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Best bets: 'Green Lantern' lights up theaters

In a summer full of superhero movies, Ryan Reynolds might be the best one. Also this week: Jim Carrey stars in "Mr. Popper's Penguins"; "Rocco's Dinner Party" premieres.
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In a summer chockfull of superhero movies, this might be the most super. Ryan Reynolds plays "Green Lantern" — in 3-D, of course! He's not as well-known as Superman and Batman, but the character has been around forever, so comic-book fans are going to want to see this one done up right. Blake Lively plays the hero's girlfriend and Peter Sarsgaard the villain Hector Hammond. (Opens June 17.)

"Mr. Popper's Penguins" has long been a beloved children's book, and there's always some fear from fans when such titles jump to the movie screen. But with Jim Carrey in the title role and some darn adorable (real!) penguins, how can it go wrong? Mr. Popper is a hard-driving businessman whose life completely changes when six little tuxedoed birds waddle into his life. As it would. You know you'll be seeing the toys in fast-food meals, and then in thrift stores, for years to come. (Opens June 17.)

Chef Rocco DiSpirito is on TV as much as he's in the kitchen, it seems. His latest show, "Rocco's Dinner Party," pits three chefs against each other as they try and plan the perfect dinner event for DiSpirito and celebrity guests. Really, all you need to know about the guests is that one of them is Liza Minnelli. This show isn't going to win any Emmys, but it could be some tasty summer entertainment. (Premieres June 15, 11 p.m., Bravo.)

Jason Lee has come a long way from the hilarious ne'er do well he played in "My Name Is Earl." In "Memphis Beat," he's Dwight Hendricks, a police detective with music in his soul and a fierce loyalty to his hometown in his heart. The New York Daily News critic wrote that the show "has a great soundtrack and a pretty good cop drama in between." Indeed, but we kind of miss Randy and Joy. (Second season premieres June 14, 11 p.m., Bravo.)

Another alien invasion drama? Didn't "V" just get canceled? It did, but Steven Spielberg was one of the creators of "Falling Skies," so hopes are high. Noah Wyle stars as a professor who uses his military history knowledge to help a band of survivors fight back against the creatures from the skies. (Premieres June 19, 9 p.m. TNT.)

"Kill the Irishman"
is based on the true story of Cleveland's Irish mob boss, Danny Greene, and his eventual war against the Italian mafia. Ray Stevenson plays Greene, with Val Kilmer and Christopher Walken in supporting roles. The San Francisco Chronicle notes that Stevenson "has enough testosterone to power a city block," and notes that the film doesn't stick to the common mob movie stereotype of a tough guy who slowly loses his soul. (Out on DVD June 14.)

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper is's movies editor.