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Movie Reviews: Paul Rudd charms in Marvel’s Ant-Man

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By Jay Bobbin

Starting this week

Ant-Man

One of the more entertaining adventures to come out of the Marvel universe lately, this tale has the bounty of special effects one would expect, but also an extremely likable performance by Paul Rudd) as a ne’er-do-well thief who unwittingly steals a suit designed by a scientist (Michael Douglas) … which shrinks the crook down to the size of a you-know-what. He then uses it to oppose an enemy (Corey Stoll, “House of Cards”) who’s applying the technology for his own sinister purposes. Evangeline Lilly (“Lost”), Bobby Cannavale and Michael Pena also star for director Peyton Reed (“Bring It On”) and make their own marks amid the impressively fantastical visuals. DVD extra: deleted scene. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

Minions

The characters from the “Despicable Me” movies get their own story – and their own, very detailed history – in this entertaining, animated comedy that’s a prequel to their past appearances. Only happy when they have someone to serve, though they don’t necessarily draw the nicest masters, they end up serving the whole world when they oppose the sinister Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock) in the iconic London of the 1960s. The script is loaded with clever humor that older viewers will appreciate while youngsters simply get a kick out of the visuals. Among others in the vocal cast are Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Coogan and Geoffrey Rush. DVD extras: deleted scene; “Jingle Bells: Minion Style” music video. *** (PG: AS) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

Knock Knock

Keanu Reeves makes an effective move away from his now-typical action-hero mode in this tense thriller, as he plays a family man who comes to regret answering a knock at his door while he’s home alone. His decision to help two apparently stranded women (Lorenza Izzo, Ana de Armas) has very big repercussions for him – and it’s only a matter of time until his loved ones return. Eli Roth (“Hostel”) directed and co-wrote the melodrama; Colleen Camp, one of the film’s producers, also is in the cast. *** (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

The X-Files: The Collector’s Set

The truth may be out there, but it’s also destined to be in the homes of many fans as the Chris Carter-created series makes its long-awaited Blu-ray debut – ahead of the upcoming Fox “event series” sequel that reunites David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as Mulder and Scully, the FBI partners who tackle numerous supernatural pursuits. All nine seasons of the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning show are included, and they also can be purchased separately. Expectedly, the set is packed with special features including deleted scenes and commentaries by Carter and other members of the creative team, including then-“Breaking Bad” mentor-to-be Vince Gilligan. Mitch Pileggi, Robert Patrick (now of “Scorpion”) and Annabeth Gish are among the many other notable cast members. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)

The Transporter Refueled

Arguably the most flexible business suit ever put on the screen has a new wearer, as Ed Skrein succeeds Jason Statham (and, in the television-series spinoff, Chris Vance) as action-prone troubleshooter Frank Martin. Though he’s gotten out of the business of transporting items for paying clients, he’s drawn back in when a mysterious woman (Loan Chabanol) recruits him. Soon, he’s dealing with a potential bank heist and the Russian underworld. Ray Stevenson (“Rome”), who’s seen a fair share of screen action himself, also stars as Martin’s father. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

Under the Dome: Season Three

In what turned out to be the final round of the Stephen King-inspired CBS series, the dome over the town ultimately comes down – but there are plenty of complications for the enclosed population before that happens, some of them involving the possibly tainted food supply. Marg Helgenberger (“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”) joins the cast as a woman whose agenda includes becoming a town leader, and a highly divisive one at that. Mike Vogel, Dean Winters, Rachelle Lefevre and Eddie Cahill are among those continuing their roles. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

Coming soon

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (Dec. 15)

In the sequel, the Gladers find new hurdles in opposing the organization WCKD; star Dylan O’Brien returns. (PG-13: AS, P, V)

Fantastic Four (Dec. 15)

Miles Teller and Kate Mara are among those playing the latest screen incarnations of the Marvel Comics characters. (PG-13: P, V)

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (Dec. 15)

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is an agent without an agency after the CIA shuts down his team. (PG-13: AS, P, V)

Ted 2 (Dec. 15)

The talking teddy bear (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) runs into trouble in becoming an adoptive parent; Mark Wahlberg also returns. (R and unrated versions: AS, P)

The Perfect Guy (Dec. 29)

A woman (Sanaa Lathan) comes to regret getting involved with a stranger (Michael Ealy) who begins stalking her; Morris Chestnut also stars. (PG-13: AS, P, V)

A Walk in the Woods (Dec. 29)

A travel writer (Robert Redford) tackles the Appalachian Trail with a very dissimilar friend (Nick Nolte). (R: AS, P)


FAMILY-VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence.
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