Updated: August 13, 2012 3:40PM
THE BOURNE LEGACY
Rated: Rated PG-13 for violence and action sequences
Stars: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton
After the exit of Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) in “The Bourne Ultimatum,” a new super-agent (Renner) appears to take his place. “Bourne” screenwriter Tony Gilroy co-wrote and directed this expansion of action series.
ÇELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER
Rated: R for language, sexual content and drug use
Stars: Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Will McCormack
A divorcing couple (Jones and Samberg) try to maintain their friendship while dating other people. Lee Toland Krieger (“The Vicious Kind”) directed from a screenplay co-written by Jones.
Rated: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content involving sexuality
Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep, Steve Carell
After 30 years of marriage a long-suffering wife (Streep) forces her husband into a week of intense couple’s therapy. David Frankel (“The Devil Wears Prada”) directed the romantic comedy-drama.
SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN
Rated: Rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some drug references
Stars: Rodriguez, Malik Bendjelloul
Two South Africans search for their long-lost musical hero (‘70s rocker Rodriguez), who recorded two albums and then disappeared into obscurity. One of them (Benjelloul) directed this documentary.
Rated: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, some sexual content, brief nudity, and language
Stars: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston
This hard-driving, action-packed, dead-serious and ultimately kind of ho-hum remake has everything the original 1990 sci-fi/action hit had except for two key ingredients: director Paul Verhoeven’s appetite for weirdness and Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger. We’ve got the same dystopian vision of mankind’s high-tech future (looking here like a “Blade Runner” knockoff) and the same twisty-turny Phillip K. Dick plot about a secret agent opposing ruthless ruling-class oppressors (Farrell, in this case, all dark, glowering intensity), who may or may not be some factory working stiff fantasizing the whole thing in a black-market dream factory. What director Len Wiseman (“Underworld”) doesn’t bring to the party is what it needs most: the larger-than-life craziness Schwarzenegger’s pumped-up presence always provides and Verhoeven’s twisted sense of fun — each indicating that the whole business isn’t to be taken too seriously.
Rated: Rated R for crude and sexual content, brief graphic nudity, language and some drug use
Stars: Paul Schneider, Olivia Munn, Kevin Heffernan
Desperate to impregnate his baby-crazed wife (Munn), a man who believes he is now infertile (Schneider) asks friends to help him rob a sperm bank where he made a deposit years ago. Jay Chandrasekhar (“Supertroopers”) directed the comedy.
DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOG DAYS
Rated: PG for some rude humor
Stars: Zachary Gordon, Robert Capron, Devon Bostick
School’s out, but all of wimpy kid Greg’s (Gordon) dreams for summer vacation are not coming true. David Bowers (“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules”) returns as director.
★ ★ ★
Rated: Rated R for language including some sexual references, and for some drug use
Stars: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Chris Messina
A charming but by no means reassuring love story, this second feature by the directors of “Little Miss Sunshine” muses on the ephemeral nature of romantic relationships — particularly their tendency to go painfully awry. Even when literally made to order. Lonely, isolated, aging wunderkind author Calvin (Dano), breaks through a serious creative block by writing about dream girl Ruby (screenwriter Kazan, also Dano’s girlfriend), who magically comes to life and moves in. Calvin can make Ruby do whatever he wants, just by writing it, but swears not to — until Ruby starts to get tired of him. Then the honeymoon starts to turn to hell on Earth.
★ ★ 1/2
Rated: Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane
Be careful what you wish for, little boys. Decades after a Christmas miracle brings his beloved stuffed animal to life, grown up little Johnny (Wahlberg) still lives with his foul-mouthed, dope-smoking, sex fiend of a Teddy bear — much to the annoyance of Johnny’s girlfriend Lori (Kunis). The feature debut of “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane (who wrote, directed and gave himself the best lines as the bear), “Ted” is clunky, crude (take away flatulence and half the jokes would be gone) and very, very strange — especially with Giovanni Ribisi lurking as a psycho who wants to give Ted to his son. Every now and then, though, a semi-inspired moment makes it almost worthwhile.
Rated: Rated R for some strong sexual content including references, pervasive language and violent images
Stars: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayoade
Not just witless and pointless, but almost unrelentingly mirthless as well, “The Watch” is definitely one to watch out for — and avoid. Despite a promising premise for a summer action-comedy (small-town doofuses save the world from space aliens) and a fairly impressive comedy pedigree, “The Watch” never gets properly started. Partially because it can’t make up its mind whether to go for raunchy comedy, heartfelt male bonding or sci-fi action thrills. Mainly, though, because of sheer laziness. The humor is low-grade crude and almost entirely genital-obsessed and the big, gun-crazy finale fizzles entirely except for one surprisingly brutal moment when Stiller and Vaughn pump a dozen or so rounds at close range into an already-dead alien. Hilarious.
Rated: Rated NC-17 for graphic disturbing content involving violence and sexuality, and a scene of brutality
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Thomas Hayden Church, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Gina Gershon
When a gambling debt puts his life in danger, a young man (Hirsch) hires a hit man (McConaughey) to kill his evil mother (Gershon) for her insurance money. William Friedkin (“The Exorcist”) directed the crime drama.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
★ ★ ★ 1/2
Rated: PG-13 for sequences of action and violence
Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans
Though the recent, spectacularly successful series of “Spider-Man” adventures directed by Sam Raimi is still fresh in moviegoer memory, this compete reboot of the spider-saga by director Marc Webb quickly establishes itself as a worthy successor by telling the same story in a different — and in some ways superior — manner. Webb doesn’t score quite as high as Raimi in terms of visual dazzle, but he delivers plenty of adrenaline-pumping action. And he generates a surprising level of gravitas by taking the heavy-duty dramatic elements in the story very seriously. Best of all, the remarkable chemistry between Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Stone as his high-school girlfriend Gwen ups the romantic ante in a way that improves on the comics, as well as Raimi’s Tobey Maguire/Kirsten Dunst match-up.