Nicholas Hoult plays Jack in "Jack the Giant Slayer," a film that's too scary for little kids and too silly for serious older fans of director Bryan Singer.


"Stoker" (R, 92 minutes, 20th Century Fox): With Park Chan-wook's first English-language film, the Korean director of the 2003 cult hit "Oldboy" makes the transition to Hollywood without losing any of his visual verve. This violent psychological thriller looks fantastic, even when an attack with garden shears spurts blood onto a cluster of Queen Anne's lace flowers. But "Stoker" is so in love with fetishizing creepiness that it forgets to be creepy. The images may be haunting, but the events aren't. After the death of Richard Stoker (Dermot Mulroney) in an apparent car accident, his brother, Charlie (Matthew Goode), moves in with Richard's widow, Evelyn (Nicole Kidman), and their 18-year-old daughter, India (Mia Wasikowska). It's blindingly obvious that there's something wrong with Charlie. He leers at his hosts like the sociopath he is, and he comes on to both of them sexually. Terrible, terrible things start happening, but none of them is very frightening because the perpetrators are so darn affected. "Stoker" plays out like a Kabuki "Macbeth": gallons of style slathered on a story you already know by heart.

"Quartet" (PG-13, 97 minutes, The Weinstein Co./Anchor Bay): This movie, set in a cozily appointed retirement home for aging musicians called Beecham House, features delectable British veterans Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins and professional force-of-nature Maggie Smith. A passel of real-life musical stars populates the home's colorful cast of supporting players. Sensitively attuned writer Ronald Harwood ("The Pianist," "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly") started with Italy's Casa di Riposo per Musicisti, chronicled in the 1984 documentary "Tosca's Kiss," turned that concept into a stage play, then adapted his own script for the screen. "Quartet" could easily have been condescendingly dotty, soupily maudlin or simply misplayed in every manner. Instead, everyone and every theme harmonizes sweetly throughout the film. This subtle, sure-footed delight is made all the more enjoyable by the fact that it was directed by a 75-year-old first-timer named Dustin Hoffman. Judging from this debut, the kid's got a future.

"Jack the Giant Slayer" (PG-13, 117 minutes, Warner): Much like the imaginary floating land called Gantua, situated halfway between heaven and Earth, and populated by a race of CGI giants, this fairy-tale-inspired film is stuck between two extremes: Too scary for very young children, yet too silly for most older fans of director Bryan Singer. Loosely based on the English folk tale about a boy who discovers a magic beanstalk that leads to the realm of an evil giant, the film includes scenes of pitched battles that resemble "Lord of the Rings" outtakes, as well as the kind of belching-and-flatulence humor popular with kids. Couple that with man-eating giants, and the question seems obvious: Who exactly is this movie for?

Also released Tuesday

"21 and Over"

"Movie 43"

"The Last Exorcism Part II"


"Justin Bieber: Always Believing"