Short Takes for the week of July 30:



THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE
MAMMA MIA!
THE DARK KNIGHT
SPACE CHIMPS
HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY
JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH
HANCOCK
WALL-E
WANTED

Scale: # (waste of time) to √√√√ (fabulous)

• THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE: A series of gruesome murders and the involvement of a psychic priest call Scully and Mulder out of retirement. David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Billy Connolly. Mystery. Rated PG-13. Not reviewed.

• MAMMA MIA!: Her daughter’s wedding and the arrival of three former lovers makes Donna frantic. Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried. Light, frothy and fun, the story is predictable but the music by ABBA is still as irresistible as always. Rated PG-13 for mild profanity, sexual innuendo. √√

• THE DARK KNIGHT: Just as crime is dropping in Gotham, the Joker emerges to spread chaos and death. Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart. Batman’s world gets much darker and more complicated as the violence affects the way the public sees him. A solid, thought-provoking adult story. Rated PG-13. √√√1/2

• SPACE CHIMPS: A trio of chimponauts sets out to rescue a space probe and gets involved in battling an alien dictator. Voices by Andy Samberg, Cheryl Hines, Patrick Warburton. Comedy. Rated G. Not reviewed.

• HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY: Hellboy and the gang must stop an elf prince determined to reclaim his part of the world. Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones. This second outing has the same sense of fun as the first, but the world is richer, the fantasy more elaborate, and the action is bigger. Rated PG-13 for mild profanity, violence. √√√

• JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH: While looking for his missing brother, a scientist discovers a land where dinosaurs still live. Brendon Fraser, Josh Hutcherson, Anita Briem. Adventure. Rated PG. Not reviewed.

• HANCOCK: A rude, apathetic superhero gets a makeover thanks to a PR man whose life he saved. Will Smith, Jason Bateman, Charlize Theron. A different kind of super hero movie that’s more concerned with what’s in his head than the heroics – though they’re here too. Rated R for profanity, violence. √√1/2

• WALL-E: Left to clean up an abandoned Earth, a robot develops personality and a yearning for love. Voices by Ben Burtt, Jeff Garlin, Elissa Knight. Pixar scores again by blending innocent romance, sly social critique, and the charm of old-style silent films. It’s practically perfect. Rated G. √√√1/2

• WANTED: A wage slave joins a fraternity of assassins, bending the laws of physics to avenge his father. James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman. Violent, funny and action-packed, it rolls along during the recruiting and training but bogs down in the mission. Rated R for language, violence, nudity √√