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Direct from its late October premiere in the Philippines, this romantic drama focuses on Winona (Toni Gonzaga), who’ll be 25 soon — and comes from a family where all the women die before they turn 25. But her landlord (Vhong Navarro), who’s always had a crush on her, vows to make her final days blissfully happy. Cathy Garcia-Molina directs; Gonzaga and Navarro previously teamed in the 2005 horror-comedy hit "D’ Anothers." In Tagalog. At Village Square. (107 min.) NR; rated G in the Philippines.


Read the review.


Movies are rated on a letter-grade scale, from A to F. Opinions by R-J movie critic Carol Cling (C.C.) are indicated by initials. Other opinions are from wire service critics.


(B) Home on the range: City fathers of the titular town hire seasoned saddle pals Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen (both terrific) to stop a ruthless rancher (Jeremy Irons). Harris also co-writes and directs a refreshingly old-fangled Western (based on "Spenser" creator Robert B. Parker’s novel) that consciously echoes classic oaters yet serves up interesting twists on time-honored themes, riding tall in the saddle as it rides into the sunset. (114 min.) R; violence, profanity. (C.C.)


(C) To the dogs: Vacationing in Mexico, the pampered title pooch (voiced by Drew Barrymore) finds herself lost — and needs the help of the local canine contingent to get home. Andy Garcia, George Lopez, Paul Rodriguez, Edward James Olmos, Luis Guzman, radio’s Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo and (believe it or not) Placido Domingo round out the vocal cast of this Disney canine comedy. It’s not the apocalypse-signaling cultural abomination its trailers make it out to be, but that’s pretty much the best thing you can say about it. (91 min.) PG; mild thematic elements.


(C+) Russell Crowe reunites with "Gladiator" director Ridley Scott — and "Quick and the Dead" co-star Leonardo DiCaprio — for this timely yet tedious thriller about a CIA operative who’s sent to Jordan to track a terrorist leader and forms an uneasy alliance with Jordan’s covert operations chief (Mark Strong). It’s all razzmatazz from expert razzle-dazzler Scott, meant to distract you from a script whose basic formula has seen more wear than an Abrams tank. (128 min.) R; strong violence including torture, profanity.


(B-) Director Clint Eastwood’s fact-based 1920s melodrama focuses on a single mother (Angelina Jolie, in another look-at-me Oscar bid) whose son vanishes — and takes on Los Angeles’ corrupt police department when they try to convince her that the little boy they’ve found isn’t really her son. It’s a fascinating true story, but its sprawling structure — It’s a mystery! Wait, it’s a corrupt-cop thriller! No, it’s a miscarriage-of-justice melodrama! Oh, it’s a courtroom drama! — means "Changeling" wrestles with even more questions of identity than its embattled heroine. (140 min.) R; violent and disturbing content, profanity. (C.C.)


(C+) "Monster House" director Gil Kenan goes live-action with this family-friendly fantasy, based on Jeanne Duprau’s novel, about an amazing world of glittering lights — and the two teens ("Atonement’s" Saoirse Ronan, Harry Treadaway) racing against time to solve the mystery of Ember’s existence, before the lights fade forever. Kenan’s inventive imagery provides flashes of energy and enchantment, but the characters (played by, among others, Bill Murray, Tim Robbins and Martin Landau) aren’t nearly as intriguing. Neither, ultimately, is the movie. (95 min.) PG; mild peril, thematic elements.


(B) The Joker (an indelible Heath Ledger) wreaks havoc in Gotham City, prompting the interest of not only the Caped Crusader (Christian Bale) but crusading new D.A. Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) in a sequel to 2005’s "Batman Begins" that wants desperately to be taken seriously. Mostly, it deserves to be — except when it takes itself too seriously for its own good. It’s so overstuffed with characters, plots and counterplots that Batman sometimes seems like a supporting character, but Ledger’s Joker is one for the ages. (152 min.) PG-13; intense violence and menace. (C.C.)


(B-) The toast of 18th-century London, the aristocratic Duchess of Devonshire (Keira Knightley) turns heads with her outrageous fashions, her political activism — and a loveless marriage that prompts her to turn to a rising politician (Dominic Cooper of "Mamma Mia!"). Any similarities to the duchess’ descendant, Princess Diana, are hardly coincidental in this handsome, if superficial, drama; only the dependably subtle Ralph Fiennes (as the duchess’ dour duke, a prisoner of his own exalted station) manages to suggest the emotional eddies churning beneath the stiff exterior. (110 min.) PG-13; sexual content, brief nudity, thematic material. (C.C.)


(C+) Thrown together by a phone call from a mystery woman, two strangers (Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan) run for their lives — and try to figure out why they’ve been targeted as the country’s most wanted fugitives — in another wrong man (and wrong woman) on-the-run action thriller with a political message and a warehouse worth of high-tech gadgetry. Even with Billy Bob Thornton and Rosario Dawson on the case, this is still one overstuffed, yet relatively empty, chase. (118 min.) PG-13; intense sequences of action and violence, profanity.


(B-) Before Ernie Davis ("Finding Forrester’s" Rob Brown) can become the first black player to win college football’s coveted Heisman Trophy in 1961, he must deal with deeply ingrained racism — as embodied by his Syracuse University coach, Ben Schwartzwalder (a crusty yet tender Dennis Quaid). This fact-based drama follows a familiar playbook but packs a punch with its reminders of a time, not so long ago, when America’s racial divide was out in the open — and perfectly acceptable to plenty of folks who considered themselves upstanding, patriotic citizens. (124 min.) PG-13; thematic content, violence and profanity involving racism, brief sexual references. (C.C.)


(B-) A firefighter (a genuinely compelling Kirk Cameron) and his publicist wife (Erin Bethea) are on the verge of divorce, until his father challenges him to "The Love Dare" — 40 days of spiritual effort to work his way back into his wife’s heart. This religious drama from writer-director Alex Kendrick ("Facing the Giants") may be a bit gimmicky, with dramatic firefighter rescues that have little to do with the plot, but it also features the rarest of cinematic creatures: characters with a strong, conservative Christian faith who don’t sound crazy. (122 min.) PG; thematic material, peril.


(B+) He sees dead people — and doesn’t like it one bit — when his unexpected death, and even more unexpected return from the dead seven minutes later, enable anti-social dentist Bertram Pincus ("The Office’s" Ricky Gervais) to see ghosts, one of whom (Greg Kinnear) hopes he’ll break up the impending marriage of his widow (Téa Leoni). This amusing, occasionally hilarious "Topper"-style charmer proves that Ricky Gervais is to comedy what the dry martini is to alcoholism — and that Leoni is one of our best comediennes. (102 min.) PG-13; profanity, sexual humor, drug references.


(A-) Being happy doesn’t always have to be serious business. Just ask Poppy (the wonderful Sally Hawkins), the irrepressible life force of this deceptively low-key character study from "Vera Drake" director Mike Leigh. A plucky primary-school teacher, Poppy responds to life’s challenges — a stolen bike, a troubled student, a dour driving teacher (Eddie Marsan) — with the same breezy optimism, challenging others to share her hopeful outlook. As usual, Leigh draws complex, compelling performances from the cast members who help him shape his down-to-earth human comedy; also as usual, the result is rueful, resonant and wise. (118 min.) R; profanity. (C.C.)


(D) After surviving her mother’s psychotic attack, the title teen ("Music and Lyrics’ " Haley Bennett) is finally starting to fit in at a posh new private school, where she attracts the attention of a popular rich kid ("Gossip Girl’s" Chace Crawford) — until eerie visions and even eerier experiences foreshadow a terrifying fate awaiting her when she turns 18. There’s nothing haunting about this cynical addition to the teen-scream genre; it’s mixture of "Carrie" and "Mean Girls" has a few intriguing ideas but generally fails to thrill. PG-13; strong thematic material, violence and terror, brief profanity, teen drinking.


(B) Hip to be square: It’s a threepeat for the Disney Channel’s smash song-and-dance franchise, which moves from the small to the big screen as East High Wildcats Troy (Zac Efron), Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens), Sharpay (Ashley Tisdale), Ryan (Lucas Grabeel) and Chad (Corbin Bleu) face the big finale of high school life — and explore their conflicting emotions by (what else?) putting on a show. Eminently watchable, occasionally very funny and sweet enough to give you diabetes, "HSM" introduces new performers (including Matt Prokop, Justin Martin and Jemma McKenzie-Brown) who will enable director Kenny Ortega and company to keep the franchise singing and dancing well past graduation day. (112 min.) G; all ages.


(F) From the less-than-wonderful folks who brought you "Thr3e" (novelists Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti, director Robby Henson and producers Joe Goodman, Bobby Neutz and Ralph Winter), this horror outing focuses on innocents, fleeing a murderous maniac, who take refuge in a rural Alabama homestead and find themselves trapped, with less than 12 hours to live — unless they choose who’s going to die. Michael Madsen, Reynaldo Rosales and Heidi Dippold lead the cast of this disaster, in which a terrible script is matched by atrocious acting, dreadful effects and a message that gives new meaning to the word incoherent. (101 min.) R; violence, terror.


(C) A Playboy Bunny (Anna Faris) gets booted from the mansion — and finds refuge with clueless sorority sisters who are about to lose their house — in a campus comedy featuring Colin Hanks (yes, his dad’s named Tom), Rumer Willis (yes, her dad’s named Bruce), "American Idol’s" Katharine McPhee — and, inevitably, Mr. Playboy himself, Hugh Hefner. Despite a winning performance from Faris, this falls on its tail so many times that, before long, the perky pinkness turns a bruising black-and-blue. (97 min.) PG-13; sex-related humor, partial nudity, brief profanity.


(C) In this animated monster bash, a lowly lab assistant who dreams of becoming a scientist gets his chance when his cruel master dies a week before the annual Evil Science Fair, enabling Igor to build his own creature — and battle an even more evil plot to destroy his world. A potentially original premise and an eager voice cast led by John Cusack and Molly Shannon are left to decay amid a clunky story vaguely reminiscent of "Monsters Inc." — and images that resemble "Corpse Bride" rejects. (87 min.) PG; thematic elements, scary images, action, mild profanity.


(C+) There goes the neighborhood: In this latest variation on the venerable wacko-from-hell subgenre, a law-unto-himself cop (Samuel L. Jackson, gleefully chomping the scenery) makes life hellish for his unsuspecting new neighbors, the nice interracial couple (Kerry Washington, Patrick Wilson) next door. Despite its provocative edge, "Lakeview Terrace" degenerates from a potentially thoughtful exploration of such hot-button issues as race and power, surrendering to its basest instincts. (110 min.) R; intense thematic material, violence, sexual situations, profanity, drug references. (C.C.)


(B) The zany former denizens of the Central Park Zoo (voiced by Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith and David Schwimmer), accompanied by wacky lemur king Julian ("Borat’s" Sacha Baron Cohen) — all of whom we met in 2005’s "Madagascar" — return to their roots, when their plane crash-lands on the African savanna. It’s a typical tale of self-discovery, but at least it’s punctuated by genuine hilarity and top-flight animation. (89 min.) PG; mild crude humor.


(C) What a Payne: Yet another video game hits the big screen as Mark Wahlberg takes on the title role, a DEA agent (who lost his family to conspiracy killers) who teams up with an assassin (Mila Kunis) out to avenge her sister’s death — assuming the cops, the mob and a ruthless corporation don’t get them first. Stylish but derivative, this is one vacuous and bullet-riddled misfire — with a Wahlberg performance that makes you wonder whatever happened to that Oscar-nominated actor from "The Departed." (100 min.) PG-13; violence, including intense shooting sequences, drug content, sexuality, brief profanity.


(B+) A jilted hero — high school musician Nick ("Juno’s" Michael Cera) — and a humiliated heroine ("The House Bunny’s" Kat Dennings) discover that their common frenemy is their ticket to a wild Manhattan night in this on-the-town romp from "Raising Victor Vargas" director Peter Sollett. Some movies skate by fast on slick action, while others snap with crisp dialogue. This one springs high on the bounce of its hugely likable leads. (90 min.) PG-13; mature thematic material including teen drinking, sexuality, profanity and crude behavior.


(A) Double your holiday pleasure — and break out the 3-D glasses! The 1993 animated classic — co-written and produced by Tim Burton, directed by stop-motion master Henry Selick ("James and the Giant Peach") — returns for its annual ghoul-to-Yule run, reviving Halloweentown king Jack Skellington’s attempts to commandeer Christmas. The original never needed improvement, but the 3-D technology adds enchanting depth to the spidery landscapes and charmingly twisted characters. (76 min.) PG; scary images. (C.C.)


(D+) Richard Gere and Diane Lane (who previously teamed in "Unfaithful" and "The Cotton Club") reunite for this adaptation of "The Notebook" author Nicholas Sparks’ romance about an abandoned wife overseeing a friend’s beachfront inn — and the inn’s sole guest, a doctor nursing both personal and professional wounds. Paralytic direction by George C. Wolfe and a script that might have come with a box of crayons provide the always attractive Lane and Gere nothing much to do. (97 min.) PG-13; sexual references.


(C-) Plane bad: A grief counselor who lives through a plane crash ("Rachel Getting Married’s" Anne Hathaway) works with fellow survivors — who mysteriously start disappearing. Despite the all-star cast (which also includes Patrick Wilson, Andre Braugher, Dianne Wiest and David Morse) this clunky, so-called supernatural thriller never gets off the ground, proving that even good actors need a good script and decent direction — which is not what they get from writer Ronnie Christensen and director Rodrigo García. (94 min.) PG-13; thematic elements including scary images, sexual references.


(C+) An overheated, overstuffed Noo Yawk cop thriller that wallows in a swamp of mean-streets clichés, as a good-guy cop (the reliably nuanced Edward Norton), from a long line of cops, must root out corruption in the department — only to realize that the bad guys are not only brothers in blue, but actual family members (led by a fever-pitch Colin Farrell). Full of macho "we protect our own" posturing and plot twists that aren’t the least bit twisty, this seems well past its sell-by date. (129 min.) R; strong violence and profanity, brief nudity, drug content. (C.C.)


(C) Assigned to spend the night shift with L.A. firefighters, a TV reporter (Jennifer Carpenter) and her cameraman (Steve Harris) respond to a routine 911 call at an apartment building, where something unknown has attacked one of the residents — prompting the Centers for Disease Control to quarantine the building and cut off all telephone, Internet, TV and cellular access to those locked inside, who seem to be turning into rabid, homicidal zombies. Like any imitation, this remake of a 2007 Spanish thriller, isn’t as good as the original. But this is really about cheap thrills — and there aren’t nearly enough. (89 min.) R; bloody, violent and disturbing content, terror, profanity.


(B) Sprung from rehab to attend her sister’s wedding, a troubled young woman (Anne Hathaway) demonstrates her insatiable need to steal the spotlight, even from the bride (Rosemarie DeWitt). Yet another portrait of yet another dysfunctional family, but the acutely observed screenplay (by Jenny Lumet), slice-of-life direction (by "Silence of the Lambs" Oscar-winner Jonathan Demme) and standout performances (including Oscar-worthy support from Bill Irwin and Debra Winger as the bride’s divorced parents) put us in the midst of the jittery gathering — and the jittery people trying desperately to ignore their jitters. (113 min.) R; profanity, brief sexuality. (C.C.)


(F) A futuristic Gothic rock opera featuring (among others) Paul Sorvino, Alexa Vega, Anthony Head, Sarah Brightman and Paris Hilton in a tale of a future world where a pandemic prompts a biotech company to launch an organ-financing program — with a killer repossession clause. This goth garbage isn’t clever enough to be "Sweeney Todd" and it isn’t campy enough to be "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." But it’s definitely one of those movies you have to watch through splayed fingers, because it’s too cringeworthy to watch head-on. (97 min.) R; strong bloody violence and gore, profanity, drug and sexual content.


(B-) Director Guy Ritchie ("Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," "Snatch") returns to cockney crime capers — and, happily, to form — with this underworld romp about a London real-estate scam and the various lowlifes (including "300’s" Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Thandie Newton, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges and Jeremy Piven) trying to get in on the action. It’s a low-rent "Ocean’s Eleven," but there’s plenty of rough humor, bruising action and a wicked dark streak to compensate for the lack of glamour. (114 min.) R; pervasive profanity, violence, drug use, brief sexuality.


(B) As punishment for their wild behavior, a pair of energy drink reps (Paul Rudd, Seann William Scott) become Big Brother-type mentors to a pair of misfit kids (Bobb’e J. Thompson and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, alias "Superbad’s" McLovin). The premise is completely formulaic and potentially cheesy, but it’s the wildly, hilariously crude way that director David Wain and Co. approach the concept that makes "Role Models" so disarming — and consistently, laugh-out-loud funny. (99 min.) R; crude and sexual content, profanity, nudity.


(D+) The sinister Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) might be dead, but his traps live on, as forensics expert Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) tries to protect a dark and deadly secret. The fifth entry in the hit horror franchise marks the directorial debut of David Hackl, who served as production designer for "Saw’s" second, third and fourth installments. If you enjoy watching torture and suffering, you’ll be glad you paid money to see this — but you must sacrifice the pleasures of a decent script, capable acting and skillful directing. (88 min.) R; grisly bloody violence and torture, profanity, brief nudity.


(C) In 1964 South Carolina, a 14-year-old (Dakota Fanning) flees her abusive father (Paul Bettany), accompanied by her caregiver and only friend (Jennifer Hudson); they find a haven with small-town sisters (Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo) who run a beekeeping business. Like a spoonful of honey, this adaptation of Sue Monk Kidd’s novel from writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood ("Love & Basketball") is cloyingly sweet and gooey — and almost impossible to swallow undiluted, despite the valiant attempts of the performers to sell the faux-profound platitudes they’ve been given. (110 min.) PG-13; violence, mature themes.


(C+) Daunted by the prospect of starting college as a virgin, a beleaguered high school senior ("Kyle XY’s" Josh Zuckerman) "borrows" his brother’s vintage Pontiac GTO to drive cross-country so he can hook up with an obliging Internet hottie (Katrina Bowden). James Marsden co-stars as the cocky older brother, while Seth Green steals the show as a sarcastic Amish dude who’s also an ace car mechanic. Some of the comedy hits, some of it misses, but it’s uniformly crude and lewd — which may be a plus, depending on your appetite for road-trip raunch. (109 min.) R; strong crude and sexual content, nudity, profanity, drug and alcohol use — all involving teens.


(C) Two estranged soul music legends (Samuel L. Jackson and the late Bernie Mac) reunite for an Apollo Theater tribute to a fallen bandmate in a comedy that will be remembered, if at all, as the untimely swan song of Mac, who died in August at 50. When it’s about Mac and Samuel L. Jackson bickering over decades of pent-up resentments, this stale buddy road-trip has a fiercely raunchy, buoyant energy about it. Trouble is, it crams in myriad needless subplots — ostensibly to provide padding, which only draws attention to how thin the original story really is. (103 min.) R; pervasive profanity, sexual content, nudity.


(B-) What a long, strange trip it’s been: Oliver Stone’s intermittently interesting ramble through the unlikely life of George W. Bush (a knockout Josh Brolin), from Yale to the White House, as he tries to overcome the disapproval of his ex-President father (James Cromwell) and ride herd on cabinet members from Dick Cheney (Richard Dreyfuss) to Colin Powell (Jeffrey Wright). "W." has its moments, but Stone never figures out whether he’s making a scathing satire, gripping docudrama or an insightful psychological study. As a result, "W." seems as flawed as its title character. (131 min.) PG-13; profanity, sexual references, alcohol abuse, smoking, brief disturbing war images. (C.C.)


(C+) Robert De Niro reteams with "Wag the Dog" director Barry Levinson for another Hollywood satire — this one amusing but soft, about a fading producer struggling to get his latest movie made. Bruce Willis and Sean Penn (who play themselves) join Stanley Tucci, John Turturro, Kristen Stewart, Catherine Keener and Robin Wright Penn in a who-cares adaptation of "Untouchables" producer Art Linson’s memoir. And while there are some (not enough) laughs along the way, "Entourage" skewers the Hollywood scene with more wit and venom. (107 min.) R; profanity, violent images, sexual content, drug material.


(C+) Writer-director Kevin Smith ("Clerks," "Dogma") returns to sex and controversy (not necessarily in that order) for this bawdy comedy about two impoverished roomies (raunch king Seth Rogen and endearing Elizabeth Banks) who become porn entrepreneurs to flesh out their bottom line. Smith regulars Jason Mewes and Jeff Anderson join "The Office’s" Craig Robinson, Traci Lords, Justin Long and Brandon Routh in the supporting cast, but it’s Rogen and Banks, as the unlikely but inevitable romantic couple, who provide a welcome sweetness that helps compensate for the sour gross-out humor. (101 min.) R; strong crude sexual content including dialogue, graphic nudity, pervasive profanity. (C.C.)

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