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by THE INLANDER & r & & r & 21 & r & & r & A based-on-fact, Hollywoodized story about the fellow (Kevin Spacey) who masterminded, along with a group of MIT students, a plan to take Vegas for large sums of money. They succeed, they get caught, things go awry, then turn bad. Fresh from his lead role in Across the Universe, Jim Sturgess puts on a solid American accent and acts convincingly frightened when casino heavy Laurence Fishburne turns tough. (ES) Rated PG-13





88 MINUTES


Al Pacino has done such a good job for so long playing compelling badass after compelling badass, can he ever play anything but? 88 Minutes is a test. Portraying a psychologist terrorized by a serial killer, he's a professor -- nothing badass about that. But then he gets his hand on a gun and Al gets his thousand-yard stare back. (LB) Rated R





BABY MAMA


Busy career woman Kate (Tina Fey) decides that, husband or not, it's time to have a baby. When a doctor tells her that her uterus isn't up to snuff, she goes the surrogate-mom route, but chooses white trash Angie (Amy Poehler) to do the job. Poehler overdoes the cutesy/stupid business and Fey's character isn't nearly as smart as she's supposed to be. Embarrassingly bad. (ES) Rated PG-13





THE BAND'S VISIT


An Egyptian police band gets lost in a remote Israeli town. Israel wanted this film as its Oscar entry for Best Foreign Film, but was denied on grounds that half the dialogue is in English. Which exemplifies the kind of narrow-mindedness that keeps Arab-Israeli relations so chilly. (MB) Rated PG-13





THE COUNTERFEITERS


Arrested in Berlin in 1936 for forgery, Salomon Sorowitsch spends years in a work camp before being sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp to lead a team of (mostly Jewish) printers in an attempt to counterfeit the Dollar and the British Pound. The choice between complicity and death is exacerbated by the fact that choosing to conspire may ultimately lead to German victory and thus death. A beautiful film about impossible choices. (LB) Rated R





DECEPTION


Nerdy Ewan McGregor gets hooked into a sex club full of successful professionals by the charming, roguish Hugh Jackman. Stuff goes wrong, obviously, and it seems the sex club was an elaborate ruse to trap McGregor in a game of intrigue. Problem for Jackman is that the nerdy McGregor solves problems for a living, and people screwing with his life has become problem No. 1. (LB) Rated R





DRILLBIT TAYLOR


Three kids hire Owen Wilson as protection (a "Budget Bodyguard") from playground bullies. Seth Rogen (who co-wrote this movie) has failed in restraining himself from indulging in every geeks-punch-meanies-and-get-the-babes gag he could muster. (MB) Rated PG-13





EXPELLED: NO INTELLIGENCE ALLOWED


In this documentary, Ben Stein weighs in on the intelligent design side of the evolution-vs.-intelligent design debate. Or rather, he weighs in on the wolf-in-sheep's-clothing/snake-in-the-grass side, arguing that the scientific method requires that we follow the evidence where it leads. Like, uh, right to intelligent design. It's "teach the controversy" all over again. (LB) Rated PG





FORBIDDEN KINGDOM


An American wire-fu epic starring Jet Li and Jackie Chan, Forbidden Kingdom is long on wu-xia (a kind of Chinese martial arts soap opera) stereotypes (a drunken master, a taciturn warrior, an immortal weapon). Only time will tell if it's long on fantasy action as well. (LB) Rated PG-13





FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL


Boy meets girl, loses girl, gets girl. Sad Peter (Jason Segel) loses his girlfriend Sarah (Kristen Bell) to a ridiculous Brit rock star (Russell Brand), then goes to Hawaii to forget her -- only to find the happy couple staying at the same hotel. Judd Apatow produced, so there's plenty of raunchy humor and a real sweetness. I'm not sure if it's a good date movie, but it sure made me laugh. (ES) Rated R





HAROLD AND KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY


No, it ain't brain surgery, but this story of two weed-smoking but upstanding guys who are mistaken for terrorists and sent to Guantanamo Bay is a stoner flick with enough of a social conscience to recommend. (LB) Rated R





HORTON HEARS A WHO!


This mostly computer-animated adaptation tells of a happy-go-lucky elephant (voice of Jim Carrey) who believes he can save a miniscule world inside a speck of dust, and it hits every mark. Cute, frantic and funny for kids; hip for adults. (ES) Rated G





IRON MAN


Robert Downey Jr. gets the role of his career and steps right up to it, while Jon Favreau does the same in the director spot. The Marvel comic springs vibrantly to life with action and comedy in the story of a weapons maker who sees the light and wants to change his life, right around the same time he develops a "heart problem" and invents a metal suit that lets him blow away the bad guys. Great fun, and no doubt the start of a new franchise. (ES) Rated PG-13





MADE OF HONOR


Tom (Patrick Dempsey) and Hannah (Michelle Monaghan) are best friends. Near Hannah's wedding, for which Tom has been asked to be a bridesmaid, he realizes he loves her. That's when the trouble starts. What had been a charming if undaring story about two friends who might be able to fall in love stops trusting itself. Slapstick rears its ugly head out of nowhere. Colin, Hannah's fianc & eacute; is Scottish, which leads to a whole "aren't foreigners funny?" thing. Then come the fat jokes. Blah. (MAJ) Rated PG-13





NIM'S ISLAND


Jodie Foster in a kids' movie! She plays an adventure writer who's afraid of having adventures. At least Gerard Butler and cute little Abigail Breslin (stranded on a remote island) will be able to teach Foster one valuable lesson: Leaving your apartment can be way scarier than dealing with Travis Bickle or Hannibal Lecter. (MB) Rated PG





PROM NIGHT


Prom night at swanky Bridgeport High turns into a night from hell when a past admirer/stalker of Donna (Brittany Snow), three days out of prison, decides to crash the party. (DN) Rated PG-13





UNDER THE SAME MOON


This is about both sides of the immigration fence, with scenes in Los Angeles and Mexico, and how one family walks the line for love and money. Critics say director Patricia Riggen handled potentially sentimental stuff with style, telling a family story rather than creating a diatribe. America Ferrera (Ugly Betty) makes an appearance in a taut border crossing scene. (TSM) Rated PG-13

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