“Brave” movie performances come in a few varieties, starting with those in which an actor loses or gains weight, or goes without veneers, to add grit to a role.

“Big Eyes,” in which Amy Adams plays San Francisco artist Margaret Keane, famous for paintings of people with big peepers, has its first trailer.

The Italian Cultural Society of Sacramento kicks off its 32nd annual film festival Friday with a trip to Tuscany and tale about art, attraction, deception and authenticity.

Fey, Bateman, Fonda give solid performances in this family dramedy

Rumors of Kevin “Clerks” Smith’s retirement from the silver screen to spend his dotage doing podcasts for his aging fan base were alas, grossly overstated. He has used that podcast to generate a tall tale, a serio-comic Canadian joke of a horror film.

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

Is there room at the multiplex for yet another entry in the young adult/dystopia/survival genre? Those who hunger for more could do worse than “The Maze Runner,” based on the first book in John Dashner’s trilogy.

Part cinematic Lake Tahoe travelogue, part dysfunctional-family drama, the new film “Last Weekend” (available on video on demand) carried other distinctions as well when shooting began in fall 2012.

It took a murderous Idris Elba and a pair of dolphin buddies to defeat "Guardians of the Galaxy" at movie theaters.

Here is Noomi Rapace, the original Swedish “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” analyzing the fictional world of working-class poverty and crime that novelist (“Mystic River,” “Shutter Island,” “Gone Baby Gone”) Dennis Lehane creates.

You might have thought “Dolphin Tale,” the sleeper hit kids’ film of a few falls back, was a complete, compact and uplifting story that didn’t really need a second act.

Grass Valley native Brice to show his psychological thriller, a hit at South by Southwest, at Nevada City Film Festival

You’re seeing visions of ghosts. You’re hearing voices chanting in Latin. You’ve lost your mother, and dad’s promptly taken up with the school nurse. And you suspect someone or something is killing students at this exclusive private girls school you’ve just enrolled in.

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

The 2014 fall/holiday movie season – a.k.a. the awards season – brings with it four candidates for McConaissance-style comebacks: Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell, Michael Keaton and Shia LaBeouf. All have films on tap that could alter their career trajectories.

Renner movie focuses on the late Capitol investigative reporter Gary Webb

Fall movies are on the horizon and The Bee’s Carla Meyer gives you a glimpse of films hitting the box office for the rest of the season.

The force is with Harrison Ford.

If you had to guess which movie director was recently the first to be granted access to the nonpublic areas of the catacombs six stories beneath the streets of Paris, you might say, Luc Besson, Leos Carax or another of France’s most prominent names.

On his 60th birthday in May 2013, Pierce Brosnan woke up in Belgrade, Serbia. In three days he was to start shooting a new action-thriller called “The November Man,” playing a world-weary but still lethal ex-CIA agent – the sort of role that would involve a whole lot of running, jumping, pistol-whipping and fireball-dodging.

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

Pierce Brosnan’s perfect hair barely budges in the breeze, he fixes his eyes in that narrowed, steely stare and you remember, yes, he was a pretty good James Bond.

‘Golden State of Mind’ sheds some light on the late TV host, who was outgoing and effusive on camera but private off it.

The more interesting story lies in how the Spartans built their 151-game streak, but ‘When the Game Stands Tall’ focuses on them losing it

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.

“If I Stay,” based on Gayle Forman’s popular novel for young adults, is likely to appeal to youthful fans of the book and the movie’s star, Chloë Grace Moretz, an audience that may not recognize the clichéd situations and the artless dialogue for what they are. Older moviegoers (and more discerning teenagers) are unlikely to be attracted to this unabashed tearjerker.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (PG-13, 142 minutes, Sony): This sequel is a strenuously chipper but nonetheless saggy, baggy and mostly ho-hum addition to the Spider-Man canon. What was once its greatest strength – its casting – is on the verge of becoming its biggest liability. Whereas the chief pleasure of the first “Amazing Spider-Man” was the cuddly chemistry between Peter Parker (played by Andrew Garfield) and his girlfriend Gwen (Emma Stone), here they generate fewer sparks than questions. Namely: how a 30-year-old and 25-year-old (respectively), despite their proven and prodigious talents, can be expected to play recent high school graduates with any degree of credibility? Contains sequences of sci-fi action and violence. Extras include commentary from director Marc Webb, deleted scenes and Alicia Keys’ “It’s On Again” music video. Also, on Blu-ray: a six-part, behind-the-scenes making-of documentary and nine additional deleted scenes (including “Peter Meets His Father”). 3-D version also available.

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

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.

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.

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