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New movies for Friday, Jan. 15

Denzel Washington takes a road much-traveled these days in movies — post-apocalyptic quests — in The Book of Eli.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Denzel Washington takes a road much-traveled these days in movies — post-apocalyptic quests — in The Book of Eli.

New movies this week

The Book of Eli

The gist: Our orgy of apocalypse-fetish movies continues with Denzel Washington starring as a man protecting a special book that will save humanity. We're betting it's not a copy of Going Rogue. R

Starring: Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Ray Stevenson, Jennifer Beals, Frances de la Tour, Michael Gambon and Evan Jones.

The buzz: We do loves us some end of days, but they can't all be winners. "Whatever its virtues, Eli is a movie that can't help but suffer in comparison to the much-delayed and much better Road," the Orlando Sentinel says.

The Lovely Bones

The gist: A heartwarming family tale about a girl who is murdered at the onset of the story and watches her family cope with grief and a desire for vengeance from heaven. PG-13

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Michael Imperioli and Saoirse Ronan.

The buzz: Great book, but even Peter Jackson can't make this movie 100-percent perfect. "The filmmakers' evident affection for the book expresses itself as a desperate scramble to include as much of it as possible, which leaves the movie feeling both overcrowded and thin," the New York Times says.

A Single Man

The gist: A life-affirming yarn about a 52-year-old college professor whose life partner dies, so he spends a lot of time with a woman of a certain age and fends off a young student who really digs him. R

Starring: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode, Ginnifer Goodwin and Nicholas Hoult.

The buzz: A bit more heartfelt than The Lovely Bones, and certainly more than The Book of Eli, Colin Firth is truly the star: "The film belongs to Firth. Uncanny at showing the heart crumbling under George's elegant exterior, he gives the performance of his career," Rolling Stone raves.

The Spy Next Door

The gist: A quickie Jackie Chan vehicle about a nerdy neighbor who has to babysit a prospective mate's kids, who find out he's actually an international spy disguised as a doughy kung fu star of yesteryear. PG

Starring: Chan, Madeline Carroll, Alina Foley, George Lopez, Billy Ray Cyrus, Amber Valletta and Katherine Boecher.

The buzz: We would say Jackie should hang it up, but he's been making movies like this his whole life. "Most of The Spy Next Door is pretty tired stuff from Pacifier-style slapstick to comic relief delivered by, of all people, erstwhile country star Billy Ray Cyrus," Entertainment Weekly says.

— Joshua Gillin

Upcoming releases

Jan. 22: Extraordinary Measures; Legion; Tooth Fairy

New movies for Friday, Jan. 15 01/14/10 [Last modified: Thursday, January 14, 2010 7:02pm]
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