Timothy Olyphant

Photo courtesy of Prashant Gupta/FX.

Editor’s note: This review contains plot details from tonight’s season premiere of FX’s “Justified.”

“Justified,” which begins its third season tonight at 9 p.m. on FX, is a show typical of the FX brand. After all, it’s a stylish, testosterone-driven crime show with plenty of “Deadwood” alumni rounding out the guest star roster (not to mention star Timothy Olyphant, who barely had time to change his wardrobe between the two shows). And after a shaky first season, it blossomed with an astounding sophomore season. “Justified’s” most appealing feature has always been its deep-fried Southern setting, and its best use of that to date has been Margo Martindale’s Mags Bennett, last season’s antagonist and one of the best seasonal villains to ever grace the small screen.

Obviously, “Justified” is entering its third season with big expectations, and so far it continues to impress. Much of the season premiere is spent dealing with fallout from last May’s violent finale, which saw several main characters shot and others dead. The premiere is smart in the way it parcels out the information about what’s happened since we last saw Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens (Olyphant).

Without giving too much away, things aren’t great in Harlan. Raylan is slowly recovering from his bullet wound and the Dixie Mafia is still after his head, represented by the consistently entertaining Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns), who enjoys more screen time than usual this season. Meanwhile, Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), Raylan’s friend/nemesis, has big plans of his own, which include going into business with Raylan’s father, Arlo (Raymond J. Barry).

The show’s main cast remains as impressive as ever, especially Olyphant, who manages to be the most badass man on television every single week, often without lifting a finger. Even though they only share a handful of scenes together, Olyphant always works best with Walton Goggins. Their chemistry and the easy rhythms of the show’s Southern-tinged dialogue make for the best scene of tonight’s season premiere.

The biggest challenge facing “Justified” is finding a villain to equal Martindale’s terrifying, maternal Mags, and the show has doubled down this year, giving us two new season-long villains in Neal McDonough and especially Mykelti Williamson, whose introductory scene packs one of the best monologues the “Justified” team has ever written, and even better are the show’s episodic villains. While guest star information wasn’t available to the press, a sadistic gunman who doesn’t like to conceal his identity “because I’m too pretty” is one of the most memorable one-off villains the show has ever done, is impeccably acted and written. Almost as good is a maniacal drug dealer Raylan faces off with in the season’s third episode.

What really makes “Justified” a unique program, outside of its well-rounded cast and strong writing for its villains, is its elegant, winding dialogue, packed with Southern colloquialisms and sharp wordplay that makes it a delight to listen to Givens spar with enemies and friends alike. “Justified” is a show that aimed high last season and overwhelmingly succeeded and season three promises to be more of the same captivating television.

“I Am Number Four” is a frustrating film.

There are elements of a good film in there. The underused Timothy Olyphant is always a pleasure to watch, and the film’s action scenes are fantastically directed by D.J. Caruso. Unfortunately, entirely too much of the film can easily be described in one word: silly.

Possibly the film’s silliest aspect is its plot, which is lifted from the young adult novel of the same name. It focuses on Number Four (Alex Pettyfer), a member of the Garde, the only survivors of an alien race called the Loriens who have been hunted to Earth by the nefarious Mogadorians, another alien race intent on destroying them. Yes, the names of the alien races are actually that ridiculous and are made even more so thanks to the real-world context in which they’re presented.

Unfortunately, the Loriens can only be killed in chronological order, and Number Four is the next in line. If that wasn’t enough, he’s recently been relocated to the ironically named Paradise, Ohio, which the film is clever enough to have its characters nickname Ironic, Ohio. (No, seriously.) It’s in Paradise that Number Four, renamed John Smith, meets the artsy Sarah (Dianna Agron) and falls madly in love.

This isn’t to say the story doesn’t have one or two good elements as well. John also develops a friendship with the nerdy Sam (Callan McAuliffe) who gives the film a much-needed dose of humanity. This small bright spot in the film is overshadowed by the more laughable aspects of the rest of the plot.

The film’s actors all deserve some degree of credit, if only for the fact they can deliver lines about evil Mogadorians with a straight face. Nonetheless, the film is almost universally poorly acted.

As mentioned above, Olyphant elevates every scene he’s in, and McAuliffe is charming and relatable in a way that the rest of the cast never quite manages. Pettyfer isn’t much of a leading man, coasting almost entirely on his good looks and ability to brood convincingly. Meanwhile, Agron’s artsy kindred spirit is lifted from a dozen other teen movies, and watching her struggle to bring something new to the character gets old fast.

The fact that much of the film is devoted to Pettyfer and Agron’s slowly developing romance only makes matters worse. The high school machinations that make up too much of the film’s runtime aren’t even close to being original and become even more frustrating when compared to the other half-dozen or so slightly more interesting plot threads the film throws into the mix.

Despite everything that’s terrible about it, the film’s action scenes are undeniably impressive. The opening sequence boasts a parkour-style chase that sets the bar extremely high for the rest of the film, and the final half hour is an inventive and memorable showdown that more than lives up to expectations. Director D.J. Caruso, fresh off 2008’s action-packed “Eagle Eye,” stages the interlocking fights that comprise the film’s climax with remarkable precision and confidence, making the geography of each fight clear while installing a tangible sense of tension in each battle.

Even with all of its shortcomings, “I Am Number Four” is still probably worth seeing. The camp value of hearing the actors describe the film’s backstory can’t be properly reflected in text, and the acting can get hilariously bad. When Pettyfer’s dull performance wears too thin for entertainment value, there are the small moments that are genuinely good, from McAuliffe’s wonderfully played story arc to the action scenes sprinkled throughout the picture.

While it’s a deeply flawed film, it’s sure to be a huge hit that will spawn a small collection of sequels, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to seeing a bigger and hopefully better installment in this franchise.