The premise of The Book Of Eli (Warner Bros.) may sound like boilerplate Christian apocalypse material—a lone warrior (Denzel Washington) kicking ass across a scorched, lawless hellscape, Bible in hand—but the film proves more complicated and ambiguous than it first appears. Though directors Albert and Allen Hughes borrow liberally from a few superior sources—Yojimbo, The Road Warrior, and A Boy And His Dog, to name the three most prominent—they make the surprising point that the power of the Good Book can be harnessed to less-than-noble ends…

Though it owes more than a little to Errol Morris’ The Fog Of War, Chris Smith’s Collapse (MPI) is an equally intense, riveting portrait of Michael Ruppert, an ex-cop and journalist who believes “peak oil,” that point where oil consumption exceeds supply, will spell doom for the planet. By letting Ruppert relay his theory through his own words, via an extended monologue interrupted only by the occasional question, the film gains a brooding intensity and almost painful intimacy…

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The persistent (and largely accurate) criticism of Michael Cera is that he’s bound by his shtick: the slack expression, the mumbled asides, the self-doubt, etc. In the quirky teen comedy Youth In Revolt (Sony), Cera gets to stretch a bit, playing both a sensitive, bookish boy (a fan of foreign films and Frank Sinatra) and his ice-cool “Let’s fuck shit up!” alter ego. It's a kick to see him playing a rogue, doing random damage while speaking in deep, controlled tones…

Even by the low, low standards of programmatic, gimmicky high-concept romantic comedies, When In Rome (Buena Vista) is a twinkly, perky, bouncy pain in the ass. Kristen Bell strains to project charming sweetness while playing the thankless role of a loveless workaholic who takes some coins from a magical fountain and winds up pursued by four awful suitors; meanwhile, those suitors (Will Arnett, Jon Heder, Dax Shepard, and Danny DeVito) strain to be as obnoxious and one-dimensional as possible. In the end, one of them thanks Bell for teaching him to believe in love again, but most people will meet this hideously shallow attempt at comedy with rank disbelief in love instead.

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