“Rio 2” (G, 101 minutes, Fox): Like the first movie, “Rio 2” looks great with vibrant colors and lovely animation that pop off the screen. And among the many layers of plots, some are winners. One of the most successful is the talent competition. “Rio 2” is curiously devoid of decent comedy, but the song-and-dance routines, which are beautifully choreographed, lead to the movie’s biggest laughs, especially when the contestants keep getting eaten by predators. All in all, though, the movie feels at once too busy and too derivative. That’s no easy feat, but it’s also one sequel-makers probably shouldn’t aspire to. Contains some scary images of villains on bulldozers and man-eating snakes. Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg reprise their roles as Jewel and Blu.
“Under the Skin” (R, 107 minutes, Lionsgate): The story of “Under the Skin” – which was adapted from a novel by Michel Faber – doesn’t amount to all that much. But, true to its title and thanks to director Jonathan Glazer’s superb control and a mesmerizing performance by Scarlett Johansson, this creepy-cool exercise possesses a sinuous, insinuating power to burrow into the viewer’s consciousness and make itself felt for days on end. After a prologue involving mysterious spheres, orbs and a whispered soundtrack of Johansson apparently practicing English phonetics, the film cuts to a lonely road in Scotland, where a leather-clad motorcyclist retrieves a female body from an isolated ditch. What this has to do with Johansson will all be made clear in “Under the Skin,” which will spend most of its time in the Scottish countryside, with its inherently supernatural beauty. Contains graphic nudity, sexual content, some violence and profanity.
Also: “Hank and Asha” (a best feature winner at small film festivals), “The Face of Love” (starring Annette Bening and Ed Harris), “What Would You Do For Love?” (made-for-TV family film), “Northern Light” (documentary on a three families in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the snowmobile race that connects them), “A Night in Old Mexico” (with Robert Duvall) and “A Day Late and a Dollar Short” (Whoopi Goldberg and Mekhi Phifer star in TV movie based on a Terry McMillan novel).
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