Associated Press

'The Wolfman'

Rated R for bloody horror violence and gore. 102 minutes. One and a half stars out of four.

With vampires of every kind running around around Hollywood, the big-screen is ripe for a new take on werewolves.

Yet despite a first-rate cast led by Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt, a classy re-creation of late-Victorian England and commendable respect for Lon Chaney's 1941 original movie, this one's more a yawn than a scream.

The tone adopted by director Joe Johnston is oppressive to the point of suffocating. Sure, the players here are swept up in the story of a man bearing a horrible curse, so you don't expect them to be having fun.

But they don't have to be so funereal about it. The remake casts Del Toro as a wayward aristocrat who transforms into a hairy beast after he returns to his ancestral home.

Except for Hopkins, who wrings some deviltry out of a pretty silly patriarch's role, the performers are just deadly dull. Del Toro's wolfie may be a doomed and tortured soul.

But that's no reason to doom and torture the audience.


'Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief'

Rated PG for action violence and peril, some scary images and suggestive material, and mild language. 119 minutes. Two stars out of four.

Uma Thurman with snakes for hair and a killer stare is almost enough on her own to make this Greek-myth-inspired adventure worth seeing.

Throw in the absurdity of former James Bond smoothie Pierce Brosnan, now put out to stud as a mythical centaur with a horse's rump, and this latest supplicant for the Harry Potter fantasy crowd has two decent elements in its favor.

The trouble with this return to youth fantasy by director Chris Columbus, who made the first two "Harry Potter" flicks, is that for every worthwhile moment, there's a clunker merely filling up time, or worse, wasting it.

Based on the first book in Rick Riordan's fantasy series, the movie stars Logan Lerman as Percy, a teen who learns he's the demigod son of Poseidon, lord of the sea.

Falsely accused of stealing boss god Zeus' lightning bolt, Percy travels America with two fellow young heroes (Brandon T. Jackson and Alexandra Daddario) to save his mom (Catherine Keener) from the underworld and recover Zeus' bolt.

The fitful movie has OK action and effects, but it lacks spark. With Steve Coogan, Rosario Dawson, Sean Bean, Kevin McKidd.


'Valentine's Day'


Rated PG-13 for some sexual material and brief partial nudity. 121 minutes. One and a half stars out of four.

Gauzily wrapped in stars and roses, Garry Marshall's "Valentine's Day" is exactly what it professes to be: an overdose of sentimentality.

A Hallmark card of a film, it's a calculated ploy of comfortable predictability and general cheerfulness. The stars spill out as if from a clown car. They're too numerous to name, but Ashton Kutcher, as a florist, is at the center.

Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, Jamie Foxx, Taylor Swift (in her feature film debut) and many others find various forms of love on one eventful Valentine's Day in Los Angeles. Like real Hollywood, there's plenty of musical chairs.

Marshall ("Pretty Woman," "Runaway Bride") juggles the many overlapping story lines successfully, but the film is remarkably, sometimes nauseatingly overstuffed. It also might boast the most shirtless dudes in a movie since "300." 


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