"People Like Us" (PG-13, 113 minutes, DreamWorks): Ultimately, this movie's fundamental truth shines through the Hollywood gloss. But at first part of the credibility problem lies with Chris Pine's Sam, a slick salesman who learns that he has a half-sister, Frankie (Elizabeth Banks), when his father dies, leaving Sam $150,000 and instructions to deliver it to Frankie's 11-year-old son, Josh (Michael Hall D'Addario). Mostly, Sam lies to Frankie; at first he can't bring himself to tell about the money, let alone the nature of their relationship. Instead, Sam allows Frankie to believe that his preternatural interest in her might just be romantic. What's obvious to the audience - that she's slowly falling for her own brother - somehow escapes Sam's notice until the film's explosive climax. When the big reveal finally comes, setting up the film's message about the importance of family - not to mention telling the truth - all hell breaks loose, but also a little bit of heaven, too.
"Dark Shadows" (PG-13, 113 minutes, Warner): Tim Burton's retread of the 1970s daytime goth-opera - starring Johnny Depp - is depressing on myriad levels. It doesn't know where it wants to dwell: in the eerie, subversive penumbra suggested by its title or in playful, go-for-broke camp. Depp once again plumbs his vocal depths to come up with a sonorously memorable voice for Barnabas, beginning with a narrated preamble explaining how the Collins family settled in Maine, made a fortune in fishing, built a soaring manor of Collinwood and suffered tragedy at the hands of a witchy servant girl named Angelique. The ribald humor that runs through "Dark Shadows" will most likely go over the heads of the youngsters to whom the rest of the movie is presumably aimed. But few will buy the third-act twist that occurs in the middle of the mayhem that Angelique brings down on Collinwood.
"The Lady" (R, 128 minutes, Entertainment One): Director Luc Besson and screenwriter Rebecca Frayn go in for melodrama in their biopic of Burmese democracy activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi (played by Michelle Yeoh). "The Lady" is a heavy-handed attempt to sanctify one of the most dignified and uncompromising human rights champions of recent times. Suu Kyi, perhaps courtesy of that Gandhi biography she carts around, emerges an authority on leading a movement of nonviolent resistance. She gains the confidence of a nation because of her pedigree. In the final scene, the filmmakers nearly succeed in turning Suu Kyi into an Asian Eva Peron, down to the outspread arms, tossing an orchid to her worshippers.
Also released Tuesday
"Peace, Love and Misunderstanding"
"Whittle: The Jet Pioneer"
"House: The Complete Series"