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Published: 10/6/2011

Movie reviews: 10-6

Summaries are condensed from Blade reviews and reflect the theater schedule starting Friday. Films are rated on a scale of 5 stars (best) to Bomb (worst). The reviewer's name, movie running time, and abbreviations of the theaters where the movie is playing are at the end of each summary.

50/50. Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivers a subtle, immensely moving performance as a young man diagnosed with terminal cancer who relies on the help of his best friend (Seth Rogen) to beat the titular odds of survival. R **** 99 min. (Baird) (FP, LC, FT)

Abduction. Taylor Lautner attempts to prove he's capable of more than playing backup to his Twilight co-stars with this thriller about a young man who discovers his entire life is a lie -- just as a squad of trained killers comes calling. PG-13 * 106 min. (Wire review) (FP, LC, FT)

Bad Teacher. Cameron Diaz gets in touch with her bad side in this raunchy comedy about an alcoholic, drug-using party animal marking time as a teacher as she tries to snare a wealthy husband. Diaz is funny, but she can't erase the movie's slow spots or uneven tone. R ** 1/2 89 min. (Wire review) (MIT)

Captain America: The First Avenger. In what seems to be the 4,937th superhero movie released in recent years, Chris Evans is charisma-free but inoffensive as the 90-pound weakling who benefits from an Army experiment and becomes a muscular WWII-era hero, fighting Nazis and saving the world. The 1940s era is depicted with more care than the action, far too much of which takes place in montage. PG-13 ** 1/2 125 min. (Neman) (MIT)

Cars 2. Lightning McQueen heads to the first-ever World Grand Prix race. On the way, his best friend, the tow truck Mater, is mistaken for a secret agent. Though by no means a wreck, this Pixar sequel is a disappointment, putting the spotlight on Mater as a country bumpkin bumbling his way through a sophisticated world. G ** 113 min. (Baird) (MIT)

Colombiana. A young woman has grown up to be an assassin after witnessing the murder of her parents as a child. Turning herself into a professional killer and working for her uncle, she remains focused on her ultimate goal: to hunt down and get revenge on the mobster responsible for her parents' deaths. PG-13 *** 107 min. (Wire review) (SDI, Fox)

Contagion. An A-list cast that includes Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Bryan Cranston star in this thriller about the outbreak of a deadly virus and the CDC's efforts to contain it. PG-13 *** 1/2 106 min. (Baird) (FP, LC, FT)

Courageous. As law enforcement officers, Adam, Nathan, David, and Shane are confident and focused. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that they are not truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood. While they consistently give their best on the job, good enough seems to be all they can muster as dads. But they're quickly discovering that their standard is missing the mark.PG-13 * 1/2 124 min. (Wire review) (FP, FT)

Dolphin Tale 3D. Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, and Harry Connick, Jr. are among the stars of this family-friendly tale about a boy who befriends a dolphin that lost its tail in a crab trap. PG ** 1/2 112 min. (Wire review) (FP, LC, FT, SDI, Fox)

Dream House. Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz (who recently married in real life) star as a couple who discover their beautiful new home was the site of a horrific murder. Naomi Watts co-stars as the meddling neighbor who knows what really went down. The film is not being screened in advance for critics, so don't expect much. PG-13 * 1/2 92 min. (Wire review) (FP, LC, FT)

Drive. A Hollywood stunt man (Ryan Gosling) moonlighting as a getaway driver for the criminal underworld is targeted for execution after a bungled heist. Carey Mulligan co-stars as a young mother who is caught in the crossfire. Albert Brooks is the murderous mob boss on their trail. R 100 min. **** (Wire review) (FT)

The Help. Set in Mississippi during the 1960s, Emma Stone stars as a southern society girl who returns from college determined to become a writer, but turns her friends' lives -- and a small Mississippi town -- upside down when she decides to interview the black women, led by Viola Davis, who have spent their lives taking care of prominent southern families. PG-13 *** 1/2 138 min. (Wire review) (FP, LC, FT, SDI)

Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain. Funnyman Kevin hart is back and starring in the theatrical version of his comedy tour. R *** 89 min. (Wire review) (FP)

Killer Elite. A not-quite-successful attempt at a shoot-'em-up that is brainier than most. Jason Statham, Clive Owen, and Robert De Niro co-star in this fact-based story about a renegade hitman who must rub out three former British secret agents in order to save the life of his mentor. R ** 1/2 100 min. (Wire review) (FP, LC, FT, Fox)

The Lion King 3D. The Disney animated classic returns, only this time it's in your face. G 89 min. (FP, LC, FT)

Moneyball. This adaptation of Michael Lewis' book, about an epiphany by Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), who figures out how to stay competitive in the major leagues under a tight budget, is like The Social Network of baseball. Directed by Bennett Miller (Capote) and written by Steven Zaillian (Schindler's List) and Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network), the film is a triumph on every level: It's the movie of the year. PG-13 **** 126 min. (Baird) (FP, LC, FT)

The Smurfs. Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, Sofia Vergara, and Hank Azaria share the screen with the computer-animated little blue people, who are chased from their village by the evil Gargamel and wind up in our world -- right in the middle of Central Park. The family-friendly film has brains, heart, and style, which will endear it to adults as well as youngsters. PG *** 86 min. (Wire review) (Fox)

Spy Kids: All the Time in the World. A retired spy is called back into action, and to bond with her new step-children, she invites them along for the adventure to stop the evil Timekeeper from taking over the world. PG * 100 min. (Wire review) (Fox)

What's Your Number? Anna Faris is a perpetually single woman revisiting her past 20 relationships, wondering if she let her true love slip away among them. Chris Evans is the next-door neighbor who helps her sort out her romantic woes. You can probably guess what happens next. R * 1/2 106 min. (Wire review) (FP, LC, FT)

Zookeeper. When an animal-loving caretaker (Kevin James) realizes he's more comfortable in the company of a lion than that of a woman, he decides he must make a career change and quits his beloved job. But the animals at the zoo try to get him to change his mind by teaching him the ways of courtship -- jungle style. James may not make audiences believe animals can talk, but with slapstick and sincerity, he makes the film work anyway. PG ** 104 min. (Wire review) (MIT)



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