Three new movies bring heavy questions and light comedy to weekend box office

Heavy questions and light comedy will be competing with each other in the three new movies hitting the box office this weekend.

They feature some of Hollywood's biggest stars and include stories about the limits of human perfection, a moral dilemma that may be impossible to overcome and an alien who hitches a ride across the United States with two men who are clearly out of their element wherever they go.

Here's a look at what's new in theaters

Limitless

What would you do it you could live up to our ultimate potential? That's the question at the center of the action thriller Limitless. The movie follows Eddie Morra, an unemployed writer who gets a second chance at life because of an experimental drug called NZT. The key to the drug is that it lets the user utilize 100% of his brain. However, once he's without limitations, Morra must deal with a ruthless mogul who wants to use him to make money for himself.

Morra is played by The Hangover and The A-Team's Bradley Cooper. He's joined in the movie by Robert De Niro as mogul Carl Van Loon. Also appearing in the the movie are Stop-Loss' Abbie Cornish and Pushing Daisies' Anna Friel. The screenplay was written by Leslie Dixon, who based it on Alan Glynn's 2001 novel The Dark Fields. It was directed by Neil Burger, who also did the 2006 movie The Illusionist and 2008's The Lucky Ones.

Limitless is rated PG-13 and runs 1 hour 45 minutes.

Paul

Paul is a sci-fi comedy about two British comic-book geeks who are traveling across the country and pick up an actual alien outside of Area 51. With their new companion the men go on the run from federal agents and the father of a young woman they accidentally kidnap.

The movie stars Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz's Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. It also features Seth Rogen as the voice of the title character and Saturday Night Live's Kristen Wiig as Ruth, the woman they're forced to kidnap. Also appearing in the movie are Glee's Jane Lynch, Jason Bateman and Sigourney Weaver. It was written by Frost and Pegg and directed by Greg Mottola, who also directed 2009's Adventureland and 2007's Superbad.

Paul is rated R and runs 1 hour 40 minutes.

The Lincoln Lawyer

The Lincoln Lawyer is based on the classic lawyer's ethical dilemma: What do you do if you find out that a client is guilty of a crime that an innocent person has already been convicted of? However, in this case both the guilty man and the innocent man are represented by the same lawyer, Mickey Haller.

Haller, a criminal defense attorney who works out of the back seat of a Lincoln Continental, is played by Matthew McConaughey. The movie also features Ryan Phillippe, Marisa Tomei, William H. Macy, Josh Lucas, Frances Fisher and John Leguizamo. It was adapted from the Michael Connelly novel by John Romano, who also adapted Nights in Rodanthe. It was directed by Brad Furman, who also directed 2007's The Take.

The Lincoln Lawyer is rated R and runs 1 hour 59 minutes.

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