Film Clips: Circo, Green Lantern, Beginners and more

This weekend's openings

BEGINNERS 4 stars (R ) After the death of his wife, septuagenarian Hal (Christopher Plummer) comes out as gay and reveals that he has terminal cancer. Director/designer Mike Mills presents the charming, heavily-autobiographical tale from the point of view of Hal’s son Oliver, who ruminates on grief and the nature of his parents’ marriage while falling in love with a pretty actress (Mélanie Laurent). This warm, well-observed film avoids twee self-consciousness, give or take the odd scene on roller skates. — Holman

CIRCO (NR) This documentary from Mexico follows a family that struggles to maintain a traditional traveling circus despite mounting debt, dwindling audiences and simmering domestic conflicts.

GREEN LANTERN 2 stars (PG-13) A dying alien’s super-powered ring chooses cocky test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) to join an intergalactic police force called the Green Lantern Corps. This big-screen version of the DC Comics character contains enough material for two movies, including elaborate CGI scenes on alien planets, lite romance with Blake Lively and Peter Sarsgaard cheerfully hamming it up as evil psychic Hector Hammond. With wildly inconsistent effects, muddled plotting and an inconsistent tone, this Lantern provides scant illumination. — Holman

A divorced and career driven father (Jim Carrey) learns to appreciate the important things in life with the unexpected arrival of penguins in his polished New York apartment. This family comedy shows that loving creatures can not only transform an apartment (in this case into an ice kingdom), but also touch people's hearts.

SUBMARINE 3 stars (R ) In mid-1980s Wales, young Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts) schemes to woo a sharp-tongued teen (Yasmin Paige) and prevent his morose parents (Sally Hawkins and Noah Taylor) from splitting up. Based on a coming-of-age novel by Joe Dunthorne, Submarine acknowledges teenagers’ unflattering self-absorption as Oliver assumes that he’s far more clever and sensitive than he turns out to be. Submarine delivers the stylishness but not the snap of early Wes Anderson, but features good performances and droll humor. — Holman

THE TRIP (R ) The Trip reunites British funnyman Steve Coogan with his 24 Hour Party People director Michael Winterbottom. Playing another fictionalized version of himself, The Trip presents Coogan taking an TV assignment to visit restaurants, reluctantly paired up with his old frenemy Richard Brydon. Based on a British sitcom, The Trip's primarily selling point has been Coogan and Brydon's testy, semi-improvised arguments and celebrity impressions, such as this exchange over who does the best Michael Caine. — Holman

48 HOUR FILM PROJECT (NR) The popular competition’s latest round of entries from Atlanta, written, filmed and edited the weekend of June 9-11, will get a reliably enthusiastic screening. 7:15 and 9:30 p.m., June 17-18. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-873-1939. www.plazaatlanta.com.

ROLLING THUNDER> (1977) (R ) William Devane and Tommy Lee Jones star in this highly-regarded revenge thriller about Vietnam war veterans who return to clean-up stateside corruption. Shown on a double bill with American Grindhouse, a retrospective of the gloriously sleazy era of U.S. exploitation films. Through June 19. Cinefest Film Theatre, Georgia State University, 66 Courtland St., Suite 240. 404-413-1798. www2.gsu.edu/~wwwcft.

UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES (NR) Cinefest presents the Atlanta premiere of the acclaimed Thai film of a elderly man with a terminal illness who experiences visions of his dead wife, his reincarnated son and other strange experiences. June 20-July 3. Cinefest Film Theatre, Georgia State University, 66 Courtland St., Suite 240. 404-413-1798. www2.gsu.edu/~wwwcft.

WONDERROOT LOCAL FILM NIGHT (NR) The local artist’s collective presents a “Generally Local, Mostly Independent Filmmakers Night” of short films ranging from documentaries to animation to avant-garde work. Thu., July 23, 9:30 p.m. $6. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-873-1939. www.plazaatlanta.com.