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Skyline (PG-13)

Universal Studios (Release date: March 22)

A new wave of lo-sci-fi films like District 9 and Cloverfield are creating Transformers-level CGI bombast on relative shoestrings by using no-name actors, controlled sets and technically savvy directors. Skyline slices the mold thinner, limiting the action to a single high-rise apartment complex and reducing plot and character development to the barest outline (which still bests Transformers). It begins with an annoying young couple at a crossroads (Eric Balfour and Scottie Thompson) traveling to Los Angeles to visit a successful boyhood pal (Donald Faison). Without warning, a fleet of gooey, all-powerful, self-replicating aliens descends upon the city to vacuum humankind into their hovering brainsucker-mobiles. No new ground is broken, and the dialogue contains some Syfy channel-worthy howlers, but Skyline is still an amusing, almost-no-nonsense action movie. — Daniel Barnes

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The Bleeding (R)

Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

Wow, where to start? Muscle-bound muscle-car enthusiast and ex-U.S. Army Ranger Shawn Black (Michael Matthias) wakes up from a coma to find his parents have been murdered. With the help of a short-lived DMX and a drunken, profanity-spewing Michael Madsen, he looks for his family's killers, only to discover that his brother (ex-footballer Vinnie Jones), who was killed in action in Afghanistan, has been resurrected as Cain, the Vampire King. Cain, in a bid to take over the world, is running a super-trendy nightclub that doubles as a human butcher shop and is overseen by LA Ink's Kat Von D. Black teams with a random girl and they hijack a semi-truck full of coffins and are led on a Fast and the Furious-esque road war that is insanely exciting. So, in other words, this is a totally awesome, totally stupid, totally fun kitchen-sink horror flick. — Louis Fowler

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A Beautiful Life (NR)

Image Entertainment

The description sounds appealing enough: A teenage runaway and an illegal immigrant fall in love on L.A.'s rough streets. Then, sadly, the credits inform you it's based on a play. Theater pretensions in mind, I know what to expect: badly drawn-out daddy issues, heavy-handed slams at U.S. immigration policies and 90 minutes of pure, grating melodrama. And, boy, it doesn't disappoint! Sickly looking Maggie (Angela Serafyan), the runaway, winds up in the dressing room of a strip club run by the unintelligible Bai Ling and ends up rooming with El Salvadorian dishwasher David (Jesse Garcia). Add in comically inept Eastern European drug lords, painfully dense conversations, abusive men at every corner and an awkward finale with Maggie's dad, and you've got an unintentionally hilarious movie that should've stayed off-off-Broadway, where it could have been ignored. — Louis Fowler


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