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Arts and Culture (Movie Reviews)

Evil makes good in this amusing superhero farce.

Megamind (Will Ferrell: The Other Guys) is the brainiac supervillain of Metro City. He terrorizes the town in his repetitive quest to defeat superpowered arch nemesis and golden boy Metro Man (Brad Pitt: Inglourious Basterds). That is, until the villain finally knocks the hero out of the picture. Finally, Megamind owns the town, but without a rival to challenge him the fun is gone....

A sister struggles to free her innocent brother in this jumbled biographical legal drama.

Betty Anne (Hilary Swank: Amelia) and Kenny (Sam Rockwell: Iron Man 2) are tight-knit siblings bound by hardship and mischief. Kenny’s a little more mischievous, though, and the favorite suspect of local cops winds up serving a life sentence without parole when they pin him for a vicious murder....

This meditative speculation on the spiritual realm is easily the quietest death-minded movie in the Cineplex this Halloween.

Three strangers are wrestling with death. Marie (Cécile De France: Mesrine: Killer Instinct), a French journalist, is revived after nearly being consumed by the Indian Ocean tsunami and emerges shaken by her brush with the afterlife. Marcus, a British schoolboy, is left rudderless when his twin brother Jason is stolen by tragedy (Frankie and George McLaren in their debut)....

A bigger budget means louder, not scarier, thrills in this horror prequel

I don’t think of myself as a horror wimp. I’ve seen it all, and I’ll watch the sequels. That said, the first Paranormal Activity creeped me out. Days later an unexplained noise or a movement in my peripheral vision would cause me to tense and search for its demonic origins. Paranormal Activity 2 is a worthy step in the series, but it nowhere nears the original’s scare-power.

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Superspy sages come out of retirement swinging in this snappy comic action flick.

Frank Moses (Bruce Willis: Cop Out) is a lonely guy, quietly whiling away retirement with regular phone calls to his federal pension agent, Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker: TV’s Weeds). Dimmed verve gets a jolt, though, when a hit squad comes crashing through his home in the dead of night. Suddenly he’s crisscrossing the country, fighting off a kill order and CIA hotshot William (Karl Urban: Star Trek) even while connecting with mothballed allies and assets....

An upstart horse owner rocks the racing world in this capable equine sports drama.

Penny (Diane Lane: Nights in Rodanthe) is a Denver housewife returned to the family’s Virginia horse farm by her mother’s death. She means to stay just long enough to set the stables in order. But Penny’s equestrian id returns full force, and her passion flares when she’s gifted with the prize foal that will become Secretariat. She’s hooked....

Harvard alums battle for ownership of a legacy in this smart Silicon Valley pastiche.

Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg: Zombieland) is a socially stunted Harvard sophomore. Just dumped by his girlfriend, he gets drunk, lashes out in a blog, hacks for photos of Ivy League co-eds and creates a hotness rating website that crashes Harvard’s network. The misadventure stirs up trouble but also catches the attention of alpha twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (both Armie Hammer: Spring Breakdown), who recruit him into developing their own dating website....

Owls battle and soar in this beautiful tangle.

Soren (Jim Sturgess: 21) is a young barn owl from the forest of Tyto. The dreamer is just learning to spread his wings when he and his brother are kidnapped by agents of the Pure Ones, an evil flock of hawkish owls who snatch owlets for conscripts. It’s up to Soren, bolstered by bedtime stories about legendary heroes, to escape brainwashing and fly to the Guardians of Ga’Hoole to mount a rescue....

A Bah-ston robbah tries to go straight in this engaging and pulpy crime tale

 

In the first five minutes of The Town, a group of precision criminals, donning skeleton masks, knock over a bank. Everything is going smoothly until someone triggers the silent alarm. The slick crew devolves quickly into violence and kidnapping as they make a sloppy getaway with the loot and terrified bank manager Claire (Rebecca Hall: Please Give).

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An action film with a message fails to deliver either.

Danny Trejo (Predators) is a badass. His 20-year career is based on the fact that he is the most intimidating man in just about any room. Trejo’s visceral presence inspired filmmaker Robert Rodriguez (Spy Kids) to make his frequent collaborator an action movie star. At 66, however, Trejo is rapidly moving from grizzled action hero to curmudgeon.

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