“The Wolverine” (PG-13, 131 minutes, Fox): A cocktail of action-movie staples, “The Wolverine” combines the bracingly adult flavor of everyone’s favorite mutant antihero – tortured, boozy X-Man Logan, a.k.a. Wolverine – with the fizzy effervescence of several mixers from the cabinet of Japanese genre cinema: noirish yakuza crime drama, samurai derring-do and ninja acrobatics. It goes down smooth but packs a punch, erasing the memory of Marvel’s last foray into the Wolverine mythos, the 2009 stinker “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” After a brief prologue, the film opens on the titular hero (Hugh Jackman), who is now a virtually homeless alcoholic living in a squalid encampment in the woods, where he’s plagued by nightmares starring his late lady love, Jean Grey (Famke Janssen). In short order, however, our hero is on his way to Tokyo, escorted by Yukio (Rila Fukushima), a magenta-haired Harajuku girl whose powers of persuasion are enhanced by her skill with a samurai sword. A mutant with the ability to foretell people’s deaths, she’s a great character, hinting at a soul as dark as Logan’s. It’s too bad the film doesn’t do more with her; she and Logan are kindred spirits. Contains action violence, some obscenity and brief sensuality.
“The Smurfs 2” (PG, 105 minutes, Sony): Midway through Raja Gosnell’s “Smurfs” sequel, Grumpy Smurf turns over a new leaf. Sick of being annoyed (and of annoying others), he starts to view the world – and the mission involving his pint-size friends – through rose-colored glasses. He even adopts the nickname Positive Smurf. Suddenly, things don’t seem half bad. Grumpy’s upbeat outlook must be contagious, because “The Smurfs 2” seems more enjoyable than Gosnell’s 2011 family feature. Almost everything about “Smurfs 2” signifies an improvement over the original. Five credited screenwriters overload Gosnell with an abundance of lightweight story lines, allowing “Smurfs 2” to bounce along at an energetic pace and sidestep the superfluous comedic potholes that repeatedly knocked the first film off course. Contains rude humor and action.
“The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” (PG-13, 130 minutes, Sony): Based on a series of novels by Cassandra Clare, “The Mortal Instruments” story feels like a mash-up of “Twilight” and “Harry Potter.” The main protagonist is Clary (Lily Collins), a seemingly typical teenager who begins drawing strange symbols in her sleep and seeing violent images that her best friend, Simon (Robert Sheehan), cannot. It turns out Clary is a shadow hunter, a half-human, half-angel predestined to track and kill demons. Her realization coincides with the disappearance of her mother (Lena Headey), another such vigilante who’s been masquerading as an artist in Brooklyn. To find her mom, Clary teams with Simon and another shadow hunter, the snarky, smoldering Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower). Contains fantasy violence, action and some suggestive content.
Also: “Drinking Buddies,” “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” (2006), “Winnie Mandela,” “Things Never Said,” “Good Ol’ Freda” (documentary on the Beatles’ longtime secretary), “Far From Vietnam” (1967, political documentary on U.S. military involvement in Vietnam),and “Boston Red Sox 2013 World Series Collector’s Edition” (Lionsgate).
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Television series: “Duck Dynasty: Seasons 1-3 Collector’s Set,” “Hawaii Five-O: The Complete Series” (1968-1980, 73-disc set), “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman: The Complete Series” (1976-78, 38-disc set) and “Transformers Prime: Season Three – Beast Hunters” .