Sneak Preview: 'Red' and other movies opening this week

Al Alexander


Sly Stallone proved with “The Expendables” that you don’t have to be young and spry to produce a solid action movie. And Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren are prepared to second that motion with this tongue-in-cheek tale (based on a graphic novel) about retired CIA agents drawn back into the fray after they are framed for the assassination of a world leader. Think of it as “The Re-Born Identity.”


Get your shopping carts out and get ready to ride them off your roofs because Johnny Knoxville and his brave, but obviously insane, buddies are back for another serving of self mutilation. Even better, this time we can see the blood, bruises and broken bones in glorious 3D.


Promising newcomer Aaron Johnson (“Kick-Ass,” “The Greatest”) has been drawing raves for his portrayal of a young John Lennon in this recounting of the music legend’s pre-Beatles days in Liverpool, where rock ‘n’ roll became his salvation from a tumultuous home life.


Matt Damon narrates this timely documentary from Charles Ferguson (“No End in Sight”) about the hows and whys of the 2008 economic meltdown. Should be interesting, and it might have been a must-see if Michael Moore hadn’t beat Ferguson to the punch with last year’s “Capitalism: A Love Story,” which covered much of the same material, albeit in a more humorous state of mind.


Hilary Swank makes her bid for a third Oscar with this fact-based courtroom drama about a Massachusetts mother fighting tooth and nail to prove the innocence of her brother (Sam Rockwell) after he is wrongly convicted of murder in 1983. It ends up being an 18-year ordeal that yields her a law degree and mounting evidence that a crooked small-town cop (Melissa Leo) is responsible for her brother’s plight.


Christopher Plummer, Lynn Redgrave, and Isabella Rossellini provide the voices for this animated tale about author J.R. Ackerley’s 14-year relationship with his beloved German shepherd, Tulip. Written, directed and animated by award-winning filmmakers Paul and Sandra Fierlinger, “My Dog Tulip” is the first animated feature to be entirely hand drawn and painted utilizing paperless computer technology.


Stephen Frears brings Posy Simmonds’ beloved graphic novel to the big screen with Gemma Arterton as Tamara, a former ugly duckling who causes a stir when she returns to the backwater of her youth as a ravishing beauty. Soon, she finds out that no man is immune to her charms.


Robert De Niro and Edward Norton, so great together in “The Score,” reunite for this legal thriller in which De Niro plays a parole officer assigned the case of a convicted arsonist (Norton) seeking early release. Nothing special there. But things catch fire once Bobby D starts sniffing around the convict’s beautiful and seductive wife, played by “Resident Evil’s” Milla Jovovich. John Curran (“The Painted Veil”) directs.