Capsule Reviews of Current Movies 

Opening This Week

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (PG) A pregnant woman faces a tough choice in post-Soviet Romania.

Run, Fatboy, Run (PG-13) See review on page 46.

21 (PG-13) M.I.T. students try to beat house odds in Vegas. Stars Kevin Spacey and Lawrence Fishburne.

Stop-Loss (R) Ryan Philippe is an Iraq War veteran who'd rather go AWOL than return to the Middle East. Also stars Channing Tatum and Timothy Olyphant.

Superhero Movie (PG-13) Expect more of the same from the creators of Epic Movie, Date Movie, and Scary Movie.

Flawless (PG-13) A company janitor and high-powered executive carry out a high-profile jewel heist. Stars Michael Caines and Demi Moore.

Starting Out in the Evening (PG-13) Frank Langella stars in a movie about a novelist's writer's block.

Capsule Reviews

10,000 B.C. (PG-13) With no respect for history, science, geography, or even decent drama, director Roland Emmerich assaults and insults the viewer for nearly two hours with a witless story of prehistoric folks (with astonishingly good teeth and razors) who have to deal with CGI woolly mammoths, sabre-toothed tigers, ill-tempered giant ostriches, and slave traders. It's even sillier than it sounds. —Ken Hanke

The Bank Job (R) Roger Donaldson's The Bank Job is two-thirds (the first and the last) of a great movie marred by a middling middle third. The big problem is that the film's mid-section is the heist itself, which is never more than adequate. Even with Jason Statham as a perfect working-class hero, Donaldson can't keep the requisite atmosphere going. —Ken Hanke

The Bucket List (PG-13) In The Bucket List, Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson become their own types. ­—Scott Renshaw

College Road Trip (G) It's all about overprotective dad Martin Lawrence learning to trust his college-bound daughter (Raven-Symoné). If that — or the idea of being trapped in a car with Donny Osmond — amuses you, go for it. —Justin Souther

Doomsday (R) Neil Marshall's (The Descent) latest film, Doomsday, has been getting pretty rough treatment from most critics, but it's being misread as an attempt at a serious movie. The truth is it's a cheerfully nihilistic exercise in campy, cheesy violence and gore. —Ken Hanke

Drillbit Taylor (PG-13) Seeing Drillbit Taylor won't harm you. You will not need medical attention, but you may find yourself wondering why you bothered. It's not unpleasant. It's even moderately amusing at times, but it's also the last word in negligible. This latest offering from the Judd Apatow factory is nothing but a PG-13 knock-off of Superbad with three high school freshman desperate for a bodyguard to protect them from a psychotic bully instead of three high school seniors desperate to get laid before school's over. The other major difference is that a star — Owen Wilson — has been added to the mix. If the gears are showing in the overrated Apatow approach, so is the auto-pilot coming through loud and clear in Wilson's performance. —Ken Hanke

The Eye (PG-13) The only vestige of horror to be found in the tepid supernatural thriller The Eye is the display of Jessica Alba's rudimentary acting skills. —Ken Hanke

Fool's Gold (PG-13) Fool's Gold works on the premise that watching pretty people in pretty locations is somehow sufficient entertainment all by itself. —Ken Hanke

Horton Hears a Who (G) This latest outburst of Seussian cinema is a reasonably faithful version of the book about an elephant, Horton (Jim Carrey), finding himself the saviour of a speck of dust that just happens to contain the miscroscopic world of Whoville. The problem is that it's too slight for a feature and the padding required to flesh it out is rarely inspired and all too often leans on snarky post-modern pop culture references. —Ken Hanke

In Bruges (R) Imagine if Laurel and Hardy were Irish hitmen caught in a web of existential angst. That's what In Bruges is: intellectual slapstick, a ticklish combination of comic torment, a brutal grasping of life's fickleness, and sheer bloody violence that's like a shout in the dark. It makes you laugh, however shallowly, because what else can you do? It makes no goddamn sense at all. This is not an uplifting movie. Just so's you know. Don't expect kittens and balloons. —MaryAnn Johanson

Jumper (PG-13) Jumper is so indefensibly bad that it goes beyond awfulness to become, if not good, then at least hugely entertaining in its unintended hilarity and dopiness. —Ken Hanke

Juno (PG-13) Juno MacGuff, high schooler (Ellen Page), finds herself preggers after some sexual experimentation with her best friend, Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). By now, you know the rest. —MaryAnn Johanson

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (PG-13) For all the roller coaster emotions — I was in tears by the end, and they were tears of both happiness and sadness — Miss Pettigrew does not hit a single wrong note. This could not be a more perfect movie. —MaryAnn Johanson

Never Back Down (PG-13) The story of the new kid at school (Sean Faris) who finds himself in the world of underground martial arts and must learn to fight for what he believes in. Aimed squarely at the most undemanding of teen audiences, this film is a cheesy, melodramatic look at rich kids and martial arts. It's that perfect mix of accidental ineptitude and all-around stupidity that makes it somewhat engaging on a "What were they thinking?" level. —Justin Souther

The Other Boleyn Girl (PG-13) The story opens in 1520s England, with King Henry VIII (Eric Bana) still lacking a male heir from Queen Catherine (Ana Torrent). The king's close advisor, the Duke of Norfolk (David Morrissey), sees this development as an opportunity, and looks to place one of his nieces into Henry's court as a possible mistress to advance the family's position. With Mary Boleyn (Scarlett Johansson) newly married, her younger, more ambitious sister Anne (Natalie Portman) is given the task — but Henry takes a liking to Mary instead. Like a high-school history textbook, it becomes all about who's doing what to whom, and too rarely about why. —Scott Renshaw

Penelope (PG) Two stories. One, a reworking of Beauty and the Beast. Two, a story about not equating what you look like with how you feel, about not waiting for life to happen to you, about the fraught relationship between mothers and daughters, about the magic and possibility we all hold inside ourselves. This story is worth telling, and one my daughter and I very much enjoyed. —Conseula Francis

Semi-Pro (R) For this kind of comedy, nothing's really spoofed or satirized. Instead it resembles your basic, run-of-the-mill sports flick. Will Ferrell seems grafted on as an afterthought — a supporting player in his own movie with the film being carried by Woody Harrelson and Andre Benjamin. That may make it less painful for anyone who doesn't think Ferrell is nearly as funny as Ferrell does, but it doesn't make it good. —Justin Souther

Shutter (PG-13) It's hard to dislike any film with such preposterously convenient contrivances as the line, "My ex-boyfriend works for a spirit photography magazine," but in the case of Shutter, it's not impossible. It's the standard Hollywood bout of turning an Asian horror picture into a PG-13 spook-fest for teenagers — and, as usual, filling it with blandly uninteresting refugees from teen-centric TV shows in search of a movie career. In this round, we have yet another vengeance-driven ghost making herself a pain in the neck (literally, in fact) to those concerned. The spirit in question announces her presence via her penchant for ruining photographic emulsion (think of it as ghost grafitti), which is more annoying than scary. The same is true of the film — even if it is the only movie I can think of with a ghost that goes around on piggy-back. —Ken Hanke

Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns (PG-13) Tyler Perry is back with another Tyler Perry Production from the Tyler Perry Studios, written, produced and directed by Tyler Perry, adapted from the play by Tyler Perry and entitled — just in case there's any doubt — Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns. It also purports to feature Mr. Perry in his famous drag incarnation, the outspoken Madea. However, if the prospect of spending 100 minutes with Perry's signature character is what is enticing you to go see this movie, be warned: 96 of those minutes are Madea-free. Otherwise, it's the same mix of broad comedy, cheesy melodrama, screeching dysfunctional family humor and preachiness — not to mention the standard hunky black guy who teaches the beleagured leading lady how to love again — that's made Perry rich. As usual, it will delight the faithful and puzzle everybody else. —Ken Hanke

Vantage Point (PG-13) The story of the attempted assassination of the president told from several different points of view, Vantage Point is gimmick filmmaking at its most banal and half-baked. We end up spending the majority of the movie watching the same assassination and the same explosions and the same conversations over and over throughout the film's 90-minute running time. —Justin Souther

Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins (PG-13) Martin Lawrence plays an obnoxious talk-show host who goes home to the Deep South. It boasts at least four gags predicated on the hilarity of a Pomeranian having sex with a Labrador retriever. —Ken Hanke


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