- - Sunday, July 17, 2011

New Releases

Limitless

Fox Home Entertainment

★★★½

We all know guys like Eddie Moran (Bradley Cooper). They’re clever and always seem to have a plan in mind to get rich without much effort. But for some reason (mostly their own shortcomings) they always fall short. In Eddie’s case, many days and lots of dollars short.

As “Limitless” begins, Eddie is down and nearly out - until his ex-brother-in-law shares some truly “mind expanding” news: an experimental drug called NZT that allows anyone taking it to remember any and everything they’ve ever read, experienced or been exposed to. Soon, Eddie is using his new brain power to become a wizard of Wall Street. He amasses a small fortune and wins back the affections of his former girlfriend, Lindy (Abbie Cornish).

He also begins attracting the attention of corporate titan Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro), who wants to know the whiz kid’s secret, and a loan shark whom Eddie used to owe money. Things get even more dangerous when Eddie’s only contact for his wonder drug disappears - and unexpected side effects surface.

Director Neil Burger and screenwriter Leslie Dixon (“Hairspray,” “Pay It Forward”) have adapted Alan Glynn’s science fiction novel into an imaginative and fast-paced thriller, a journey into the power and dangers of the unlimited, unleashed mind. Mr. Cooper is quite good as the movie’s “every guy” hero, who’s just trying to make a slightly better life and gets in way over his head. Mr. De Niro slyly underplays Van Loon, which allows some of the plot’s concluding twists to play out quite nicely.

The DVD’s extras and features include a “making of” short, an alternative ending and an unrated version of the film. Blu-ray extras are a “how to” feature on viewing the digital copy and the digital copy itself.

“Limitless,” along with the recently released “Adjustment Bureau” and the soon-to be-released “Source Code,” proves Hollywood can turn out quality mainstream science fiction films. Perhaps the studio executives need to “expand” their minds a bit. Rating: PG-13 for profanity, violence, sexual and drug content.

Hey, Boo: Harper Lee and ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

First Run Features

★★★

With this recent documentary, director and writer Mary McDonough Murphy has crafted a loving tribute to Harper Lee and her moving coming of age novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

As the reclusive author hasn’t given an interview since 1964, the filmmaker speaks instead with a variety of actors, writers and others about the novel, its beloved movie adaptation and the effect of each on their lives. Among those offering their thoughts are actress Mary Badham, journalists Anna Quindlen and Tom Brokaw, writers Scott Turow and James Patterson, talk show host Oprah Winfrey and former U.N. Ambassador Rev. Andrew Young.

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