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Due next week

"Paul Blart: Mall Cop" — Kevin James stars as a fat schlub who transforms himself into an action hero during a hostage situation at a New Jersey mall. Slam-bam slapstick, preposterous, funny, using a Segway like a NASCAR winner. Rated PG for some violence, mild crude and suggestive humor, and language. Three stars.

"Valkyrie" — A meticulous thriller about a conspiracy within the German army to assassinate Hitler. Tom Cruise is perfectly satisfactory in the leading role, as Col. Claus von Stauffenberg, and a good supporting cast includes standout performances by Kenneth Branagh and Tom Wilkinson. If the film lacks high-octane excitement, that’s partly because we know the plot failed, partly because veteran officers of the high command school themselves not to betray emotions. Rated PG-13 for violence and brief strong language. Three stars.

Recentely released

"Taken" — Liam Neeson plays a semi-retired CIA man whose daughter is kidnapped in Paris by traffickers in human bodies. Turning into a preposterously versatile one-man killing machine, he determines to track her down and save her from a fate worse than death, followed by death. If you can’t wait for the next Bourne thriller, you don’t have to. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, disturbing thematic material, sexual content, some drug references and language. Two and a half stars.

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Reviews by Roger Ebert.

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