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by INLANDER STAFF & r & & r & AN AMERICAN CAROL & r & & r & By the guy who created Airplane and the Naked Gun series (read: the guy who hasn't been funny since 1986) comes a mishmash satire that asks the question: What if a Michael Moore-type documentarian were visited -- in Christmas Carol fashion -- by the ghosts of George Washington, George S. Patton and ... by the look of it, Trace Adkins. Bill O'Reilly has a cameo. Kelsey Grammar plays Patton. (LB) Rated PG-13





APPALOOSA


"Feelings get you killed," says Ed Harris in this hard-boiled, joyless-looking western that is best described as the story of Wyatt Earp minus the character of Wyatt Earp and plus considerably worse odds for the good guys. Viggo Mortensen and Renee Zellweger co-star. (LB) Rated R





BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA


Not much more to be gleaned from the trailer than cute, computer-enhanced lap dogs singing truly horrible songs. So, we're saying it's too soon to tell if this film will be another way marker on the road to the apocalypse, but we'd wager a guarded "Yes." (LB) Rated G





BLINDNESS


The Jose Saramago novel about a worldwide virus that takes human sight is adapted into a frightening film that becomes a study of society gone mad. It focuses on a small group of sightless people (and one who can see) who are stuck together in government-enforced quarantine. They form a sort of family that must fend off other power-mad blind people who opt for anarchy. The film is engrossing, terrifying and, in the end, a celebration of good -- if not triumphing over evil, then at least getting out of its grasp. (ES) Rated R





FLASH OF GENIUS


Not the sexiest premise in the world -- an engineer invents the intermittent windshield wiper, has it stolen by a massive car company and spends decades fighting litigation in court -- but Flash of Genius has Greg Kinnear looking as resolutely frazzled as ever. This could be a quietly moving bit of film. (LB) Rated PG-13





HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS AND ALIENATE PEOPLE


Simon Pegg is a British intellectual who takes a job at a conservative society magazine stateside and is forced to, you know, re-evaluate his distaste for stardom and find what's really important. Pegg's in it, so count on a lot of slapstick. He didn't write or direct it though, so don't count on it being terribly funny either. (LB) Rated R





NICK AND NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST


When indie kitsch and teenage comedy of manners meet in a wide release film with a title handwritten in block letters, you gotta think the ascendancy of twee filmmaking to the mainstream is complete. Michael Cera (Juno) -- lead singer of a band called the Jerk Offs -- and Kat Dennings -- a cute girl -- see their relationship unfurl as they and their friends engage in crazy adventures and make pithy comments. (LB) Rated PG-13





RELIGULOUS


Documentary wherein Bill Maher goes around telling adherents to basically every faith on earth that they're morons for believing in God. (LB) Rated R

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