Recently reviewed films now playing in metro area theaters.
· American Violet (PG-13) A fact-based story of a single mother from rural Texas who was unjustly charged with drug crimes in 2000 and with some help from the ACLU, sued the local DA for racial profiling. Well intended, the movie suffers from made-for-TV mediocrity. 2 stars - Michael Clark
· 17 Again (PG-13) Heartthrob Zac Efron proved there's life after "High School Musical" in this weak comedy fantasy retread. Efron and Matthew Perry play young and old versions of the same guy trying to repair a crumbling marriage and righting the course of two teens. 2 stars - MC
· State of Play (PG-13) As much a commentary on the current condition of the newspaper industry as a political thriller, director Kevin MacDonald's slick but earthy drama delivers a huge plot gaffe in the third act but is saved by crack performances from its all-star cast. 3 stars - MC
· Fast & Furious (PG-13) Predictably cleaning-up at the box-office opening weekend, this fourth installment of the action franchise is surprisingly low on muscle cars, but high on half-naked women and the kind of insipid acting that would make a daytime soap star cringe. 1 star - MC
· Hannah Montana: The Movie (G) Pop sensation Miley Cyrus, aka Hannah Montana, produces a live-action venture as thin and unimaginative as you might expect. But it's exactly what her teenybopper/bubblegum fan-base wants. 2 stars - MC
· Monsters vs. Aliens (PG) Long on eye-popping visuals but short on anything resembling an engaging plot, this animated 3-D sci-fi comedy is all flash with no substance. Fans of cheesy '50s B movies will appreciate the obscure references and the kiddies will be entranced, if only momentarily. 2 stars - MC
· Moscow, Belgium (NR) For 90 minutes, this winsome art house romantic dramedy hits on all cylinders only to have the wheels fall off with the final payoff. A 40-something housewife whose husband has just left her and her children becomes the object of desire of a trucker 10 years her junior. 2 stars - MC
· Observe and Report (R) The officially overexposed Seth Rogen breaks bad as a psychotic mall cop obsessed with stuck up girls, guns and his own easily-bruised ego. Filmmaker Jody Hill tries to mix pitch-black comedy with traditional romantic devices, which results in an atmospheric train wreck.
2 stars - MC