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Youth Without Youth, more

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10,000 B.C. Approaching 10,000 B.C., it's reasonable to wonder if it will turn out to be one of those long-time-ago movies in which the characters will grunt and growl their way through the entire film. Instead, it proves to be one chatty affair, with the majority of the players communicating via perfectly enunciated English. There would be no harm, no foul in this approach if these folks had anything worth saying, but this turns out to be so crammed with dull and insipid dialogue that it's a shame auditoriums don't come equipped with "mute" buttons next to the seat cupholders. Playing like a cross between Mel Gibson's Apocalypto and the fanboy fave 300, this empty-headed spectacle centers on a young man named D'Leh (Steven Strait), whose bland, pretty-boy countenance makes him a precursor to Malibu Ken (if surfboards had been around in 10,000 B.C., you can bet D'Leh would have been out searching for the perfect wave). D'Leh passes the time by flirting with Evolet (blank slate Camilla Belle), whose heavy eye mascara never gets smeared even after she's been shedding copious tears (who knew Maybelline existed as far back as 10,000 B.C.?). At any rate, Evolet gets snatched by marauders, and it's up to D'Leh to rescue her. During the course of the adventure, he befriends a tribal leader (Joel Virgel), bonds with a cuddly CGI saber-toothed tiger, and takes advice from a sagacious blind man who's brought up on a slab from beneath the surface, where he has spent countless years cooped up in cramped quarters with nothing to keep him entertained. After spending two hours in a darkened theater watching 10,000 B.C., I could relate. *1/2

VANTAGE POINT Imagine the TV hit 24 crossed with Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon, and you'll get some idea of what to expect from Vantage Point, a dizzying thriller that relates the same catastrophic event from several different POVs. In Salamanca, Spain, American President Ashton (William Hurt), on the verge of making a speech concerning the War on Terror, becomes the target of an assassination attempt, and various occurrences that take place immediately before and after the shooting are filtered through the actions of several participants and witnesses. Chief among these characters are Secret Service agent Thomas Barnes (Dennis Quaid), who stopped an assassin's bullet during a prior attempt on the president's life; Barnes' fellow bodyguard, Kent Taylor (Matthew Fox); Howard Lewis (Forest Whitaker), an American tourist who catches some startling images with his camcorder; and Rex Brooks (Sigourney Weaver), a TV producer whose own newsreel footage might help Barnes crack the case. By splintering the material in such a fashion, writer Barry Levy has added some snap, crackle and pop to what would otherwise be a routine action film had it been presented in chronological order. Even so, director Pete Travis can't keep the momentum going for the entire 90 minutes, with the final act marred by a ludicrous plot twist as well as an endless car chase that drains away much of the narrative tension. **1/2


MARRIED LIFE: Pierce Brosnan, Rachel McAdams.

RUN FAT BOY RUN: Simon Pegg, Thandie Newton.

STOP-LOSS: Ryan Phillippe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

SUPERHERO MOVIE: Leslie Nielsen, Drake Bell.

21: Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth.

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