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by Jay Bobbin

(NOTICE: Ratings for each film begin with a 'star' rating - one star meaning 'poor,' four meaning 'excellent' - followed by the Motion Picture Association of America rating, and then by a family-viewing guide, the key for which appears below.)

STARTING THIS WEEK: "TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE": Clint Eastwood had said "Gran Torino'' would be his last project as an actor, but he returned to the screen in this wellperformed drama as a baseball scout who's nearing the end of his career. In what likely is his last trip to find new talent for the game, he's reluctantly given a traveling companion ... his longestranged daughter (Amy Adams), a lawyer who realizes this may be her last chance to find common ground with her father. Justin Timberlake plays another scout they cross paths with, in a cast that also includes Matthew Lillard and John Goodman. DVD extra: "making-of'' documentary. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Bluray and Movies on Demand)

"TOTAL RECALL": A remake of the still-very-serviceable Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi adventure is questionable, though this version has all the bells and whistles in special-effects terms. Colin Farrell assumes Schwarzenegger's earlier role, a working man of the future who comes to suspect someone else's memory has been implanted in him. His hunt to uncover the truth soon turns dangerous. The cast also includes Kate Beckinsale - wife of the film's director, Len Wiseman - as well as Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston and Bill Nighy. DVD extras: two "makingof'' documentaries; outtakes. ** (PG-13 and unrated versions: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and Movies on Demand)

"PREMIUM RUSH": Being a bike messenger can be dangerous work, as the character played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt ("Inception'') finds in this fastpaced action tale from director and co-writer David Koepp. The deliveryman's latest parcel contains something a corrupt cop (Michael Shannon, "Boardwalk Empire'') desperately wants, sparking a relentless, well-filmed chase across Manhattan. DVD extras: two "making-of'' documentaries. *** (PG-13: P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and Movies on Demand)

"ARBITRAGE": A showcase for Richard Gere, writer-director Nicholas Jarecki's drama casts the actor as a tycoon anxious to sell off his holdings before his questionable business ethics are exposed. As the process takes unexpected and unwelcome turns, a police detective (Tim Roth) stays doggedly on his trail. Susan Sarandon and Brit Marling play Gere's unsuspecting wife and daughter. DVD extras: two "making-of" documentaries; audio commentary by Jarecki; deleted scenes. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and Movies on Demand)

"RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION": As long as the action movies in this video-gameinspired franchise keep coming, Milla Jovovich never has to worry if she'll work again. She again plays Alice, the heroine fighting the sinister Umbrella Corporation in a futuristic world devastated by a zombie-generated virus. This time, her foes try to eliminate her by converting a friend (Sienna Guillory) into an enemy just as clever and physically adept. Another actress who's not exactly a wallflower, Michelle Rodriguez ("Lost," "The Fast and the Furious"), also appears. DVD extras: "making-of'' documentary; audio commentary by cast and crew; outtakes. *** (R: P, GV) (Also on Blu-ray and Movies on Demand)

"DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOG DAYS": A summer can be very long for a youngster who has no real plans ... and a father who wants him to have some. Such is the plight of young hero Greg, again played by Zachary Gordon, in the third of the family-friendly comedies based on the books by Jeff Kinney. Dad (fellow returnee Steve Zahn) is intent on getting his video-game-loving son out of the house and active. Greg's admiration of a young country club employee (Peyton List) may give him a good alibi. DVD extras: theatrical trailer; audio commentary by director David Bowers; deleted scenes; outtakes; "Class Clown" short subject. *** (PG: AS) (Also on Blu-ray and Movies on Demand)

COMING SOON: "THE WORDS" (Dec. 24): Bradley Cooper plays a creatively stalled writer who finds another author's manuscript, then claims it as his own; Dennis Quaid also stars. (PG-13: AS, P)

"LOOPER" (Dec. 31): A veteran assassin (Bruce Willis) is sent back into the past, where he becomes the target of his younger self (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). (R: AS, P, V)

"HIT & RUN" (Jan. 8): A protected witness (Dax Shepard, also the writer and co-director here) emerges from hiding to drive his girlfriend (Kristen Bell) to a job interview. (R: AS, N, P, V)

"HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET" (Jan. 8): A divorcee and her daughter (Elisabeth Shue, Jennifer Lawrence) move to a neighborhood where a dual murder occurred years before. (PG-13: AS, P, V)

"THE POSSESSION" (Jan. 15): Kyra Sedgwick and Jeffrey Dean Morgan play the parents of a youngster (Natasha Calis) who falls prey to an evil spirit. (PG-13: AS, V)

"TO ROME WITH LOVE" (Jan. 15): Woody Allen's comedy focuses on several love stories in Italy with Alec Baldwin, Penelope Cruz and Allen himself in the cast. (R: AS, P)

FAMILY-VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence.