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Articles by Mark Burns

An upstart horse owner rocks the racing world in this capable equine sports drama.

Penny (Diane Lane: Nights in Rodanthe) is a Denver housewife returned to the family’s Virginia horse farm by her mother’s death. She means to stay just long enough to set the stables in order. But Penny’s equestrian id returns full force, and her passion flares when she’s gifted with the prize foal that will become Secretariat. She’s hooked....

Harvard alums battle for ownership of a legacy in this smart Silicon Valley pastiche.

Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg: Zombieland) is a socially stunted Harvard sophomore. Just dumped by his girlfriend, he gets drunk, lashes out in a blog, hacks for photos of Ivy League co-eds and creates a hotness rating website that crashes Harvard’s network. The misadventure stirs up trouble but also catches the attention of alpha twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (both Armie Hammer: Spring Breakdown), who recruit him into developing their own dating website....

Owls battle and soar in this beautiful tangle.

Soren (Jim Sturgess: 21) is a young barn owl from the forest of Tyto. The dreamer is just learning to spread his wings when he and his brother are kidnapped by agents of the Pure Ones, an evil flock of hawkish owls who snatch owlets for conscripts. It’s up to Soren, bolstered by bedtime stories about legendary heroes, to escape brainwashing and fly to the Guardians of Ga’Hoole to mount a rescue....

A criminal family falls to shambles around the ears of a shell-shocked teen in this smart and bruising drama.

Joshua (newcomer James Frecheville) is a 17-year-old at the seam of the Melbourne underworld. When his mother died, he moved in with his uncles, a trio of criminals led by eldest Pope (Ben Mendelsohn: Knowing). It’s not a very happy place to be....

An exorcist heads to the sticks to wrestle evil and his own crisis of faith in this smart and trim chiller.

Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian: TV’s Big Love) is palling around with a couple documentarians to film his confessional. The fast-talking evangelical minister from Baton Rouge is a sleight-of-hand exorcist standing on shaky faith, and he means to expose his own con by documenting one of his so-called exorcisms....

An accidental sperm donor awakens to love by bizarre circumstances in this entertaining but run-of-the-mill romantic comedy.

Kassie (Jennifer Aniston: The Bounty Hunter) needs a kid, and neurotic best friend Wally (Jason Bateman: Couples Retreat) looks on jealously as she searches for a donor. Soon enough he’s a liquored-up mope at the conception party, where she will administer Roland’s (Patrick Wilson: The A Team) sample....

A bunch of knuckleheads clunk their coconuts together unto fiery concussion in this wreck of an action flick.

Barney (Sylvester Stallone: Rambo) is a mercenary who’s just gotten back from killing Somali pirates for a shipping company when he gets a new lead. Some banana republic general is stirring up trouble with his small army, and Bruce Willis wants either Barney or Arnold Schwarzenegger to take him out. Not to dinner at Planet Hollywood, either. Barney accepts the apparent suicide mission and musters his mercs.

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Zac Efron squints into golden sunlight amid the trappings of a tragic heartthrob in this canned spiritual weeper.

Charlie (Efron: High School Musical) was the golden boy of his small coastal sailing town until his little brother Sam (Charlie Tahan: Nights in Rodanthe) died in an accident. Now Charlie, once a champion sailor, is moored at the local cemetery as groundskeeper. He lives only for sunsets, when he can meet up with his little brother’s spirit in a nearby glade and play catch....

A femme fatale wreaks havoc in this quick bruiser

CIA agent Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie: Wanted) is just leaving her spy office for an anniversary dinner with hubby when a Russian defector appears out of nowhere and spoils her bliss. In the interrogation room, he claims she’s a Russian operative who intends to kill the Russian president during a state visit....

Bumbling villainy meets willful cuteness in this smart and charming cartoon.

Mastermind of villainy Gru (Steve Carell: Date Night) is annoyed when some new bad guy on the scene steals his villainous thunder. To climb back on top he aims to steal the moon, and all that’s missing from his master plan is one critical piece. To get at it he adopts three little orphan girls: Margo, Edith and Agnes....