'Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters'

Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like: The confectionery house miscreants grow up and become witch vigilantes. The setting is vague (European) and the period equally murky (19th century?), but what is clear is that this is a drop-dead lousy film.

The gorgeous but hard-charging siblings (Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton) come across as snarky as they dash from forest to forest battling bad witches in subpar fight scenes with low-budget special effects.

Supernatural themes remain hot in Hollywood and no one had to pay royalties to an author for using the Hansel and Gretel story.

So look for future films using this clever copyright dodge, such as "Mother Goose: Salmonella Annihilation" and "Little Red Riding Hood: Wolf Judgment Day."

If you can get past the fact that everyone had terrible, and dissimilar, accents, you could see that the actors knew that this movie was destined to become a punch line as they winced their way through the picture.

The violence is too intense for kids under 13 years old, but ironically they would be the only ones fooled into thinking this was a watchable movie. (R: Violence, sex and language). 1 hour and 28 minutes.

Ratings (out of 4 stars):

Overall: 1 star

Kids: N/A

Teens: 2½ stars

Adults: 1 star

Seniors: ½ star

Should you watch it? No -- fantasy film as fresh as sun-curdled yogurt.

'Identity Thief'

This movie is better than it looks, but don't get your hopes up too high. It drives down the well-worn path of a "what could possibly go wrong next" road trip movie.

Melissa McCarthy plays a garish criminal who steals identities and then runs up their credit card bills.

She picks the wrong mark with mild-mannered Jason Bateman who tracks her down in Florida and attempts to bring her back to Colorado to prove his innocence.

Many of the jokes are stale, but both Bateman and McCarthy exude charisma, so it's still amusing.

Bad language and lots of sexual jokes makes this best for kids 14 years old and up. (R: Language, violence and sex). 1 hour and 51 minutes.

Ratings (out of 4 stars):

Overall: 2½ stars

Kids: N/A

Teens: 2½ stars

Adults: 2½ stars

Seniors: 1½ stars

Should you watch it? Yes -- a lowbrow comedy for when you need an easy laugh.

'Guilt Trip'

Another road trip movie, but one that sputters out of gas in the driveway.

Unlike my friend Deborah, I do not believe Barbra Streisand walks on water (though I hear that scene was in the unshot script of "Yentl 2").

So casting her as the well-meaning, neurotic, overbearing mother to Seth Rogen's schlemiel of a son wasn't enough to compensate for the utter lack of humor in this comedy.

Mother and son embark on a cross-country odyssey fighting, fussing and coming to appreciate each other more. But neither character was that interesting, so I didn't care if they became best buds.

Appropriate for kids 10 and up, but they won't like it. (PG-13: Language). 1 hour and 35 minutes.

Ratings (out of 4 stars):

Overall: 1½ stars

Kids: N/A

Teens: 1 star

Adults: 1½ stars

Seniors: 2 stars

Should you watch it? No -- slow, pointless and humor-deprived comedy.

J.B. Alderman lives in Piedmont and can be reached at jason@alderman.net.