Scott Marks 9 a.m., Dec. 18
Earth to Echo
Totally not a remake of Steven Spielberg's E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. For one thing, there's no absent father. For another, the titular alien is a cute robot instead of a lumpen critter. For still another, he doesn't need to phone home. Rather, he needs to assemble the key to his ride, and for that, he needs the help of three "good kid" tween friends — foster kid Alex (Teo Halm), oddball Munch (Reese Hartwig), and budding filmmaker Tuck (Brian "Astro" Bradley) — who are about to be separated by the pitiless (and suspicious) hand of eminent domain. The POV bounces from Tuck to Echo to some mysterious omniscient eye as the story requires: whatever it takes to endow ordinary youngster stuff — sneaking out on bikes, going on a treasure hunt, talking to girls, driving a car, crashing a party, evading video arcade security guards, etc. — with enough magic and meaning to make the Kids of Today believe that they can in fact, as the film puts it, "do anything." 2014.