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Film Clips: Tonight's movie openings and more February 19 2010

According to the movie openings, laughing is sooo last week.

OPENING FRIDAY

BLOOD DONE SIGN MY NAME 2 stars (PG-13) In a rural North Carolina town in 1970, a progressive Methodist minister (Rick Schroder) and a young African-American activist (Nate Parker) agitate for change and social justice after a notorious hate crime. Based on the nonfiction book of the same name, writer-director Jeb Stuart’s docudrama rings true in its portrayal of the lingering effects of Jim Crow and the tensions surrounding a race-based murder trial. Unfortunately, made-for-TV-style restraint muffles the film’s potential impact and the two protagonists spend much of the time as spectators to the action. — Curt Holman

CREATION ( PG-13 ) Charles Darwin is having a banner year. February 2009 marked his 200th birthday, while On the Origin of Species celebrated its 150th anniversary last November. Now U.S. audiences have the chance to see Creation, a melodramatic biopic that desperately tries to inject tension into the story of history’s most controversial evolutionary biologist. — Wyatt Williams

THE OSCAR NOMINATED SHORT FILMS 2010 (NR) The annual collection of the Academy Award nominees for live action and animated shorts feature such uproarious cartoons as the darkly satiric “Logorama” and the latest adventure of Wallace and Gromit, “A Matter of Loaf and Death.” The live-action line-up includes three wrenching shorts about suffering children, most notably India’s “Kavi,” which depicts the physical and psychological abuse of a boy effectively enslaved at a brick factory. The Napoleon Dynamite-style Swedish comedy “Instead of Abracadabra” comes as a major relief. —Holman