart easily. But it shouldn’t be. It is too warm and engaging, too filled with catchy tunes and the wonderful Ruffalo, for that.

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