Final Days: “Midnight in Paris” Ends Tues; “The Help” Opens Wednesday, August 10; “A Better Life” Opens Fri, Aug 5; “The Sound of Music” This Week’s Summer Classic

You don’t expect the director of the bloodsucking bore “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” and the epic flop “The Golden Compass” to deliver the raw emotional power that permeates “A Better Life”.  On the surface, the film seems like one of those docudramas that beg to be rewarded solely for their good intentions. But Chris Weitz cuts deep in this tale of Carlos Galindo (Demián Bichir), a Mexican gardener living illegally as a single dad in East Los Angeles and trying to keep his teen son (the excellent José Julián) from being sucked into local gangs. Weitz, of Mexican ancestry, doesn’t use the script to build a pulpit. He lets his story grow in force by focusing on telling details (like the theft of the truck that allows Carlos to make a living and on the monumental performance of Bichir who lets us into the mind and heart of a man most of us walk past and never see. This movie will get under your skin. Peter Travers  ONE WEEK ONLY! trailer

“The Help” stars Emma Stone as Skeeter, Viola Davis as Aibileen and Octavia Spencer as Minny—three very different, extraordinary women in Mississippi during the 1960s, who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk. From their improbable alliance a remarkable sisterhood emerges, instilling all of them with the courage to transcend the lines that define them, and the realization that sometimes those lines are made to be crossed—even if it means bringing everyone in town face-to-face with the changing times. trailer

How long has it been since you have seen “The Sound of Music” as it was intended: on the big screen? Have your children or grandchildren ever had the opportunity?  As one of the most famous musicals and films of all time, The Sound of Music is based on the memoir of Maria von Trapp. The music from this amazing film is what people know the best with songs like “The Sound of Music,” “My Favorite Things” and “Do-Re-Mi” which have been made into popular standards. trailer