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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 sharp 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 on him. (ES) Rated PG-13


Al Pacino has done such a good job for so many years of playing compelling badass after compelling badass (even in Scent of a Woman), can he ever play anything but? 88 Minutes is a good test of that. Portraying a forensic psychologist terrorized by a serial killer, he's a wonk and a professor, nothing badass about that. But then he gets his hand on a gun and, from the looks of it, old Al gets his thousand-yard stare back. (LB) Rated R

10,000 BC

The story of some vaguely caveman-like people who get abducted by some vaguely Arab-looking dudes who schlep them all over the place, from what looks like Argentina to what looks like Japan until they finally arrive at the bank of a great river in the middle of a huge desert and are sold as slaves to ... wait for it ... the Egyptian empire. Anachronisms abound. (LB) Rated PG-13


An Egyptian police band, scheduled to perform in a ceremony, 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


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, while choosing to sabotage is not a choice that can be made alone, and any decision to rebel oneself draws everyone else into the fray. A beautiful film about impossible choices (LB) Rated R


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


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.


An American-made wire-fu epic starring Jet Li, Jackie Chan and some white kid, 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, a hot girl). Only time will tell if it's long on fantasy action as well. (LB) Rated PG-13


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 (some wild nude scenes with Segel), and a real sweetness. I'm not sure if it's a good date movie, but it sure made me laugh. (ES) Rated R


Though it's centered on oppression and abortion in 1980s Romania, director Cristian Mungiu's film is also about keeping secrets. Under autocrat Nicolae Ceausescu, an already dictatorial regime had become worse. Mungiu's great triumph here is that he doesn't show us Ceausescu or his police. What he shows us instead are sidelong glances from transit authorities and intrusive questions from hotel clerks. Four Months is the most quietly horrifying film I've seen in years. (LB) Not Rated


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


George Clooney's Leatherheads wants to combine zany comedy with an exploration of what was lost and what was gained when professional football moved from sandlot excitement to the predictability of a commissioner's office overseeing all the players and their agents. Leatherheads, in other words, wants to be a screwball comedy with social significance. While they shoulda stuck with the screwball stuff, the banter between Clooney and Renee Zellweger is the best part of the film. (MB) Rated PG-13


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 at swanky Bridgeport High School turns into a night from hell when a past admirer/stalker of Donna Keppel (Brittany Snow), three days out of prison, decides to crash the party. See if the subtitle, A Night To Die For, comes true. (DN) Rated PG-13


Just for kicks, some friends go on an archaeological dig deep, deep in the Mexican jungle. Don't they realize that these ruins continue to be places of human sacrifice? Didn't they read the guidebooks' warnings? (MB) Rated R


David Schwimmer's directorial debut misses the mark. The story of a nice-guy loser (Simon Pegg) who panics and literally runs away from his pregnant bride-to-be (Thandie Newton) on their wedding day, and years later still pines for her -- even vows to run a marathon to win her back -- has a scattered script by Pegg and Michael Ian Black. The actors give their all, but it's only funny in starts and stops. (ES) Rated PG-13


Dennis Quaid plays a smart, but socially inept college professor with several strikes against him: He's in a mid-life crisis, a seizure limits his ability to drive and he has to rely on his freeloading brother (Thomas Haden Church) to get around, and he has a wisecracking teenage daughter (Ellen Page) who's got her own problems. Oh, and he falls in love with his doctor, a former student of his (Sarah Jessica Parker). Did we mention this is a comedy? (DN) Rated R


Keanu Reeves is the veteran detective who does things his own way, and whose life is going down the tubes. When he's caught in a situation where other cops have been killed, he turns to self-preservation while trying to figure out what went wrong. And wouldn't you know it, Internal Affairs is watching his every move. Good acting from Reeves, surprisingly bad acting from Forest Whitaker, and familiar territory for crime film fans. (ES) Rated R


The immigration wars have been giving Lou Dobbs plenty to talk about lately, and now we have the dramatization, which played Sundance in 2007. It's about both sides of the 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 political diatribe. America Ferrera (Ugly Betty) makes an appearance in a taut border crossing scene. (TSM) Rated PG-13

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