- Associated Press - Thursday, February 17, 2011

Capsule reviews of films opening this week:

“I Am Number Four” _ Great, another Chosen One. Director D.J. Caruso’s action tale “I Am Number Four” is mostly familiar stuff, presenting the latest teen outsider coming into possession of his latent superpowers just in time to battle evil forces intent on world chaos. While the filmmakers manage some entertaining fight sequences, they offer a standard-issue gang of heroes backed by a vague, unoriginal mythology about human-looking aliens finding refuge on Earth after their planet is destroyed. Alex Pettyfer has the title role, one of nine youths being hunted down by the destroyers of their own world before the kids develop genetically inherited abilities that could help them defeat the bad guys, who now aim to invade Earth. One character notes that his upbringing was like an endless episode of “The X-Files,” but even weak installments of that show had more creepy chills and clever twists than this. Co-starring Timothy Olyphant, Dianna Agron, Teresa Palmer, Callan McAuliffe and Kevin Durand. PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for brief language. 109 minutes. Two stars out of four.

_ David Germain, AP Movie Writer


“Unknown” _ A couple of years ago, Liam Neeson starred as a former CIA agent in “Taken,” searching for his kidnapped daughter and kicking as much butt as necessary to find her. Now, he’s continuing this fascinating late-career path, remaining in action-star mode as he creeps ever closer to 60. It’s a chilly little thriller about amnesia, mistrust and lost identity, with the kinds of chases and explosions you’ve seen countless times before. Interchangeable Euro baddies lurk in the shadows, seemingly omniscient and omnipresent, waiting to strike. Nothing and no one is what it seems, which makes the unpredictability somewhat more predictable. Still, Neeson’s always-intelligent screen presence, his nuance and gravitas, help elevate “Unknown” beyond its preposterous elements. He gets help from a classy supporting cast, including Frank Langella, Bruno Ganz and Sebastian Koch. And, to be fair, the film from Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra has its suspenseful moments, including the startling, precisely staged taxicab accident that sends Neeson’s character, Dr. Martin Harris, on his dangerous journey. Martin had traveled to Berlin for a scientific conference, but the crash places him in a four-day coma. When he awakens, his wife (January Jones) insists she doesn’t know him and another man (Aidan Quinn) has assumed his identity. Martin seeks help from the cab driver (Diane Kruger) to piece together what happened. PG-13 for some intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sexual content. 106 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.

_ Christy Lemire, AP Movie Critic

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