The Pirates! Band of Misfits

(PG) ★★★☆☆

From the folks behind Wallace & Gromit comes this enjoyable pirate tale, an interesting and funny mix of stop-motion and digital animation. The Pirate Captain (voiced by Hugh Grant) leads a gaggle of high seas scalawags. The crew runs into Charles Darwin (David Tennant), who takes a liking to the Captain’s “big-boned” parrot, Polly, actually a dodo. Hilarity ensues. The trademark droll humor and maniacal attention to detail make this worth seeing.

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Sparks Minus Sparkle


Sparks Minus Sparkle

By Michael Phillips, Tribune Media Services

You don’t need a message in a bottle to get the word out: Author Nicholas Sparks knows his audience. Conservative moviegoers (along with plenty of centrists and liberals) take to the latest Sparks adaptation, gratefully. They know they’re not going to get roughed up in terms of content, or ideologically insulted: Sparks writes best-sellers that treat military personnel with respect, churchgoing Christians likewise and red-state backdrops with fond, photogenic care.