Paul Blart: Mall Cop
** (2 STARS)
Running time: 87 minutes
What it's about: Kevin James (above) stars as a fat and clueless security guard who takes on goons that have overrun his New Jersey mall.
Our take: Sure, you'll laugh at times. But you'll feel guilty about it later.
Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans
Running time: 92 minutes
What it's about: This prequel goes back 1,000 years to explain just how those vampires and werewolves (including Rhona Mitra, above) came to loathe one another.
Our take: It's a muddled mix of incomprehensible action sequences and sadism that would make Mel Gibson and Passion of the Christ fans proud.
* 1/2 (1 1/2 STARS)
Running time: 116 minutes
What it's about: An emotionally scarred and bitter Korean War veteran (Clint Eastwood, above) becomes the unlikely defender of the Hmong brother and sister (Bee Vang, Abney Her) who live next door.
Our take: Even for those who've been yearning to see Dirty Harry clean his hands, this movie delivers only the second- and third-hand goods.
Hotel for Dogs
* 1/2 (1 1/2 STARS)
Running time: 100 minutes
What it's about: Thanks to some fairy dust or something, two kids turn an abandoned hotel into a home for every stray dog in town. Of course, the mean old adults want to close it down.
Our take: Save your money by not seeing Hotel for Dogs and buy a cute-dog calendar; it'll prove a lot more endearing, certainly a lot less cloying.
**** (4 STARS)
Running time: 120 minutes
What it's about: The unlikeliest epic hero ever: a ragamuffin (Dev Patel, above, with Freida Pinto) in Mumbai who becomes a contender on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
Our take: Director Danny Boyle outdoes himself with a blend of hair-raising social melodrama, earthy humor and mystic adventure. The result is a Dickensian extravaganza.
** 1/2 (2 1/2 STARS)
Running time: 101 minutes
What it's about: An isolated community becomes the target of a killer. He chops his way through young and old while local law enforcement officials show up just in time to crack bad jokes about the victims. The film stars Jensen Ackles (above).
Our take: With first-rate 3-D effects, the gory slasher film not only pays a proper homage to the 1981 original, but kicks it up about 1,000 notches.