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Alan Ladd

'Cowboys & Aliens': Round up the popcorn posse

'Cowboys & Aliens': Round up the popcorn posse

When the western and science fiction genres meld in "Cowboys & Aliens," the entertaining result makes the Wild West seem even wilder. It's a wildly preposterous movie, which is exactly what makes it ideal for summertime viewing in an air-conditioned theater. The wacky premise about aliens landing in New Mexico circa 1875 might lead you to expect that the tone will be one of campy excess, but the movie generally plays it relatively straight. Besides mining the movie's graphic novel source, director Jon Favreau and a squadron of five screenwriters have done their genre homework. Incorporating influences that range from "The Searchers" to, umm,...