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Movie picks


Films recommended by our reviewers are indicated by an *.

Avatar: Special Edition in 3D (PG-13)

A return to James Cameron's Avatar with an additional nine minutes of footage. — Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (PG)

Former cat spy Kitty Galore has gone rogue and launched a plan to leash her canine enemies as well as her former kitty comrades, making the world her scratching post. — Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15

Charlie St. Cloud (PG-13)

Even though Charlie St. Cloud made me roll my eyes more than once, I found it impossible not to fall in love with Zac Efron's Charlie in this romantic melodrama about a young man dealing with the aftermath of his kid brother's death. — MaryAnn Johanson

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Despicable Me (PG)

There's nothing actively wrong with Despicable Me; you'll find plenty of laughs. It's just that the whole enterprise feels somewhat lazy, the creation of people who want to make a movie without having anything interesting to say. — Scott Renshaw

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Dinner for Schmucks (PG-13)

Few moviegoing experiences are as excruciating as watching two gifted comics struggle with terrible material. The guilty parties in this comedy, which pits a reluctant jerk against an enthusiastic idiot, are Steve Carell and Paul Rudd. — Tricia Olszewski

Chapel Hills 15

Eat Pray Love (PG-13)

A woman (Julia Roberts) who once made it her goal in life to get married, rear children and achieve domestic bliss,finds her priorities suddenly shifting in this adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert's best-selling memoir. — Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

The Expendables (R)

Sylvester Stallone directed, wrote and stars in the film along with a gaggle of other fading sorta-action heroes including Steve Austin, Randy Couture, Eric Roberts and Dolph Lundgren?! A more proper name for this ensemble would have been The Meatheaded Geriatrics. — Tricia Olszewski

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Get Low (PG-13)

How should an audience respond when a performance comes so naturally to the great actor Robert Duvall that he all but renders the film itself superfluous? — Jonathan Kiefer

Kimball's Peak Three

The Girl Who Played With Fire (R)

There is enough whodunit in this second adaptation of Stieg Larsson's Millennium series to keep the story engaging, but it's not nearly as thrilling as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. — Tricia Olszewski

Kimball's Peak Three

Grown Ups (PG-13)

Five guys reunite for the funeral of their former basketball coach. None of them have actually grown up, merely gotten older and, it seems, infinitely more malicious. — MaryAnn Johanson

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*Inception (PG-13)

In an unspecified future, the technology exists for people to enter one another's dreams. Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) has become a fugitive corporate spy stealing ideas from the subconsciouses of executives. The Christopher Nolan film proves remarkably nimble at getting us to the payoff, and what a payoff it is. — Scott Renshaw

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Cinemark 16 IMAX, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

The Karate Kid (PG)

In this remake of 1984's The Karate Kid, martial arts master Jackie Chan will enunciate the movie's moral and then young Dre will repeat it back later, for audience members who've awakened from their naps. — MaryAnn Johanson

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*Knight and Day (PG-13)

From the opening airplane fistfight, to the first wild car chase, to a motorcycle dash from raging Spanish bulls, Knight and Day is too busy inspiring smiles to generate concerns about plausibility. — Scott Renshaw

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The Last Airbender (PG)

In this live-action fantasy from M. Night Shyamalan, Aang (Noah Ringer) discovers he is the lone avatar with the power to manipulate all four elements: air, earth, fire and water. — Not reviewed

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*The Last Exorcism (R)

The bravura turns from the cast and the film's surprising message provide some compensation for its misguided attempts to thrill and chill. It's as if director Daniel Stamm saw Jesus Camp and thought, "Now, that's a horror film." — Justin Strout

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Lottery Ticket (PG-13)

I'm presuming Lottery Ticket may have been intended to indulge some sort of wish fulfilment fantasy, but what it ends up becoming instead is a movie you wouldn't wish even on your worst enemy. — MaryAnn Johanson

Carmike 10, Cinemark 16

*Nanny McPhee Returns (PG)

The character Nanny McPhee is the perfect antidote for the upside-down fantasy of parental indulgence, and tolerance of "cute" munchkin monsters, that threatens to become the norm. — MaryAnn Johanson

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

The Other Guys (PG-13)

In this serviceable comedy, Will Ferrell plays an NYPD forensic accountant who loves his desk job. His resentful partner is played by Mark Wahlberg, who adds some comic embellishments of his own. — Marjorie Baumgarten

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Piranha 3D (R)

When a tremor in Lake Havasu, Ariz., cracks the lake floor open, a prehistoric strain of fish is set loose and people begin to disappear. — Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

Predators (R)

Set 13 years after the events in Predator 2, the film follows Royce (Adrien Brody), a mercenary soldier, who is dropped on an alien world where humans are hunted for sport by the Predators. — Not reviewed

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Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (PG-13)

Sure, Prince of Persia is watchable, but only as a video game that's been rendered unplayable. — Jonathan Kiefer

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Ramona and Beezus (G)

The adventures of young Ramona Quimby (Joey King) and her big sister Beezus (Selena Gomez) come to life in this film based on the best-selling books by Beverly Cleary. — Not reviewed

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*Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (PG-13)

On the surface, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World seems like a meticulously faithful adaptation of Bryan Lee O'Malley's graphic novel series. But in the end, it struggles to find the rhythms that gave the original its soul. — Scott Renshaw

Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

*Shrek Forever After (PG)

Many of us have suspected it all along, but it's official with this effort: The Shrek film series is actually a sitcom. For those who won't find a change of personality any great loss, however, it's a pleasant surprise. — Scott Renshaw

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Step Up 3D (PG-13)

The good news: The 3D in Step Up 3D looks great — it's bold, striking and vivid. The bad news: Everything else about the movie is terrible. — Dan Hudak

Carmike 10

The Sorcerer's Apprentice (PG)

Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage) is a master sorcerer in modern-day Manhattan trying to defend the city from his arch-nemesis, when Balthazar recruits a seemingly average guy as his reluctant protégé — Not reviewed

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The Switch (PG-13)

An attractive single woman (Jennifer Aniston) decides it's time to have a baby — even if it means doing it by herself with a little help from a charming sperm donor. — Not reviewed

Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Takers (PG-13)

A notorious group of criminals continue to baffle police by pulling off perfectly executed bank robberies, when their plans are interrupted by a hardened detective who is hell-bent on solving the case. — Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

*Toy Story 3 (G)

Due to a mixup, Woody, Buzz and company end up at Sunnyside Day Care, in yet another triumph of profoundly felt storytelling from Pixar that explores the theme of letting go. — Scott Renshaw

Cinemark 16

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (PG-13)

This is fundamentally an adolescent melodrama, and melodrama is hard for even the best actors in the best circumstances. Neither is the case here. — Scott Renshaw

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Vampires Suck (PG-13)

In this parody of angst-filled vampire mega-movies, high schooler Becca is torn between two boys. — Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

What If ... (PG)

Ben Walker left his college sweetheart Wendy, and his calling to be a preacher, 15 years ago in order to pursue a business opportunity, but God has other plans. — Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15

*Winter's Bone (R)

Most films waste little time introducing critical characters, and in the rural film-noir thriller Winter's Bone, it's the place that lives and breathes. Equally remarkable is that the story's human protagonist proves just as compelling. — Scott Renshaw

Kimball's Peak Three

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