Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightly in “A Dangerous Method”

“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” (PG-13) — Movies are meant to press buttons and make the audience feel things, but this one just mashes on the keys like a toddler at a piano. A boy who lost his father on 9/11 finds a mysterious key and decides it must be a clue to something important left behind by his father. It’s not enough of a plot to pull the audience in, but it’s enough to have us following an unlikable child as he has curt, systematic conversations with people around New York. At some point, the boy befriends an old man who doesn’t talk, presumably to add more quirk to his adventure.

Footage and imagery from 9/11 are mixed in to add emotional weight to the journey of Odd Boy and Mute Man, thus proving something we didn’t need to know: Memories of a horrible collective tragedy will make an audience sad, but it doesn’t mean the movie is hitting home.

“A Dangerous Method” (R) — David Cronenberg adapts a page out of history for this story about the beginnings of psychoanalysis. Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) is an early adopter of the treatment developed by Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen). Jung takes the beautiful and emotionally disturbed Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) as a patient. The two end up in an affair that tests everything Jung thought he knew about ethics and the human psyche.

True to Freud’s thinking, all the refinement and intellectual elements in the movie are in orbit around sexual and competitive desires. The cast is solid, but the tension of the movie has mood swings — things will either be sizzling or just a bit better than dull.

“Romantics Anonymous” — This French import contains levels of whimsy and sweetness that would not pass American movie-making inspections. Angelique is a chocolate-maker with a crippling shyness. Her boss, Jean-Rene, is overcome by insurmountable awkwardness. You can see where this is going.

The two go about courting like a pair of uncoordinated puppies. Hold on tight to the subtitles — the dialogue is actually quite funny and can save you from going into a diabetic coma during this adorable, hyper-sweet romcom.

“Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” (PG) — Tragedy strikes as the Chipmunks get shipwrecked on a remote island while the writers scramble to remember what is funny. In case the returning cast of humans fooled you, this isn’t one of those awful-looking sequels where the franchise pulls up and tries some new things. This is the normal kind of awful-looking sequel, where the nose-dive continues far into the ground. Children deserve better than this.

“Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXIII”
“Eureka: Season 4.5”
“South Park: The Complete Fifteenth Season”
“Single-Handed, Set 2”
“Murder Investigation Team, Series Two”

© 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.