A red-haired heroine leads the weekend at the movie theaters.
"Brave" is a rousing adventure from the folks at Pixar, the studio's first female-centric story. She is Merida, the teen princess of a medieval Scottish king, who bristles at her mother's attempts to groom her into a marriage-ready proper lady. An encounter with a witch lets Merida make a fate-changing wish, with surprising consequences. The story is skimpy, but the characters are strong, with the voice work of Kelly Macdonald (as Merida) and Emma Thompson (as the queen, Elinor) bringing warmth to the mother-daughter relationship (as well as giving us a "Nanny McPhee" reunion).
The history/horror mash-up "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" is not nearly as fun as that title suggests. Writer Seth Grahame-Smith recasts the 16th president (Benjamin Walker) as an ax-swinging killer of the undead, trained by a veteran vampire hunter (Dominic Cooper), as the lead vampire (Rufus Sewell) makes a pact with the Confederacy turning the Civil War into a battle between humans and vampires. Director Timur Bekmambatov ("Wanted") stages some outlandish action sequences, but the overly serious tone kills the horror-movie thrill.