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New & recent releases

NEW RELEASES

CHOKE

A sex addict (Sam Rockwell) pays medical bills for his mother (Anjelica Huston) by pretending to choke in restaurants, then developing parasitic relationships with the rich people who “save” his life. Clark Gregg directed and adapted Chuck Palahniuk's novel. 89 minutes. R: Strong sexual content, nudity and language.

EAGLE EYE ** 1/2

A supercomputer that controls all U.S. electrical and electronic devices forces two innocent people (Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan) to help it try to assassinate most of the top 12 officials in the federal chain of command. The racing, non-stop action doesn't make us forget the plot's preposterousness and the hero's blandness, but it's fun while it lasts. 118 minutes. PG-13: Intense sequences of action and violence, and for language.

FIREPROOF

Alex Kendrick (“Facing the Giants”) wrote and directed this story of a firefighter and his wife (Kirk Cameron and Erin Bethea) who begin a 40-day Christian experiment to save the marriage. 122 minutes. PG: Thematic material and some peril.

FOREVER STRONG

A talented, troubled high school rugby player must play against the team his dad coaches for a national championship. Sean Faris and Neal McDonough star. 112 minutes. PG-13: Thematic material involving teen drug and alcohol use, and for some disturbing images.

HELL RIDE

Larry Bishop wrote, directed and stars as a biker caught up in cyclists' violence and crime. Michael Madsen, Vinnie Jones and Eric Balfour co-star. 83 minutes. R: Strong violence, sexual content including graphic nudity and dialogue, language and drug use.

THE LUCKY ONES * 1/2

Three Iraq War veterans (Michael Peña, Rachel McAdams and Tim Robbins) travel to Las Vegas. The first wants to find a hooker to help with an erectile dysfunction problem; the second wants to give her dead boyfriend's guitar to his parents, whom she expects to take her in; the third needs to win $20,000 at the gaming tables so his son can attend Stanford instead of a mere state university. And everything else in the movie is less believable than that. 115 minutes. R: Language and some sexual content.

MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA

Spike Lee directed this World War II drama about black soldiers trapped in an Italian village. Derek Luke, Michael Ealy, Laz Alonso and Omar Benson Miller star.160 minutes. R: Strong war violence, language and some sexual content/nudity.

NIGHTS IN RODANTHE ***

Diane Lane temporarily runs an inn at the Outer Banks while deciding whether to let straying husband Christopher Meloni back into her life. She meets surgeon Richard Gere, who has come to the Banks to meet the husband of a woman who died on his operating table (soulful Scott Glenn). The film's more interested in emotional realities than physical ones, and the romantic bonds give it appealing honesty. 97 minutes. PG-13: Some sensuality.

SHOOT ON SIGHT

Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Greta Scacchi, Ralph Ineson, Brian Cox and Sadie Frost are in a drama about a London police officer of Muslim heritage who has to prove valor and face family pressure amid terrorist attacks. 112 minutes. R: Some violence and language.

TOWELHEAD **

A half-Lebanese 13-year-old living in America (Summer Bishil) copes with a neglectful and selfish mother, mom's sexually predatory boyfriend, a father who spits on her and plays mind games, racist classmates who taunt her, teachers who humiliate her, an adult neighbor who rapes her and an older boy who talks her into consensual sex. Well-meaning but painfully ponderous and preachy. 124 minutes. R: Strong disturbing sexual content and abuse involving a young teen, and for language.

RECENT RELEASES

BURN AFTER READING ***

The Coen brothers lighten the mood after “No Country for Old Men” with this dark comedy; it's about dim-witted gym employees who get their hands on a disc containing CIA information and try to profit by it. Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, John Malkovich and Frances McDormand star. The film's as light and cold as a popsicle, and the venal, foolish and selfish characters dance toward the violent end in a mutual tango of destruction. 96 minutes. R: Pervasive language, some sexual content and violence.

THE FAMILY THAT PREYS

Tyler Perry wrote and directed this drama about a white family and a black family that learn to cooperate. Perry stars with Kathy Bates, Alfre Woodard, Cole Hauser and Sanaa Lathan. 111 minutes. PG-13: Thematic material, sexual references and brief violence.

FROZEN RIVER ***

Melissa Leo and Misty Upham play mothers with absent husbands who agree to smuggle illegal immigrants across the border from Quebec to New York, in order to make enough money to hang onto their kids. Writer-director Courtney Hunt has caught the mutual resentment that may exist when whites and native Americans live alongside each other in poverty. 97 minutes. R: Some language.

GHOST TOWN ***

Ricky Gervais plays a miserable New York dentist who briefly flat-lines on an operating table and can now see ghosts – most of whom want him to complete their unfinished business with the living. One jealous cad (Greg Kinnear) bugs the dentist to break up a romance between his widow (Téa Leoni) and a lawyer, to save his sanity, the dentist reluctantly woos the widow himself and falls in love. It's pure Hollywood fluff, but done with sharp timing, good humor and a surprising bit of heart, after the dentist starts to care about other people again. 102 minutes. PG-13: Some strong language, sexual humor and drug references.

IGOR

An animated film about a mad scientist's hunchbacked assistant, who longs to become a scientist himself – to the displeasure of the mad scientists' community. Voices by John Cusack, John Cleese, Steve Buscemi. 87 minutes. PG: Some thematic elements, scary images, action and mild language.

LAKEVIEW TERRACE

A cop (Samuel L. Jackson) menaces an interracial couple (Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington) who move in next door. Not screened for critics anywhere. 110 minutes. PG-13: Intense thematic material, violence, sexuality, language and some drug references.

MY BEST FRIEND'S GIRL

Jason Biggs hires Dane Cook to date ex-girlfriend Kate Hudson, so she'll realize she was better off before dumping him. This comedy was not screened for critics anywhere. 101 minutes. R: Strong language and sexual content throughout, including graphic dialogue and some nudity.

RIGHTEOUS KILL

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro are New York City detectives who fear a serial killer may be at work and someone may unjustly have been put behind bars. 100 minutes. R: Violence, pervasive language, some sexuality and brief drug use.

TRAITOR ***

This thoughtful (if often implausible) drama asks us to re-think the way we see Muslims, to conceive that their loyalty to America may be as intense as their enemies' loyalties to jihad-inspired terrorists. Don Cheadle plays a devout man who's an undercover FBI agent; he's chased by agents (Guy Pearce and Neal McDonough) who wrongly believe he's selling explosives to Yemeni extremists. 110 minutes. PG-13: Intense violent sequences, thematic material and brief language.

TRANSSIBERIAN

American tourists Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer are endangered by fellow travelers on a train journey from China to Moscow. Kate Mara, Eduardo Noriega and Ben Kingsley co-star. 111 minutes. R: Some violence, including torture and language.

THE WOMEN

This remake of the 1939 comedy stars Meg Ryan as a wealthy New Yorker who leaves her cheating husband to visit a resort with friends Eva Mendes, Annette Bening, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Debra Messing and Bette Midler. Writer-director Diane English created “Murphy Brown.” 114 minutes. PG-13: Sex-related material, language, some drug use and brief smoking.

LONG RUNS

BABYLON A.D. (PG-13)

BANGKOK DANGEROUS (R)

THE DARK KNIGHT (PG-13) ****

DEATH RACE (R) * 1/2

DISASTER MOVIE (PG-13)

ELEGY (R)

THE HOUSE BUNNY (PG-13)

THE LONGSHOTS (PG) ***

MAMMA MIA! (PG-13) *** 1/2

MIRRORS (R)

THE MUMMY; TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR (PG-13) * 1/2

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (PG) **

TELL NO ONE (NR) ***1/2

TROPIC THUNDER (R) ***1/2

VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA (PG-13) * 1/2

WANTED (R) ***

Film capsules are written by Lawrence Toppman. If there's no star rating, he hasn't seen the movie.

Grades: **** = excellent, *** = good, ** = fair,

* = poor.

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