Director John Lee Hancock’s re-enactment of the famous last stand nicely presents history as rousing action. The film drags a bit in its exposition of the issues that led a raggedy assemblage of 200 men to hole up in the old Spanish mission in San Antonio and fend off a Mexican force 10 times its size for almost two weeks. Yet Hancock has crafted an intriguing dynamic among his heroes, ably led by Billy Bob Thornton as Davy Crockett, Dennis Quaid as Sam Houston, Jason Patric as Jim Bowie and Patrick Wilson as William Travis. Unlike John Wayne’s larger-than-life 1960 version, Hancock’s is an earthy story of decent men who find resolve in a hopeless situation not so much from patriotism as from one another. PG-13 for sustained intense battle sequences. 136 min. Three stars out of four.
– David Germain, AP Movie Writer
‘The Girl Next Door’
Essentially “Risky Business” with porn stars instead of prostitutes, starring good-looking, likable Emile Hirsch in the Tom Cruise role and good-looking, likable Elisha Cuthbert (from “24”) in the Rebecca De Mornay role. She helps him loosen up, he helps her live her past down. And in true teen film fashion, everything ends up at the prom. The two leads are sweet and charming together but the film seriously drags in the middle, even though Timothy Olyphant (in the Joe Pantoliano, Guido-the-Killer-Pimp role) livens things up as a volatile porn producer. Prominent, eclectic soundtrack features songs from The Who, Echo and the Bunnymen and N.E.R.D. R for strong sexual content, language and some drug/alcohol use. 102 min. Two stars out of four.
– Christy Lemire, AP Entertainment Writer
‘Johnson Family Vacation’
Packing all the tired trappings of the raunchy road-trip genre, this loutish comedy plays out as a loosely threaded collection of cliched gags. All the predictable highway hijinks are clumsily tossed in: the crazy hitchhiker, the run-in with the traffic cop, the mishap with a construction crew, the encounter with a mad trucker. Cedric the Entertainer plays an uptight dad who persuades his recently separated wife (Vanessa Williams) to accompany him and their three children (Solange Knowles, Bow Wow and Gabby Soleil) to a family reunion. Steve Harvey co-stars as Cedric’s overbearing brother, and Shannon Elizabeth appears briefly as a wacko hitchhiker. PG-13 for some sexual references, crude humor and brief drug material. 97 min. One and a half stars out of four.
– David Germain, AP Movie Writer
‘The Whole Ten Yards’
It’s only three feet from “The Whole Nine Yards,” but the jokes get stretched so thin in this sequel, it feels more like a mile. The 2000 original wasn’t exactly begging for a follow up – it seemed to wrap itself up in a rather tidy, satisfactory fashion – but it was surprisingly funny in an low-key, film-noir way. Bruce Willis, as a retired hit man, was supremely cool and confident. Matthew Perry, as a dentist who’s his nervous next-door neighbor, allowed the laughs to flow from his often deadpan delivery. And Amanda Peet, as a dental hygienist, was disarming in her perky obsession with becoming an assassin. All that has been scrapped here in favor of broad slapstick and loud, shrill repetitiveness. PG-13 for sexual content, some violence and language. 97 min. One star out of four.
– Christy Lemire, AP Entertainment Writer
‘Ella Enchanted’
Anne Hathaway glows with sweetness and charm as a storybook-world heroine who’s mystically bound to do whatever anyone tells her to do, thanks to an ill-conceived “gift” of obedience from her fairy godmother when she was an infant. Without Hathaway, famous for another fairy tale, “The Princess Diaries,” this jokey revisioning of such bedtime stories would collapse under the weight of its overwhelming attempts at parody. The movie’s mixture of storybook mythology with modern and pop references becomes too much as the story progresses, drawing attention to its own derivativeness. Young girls will be enchanted by “Ella” and Hathaway, but grown-ups will groan as the film tries too hard in nearly every area except special-effects. PG for some crude humor and language. 95 min. Two and a half stars out of four.
– Anthony Breznican, AP Entertainment Writer

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