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The American (R)

Focus Features

Whatever George Clooney's limitations are as an actor, his strongest and most laudable impulse as a star has been to install himself as the reincarnated paragon of 1960s existentialist cool. The American takes that impulse farther than any Clooney vehicle yet (much of the film is just him ordering coffee and moping against scenic backdrops), and many of his fans will probably find it unwatchable. Clooney plays Jack, a terse killer-for-hire who has sacrificed his self-identity for the job — he's a complete cipher from start to finish. After an attempt on his life ends with him shooting his own lover, Jack retreats to a small Italian village to hide out and await his fate. Music video director Anton Corbijn (Control) has made a good-looking film, and there are enough artistic pretensions to pique your interest, but The American is ultimately a vapid and pointless excursion. — Daniel Barnes

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And Soon the Darkness (R)

Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

A so-so remake of a bland (but fondly remembered) 1970 British thriller, Darkness does away with a lot of the original's Hitchcock pretensions in favor of a modern-day xenophobic pseudo-torture-porn feel, à la Hostel or Turistas. The story pits two vacationing sorority types (the bitterly tepid duo of Amber Heard and Odette Yustman) against a town of Argentinians who all seem to be in on a plot to kidnap them and sell them into slavery. There's enough twists and turns to keep things moving, but the two girls are so idiotic in every decision they make that it's more frustrating than suspenseful. Actually, the movie is less about telling a story than it is an excuse to get leering shots of Heard and Yustman in revealing outfits. Warning, horny Redboxers: You'll think it's gonna be better than it really is. — Louis Fowler

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Stonehenge Apocalypse (PG-13)

Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

As the end of the world slowly descends upon mankind, at least we can take comfort in the awesome onslaught of straight-to-DVD sci-fi cheapies made to completely prey upon the inevitable Armageddon-mania to come. Stonehenge Apocalypse is so far the best of the lot — way better than 2012 — because all science-fact is eschewed in one of the goofiest premises to come along in years. Archeologists in Maine uncover an underground chasm filled with ancient Egyptian writings. Simultaneously, the rocks of Stonehenge realign and vaporize a few stock extras. The only person who can help them solve the mystery? An ex-NASA prodigy who currently hosts a Coast 2 Coast-esque radio show and is convinced the site is where a mega-terraforming machine will destroy us all. I honestly hope that, when the end does come, it is exactly like this. — Louis Fowler


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