From director of Billy Elliot comes this übersentimental, self-consciously quirky and rabidly Oscar-hungry 9/11 drama. Based on Jonathan Safran Foer's "too soon" 2005 novel, the story tells us about 11-year-old Oskar (Thomas Horn), a lonely but gifted kid whose dad (Tom Hanks) perished in the World Trade Center. When he finds a mysterious key left behind by his puzzle-loving pop, Oskar goes on a quest to uncover (possibly nonexistent) secrets and treasures. Max von Sydow is incredibly touching as a mute neighbor, and Horn bears up admirably for a non-actor who got plucked off "Jeopardy! Kids Week." But the overly contrived film struggles for a level of profundity that just isn't there. 129 minutes PG-13.
Times and listings are for Friday 8/17 through Thursday 8/23