"Premium Rush" (Columbia): Premium rush is the term ascribed to an urgent delivery made by the NYC bike messenger service at which Wilee (Joseph Gordon Levitt) is employed. A graduate of Columbia University Law School, Wilee has yet to take the Bar Exam. In fact, he's not sure he's going to take it.
Wilee would rather rip and zip through traffic on his single speed, brakeless bike, weaving in and out of congested lanes, quickly assessing intersections and situations, taking assignments based on the whims of his boss Raj (Aasif Mandvi). Wilee's estranged girlfriend Vanessa (Dania Ramirez), also a bike messenger, has been avoiding him, not returning his phone calls. Wilee is worried that muscle-bound messenger Manny (Wolé Parks) may be putting the moves on Vanessa.
Meanwhile, NYC cop Monday (Michael Shannon), a man with a borderline personality disorder and a serious gambling debt, is in way over his head to the Chinese mob. But Monday has a chance to redeem himself and repay his massive debt if he can intercept a marker in the form of a ticket worth a boatload of cash. That ticket is also extremely valuable to Vanessa's roommate Nima (Jamie Chung), whose cash savings from working a multitude of jobs paid for it so that she can bring the young son she left behind in China to America.
Exhausted yet? You will be once the chase is on between Wilee, whose job it is to deliver the ticket to a location in Chinatown, and Monday, who means to seize it and cash it in. Without some of the special effects, such as the scenes in which Wilee imagines his various route options, "Premium Rush" could have been made twenty-five (see the Kevin Bacon vehicle "Quicksilver") or more years ago. Leavitt is, naturally, charming in every scene and seems to be determined to make the transition to action hero (see also "The Dark Knight Rises"), but don't rush to see it in the theater as it is definitely a renter.
"The Possession" (Lionsgate/Ghost House): The divorce of basketball coach Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and domestic engineer Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick – for this she gave up The Closer?) has been rough on their young daughters Hannah (Madison Davenport) and Emily (Natasha Calis). Em appears to be taking it the hardest. But there's nothing a mysterious box with Hebrew letters carved on it can't make all better.
Said box has already claimed one victim (that we know of) when Em spies it at a yard sale and asks her father to buy it for her. Anxious to make up for being neglectful and to stay in his daughters' good graces, Clyde obliges. He also buys a new house in a development so that his daughters can be part of his fresh start.
Once Em figures out how to open the box, which calls to her at all hours, she unleashes a variety of horrors, beginning with an aggressive moth invasion. Em's behavior takes a turn for the worst, violent behavior at school and a sullen attitude befitting someone a little bit older than her 10 years. Clyde consults an expert, Professor McMannis (Jay Brazeau), which in turn leads him to a Hasidic community in Brooklyn where he enlists the assistance of rabbi's son Tzadok (hipster musician Matisyahu) to exorcise the dybbuk (evil spirit) from Em.
Of course, there's a body count, including Stephanie's fastidious orthodontist boyfriend Brett (Grant Show) and Em's teacher. There are a few seat-jumping scares. Although most of the special effects are of the garden variety type, the ones involving the emergence of the dybbuk are eye-catching. All in all, "The Possession," said to be based on true events, is a not quite kosher twist on a familiar and predictable story.