Capsule reviews of recently released films 

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(500) DAYS OF SUMMER 2 stars (PG-13) Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a hapless would-be architect who falls for free-spirited Summer (Zooey Deschanel), despite her aversion to emotionally committed relationships. Quirky to a fault but nicely acted by Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel, the film offers a fresh substitute for cookie-cutter rom-coms, but Woody Allen brought more insight to scrambled chronology and surreal set-ups in Annie Hall. Summer would be on stronger ground if it offered a strong female perspective to balance Gordon-Levitt’s character. — Holman


EXTRACT
(R) “Arrested Development’s” Jason Bateman plays Joel, owner of a beverage company called Reynold’s Extract, who juggles a corporate buyout, a personal injury lawsuit, a sexually disinterested wife (Kristen Wiig), a manipulative hottie (Mila Kunis) and the occasional horse tranquilizer. Mike Judge, who previously helmed the cult hits Office Space and Idiocracy, tends to be kind of half-assed with plot and structure, but deserves employee of the month for his hilarious, quotable dialogue and work with actors including Ben Affleck, J.K. Simmons and David Koechner, and Gene Simmons in a hilarious cameo as a personal injury lawyer with unbelievable helmet-hair. — Holman

FOOD, INC. 4 stars (PG-13) Director Robert Kenner serves a harrowing sampler’s platter of themes from such recent culinary exposes as Super Size Me, King Corn and the docudrama Fast Food Nation. The film offers a devastating portrait of how the admirable goal of cheap, plentiful foodstuffs has had unintended consequences that can harm the health and employability of the American work force, while forcing small farmers out of business. Despite icky food revelations and grim tales of corporate bullying, Food, Inc. includes enough positive examples to hold out hope for the future. — Holman

FUNNY PEOPLE 2 stars (R) In Judd Apatow's third film, Adam Sandler plays a fictionalized version of himself, a stand-up comic-turned-movie star who mentors an aspiring comedian (Seth Rogen) after being diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. Apatow captures life at the top and bottom rungs of Hollywood comedy, from open-mic nights to lame sitcoms to high-concept movies, and Sandler deserves credit for his performance as a self-absorbed jerk. But if you're not already a fan of Sandler's humor, the incessant dick jokes won't convert you, and Apatow somehow stretches the thin plot to two and a half dreary hours. — Holman

G-FORCE (PG) Remember Spy Kids? Think of this as Spy Pets. A highly-trained team of cute fluffy animals, including guinea pigs and a mole, go on espionage missions in this 3-D comedy with such voice talents as Nicolas Cage, Tracy Morgan and Penelope Cruz.

GAMER (R) Gerard Butler stars in this futuristic action-satire in which real humans become unwitting pawns in a violent, multi-player on-line game created by an evil rich guy (“Dexter’s” Michael C. Hall). 

G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA (PG-13) Stephen Sommers, director of the first two Mummy movies, literally turns actors into action figures in this adaptation of Hasbro's G.I. Joe toy franchise. Remember, this draws on its 1980s incarnation, when G.I. Joe is not a person, but an organization that takes on the terrorist group called Cobra.

HALLOWEEN II (R) Laurie Strode struggles to come to terms with her brother Michael's deadly return to Haddonfield, Ill. Meanwhile, Michael prepares for another reunion with his sister.

HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE 4 stars (PG-13) The romantic misadventures of Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his pals Ron and Hermione (Rupert Grint and Emma Watson) distract them from the secret plans of Professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) and Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) to respectively hinder and help the malevolent Lord Voldemort. The sixth Harry Potter film conspicuously lacks the headlong momentum and political metaphors of Order of the Phoenix, director David Yates' previous effort. Between a suspenseful first section and an eventful (if anticlimactic) finale lies a pleasant but draggy stretch primarily about teen hormones and magic charms, but it's all essentially a prelude to the final two films. — Holman

THE HURT LOCKER 5 stars (R) In 2004 Baghdad, two U.S. "bomb techs" (Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty) hope to finish their tour without getting killed by the confident, reckless Sgt. James (Jeremy Renner in a star-making performance). Director Kathryn Bigelow presents the most original and gripping war film since Saving Private Ryan by crafting bomb disposal set pieces that draw the audience's attention as taut as a tripwire. Compared to other Iraq War films, The Hurt Locker  keeps its politics close to the chest,  while exploring the psychological impact war can have on our soldiers' psyches. — Holman

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