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Movie Reviews

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. His quest for help may forge Soren as a legend himself, as he strives to free the owlets and short-circuit one evil owl’s planned reign of terror.

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).

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.
  In the backwoods of Depression-ravaged Tennessee, grizzled hermit Felix Bush (Robert Duvall) emerges after 40 years of solitude. Though he’s lived with only mules and dogs for company, the town rumor mill has already invented stories of Felix that range from him killing men in fights to shooting trespassing children. But Felix doesn’t want to kill. He wants to party.

A criminal family falls to shambles around the ears of a shell-shocked teen in this smart and bruising drama.

Joshua (newcomer James Frecheville) is a 17-year-old at the seam of the Melbourne underworld. When his mother died, he moved in with his uncles, a trio of criminals led by eldest Pope (Ben Mendelsohn: Knowing). It’s not a very happy place to be. Tensions simmer as an aggressive police task force puts the squeeze on the family, boiling over when a family friend is gunned down by renegade cops.

An exorcist heads to the sticks to wrestle evil and his own crisis of faith in this smart and trim chiller.

Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian: TV’s Big Love) is palling around with a couple documentarians to film his confessional. The fast-talking evangelical minister from Baton Rouge is a sleight-of-hand exorcist standing on shaky faith, and he means to expose his own con by documenting one of his so-called exorcisms. But when he follows a handwritten plea to the Sweetzer farm in backwoods Louisiana, he discovers innocent child Nell (Ashley Bell: Stay Cool) is afflicted with something his placebo routine won’t fix.

An accidental sperm donor awakens to love by bizarre circumstances in this entertaining but run-of-the-mill romantic comedy.

Kassie (Jennifer Aniston: The Bounty Hunter) needs a kid, and neurotic best friend Wally (Jason Bateman: Couples Retreat) looks on jealously as she searches for a donor. Soon enough he’s a liquored-up mope at the conception party, where she will administer Roland’s (Patrick Wilson: The A Team) sample. But in the thick of blurry fugue he spills the intended specimen and swaps in his own to cover tracks.

A bunch of knuckleheads clunk their coconuts together unto fiery concussion in this wreck of an action flick.

Barney (Sylvester Stallone: Rambo) is a mercenary who’s just gotten back from killing Somali pirates for a shipping company when he gets a new lead. Some banana republic general is stirring up trouble with his small army, and Bruce Willis wants either Barney or Arnold Schwarzenegger to take him out. Not to dinner at Planet Hollywood, either. Barney accepts the apparent suicide mission and musters his mercs.

Zac Efron squints into golden sunlight amid the trappings of a tragic heartthrob in this canned spiritual weeper.

Charlie (Efron: High School Musical) was the golden boy of his small coastal sailing town until his little brother Sam (Charlie Tahan: Nights in Rodanthe) died in an accident. Now Charlie, once a champion sailor, is moored at the local cemetery as groundskeeper. He lives only for sunsets, when he can meet up with his little brother’s spirit in a nearby glade and play catch.

A femme fatale wreaks havoc in this quick bruiser

CIA agent Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie: Wanted) is just leaving her spy office for an anniversary dinner with hubby when a Russian defector appears out of nowhere and spoils her bliss. In the interrogation room, he claims she’s a Russian operative who intends to kill the Russian president during a state visit. Instantly suspect, she’s detained for a moment before she breaks loose and leads a dangerous chase — rushing to save her butt and find her husband.