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Capsule movie reviews

(Opinions are by Los Angeles Times reviewers)
“Leatherheads” ó George Clooney directs and plays a cocky 1920s football star in a fledging professional league who recruits a golden-boy college star (John Krasinski) to revive its waning fortunes while hoping to score with a feisty young journalist (Renee Zellweger). PG-13 for brief strong language.
“Forever” ó Filmmaker Heddy Honigmann considers the enduring importance of the Pere-Lachaise cemetery in Paris, the final resting place for Frederic Chopin, Marcel Proust, Oscar Wilde, Maria Callas, Georges Melies, Jim Morrison and many others. Unrated.
“Nim’s Island” ó When her scientist father disappears, a young girl teams with the reclusive author of her favorite literary character. With Jodie Foster, Abigail Breslin and Gerard Butler. PG for mild adventure action and brief language.
“The Ruins” ó A group of friends’ trip to an archaeological site in Mexico turns into a terrifying struggle to survive. With Jonathan Tucker and Jena Malone. Directed by Carter Smith. R for strong violence and gruesome images, language, some sexuality and nudity.
“College Road Trip” ó Martin Lawrence plays an overprotective father who crashes his daughter’s (Raven-Symone) tour of prospective schools. With Donny Osmond. Directed by Roger Kumble. G.
“Drillbit Tayor” ó This film, another entry from the tortured-teen universe of Judd Apatow (“Freaks and Geeks,” “Superbad”), follows two high school freshmen as their hopes for adolescent reinvention hit a serious obstacle in the form of a psycho-in-the-making. In attempting to update the bully genre for the 21st century, screenwriters Kristofer Brown and Seth Rogen (co-writer of “Superbad”), along with director Steven Brill, have exhumed the bones of such 1980s films as “My Bodyguard” and “Three O’Clock High” and laid on some modern embellishments resulting in an unremarkable patchwork comedy starring Owen Wilson. (1:42) PG-13 for crude sexual references throughout, strong bullying, language, drug references and partial nudity.
“Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!” ó The good news about this film is that it actually looks Seussian, which is more than you can say for the nightmare-inducing adaptations of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “The Cat in the Hat” sprung on a trusting public in 2000 and 2003. The bad news is that although it retains, at intermittent intervals, much of the gentleness and sincerity of the book, the rest of the time it tries too hard to act cool around the other animated movies, which for some reason still swear by the sardonic, pop culture-laden, celebrity-voiced, sitcom-cadenced corporate-speak that keeps trying to pass itself off as humor. (1:28) G.
“Never Back Down” ó A teen turns his aggression to mastering mixed martial arts. With Sean Faris, Amber Heard and Djimon Hounsou. Directed by Jeff Wadlow. PG-13 for mature thematic material involving intense sequences of fighting-violence, some sexuality, partying and language ó all involving teens.
“Stop-Loss” ó The story of a young American soldier (powerfully played by Ryan Phillippe) who resists an order to return to Iraq, this film covers some of the same territory as previous Iraq features, but this one does it right. The difference is a quality of propulsive emotional intensity that pushes us over rough spots as it drives us insistently forward. An intensity that must be credited to director and co-writer Kimberly Peirce, who makes her first film since “Boys Don’t Cry” nine years ago a memorable one. (1:53) R for graphic violence and pervasive language.
“Superhero Movie” ó The title explains the format. This time out, scenes from various movies with superheroes (mostly the “Batman,” “Superman” and “Spider-Man” pictures) are replayed ostensibly for laughs but mostly to provide a framework for a series of predictable “topical” references. (1:25) PG-13 for crude and sexual content, comic violence, drug references and language.
“10,000 B.C.” ó As written and directed by “The Day After Tomorrow’s” Roland Emmerich, this wacky Saturday matinee epic has so much up-to-the-minute computer-generated imagery that we can practically smell the fetid breath of its herds of woolly mammoths. But the film’s heart is in its throwback innocence, its determinedly old-fashioned story of a young love that will not die and a young man who is a hero in the making but doesn’t know it. (1:49) PG-13 for sequences of intense action and violence.
“21” ó In this extremely loose adaptation of Ben Mezrich’s nonfiction tome about MIT students in Las Vegas, “Bringing Down the House,” screenwriters Peter Steinfeld and Allan Loeb have buffed down the story’s rougher edges into an unconvincingly tidy Hollywood fairy tale. What might have been a complex story dealing with greed and betrayal among the young intellectual elite unleashed in America’s playground is instead treated as a glossy romp. (1:58) PG-13 for some violence, and sexual content including partial nudity.
“Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns” ó People now know what they are going to get when they purchase a Tyler Perry product ó contemporary, faith-based morality tales tailored to comfort and confirm the values of an African American audience ó and as the director, producer and writer of this film, he dutifully serves up more of the same. Even his brief appearance onscreen as his most popular character, Madea, the sassy, tough-talking grandma, feels like a calculated addition rather than an organic necessity. Perry adapts his stage play about a single mother from Chicago who goes to Georgia for the funeral of the father she never knew and encounters the family she may not be ready for. (1:41) PG-13 for drug content, language including sexual references, thematic elements and brief violence.

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