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MOVIES

Capsule reviews are by Kenneth Turan (K.Tu.), Betsy Sharkey (B.S.) and other reviewers. Compiled by Anthony Miller.

Openings

FRIDAY

According to Greta A rebellious girl on a path headed for trouble spends time with her grandparents at the New Jersey shore where she promises to kill herself. Instead, she begins a romance and discovers a family secret. With Hilary Duff, Ellen Burstyn and Melissa Leo. Written by Michael Gilray. Directed by Nancy Bardawil. (1:28) PG-13.

Broken Embraces A blind writer working under a pseudonym must heal from a car accident that took his wife and directing career before he can move on with love. With Penélope Cruz, Blanca Portillo, Lluís Homar and Ángela Molina. Written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar. In Spanish with English Subtitles. (2:09) R.

Four Seasons Lodge A community of Holocaust survivors come together every summer in the Catskills to celebrate their lives. Written and directed by Andrew Jacobs. (1:37) NR.

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Invictus The inspiring true story of how Nelson Mandela joined forces with the captain of South Africa’s rugby team to help unite their country. With Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. Screenplay by Anthony Peckham. Directed by Clint Eastwood. (2:12) PG-13. Story on Page D8

The Lovely Bones A young girl who has been murdered watches over her family and her killer from heaven. With Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci and Saoirse Ronan. Screenplay by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, based on the novel by Alice Sebold. Directed by Jackson. (2:16) PG-13.

The Misfortunates Belgium’s entry in the Oscar Foreign Film category is a humorous tale of debauchery, pathos and growing up that finds hope and resurrection amid the moral depravity and lecherous behavior that a 13-year-old’s father and uncles indulge in daily. Based on the novel by Dimitri Verhulst. Directed by Felix van Groeningen. (1:48) NR.

Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year An impossible love story between a geek and college hottie. With Ranbir Kapoor, Shazahn Padamsee, Sharon Prabhakar, and Gauhar Khan. Written by Jaideep Sahni. Directed by Shimit Amin. In Hindi with English subtitles. (2:35) NR.

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A Single Man Set in 1962 Los Angeles at the height of the Cuban missile crisis, a British college professor struggles to find meaning to his life after the death of his longtime partner. With Colin Firth and Julianne Moore. Written by Tom Ford and David Scearce. Directed by Ford. (1:39) NR. Story on Page D5

Until the Light Takes Us A examination of the black metal music scene. Directed by Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell. (1:33) NR. Story on Page D6

The Vicious Kind A bitter construction worker’s life is turned upside down one Thanksgiving weekend. With J.K. Simmons, Adam Scott, Alex Frost and Brittany Snow. Written and directed by Lee Toland Krieger. (1:32) NR.

Yesterday Was a Lie A young girl with a sharp mind and a weakness for bourbon finds herself on the trail of a reclusive genius and discovers that the most powerful force in the universe -- the power to bend reality, the power to know the truth -- lies within the depths of the human heart. With Kipleigh Brown, John Newton and Chase Masterson. Wriiten and directed by James Kerwin (1:29) NR.

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Critics’ Choices

An Education Invariably funny and inexpressibly moving in the way it looks at a young girl’s journey from innocence to experience, this film does so many things so well, it’s difficult to know where to begin cataloging its virtues. What’s easy is knowing where you’ll end up, which is marveling like everyone else at the performance by Carey Mulligan that is the film’s irreplaceable centerpiece. (K.Tu., Oct. 16) (1:35) NR.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans Cold-blooded reptiles are lurking everywhere in this slick new noir, with snakes, iguanas, gators and especially Nicolas Cage at their slithering and cynical best. Cage is the bad cop who director Werner Herzog pushes into the deep bayou muck, human and otherwise, that Hurricane Katrina has left behind. The filmmaker has done well by noir too, giving us exactly what he should -- crime, corruption, sarcasm, sex, sleaze and shadows all through the glass darkly. (B.S., Nov. 20) (2:01) R.

Bright Star Writer-director Jane Campion has turned the romance between poet John Keats and girl-next-door Fanny Brawne into an exquisitely done, emotional love story that marries heartbreaking passion to formidable filmmaking restraint, all in the service of the unapologetically romantic belief in “the holiness of the heart’s affections.” (K.Tu., Sept. 18) (1:59) PG.

Good Hair Chris Rock tries to untangle a question posed by his young daughter: “Daddy, why don’t I have good hair?” The result is an amusing, poignant and surprisingly candid look at the issues and implications tied to “black” hair -- as in ethnic -- with a disarming Rock coaxing answers from an eclectic cross-section of African Americans. (B.S., Oct. 16) (1:35) PG-13.

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The Messenger It would have been easy for this moving new drama that follows an Army casualty notification team as they tell families a loved one has died in combat to turn into a patriotic melodrama or a hopelessly somber tragedy. It is neither. Instead emotions are used sparingly with the director’s restraint allowing the marvelous central cast -- Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson and Samantha Morton -- to breathe, filling the silences with indelible characters whose humanity makes room for humor and hope as well. (B.S., Nov. 20) (1:45) R.

Pirate Radio The new rock-saturated comedy that proves life’s better when it’s set to a ‘60s soundtrack, is, to borrow from the Stones, “a gas! gas! gas!” And borrow does it ever -- including from the Kinks, the Rolling Stones, Hendrix, the Who -- nearly 60 cuts in all in what may be the coolest music video masquerading as a movie ever. (B. S., Nov. 13) (2:14) R.

Precious Nothing quite prepares you for the rough-cut diamond that is “Precious.” A rare blend of pure entertainment and dark social commentary, this shockingly raw, surprisingly irreverent and absolutely unforgettable story of an obese, illiterate, pregnant black Harlem teen named Precious is one that should not be missed. (B.S., Nov. 6) (1:49) R.

The Princess and the Frog Go ahead and pucker up. Because long before “The Princess and the Frog” is over you’ll want to smooch the charming couple in this foot-stomping, smile-inducing, heart-warming animated twist on the old Brothers Grimm frog-prince fairy tale. (B.S., Nov. 25) (1:35) G.

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Also in Theaters

2012 This new disaster film insists the world will end with both a bang and a whimper, the bang of undeniably impressive special effects and the whimper of inept writing and characterization. You pays your money, you takes your choice chances. (K.Tu., Nov. 13) (2:38) PG-13.

Adventures of Power is “Napoleon Dynamite” with imaginary drumsticks, a quest movie for the Rock Band generation. Ari Gold (yes, that’s also the name of the agent on HBO’s “Entourage”) places his fond comedy in the ‘80s with all the cinematic skill of early MTV. “Adventures of Power” just may teach the world that, as hard as it is to catch the wind, it’s harder still to drum the air. (Michael Ordona, Oct.16) (1:29) PG-13.

Amelia History can weigh heavily on a filmmaker and that is what happens with “Amelia,” which stars Hilary Swank in a disappointing rendering of the remarkable life of Amelia Earhart. The pioneering aviator lost in flight is a figure so iconic, and director Mira Nair so tentative with her legend, that all the reverence and tiptoeing around grounds a film that should have soared. But like her subject, the filmmaker gets lost in the clouds. (B.S., Oct. 23) (1:30) PG.

Antichrist is a tangled mess of sex, evil and death, with auteur Lars von Trier making a stab at allegory and old-fashioned horror, but ultimately failing on both fronts. (B.S., Oct. 23) (1:44) NC-17.

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Armored A crew at an armored transport security firm risk their lives when they embark on a heist against their own company. With Matt Dillon, Jean Reno, Laurence Fishburne, Skeet Ulrich, Milo Ventimiglia, Fred Ward and Columbus Short. Written by James V. Simpson and Chris Parker. Directed by Nimrod Antal. (1:25) PG-13.

Astro Boy plays like “Transformers” for tots, a “Pinocchio” story that stays true to its source material’s storied past without adding much outside of some clankingly obvious political subtext that will alienate people of all stripes. (Glenn Whipp, Oct. 23) (1:30) PG.

Black Dynamite In the pantheon of parody-friendly film genres, blaxploitation cinema -- namely the afro-ed superhero kind embodied by “Shaft,” “Dolemite” and “The Mack” -- hardly needs gilding for jokes. But the makers of the winningly nutty “Black Dynamite” (director/co-screenwriter Scott Sanders, and star/co-screenwriter Michael Jai White) keep the winking to a minimum by unleashing a straight-up ‘70s grindhouse flick, captured with a saturated, grainy film stock and a funk-smothered underscore only a midnight-movie sucka could love. (Robert Abele, Oct. 16) (1:30) R.

The Blind Side Watching “The Blind Side” is like watching your favorite football team; you’ll cheer when things go well, curse when they don’t, and be reminded that in football, as in life, it’s how you play the game that counts -- though winning doesn’t hurt either. (B.S., Oct. 20) (2:06) PG-13.

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Blood Equity The documentary explores the dark side of the National Football League and the players who give their lives to it. Directed by Michael Felix. (1:03) NR.

The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day Troy Duffy went from a bartending screenwriter to Harvey Weinstein’s golden boy with “The Boondock Saints.” His resulting bad-behavior flameout in Hollywood was turned into a cautionary documentary (“Overnight”). But the best revenge is a fan base. Now, 10 years later, Duffy has reemerged with a sequel. Time may have healed some of Duffy’s wounds, but it hasn’t made him a better Tarantino knockoff. (Robert Abele, Oct. 30) (1:57) R.

The Box Here’s the setup for the sluggish new sci-fi flick from “Donnie Darko” creator Richard Kelly: Mysterious stranger drops off box, there’s a button to push, a million dollars to collect. Oh, and someone dies. Big dilemmas, big bore. (B.S., Nov. 6) (1:55) PG-13.

Breaking Point One man must overcome a deep-rooted conspiracy and his own dark past to gain redemption. With Tom Berenger, Busta Rhymes, Armand Assante and Kirk Jones. Directed by Jeff Celentano. (1:37) R.

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Brothers When a decorated Marine goes missing in Afghanistan, his black-sheep younger brother cares for his wife and children at home. Starring Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, Sam Shepard, Clifton Collins, Jr. and Mare Winningham. Written by David Benioff. Directed by Jim Sheridan. (1:50) R.

Capitalism: A Love Story Michael Moore’s latest documentary can be digressive, but this director’s scattershot is a lot more interesting than some filmmakers’ focus and many of those individual parts of this look at economic inequality in America are classic. (K.Tu., Sept. 23) (2:00) NR.

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant Paul Weitz’s stab at vampire camp proves to be a not-quite-deadly adaptation of Darren Shan’s frothy fanged kids book series. Though it’s trying for “An American Werewolf in London” cleverness, the multi-level, multi-age storytelling is missing here. “Cirque” is a harmless bit of fluff with a very cool look, but there’s just never enough bite. (B.S., Oct. 23) (1:48) PG-13.

Coco Before Chanel For someone who was as celebrated internationally as France’s Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, the woman who changed the shape of 20th century fashion, not that much is known for sure about her formative years. Though Chanel’s reticence may sound like a barrier to filmmakers, it stimulated co-writer and director Fontaine and star Tautou, who’ve combined to turn “Coco Before Chanel” into a superior filmed biography that brings intelligence, restraint and style to what could have been a more standard treatment. (K.Tu., Sept. 25) In French with English subtitles. (1:50) PG-13.

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Dare Three teenagers in their last semester of school try to shake things up before graduating and entering the real world. With Emmy Rossum, Ashley Springer, Zach Gilford, Ana Gasteyer, Rooney Mara, Sandra Bernhard and Alan Cumming. Written by David Brind, based on the short film by Adam Salky. Directed by Salky. (1:32) R.

Defamation Director Yoav Shamir speaks with an array of people from across the political spectrum and traveled to places like Auschwitz and Brooklyn on a quest to answer the question, “What is anti-Semitism today?” In English and Hebrew with English subtitles. (1:34) NR.

Died Young Stayed Pretty Although this documentary about the underground rock poster movement begins with a freewheeling array of diverting poster graphics and provocative artist interviews, it soon becomes apparent that there’s no real structure or point of view to it all. The indie-rock poster subculture, at least as seen here, seems so largely populated by tunnel-visioned white guys living in a kind of low-paid, artistic exile, that, without digging beneath their offbeat surfaces, they simply become tiresome mouthpieces. (Gary Goldstein, Nov. 6) (1:35) NR.

Disney’s A Christmas Carol is Robert Zemeckis’ exasperating re-imagining of the Dickens classic as a 3-D action-thriller zooming through the fever dreams of Scrooge. The “It’s better to give than receive” moral is mostly lost in the special effects and there are Jim Carrey’s theatrics to weather. The actor voices eight characters, including Scrooge and the three ghosts who haunt him. By the time Zemeckis finishes piling the shiny presents with all their bells and whistles with under the tree, there’s no room left for tears for Tiny Tim. Bah humbug. (B.S., Nov. 6) (1:16) PG.

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The End of Poverty Economists, politicians, activists engaged in anti-poverty campaigns and impoverished citizens discuss whether the true nature of contemporary poverty is rooted in colonialism and its consequences. With Amartya Sen, Joseph Stiglitz, Susan George, Eric Toussaint and John Perkins. Narrated by Martin Sheen. Directed by Philippe Diaz. (1:44) NR.

Endgame A political thriller about the real-life negotiations that led to the end of apartheid in South Africa and the release of Nelson Mandela. With William Hurt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jonny Lee Miller, Mark Strong and Derek Jacobi. Screenplay by Paula Milne, based on a book by Robert Harvey. Directed by Pete Travis. (1:41) PG-13.

Everybody’s Fine In this remake of Giuseppe Tornatore’s “Stanno Tutti Bene,” a widower embarks on an impromptu road trip to reconnect with each of his grown children. With Robert DeNiro, Kate Beckinsale, Drew Barrymore and Sam Rockwell. Written and directed by Kirk Jones. (1:35) PG-13.

The Fall First-time writer-director John Krueger buries a promising neo-noir plot with ponderous pacing and uneven performances and dialogue. The assured and imaginative Erica Shaffer makes her wicked wife amusing in this otherwise glum movie. (Kevin Thomas, Oct. 23) (1:58) NR.

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The Fantastic Mr. Fox With George Clooney and Meryl Streep as the most urbane couple in the vulpine world, this adaptation of the much-loved Roald Dahl novel animates not only forest animals but the career of director Wes Anderson. (K.Tu., Nov. 13) (1:28) PG.

Fifty Dead Men Walking Inspired by a true story, a young small-time Belfast hustler is recruited by a wily British intelligence agent to infiltrate the IRA. With Jim Sturgess and Ben Kingsley. Written and directed by Kari Skogland. (1:59) R.

The Fourth Kind The vogue for verité spooks continues with “The Fourth Kind,” but unlike the understated stylistic rigor of “Paranormal Activity,” this alien abduction showpiece about unexplained events in Nome, Alaska, doth protest its bona fides too much. Presented as a cinematic re-creation of traumatic, mysterious occurrences surrounding sleep-deprived patients of psychologist Abigail Tyler (Milla Jovovich), writer-director Olatunde Osunsanmi attempts an Orson Welles-like confluence of “real” and imagined that might have worked had he gotten out of the way more, literally and figuratively. (Robert Abele, Nov. 6) (1:38). PG-13.

Gentlemen Broncos Satire aside, what the oddball folks here never feel is real, despite the filmmakers’ claims of autobiographical parallels. Instead, badly dressed and unflatteringly shot, they come off like punch lines to jokes that never pay off. With his deft timing and wonderfully expressive face, the always appealing Michael Angarano gamely tries to hold together what little there is of “Gentlemen Broncos,” but it’s a thankless task. (Gary Goldstein, Oct. 30) (1:29) PG-13.

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La Danse In his 38th film, legendary documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman turns his attention to the Paris Opera Ballet. (2:38) NR.

The Last Station After fifty years of marriage, Countess Sofya,the wife of Leo Tolstoy, finds herself living in poverty after the Russian novelist renounced his noble title, his property and his family. With Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer, Paul Giamatti, Anne-Marie Duff, Kerry Condon, John Sessions and James McAvoy. Based on the novel by Jay Parini. Written and directed by Michael Hoffman. (1:42) NR.

Law Abiding Citizen Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) wants justice, and when he doesn’t get it from the system, he wants revenge on everyone involved. Because of that “Law Abiding Citizen” spends a lot of time paying lip service to the inequities of a broken judicial system where “some justice is better than no justice at all.” But it’s all a lot of empty talk with the filmmakers figuring if they bandy about the word “justice” enough, it will give the illusion of conscience to a movie that is merely a revenge-genre retread. The moral posturing becomes laughably self-conscious. (Glenn Whipp, Oct. 16) (1:48) R.

The Little Traitor This lyrical yet emotionally spare film is set in 1947 Palestine in the last throes of the British occupation before Israel would be accorded statehood. Based on “Panther in the Basement” by Israeli novelist Amos Oz, the story involves a chance encounter between a precocious young Jewish boy (Ido Port) and a guileless British sergeant, played by Alfred Molina, that changes both lives forever. (B.S., Nov. 13) (1:28) NR.

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Love Hurts Down in the dumps since his wife left him, a middle-aged man’s son forces him into the social scene. With Richard E. Grant, Carrie-Anne Moss, Johnny Pacar, Jenna Elfman, Janeane Garofalo, Camryn Manheim. Written and directed by Barra Grant. (1:33) PG-13.

Me and Orson Welles A romantic coming-of-age story about a teenage actor who lucks into a role in “Julius Caesar” as reimagined by a young director named Orson Welles in New York City circa 1937. With Zac Efron, Claire Danes, Christian McKay and Ben Chaplin. Written by Holly Gent Palmo and Vincent Palmo, Jr. Directed by Richard Linklater. (1:49) PG-13.

The Men Who Stare at Goats A quirky comedic drama starring George Clooney about one of the strangest aspects of the modern American Army, a time when it was felt that the New Age techniques and beliefs could transform military practice. As the intertitle that begins the film puts it, “more of this is true than you would believe.” (K.Tu., Nov. 6) (1:33) R.

Michael Jackson’s This Is It Behind-the-scenes footage from Michael Jackson’s last rehearsals in preparation for the series of 50 concerts planned at the O2 Arena in London. (1:55) PG.

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New York, I Love You is a cinematic salon where the topic is the serendipity of romantic possibilities to be found in Manhattan’s coffee shops, restaurants, shops, bars and backrooms. Eleven directors (and even more writers) have turned up for the party, offering up distinct tales of the city. While they ramble on, we sit perched like pigeons with a bird’s-eye view of the proceedings, sampling the crumbs thrown in our direction. A few of the movie morsels prove delicious, a few of them seem half-baked; most are never quite enough to completely satisfy, a case of story interruptus, wouldn’t you know. (B.S., Oct. 16) (1:52) R.

Ninja Assassin A young assassin on the run from the clan that trained him must team with an Europol agent to save both their lives. With Rain, Naomie Harris, Ben Miles and Rick Yune. Screenplay by Matthew Sand and J. Michael Straczynski. Directed by James McTeigue. (1:39) R.

Old Dogs Two best friends, an unlucky-in-love divorcee and a fun-loving bachelor, are unexpectedly charged with the care of six-year-old twins while on the verge of the biggest business deal of their lives. With John Travolta, Robin Williams, Kelly Preston, Seth Green, Ella Bleu Travolta, Lori Loughlin and Matt Dillon. Written by David Diamond and David Weissman. Directed by Walt Becker. (1:28) PG.

Ong Bak 2: The Beginning Bruce Lee is dead, Jackie Chan and Jet Li are slowing down, but the world of martial arts never sleeps. Keeping everyone awake these days is Tony Jaa, Thailand’s biggest action hero, who returns to inflict more damage. (K.Tu., Oct. 23) (1:37) R.

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Paranormal Activity First-time director Oren Peli has created a psychological thriller of such small scale and yet such heightened impact that no doubt Hitchcock, wherever he may be, is smiling. There’s not much to the story of Katie and Micah, a young couple just setting up house: Evil has its eye on her, they try to escape it, and there’s a lot of scary stuff in between. Ultimately Peli understands that it’s what you don’t see, and the way in which you don’t see it, that counts. (B.S., Oct. 3) (1:39) R.

Planet 51 The action in this kids flick takes place on an alternate-universe version of Earth where Shrek-green humanoids live out SoCal-accented happy days. When astronaut Chuck Baker (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) emerges from his lunar module, the little green people freak out. The premise is OK enough, even if it is like one of those old “Star Trek” episodes in which Kirk and crew would land on a planet whose culture was modeled on the Roman Empire or Chicago’s Gangland. If, as Chuck suggests, the ‘60s are about to take hold on Planet 51, we just hope someone writes a protest song about this movie. (Glenn Whipp, Nov. 20) (1:31) PG.

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee A married woman leading a seemingly idyllic life embarks on a journey of self discovery after moving to a retirement community with her older husband and meets a younger acquaintance. With Robin Wright Penn, Alan Arkin, Blake Lively, Maria Bello, Keanu Reeves, Monica Bellucci, Julianne Moore and Winona Ryder. Written and directed by Rebecca Miller. (1:33) R.

Red Cliff Filled with wall-to-wall battle scenes, this old-fashioned action epic feels like the kind of movie director John Woo must have dreamed of when he was a child, a four-square endeavor where women are beautiful, men form manly bonds and warriors with six arrows in them walk around as if nothing happened. (K.Tu., Nov. 25) (2:28) R.

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The Road Despite numerous strong areas, including fine acting by Viggo Mortensen and young Kodi Smit-McPhee as father-and-son survivors of an unnamed apocalypse, what we’ve been given is no more than a reasonable facsimile, an honorable attempt at filming Cormac McCarthy’s unfilmable book. (K.Tu., Nov. 25) (1:50) R.

Saw VI In what might be the shrewdest, most politically tinged move for this reprehensibly gory, obnoxiously cynical and incompetently directed series, the “Saw VI” writers have given Jigsaw a target for his death-and-dismemberment contraptions that movie audiences (who like this stuff) might actually feel some real-life vengeance toward: slick, coverage-denying bureaucrats. The usual critiques apply: terrible acting, zero suspense, laughable logic and the promise of another one next year. How can we get this policy canceled? (Robert Abele, Oct. 24) 2 hrs. R.

A Serious Man Writer-directors Joel and Ethan Coen have seized the opportunity afforded by the Oscar-winning success of their last film, “No Country for Old Men,” to make their most personal, most intensely Jewish film, a pitch-perfect comedy of despair that, against some odds, turns out to be one of their most universal as well. (K.Tu., Oct. 2) (1:45) R.

Skin is an ambitious, if sometimes uneven indie film. This truth-is-stranger-than-fiction story plucked out of South Africa’s apartheid traces the attitudes and government edicts, medical tests and court suits, confusion and heartbreak that would batter Sandra (Sophie Okonedo), a black child born of white parents who was classified white, then “colored,” then white again. In a day when it’s difficult to say something new about the racial divide, Sandy’s story has a poignant power, underscoring just how deeply the fissures run even when it’s all in the family. (B.S., Oct. 30) (1:47) PG-13.

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Turning Green This amusing Irish coming-of-age comedy set in 1979 takes its title from the effect of chug-a-lug beer drinking upon 16-year-old James (gifted newcomer Donal Gallery). Pub patrons bet on his prowess, and James adds his winnings to the money he’s saving to get him and his brother back to America. On a trip to London, James discovers porn magazines and imports them to sell to local men. The wryly made point here is that nudity in magazines was illegal in Ireland until the 1990s. When those triple-X magazines spread throughout the community, “Turning Green” takes off in earnest. (Kevin Thomas, Nov. 7) (1:25) NR.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon Constrained by the plot of the novel, this sequel keeps teen lovers Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson apart for quite a spell, robbing the project of the crazy-in-love energy that made “Twilight,” the first entry in the series, such a guilty pleasure. (K.Tu., Nov. 19) (2:10) PG-13.

Up In The Air A corporate downsizing expert who cherishes his life on the road is threatened just as he is on the cusp of reaching ten million frequent flier miles and after he’s met the frequent-traveler woman of his dreams. With George Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick. Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, based on the novel by Walter Kirn. Directed by Reitman. (1:49) R.

Where The Wild Things Are In the new version of Maurice Sendak’s brief but classic children’s book, more -- admired director Spike Jonze, smart co-screenwriter Dave Eggers, top-flight actors including Chris Cooper, James Gandolfini and Forest Whitaker and a budget estimated at $80 million to $100 million dollars -- has paradoxically become less: a precious, self-indulgent cinematic fable that not everyone is not going to love. (K.Tu., Oct.16) (1:34) PG.

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Women in Trouble A day in the lives of ten seemingly disparate women all headed for trouble including a few call girls, a porn star and a flight attendant. With Carla Gugino, Connie Britton, Adrianne Palicki, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Simon Baker and Josh Brolin. Written and directed by Sebastian Gutierrez. (1:35) R.

All movies are in general release unless noted. Also included: the film’s running time and ratings. MPAA categories: (G) for general audiences; (PG) parental guidance urged because of material possibly unsuitable for children; (PG-13) parents are strongly cautioned to give guidance for attendance of children younger than 13; (R) restricted, younger than 17 admitted only with parent or adult guardian; (NC-17) no one 17 and younger admitted.


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