Box Office

February 05, 2010

Avatar

*** ( 3 STARS)

$31.2

million

$595.7 million

7 weeks

Rated : PG-13

Running time : 2:40

What it's about : A paraplegic ex-Marine (Sam Worthington, above) controls the body of an "avatar," a body of a creature on another planet, and gets caught up in a struggle between the humans and the natives.

Our take : James Cameron has delivered the most-anticipated blend of live-action and motion-capture animation to date, but the story's simplistic.

Edge of Darkness

*** (3 STARS)

$17.2

million

$17.2 million

1 week

Rated : R

Running time : 1:57

What it's about : Mel Gibson (above) plays a Boston homicide detective whose daughter's murder opens the door to a conspiracy.

Our take : It's a pretty good adaptation of the 1985 British TV miniseries; Martin Campbell directed both versions, and the new one benefits from some ripe, cynical invective provided by co-writer William Monahan ("The Departed").

When in Rome

* 1/2 ( 1 1/2 STARS)

$12.3

million

$12.3 million

1 week

Rated : PG-13

Running time : 1:31

What it's about : On a trip to Rome, a lovelorn New Yorker's (Kristen Bell, above) luck changes when she impulsively steals some coins from a reputed fountain of love.

Our take : With a weak fantasy element pilfered from "Three Coins in the Fountain," this movie lacks invention and true magic in the worst way.

Tooth Fairy

* (1 STAR)

$9.9

million

$26.1 million

2 weeks

Rated : PG

Running time : 1:41

What it's about : A bad deed on the part of a tough minor league hockey player (Dwayne Johnson, above) results in an unusual sentence: He must serve one week as a real-life tooth fairy.

Our take : A meager family offering that should be rinsed and spat out.

The Book of Eli

*** ( 3 STARS)

$8.9

million

$74.5 million

3 weeks

Rated : R

Running time : 1:58

What it's about : In a post-apocalyptic future, a lone warrior (Denzel Washington, above) must protect a book that holds the secrets to saving mankind.

Our take : A good, righteously wrathful genre picture. We've been down similar roads before, but the directors work the apocalyptic turf in medium-budget style.

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