"300: Rise of an Empire": Boring narration melds with swarms of flying severed limbs for a sequel overloaded with stylized action sequences and hamstrung by an inept script. A lackluster Sullivan Stapleton plays Themistokles who tangles with the very evil Artemisa (Eva Green). Green is deliciously over-the-top, but this "300" sequel lacks characters and narrative drive. * ½ -- (Chris Hewitt, Pioneer Press) (R) 1 hour, 43 minutes.
"The Lego Movie": Talk about an unexpected delight. This animated riff on "Tron" comes from the talented guys behind "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" and will appeal to adults and kids alike. Chris Pratt voices mild-mannered Emmet, a yellow-faced Lego construction worker who is out to save the universe, along with Batman (Will Arnett), a master builder "ninja" (Elizabeth Banks) and so on. From its slapstick physics to its theology ("The Man Upstairs"), "The Lego Movie" amuses and never fails to leave viewers a little dazzled at the audacity of it all. * * * -- (Roger Moore, McClatchy Tribune News Service) (PG) 1 hour, 41 minutes.
"Mr. Peabody and Sherman": DreamWorks Animation sets its "Wayback Machine" to the early 1960s and charmingly revives one of the most popular features of the old "Rocky & Bullwinkle Show." This winning, witty and warm cartoon about a boy and a dog captures the flavor, tone and some of the snappy pace of the TV shorts. * * * -- (Roger Moore, McClatchy Tribune News Service) (PG) 1 hour, 28 minutes.
"The Lunchbox": In Ritesh Batra's beguiling and touching romance set in Mumbai, a virtual relationship blossoms not through a sexy operating system as in "Her," or modern-day epistolary as in "You've Got Mail," but the old-fashioned way, through carefully written notes delivered by hand every day. * * * -- (Ann Hornaday, Washington Post) (PG) 1 hour, 26 minutes.
"Non-Stop": The presence of Liam Neeson helps ground a preposterous thriller set on a plane. Neeson plays a U.S. air marshal who gets wrapped into a criminal's plan to kill passengers on the flight. Julianne Moore costars in what amounts to a workmanlike film with a lulu of an ending. * * ½ -- (Roger Moore McClatchy-Tribune News Service) (PG-13) 1 hour, 44 minutes.
"RoboCop": The reboot of "RoboCop" uses the basic blueprint from the 1987 movie, modified and updated to create a sleeker design, but it is not as intellectually cutting-edge. Big business has become the new go-to villain, making the film less of a cautionary tale about how machines are taking over our lives and more focused on the evils of corporate America. The new "RoboCop" shows we have the technology to build a sleeker, faster and more powerful version, but it comes at a price -- the new movie isn't as crisp when it comes to its political and social messages. * * ½ (Rick Bentley, Fresno Bee) (PG-13) 1 hour, 50 minutes.
"Son of God": If you can overlook the meager production values and cobbled-together editing, this is a well-intentioned retelling of the Christ story that should appeal to its key audience. What is refreshing is how the production, which pieces together parts from the successful TV miniseries "The Bible," takes the time to illustrate Christ's teachings. The execution is hardly polished, though. * * ½ (Randy Myers, Staff (PG-13) 2 hours, 18 minutes.
"3 Days to Kill": Producer Luc Besson takes aim at another serio-comic thriller but this time merely grazes the target. Kevin Costner takes on the Liam ("Taken") Neeson role, playing a cancer-striken CIA agent trying to become more of a family guy to his estranged wife (Connie Nielsen) and daughter ("True Grit's" Hailee Steinfeld). But first he must complete one final and potentially life-altering gig. What ensues is a sloppy yet entertaining action flick. * * ½ -- (Roger Moore, McClatchy News Service) ((PG-13) 1 hour, 53 minutes.
"The Wind Rises": The great Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki has come up with a curious capstone for one brilliant career. This, reportedly his final film, is basically a biopic about Jiro Horikoshi, who designed planes for the Japanese military before and during World War II. The gorgeous visuals give the human drama its wings. * * * -- (Roger Moore, McClatchy News Service) (PG-13) 2 hours, 5 minutes.