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Film Clips: Oct. 30

Oct. 30, 2013
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Ender’s Game PG-13

In the near future, pubescent Andrew “Ender” Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) is recruited to Battle School where he and other kids are trained to fight against a hostile extraterrestrial race known as Formics. Col. Graff (Harrison Ford) commands an army of child warriors “because children make leaps of logic and intuition that adults can’t follow.” Fleet Commander Rackham (Ben Kingsley) doesn’t like it, but he oversees the youngsters’ combat training in Earth’s orbit, where a rotating, fluorescent simulator allows the kids to learn the craft in weightless conditions. Competition among squads is harsh, but Ender’s crew includes pretty Petra (Hailee Steinfeld) in addition to Ender’s empathetic sister (Abigail Breslin). Adapted from the 1985 young adult novel by Orson Scott Card, the story’s unlikely protagonist and futuristic setting have already captured many a young imagination. (Lisa Miller)


Free Birds PG

A pair of adventurous turkeys (Woody Harrelson, Owen Wilson) time-travel back to 1621—and the original Thanksgiving—in an effort to save their species from becoming a holiday staple food. Too bad the film overlooks that first Thanksgiving menu of venison, berries and Indian maize. On the bright side, who could resist teaming Wilson and Harrelson as sarcastic birds from opposite sides of the tracks? Not only must our turkey heroes persuade humans to reconsider the Thanksgiving menu, the birds also encounter hostile Indian turkeys decked out in fine-feathered headdresses. It remains to be seen whether audiences will “gobble-gobble” this one up or simply find it distasteful. (L.M.)


Last Vegas PG-13

It’s an old Hollywood trick and sometimes it pays off. In this often-funny comedy, a gaggle of instantly recognizable stars—Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline—are given roles allowing them to play off each others’ familiar mannerisms. Unlike Oceans Eleven, it’s not a crime that brings them together but a bachelor party, a blowout in the city that means sin. Last Vegas draws much of its humor from the commonplace maladies and limitations of old age, yet in contrast to all that callow youth around them, the oldsters have a bit of wisdom to impart. The old ones get the last laugh. (David Luhrssen)


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