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Apocalypto (R)

Director: Mel Gibson. With Rudy Youngblood, Dalia Hernandez. (138 min.)

Set during the last gasp of Mayan civilization before the Spaniards arrived, this latest bloodfest from director/co-writer Mel Gibson is one long chase scene: A young man (Youngblood) flees his captors to try to avoid becoming a human sacrifice.The tooth and claw dramaturgy initially is gripping but soon becomes wearisome, and the violence is excruciatingly graphic. Gibson is never content to show us just one or two decapitated heads bouncing down the steps of a temple when he can show us eight or nine. The actors speak Mayan, or something, and the film is subtitled. It's difficult to imagine the target audience for this film. Gangbangers, perhaps? Grade: C+

Sex/Nudity: 3 instances of innuendo and many instances of nudity. Violence: 24 scenes, mostly exceptionally gory. Profanity: 1 strong expression. Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: None.

Off the Black (R)

Director: James Ponsoldt. With Trevor Morgan, Nick Nolte. (90 min.)

Nick Nolte plays a high school baseball umpire who mentors a lost teenager (Morgan) in this skimpy indie written and directed by James Ponsoldt. The boy needs a father figure and, it turns out, the umpire needs the boy to pretend to be his son at his upcoming 40th high school reunion. Playing a cantankerous, beer-swigging human wreck of a man for the umpteenth time, Nolte is very good but very familiar. Grade: C+

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