Earth to Echo 6

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New on the big screen this week is a little alien far from home, a ticked off Melissa McCarthy, the legendary Roger Ebert, a musician trying to catch a break, and a New York cop dealing with demonic possessions. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s opening in theaters this week.


PG for some action and peril, and mild language | In Theaters 7/02 | Ok for Kids 7+ | Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels | | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | #EarthToEcho #Echo

ET phone home? Maybe. In this family adventure from director Dave Green and Walt Disney Studios, Tuck (Astro), Munch (Reese Hartwig) and Alex (Teo Halm) are inseparable friends whose neighborhood is being destroyed by a highway construction project that’s forcing their families to move away.

Just two days before they must part ways, the boys begin receiving a strange series of signals on their phones and team up with another friend, Emma, to figure out what’s going on. Turns out an adorable little alien is stranded on Earth and needs help to — you guessed it — get back home. Though comparisons to “E.T.,” “Super 8,” “Chronicle” and “Wall-E” abound, this is a cute family film.


Rated R for language, including sexual references | In Theaters 7/02 | Reel Preview: 4.5 of 5 Reels | | Twitter | Facebook | Google+

After losing her job at a burger joint and finding her husband in bed with another woman, Tammy (Melissa McCarthy) decides to hit the road with her hard-drinking, foul-mouthed grandmother Pearl (Susan Sarandon) in tow.

From finding love in a bar to robbing a Toppy Jack’s in order to bail Pearl out of jail, this quirky adventure is sure to delight fans of the brilliant McCarthy, who’s proven her comedic chops in such films as “The Heat” and “Bridesmaids.” Ben Falcone (her husband) directs, with Sandra Oh, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Dan Aykroyd, Mark Duplass and Kathy Bates filling out the impressive cast.


Rated R for bloody violence, grisly images, terror throughout, and language | In theaters 7/02 | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels | Facebook | #DeliverUsFromEvil

Horror movies are an iffy proposition, requiring that something extra to elevate them above simple shock value. “Deliver Us From Evil” is right in co-writer/director Scott Derrickson’s wheelhouse, having helmed such scare-fests as “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” and “Sinister.”

Here he teams with producer Jerry Bruckheimer in a 1980s-style buddy movie meets “The Exorcist” in which a troubled New York cop (Eric Bana) teams up with a priest (Edgar Ramirez) schooled in exorcism to confront a series of demonic possessions. The evil beings have not only spread across the city, they’ve also ventured into his home. Prepare to be frightened. Olivia Munn, Sean Harris and Joel McHale fill out the cast in this supernatural thriller.


Rated R for brief sexual images/nudity and language | In Theaters 7/04 | Ok for Kids 16+ | Reel Preview: 5 of 5 Reels | | Facebook

Documentarian Steve James (“Hoop Dreams”) is the perfect filmmaker to adapt the memoir of Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic and American icon Roger Ebert. This film is funny and passionate, much like the subject himself, and is both a retrospective of Ebert’s amazing career and an intimate look at the end of his life — a life well lived with wife and soulmate Chaz.

The film, produced by Oscar-winner Martin Scorsese, who also appears onscreen to discuss his friendship with Ebert, received standing ovations when it played at Sundance. Don’t miss it. Read Melanie Votaw’s roundtable interview with Chaz Ebert and Steve James.


Rated R for language | In Theaters 7/04 | Reel Preview: 4.5 of 5 Reels | | Facebook

Begin Again 12Amateur singer-songwriter Gretta (Keira Knightley) gets stranded in New York when her rock-star boyfriend (Adam Levine) takes off on tour with his mistress. But she catches a break when drunken, desperate former record mogul Dan Mulligan (Mark Ruffalo) hears her sing and stakes everything on making an album with her, recorded live on location around the city.

Writer-director John Carney knows something about creating films about musicians, having helmed the 2007 sleeper hit “Once.” The impressive cast for “Begin Again” also includes Catherine Keener as Dan’s ex-wife, Hailee Steinfeld as their daughter, and James Corden as Gretta’s best friend. The film gained steam at the Toronto Film Festival last fall, where it landed a distribution deal with The Weinstein Company. It also features a catchy soundtrack by Gregg Alexander, best known for fronting the band New Radicals.



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