Kids are at the center of this week's new bargain-theater offerings: singing kids, kids fighting an alien and a boy named Christopher Robin. ---
From writer/director J.J. Abrams and producer Steven Spielberg comes Super 8, the science-fiction thriller about adolescents in a small Ohio town circa 1979 whose DIY movie project inadvertently captures the crash of a military train, and the escape of ... something. There's some terrific material here, including a charming sorta-romance between young Joel Courtney and the remarkably talented Elle Fanning. But Abrams keeps circling away from his best character stuff to give us nostalgia tripping and rote genre action. It winds up merely a good homage to Spielberg, instead of the kind of movie other filmmakers will be making homages to in 30 years.
After its brief, remarkably unsuccessful "road show" engagement in first-run theaters, Glee: The 3D Concert Movie makes a quick exit to the cheap seats. It's clearly made for fans of the show, though the documentary focus on outcasts touched by its message of teen self-esteem might have been much more interesting for a wider audience.
Another box-office disappointment definitely didn't deserve its fate: Winnie the Pooh, a gentle, lovely adventure that remains faithful to A. A. Milne's stories but with fresh wit and intelligence. Parents who took your kids to see The Smurfs instead: Consider this a chance to redeem yourselves.