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 New Warnings From Obama as Qaddafi Forces Attack Again
By KAREEM FAHIM

 

Published: March 7, 2011

AL UQAYLAH, Libya — Government forces began a new air attack on rebels on Monday in the coastal town of Ras Lanuf, where they had withdrawn after Sunday’s assaults, as President Obama again warned that the West was considering all its options in Libya, including possible military intervention.
The rebel forces were seeking to regroup but needed reinforcements, Mohamad Samir, an army colonel fighting with the rebels, told The Associated Press.
The rebels have said they would welcome Western help in the form of a no-fly zone, and President Obama said Monday that the United States was conferring with its NATO allies about possible military action. “We’ve got NATO as we speak consulting in Brussels around a wide range of potential options, including potential military options, in response to the violence that continues to take place inside of Libya,” he said.
On Monday RIA Novosti reported that the Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, said Moscow was against any form of foreign intervention in Libya, casting doubt on United Nations-backed action. But Russia is not a member of NATO.
Mr. Obama also had a warning for high-ranking Qaddafi loyalists. “I want to send a very clear message to those who are around Colonel Qaddafi,” he said at the White House, after a meeting with Australia’s prime minister, Julia Gillard. “It is their choice to make how they operate moving forward and they will be held accountable for whatever violence continues to take place there.”
On Sunday, troops loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi attacked rebel troops in the coastal town of Bin Jawwad using tanks, helicopters and fighter planes, and pushed them east, stalling, for the moment, hopes by the antigovernment fighters of a steady march toward Tripoli.
That attack began at about 9 a.m. on Sunday, said rebel fighters, who had to retreat down the main coastal road under a barrage of artillery shells, missiles and sniper bullets. Outgunned, the rebels fanned out in the desert and fought back, only to be forced to retreat again.
By 9 p.m., the road east from the city was full of fleeing rebel cars, including several pickup trucks mounted with heavy weapons. More than a dozen ambulances, ferrying wounded and dead rebel fighters, sped toward a hospital in a nearby town. Ambulance drivers and doctors said at least 10 people had been killed, though they expected that number to rise once they were able to reach Bin Jawwad.
A journalist for France24 television was wounded during the fighting, according to a photographer who saw him at a local hospital.
Outside of nearby Ras Lanuf, weary fighters gathered at gas stations, drank milk distributed by volunteers and tore at loaves of bread. Mahmoud Bilkhair, an army second lieutenant fighting with the rebels, sat in his car with other fighters, exhausted and staring out the window.
“We’re trying,” he said. “We’re not advancing. We can’t do anything about it.” But he and other fighters said they would regroup and return to Bin Jawwad.
The rebel defeat, just a day after they celebrated a major victory in taking the oil port at Ras Lanuf, fit into the emerging, grueling rhythm of a conflict where the combatants claim no clear advantage and fight, repeatedly, over a handful of prizes.
In the east, the rebels, full of enthusiasm but short on training and organization, are trying to capture Surt, a stronghold of Colonel Qaddafi that blocks the rebel path to Tripoli. They are also fighting to hold onto the city of Zawiyah, west of Tripoli, where they have accused the loyalists of committing a massacre.
Government troops, having ceded large, strategic parts of the country in recent days, are better armed but still on the defensive as they try to undo rebel gains.
The standoff in Zawiyah continued there on Sunday, a day after forces loyal to Colonel Qaddafi waged a heavy assault toward the city center, then pulled back to close off all roads out.
Rebels in nearby towns said mobile phone service to Zawiyah had been cut off completely and landline service was intermittent, making it hard to gather information. Secondhand reports through rebel networks on Sunday indicated Libyan Army tanks had once again moved into the center of the town.
A correspondent for the British television program Sky News — the only news organization present in Zawiyah for the height of the battle on Friday — reported Monday in a British newspaper on what appeared to be a massacre. He said he had watched Qaddafi snipers killing residents at a funeral, a column of 25 tanks shelling the town for three hours and a young rebel boy learning how to fire rocket propelled grenade in defense. The correspondent, Alex Crawford, said Qaddafi forces had shot at an ambulance he was riding in.
In a second attack Saturday morning, Mr. Crawford reported that government soldiers were firing randomly into buildings. “There were horrific injuries,” Mr. Crawford wrote. “A boy of 10 was hit by several bullets outside his house. One young man came in with an antitank grenade in his thigh, the fins sticking out. He was still conscious.”

 http://features.metacritic.com/features/2011/february-best-new-music/

February’s Best New Music

by Jason Dietz, Metacritic Features EditorMarch 1, 2011

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by Jason Dietz, Metacritic Features Editor March 1, 2011
The best albums released last month

Below, we look at the past month’s best-reviewed releases. For each album below, we list the percentages of "great" critic reviews (with an individual critic score above 80), "good" critic reviews (61-80), "mixed" reviews (40-60), and "bad" reviews (below 40).

 

Let England Shake 88 (Island)
by PJ Harvey

Image

 

Critic Review Distribution:
Great bar 21
Good bar 11
Mixed bar 3
Bad 0

The English rocker’s best album in a decade is a much more musically varied affair than her piano-driven 2007 album White Chalk, and its dozen songs are loosely united by lyrics dealing with England at war.

"The Words That Maketh Murder"

What the critics are saying: So far, Let England Shake has received nine "perfect" 100 reviews, and has been mentioned as a potential album of the year candidate. Critics find that it isn’t very much like Harvey’s previous work, and though the music might be "muted," it is still "gorgeous," and the occasionally "disturbing" lyrics supply any power the music might lack. A few reviewers, however, find the album a little too restrained.

Also by this artist:
Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea 2000 88
White Chalk 2007 80
Uh Huh Her 2004 79
The Peel Sessions 1991-2004 2006 77

Ravedeath, 1972 86 (Kranky)
by Tim Hecker

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Critic Review Distribution:
Great bar 3
Good bar 7
Mixed 0
Bad 0

The Canadian’s sixth set of abstract, dark, ambient electronica consists of three multi-part compositions supplemented by several stand-alone tracks. The semi-improvised album was recorded in an abandoned Icelandic church.

"Hatred of Music I"

What the critics are saying: One Thirty BPM admires that Hecker’s "characteristic mastery of restraint" can produce "unsuspected depth," while Pitchfork appreciates the album’s blend of organic and studio-processed sounds. The reviews are filled with words like "dark," "claustrophobic," "disturbed," and "decay." If there’s anything lacking, it’s a dramatic, unifying concept like that of his prior album, An Imaginary Country.

Also by this artist:
An Imaginary Country 2009 79

We’re New Here 84 (XL Recordings)
by Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx

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Critic Review Distribution:
Great bar 4
Good bar 10
Mixed bar 1
Bad 0

Soul singer Gil Scott-Heron’s 2010 minimalist comeback album I’m New Here is remixed in its entirety by Jamie Smith of The xx, resulting in a completely new record; only the vocals are shared with the original.

"Running"

What the critics are saying: Many critics are quick to point out that We’re New Here isn’t your typical remix album; it sounds like a brand-new, "focused" and "cohesive" collaboration between two artists (even though the pair didn’t actually work together in person), rather than a disjointed collection of retreads. Less enthusiastic reviewers like NME admit that it "isn’t exactly groundbreaking" — while The Independent doesn’t seem to appreciate Jamie Smith’s beats — but most critics are fond of the new approach.

Also by this artist:
I’m New Here 2010 78

James Blake 83 (Atlas Recordings)
by James Blake

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Critic Review Distribution:
Great bar 10
Good bar 13
Mixed bar 5
Bad 0

The 22-year-old London-based dubstep artist follows his acclaimed 2010 EPs The Bells Sketch, CMYK, and Klavierwerke with this debut full-length album, which includes a cover of Feist’s "Limit to Your Love."

"Wilhelm Scream"

What the critics are saying: One of the buzziest new artists of the past year, Blake had a lot to live up to on his debut album, and he mostly delivers, according to critics. Not everyone is a fan; songwriting quality (most notably, a lack of good lyrics) is an issue for some reviewers, others complain of some filler, and Drowned in Sound warns, "The James Blake croon, unaltered, is surely going to prove divisive, for some likely a dealbreaker." But other critics find the self-titled disc to be an album of the year candidate. Pitchfork is among the album’s major champions, praising not just Blake’s songs but also his production and playing, resulting in "gorgeous, indelible tunes that are as generous in content as they are restrained in delivery." And The Guardian finds much of the album "spellbinding" and refreshingly weird and unpredictable.

Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light, Vol. 1 82 (Southern Lord)
by Earth

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Critic Review Distribution:
Great bar 2
Good bar 8
Mixed bar 2
Bad 0

The Seattle drone-rock band returns with its sixth album (it will be followed by a second volume next year) of lengthy, heavy, slow-paced instrumental tracks, which feature the band’s new members Lori Goldston (cello) and Karl Blau (bass).

"Old Black"

What the critics are saying: All Music Guide finds the album continuing the band’s evolution into more atmospheric music, and praises the disc’s "sinister" yet "seductive" and "elegantly detailed" sound; The Guardian, meanwhile, declares the album Earth’s best yet. Other critics also feel that the new album is both more accessible and roomier than past outings, though Pop Matters and Dusted counter that the sound hasn’t changed quite enough, and that Earth may have reached the limits of what they can achieve.

The King of Limbs 82 (Ticker Tape)
by Radiohead

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Critic Review Distribution:
Great bar 7
Good bar 16
Mixed bar 3
Bad 0

Self-released by the band via digital distribution (a CD will arrive next month) with little advance notice, Radiohead’s electronics-heavy eighth album is their shortest LP yet, clocking in at just eight tracks and 37 minutes. Nigel Godrich again produces.

"Lotus Flower"

What the critics are saying: While initial reviews — posted just hours after the album became available — were glowing, the hype has died down a bit, with the album now scoring below the band’s previous two releases with both critics and users. Few critics find Limbs to be anything less than enjoyable, but just as few consider it to be groundbreaking, essential, or up to the caliber of past Radiohead albums, and many reviews suggest that there is a bit too much familiarity in the album’s sound. Some critics also note a lack of accessibility or hooks, a bit too much gloomy, and a sense of incompleteness. (It bears repeating that many of these reviews were published so quickly that the critics could not have had much of a chance to listen to and digest the album.)

Also by this artist:
In Rainbows 2007 88
Hail To The Thief 2003 85
Kid A 2000 80
I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings 2001 76
Amnesiac 2001 75

The Magic Place 81 (Asthmatic Kitty)
by Julianna Barwick

Image

 

Critic Review Distribution:
Great bar 2
Good bar 5
Mixed bar 1
Bad 0

The first true LP for the Louisiana-born, Brooklyn-based performer is a hazy, reverb-heavy, minimalist affair, with as much emphasis on vocals than on drone-like instrumentation.

"Prizewinning"

What the critics are saying: Barwick’s ethereal vocals — The Phoenix calls her a "one-woman choir" — are drawing comparisons to the likes of Enya and Julee Cruise, while All Music Guide admires her expanded instrumentation compared to her previous shorter releases.

Also by this artist:
Florine [EP] 2009 83

Return to the Ugly Side 81 (Domino)
by Malachai

Image

 

Critic Review Distribution:
Great bar 1
Good bar 5
Mixed bar 1
Bad 0

The Bristol, England duo (previously known as Malakai) follow their debut Ugly Side of Love with this 14-track sophomore set, which combines electronica and trip-hop with traces of British psychedelia and prog-rock.

"Anne"

What the critics are saying: It’s hard to review a Bristol band without making Portishead and Massive Attack comparisons (the former’s Geoff Barrow even contributes to one of the tracks here), and there certainly are plenty in the reviews for Return. Another point the critics agree on is that the band is hard to pin down; Uncut calls the disc "ragged, erratic, but never boring," and other reviews also note a lot of ground covered. Still, for all the genre-hopping, it’s not choppy — Pitchfork calls the album "seamless" and "clearly designed to be experienced as a single piece," though Drowned in Sound faults the album’s structure, and All Music Guide prefers the band’s first album.

Asleep on the Floodplain 81 (Drag City)
by Six Organs of Admittance

Image

 

Critic Review Distribution:
Great 0
Good bar 8
Mixed 0
Bad 0

Album number seven for the psych-folk side project for guitarist Ben Chasny (also of Comets on Fire) is a loose, mostly acoustic, home-recorded affair.

"Hold But Let Go"

What the critics are saying: Many reviewers admire the album’s beauty even if it is less polished than some of Chasny’s recent albums (Pop Matters calls it "earthy and raw"). MusicOMH calls Asleep "warm and intimate," "hypnotic," and "blissful," while Dusted admires its simplicity.

Also by this artist:
School Of The Flower 2005 83
The Sun Awakens 2006 78
RTZ 2009 77
Luminous Night 2009 72
Shelter From The Ash 2007 69
More Good February Albums

Album
Label
Metascore
Live albums and reissues:
Kmag Yoyo (& Other American Stories) by Hayes Carll Lost Highway 80
Shapeshifting by Young Galaxy Paper Bag Records 80
S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT by Akron/Family Dead Oceans Records 80
Yuck by Yuck Fat Possum 80
Bella by Teddy Thompson Verve 79
Smart Flesh by The Low Anthem Nonesuch 79
Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will by Mogwai Sub Pop 78
Underneath the Pine by Toro y Moi Carpark Records 78
Go-Go Boots by Drive-By Truckers ATO 78
Tao of the Dead by …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead Superball Music 77
Party Store by The Dirtbombs In the Red Records 77
Tell Me by Jessica Lea Mayfield Nonesuch 76
Hotel Shampoo by Gruff Rhys Turnstile 76
Faith: Special Edition by George Michael Sony Music 90
Live: The Storyteller by Todd Snider Aimless Records 86

The Metascore is a weighted average of scores from top professional critics, on a scale from 0 (bad) to 100 (good). User scores represent an average of scores assigned by Metacritic.com site visitors on a scale from 0 (bad) to 10 (good). All scores are from March 1, 2011. Albums with fewer than 7 reviews are excluded.

http://features.metacritic.com/features/2011/spring-movie-preview/

Spring Movie Preview: The 20 Most Anticipated Films

by Jason Dietz, Metacritic Features EditorMarch 3, 2011

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by Jason Dietz, Metacritic Features Editor March 3, 2011
Friday, March 11
Battle: Los Angeles Watch Trailer

It has been well over a year since Hollywood has given us a good, action-filled alien invasion movie, and Battle: Los Angeles looks — in the trailers, at least — to be far ahead of last year’s similarly-themed flop Skyline in terms of effects and overall quality. Aaron Eckhart and Michelle Rodriguez are among the humans who must fend off the otherworldly invaders who, like all good movie aliens, have targeted Los Angeles for destruction.

Jane Eyre LIMITED Watch Trailer

Charlotte Brontë’s 1847 novel comes to the big screen for at least the 16th time, with Mia Wasikowska playing the titular character, an independent-minded woman who finds romance while working as a governess at Thornfield House. The cast for director Cary Fukunaga (Sin Nombre) also includes Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, and Judi Dench.

Red Riding Hood Watch Trailer

Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke hopes to appeal to the same audience with this horror movie take on the classic tale of "Little Red Riding Hood." David Leslie Johnson’s (Orphan) script is set during the Middle Ages, where a werewolf has been terrorizing a small town. Oh, and did we mention the hooded heroine Valerie, who — naturally — is torn between two men? Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, and Lukas Haas star.

Also out this week:

Mars Needs Moms is a 3D, motion-capture animated adaptation of Berkeley Breathed’s children’s book … A sequel to the unexceptional 2009 comedy Women in Trouble, Elektra Luxx LIMITED returns stars Carla Gugino and Joseph Gordon-Levitt … The latest drama from Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami (Ten), Certified Copy LIMITED is filled with extended conversations between two art experts, played by Juliette Binoche and William Shimell … Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken, Ray Stevenson, and Vincent D’Onofrio star in Kill the Irishman , which depicts the true story of Cleveland gangster Danny Greene, who was repeatedly targeted by the Mafia.

Friday, March 18
The Lincoln Lawyer Watch Trailer

Matthew McConaughey stars as low-rent Los Angeles defense attorney Mickey Haller, who works out of the back of his Lincoln Continental. When Haller finds himself defending a Beverly Hills playboy accused of murder, he puts his own life in danger. The strong supporting cast for this adaptation of the Michael Connelly best-seller (part of a series of books featuring the Haller character) includes Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, and William H. Macy.

Paul Watch Trailer

Greg Mottola (Superbad) directs this sci-fi comedy about a pair of British geeks (Shaun of the Dead stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) on an American road trip headed to Comic-Con, when they encounter an extraterrestrial named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) who has recently escaped from captivity at Area 51. Pegg and Frost also wrote the script, and expect to recognize a lot of people in the film; Jane Lynch, Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, and Sigourney Weaver all make appearances.

Win Win Watch Trailer

Actor Thomas McCarthy takes another turn behind the camera (as he did to great acclaim for previous directorial efforts The Station Agent and The Visitor) for this dramedy about a struggling attorney and part-time high school wrestling coach (Paul Giamatti) whose life is changed for the better when he and his wife (Amy Ryan) suddenly find themselves caring for a teenage runaway (newcomer Alex Shaffer) — that is, until the boy’s troubled mother shows up.

Also out this week:

In the thriller Limitless, Bradley Cooper plays a struggling writer who is able to tap into the full potential of his brain after getting his hands on a top-secret experimental drug, only to find himself under pursuit and suffering from mysterious side effects … Heartwarming drama The Music Never Stopped LIMITED is based on an Oliver Sacks case study … Based on Sheila Kohler’s novel, the British thriller Cracks LIMITED centers on a group of students at an elite girls boarding school in the 1930s … Hit Dutch drama Winter in Wartime LIMITED is a coming of age tale set during WWII.

Friday, March 25
Sucker Punch Watch Trailer

Known for heavily stylized action films like 300 and Watchmen, director Zack Snyder returns with an original story that combines stylized action with elements of fantasy (dragons!). Set during the 1950s, Sucker Punch centers on Babydoll (Emily Browning), a teenager with a very active imagination who attempts to lead a group escape from the mental institution where she and other girls have been imprisoned. Though the movie may blur the line between dreams and reality, we’re certain that at least some of it will be in slow motion.

Also out this week:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules is a quickly-made sequel to last year’s surprise hit; the new film, also based on a book, finds Greg Heffley entering the seventh grade, where he continues to be tormented by his older brother, Rodrick …. The latest drama from artist/director Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), Miral LIMITED deals with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as it impacts two generations of women at a Jerusalem orphanage … Indie comedy Peep World LIMITED finds a man writing a tell-all book about his family; the ensemble cast includes Michael C. Hall, Sarah Silverman, and Rainn Wilson … The 5th Quarter LIMITED depicts the true story of a Wake Forest football player who leads his team to victory after his younger brother is killed in a car accident … French comedy Potiche LIMITED stars Catherine Deneuve as a sheltered "trophy" wife who suddenly finds herself running her husband’s umbrella factory after he suffers an illness.

Friday, April 1
Source Code Watch Trailer

Director Duncan Jones follows his underrated, low-key 2009 debut Moon with this bigger-budget sci-fi thriller that stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a soldier participating in a government experiment that allows him to re-live the final eight minutes of another man’s life, which he does repeatedly as he attempts to gather clues that might help him prevent a major terrorist attack on Chicago. Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, and Jeffrey Wright also star.

Also out this week:

Oscar-winning foreign language film In a Better World centers on a Danish doctor who works in an African refugee camp and, along with his splintering family, finds himself faced with a choice between revenge and forgiveness … Friends star David Schwimmer directs the dark drama Trust LIMITED, which stars Clive Owen and Catherine Keener as parents dealing with an assault on their teenage daughter by an internet predator … Decidedly less sinister is Hop, the latest animated comedy — dealing with a slacker who accidentally injures the Easter Bunny — from the team behind Despicable Me … The creators of the Saw franchise branch out — a bit — with Insidious, a horror film about a comatose boy whose mind is trapped inside a mysterious realm known as The Further … Meanwhile, the director of some of the Saw sequels helms the torture thriller Mother’s Day (a loose remake of the 1980 Troma cult classic), in which three brothers botch a bank robbery and head for what they believe is their mother’s house, but instead take the home’s current occupants hostage … A more offbeat horror film comes in the form of the French meta-film Rubber LIMITED, in which an abandoned car tire named Robert comes to life for no reason, gains telepathic powers, and starts killing people, while an audience watches a film about the same events … Circo LIMITED is a documentary about a traveling Mexican circus troupe that dates back to the 19th century … Indie comedy Super LIMITED reunites Juno’s Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page — and adds one degree of Kevin Bacon — in a tale of a loser who adopts a crime-fighting superhero alter-ego, despite lacking any actual superpowers.

Friday, April 8
Hanna Watch Trailer

The first action movie from director Joe Wright (Atonement) centers on a teenage girl (Saoirse Ronan), who was raised by her rogue CIA agent father to be a perfect assassin and must now track her first target across Europe while being pursued by a ruthless rival. Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana, and Olivia Williams also star, and the film is soundtracked by the Chemical Brothers.

Meek’s Cutoff LIMITED Watch Trailer

When their wagon train gets waylaid on the Oregon Trail, three frontier families must battle thirst, hunger, and their own instincts in order to survive in the latest drama from writer-director Kelly Reichardt, known for her minimalist approach on critically acclaimed films like Wendy and Lucy and Old Joy. The cast includes Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, and Bruce Greenwood.

Your Highness Watch Trailer

Thanks to a very funny (and a bit dirty) trailer, there’s great buzz behind this unlikely medieval fantasy-comedy spoof from director David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express). Eastbound & Down’s Danny McBride — who co-wrote the script — stars alongside James Franco, Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel, and Justin Theroux.

Also out this week:

A remake of the 1981 Dudley Moore comedy, Arthur stars Russell Brand as an alcoholic playboy who must choose between two women: one who comes with a fortune, and another with whom he’s in love … Labeled by some as the 127 Hours of surfing movies, Soul Surfer tells the true story of surfing champion Bethany Hamilton, who was attacked by a shark while on her board … In the comedy Ceremony LIMITED, Michael Angarano (Almost Famous) falls for an older woman (Uma Thurman) and attempts to break up her wedding to another man … Born to Be Wild is a 3D IMAX documentary about people who rescue orphaned orangutans and elephants … Romantic comedy Henry’s Crime LIMITED stars Keanu Reeves as a man who is falsely accused of robbing a bank and then decides he may as well go ahead and do it after serving time for the crime.

Friday, April 15
Rio Watch Trailer

The latest computer-animated kids film from the team behind the hugely successful Ice Age series follows a domesticated blue macaw who, because he is the last male of his species, is sent to Brazil to mate with a female. While there, both birds are kidnapped, and are forced to survive on their own in the wild. Voices come from Anne Hathaway, George Lopez, and Jesse Eisenberg.

Scream 4 Watch Trailer

Over a decade has passed since the third installment in the Scream series of meta-horror films, and fans seem to have missed it; the new Scream 4 (the first of a planned second trilogy) has a lot of buzz behind it. Stars Neve Campbell, David Arquette, and Courteney Cox return, along with writer Kevin Williamson and director Wes Craven; joining them are new cast members Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Kristen Bell, and Anna Paquin.

Also out this week:

Directed by Robert Redford, The Conspirator centers on the trial of boarding house owner Mary Surratt (Robin Wright Penn), the sole female charged in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln … Atlas Shrugged LIMITED is the first in a planned three-part adaptation of Ayn Rand’s massive Objectivist novel, directed by and — eventually, though not in Part 1 — starring Paul Johansson (One Tree Hill).

Friday, April 22
Apollo 18 Watch Trailer

Produced by Wanted’s Timur Bekmambetov, this low budget sci-fi horror film takes Paranormal Activity’s "found footage" concept and transports it to outer space. Here, the footage comes from Apollo 18, NASA’s final mission to the moon, which in real life was officially canceled and never took place … or was that just a cover-up to hide man’s first encounter with otherworldly life? Also being covered up is the film’s cast, which still has yet to be revealed.

Haywire

The first of two planned 2011 releases for director Steven Soderbergh, the ambitious Haywire is an action thriller with a female protagonist — a black ops agent out for revenge after being double-crossed — played by mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano, who is a relative newcomer to acting. Lem Dobbs, who previously penned The Limey and Kafka for Soderbergh, wrote the script, and the cast also features Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas, and Bill Paxton.

Incendies LIMITED Watch Trailer

A French Canadian drama nominated for a foreign language Oscar, Incendies also impressed audiences at last year’s Telluride festival. The complex narrative, based on Wajdi Mouawad’s stage play Scorched, intercuts two stories in war-torn Lebanon: one about two adult twins who have just uncovered some family secrets, and the other depicting their mother’s life there decades earlier.

POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold LIMITED

The first thing you notice about the latest documentary from Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) is that title, but it’s all part of the joke: an examination of product placement in movies and television, the $1.5 million film has been financed entirely through product placement itself. In fact, much of The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is about The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, following Spurlock as he goes through the process of lining up sponsors and promoting the film. While that may sound overly meta and a bit tedious, the early word on the film (which debuted at Sundance) is that it is extremely entertaining.

Water for Elephants Watch Trailer

Robert Pattinson gets a chance to showcase his dramatic skills as he plays a veterinary student who joins up with a traveling circus and falls in love with the wife (Reese Witherspoon) of the head animal trainer (Christoph Waltz). I Am Legend director Francis Lawrence works from a script by Richard LaGravenese (The Bridges of Madison County), based on Sara Gruen’s novel.

Also out this week:

The Adam Sandler-penned comedy Born to Be a Star stars Nick Swardson as a small-town nerd who discovers that his unassuming parents used to be porn stars, so he sets off to Hollywood to follow in their footsteps…. Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family is self-explanatory … The latest Disneynature wildlife documentary, African Cats plays out like a real-life Lion King, but without all that singing … Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen LIMITED is a Hong Kong martial arts film based on the 1995 version of the TV series Fist of Fury, starring Donnie Yen in the role first popularized by Bruce Lee.

Friday, April 29
13 Assassins

A remake of a 1963 film, this action-filled samurai epic set in 19th century Japan is a change of pace for director Takashi Miike, who is best known for horror films like Audition. Even more notable, however, is the film’s closing battle scene, which clocks in at a whopping 45 minutes of continuous fighting.

Fast Five

The fifth (but not final) Fast and Furious film finds fun in Rio, where fugitives Paul Walker and Vin Diesel are being pursued by legendary lawman Dwayne Johnson. Justin Lin, who directed the two previous installments, returns, and the film will also get an IMAX release.

Also out this week:

Disney’s high school rom-com Prom centers on the big night for a group of students that includes Aimee Teegarden … Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil is a 3D sequel to the 2005 animated adventure; Glenn Close and Patrick Warburton are among the returning voices, with Hayden Panettiere taking over for Anne Hathaway … Werner Herzog’s first 3D film, the documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams LIMITED explores the French caves that contain the world’s oldest-known cave paintings … Brandon Routh plays a paranormal detective in Dylan Dog: Dead of Night LIMITED, based on the Italian comic series.