Reviews to help you choose for Jan. 31, 2013

Capsule reviews of films now playing in area theaters:RATINGS: * * * * : Excellent; * * * : Good; * * : Fair; * : Poor

January 30, 2013 

BROKEN CITY * * * . Mark Wahlberg is a tainted cop-turned-P.I. and Russell Crowe is the mayor of New York, suspecting his wife (Catherine Zita-Jones) of having an affair, in Allen Hughes’ taut, tough, satisyingly noirish thriller about power, politics and corruption. 1 hr. 49 R (violence, profanity, sex, adult themes)

DJANGO UNCHAINED * *  1 /2 . Quentin Tarantino homages Mandingo, spaghetti westerns, blaxploitation, Sam Peckinpah and the Three Stooges, in this all-over-the-place antebellum western. Jamie Foxx gets the title role, a slave promised freedom if he helps a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) track down some mugs. With Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson and Leonard DiCaprio as a plantation owner, twirling his mustache with sinister glee. R (violence, profanity, adult themes)

GANGSTER SQUAD * *  1 / 2. Sean Penn is crime king Mickey Cohen and Josh Brolin is the square-jawed LAPD detective determined to end his reign in this brawny neo-noir. With Emma Stone as Cohen’s moll, Ryan Gosling as a pretty boy cop, and Nick Nolte as the gruff, gravel-voiced police chief. The retro touches are compromised by a contemporary visual style, and Penn’s wild performance isn’t always as menacing as perhaps the actor intended. 1 hr. 50 R (violence, sex, drugs, profanity, adult themes)

THE IMPOSSIBLE * * *  1 / 2. A family caught in the unbelievable carnage of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami — unbelievable, but true — with Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor and the remarkable young actor Tom Holland. A chilling, but thrilling account of survival, visceral and inspiring. 1 hr. 54 PG-13 (violence, profanity, adult themes)

JACK REACHER *  1 / 2. Tom Cruise stars as the hero of Lee Child’s book series about an ex-Army investigator tough guy. In this case, Reacher heads for Pittsburgh to find out who was behind the apparently random murder of five strangers by a sniper. Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins and David Oyelowo also star. 2 hrs. 10 PG-13 (violence, profanity, adult themes)

LES MISERABLES * * * . “The King’s Speech’s” Tom Hooper martials a big cast and big digital effects to bring the big Broadway musical based on Victor Hugo’s big book to the big screen. It’s rousing, it’s roiling, it’s revolutionary (as in post-French Revolution), with Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway leading a pack of mighty-tonsiled stars. 2 hrs. 35 PG-13 (violence, sexual violence, adult themes)

LINCOLN * * *  1 / 2. Daniel Day-Lewis in an act of human alchemy, delivering an absolutely extraordinary performance as the 16th president of the United States, campaigning to end the Civil War and abolish slavery. A film about America’s unique political process, and the leader trying to bend it to his will. 2 hrs. 29 PG-13 (violence, adult themes)

MAMA* * * . An intensely spooky ghost story, with two deeply traumatized young girls discovered in the woods and taken to live with their uncle and aunt (Jessica Chastain) — a move the wraith-like title character is hardly happy about. 1 hr. 40 PG-13 (intense scares, children in jeopardy, adult themes)

PARENTAL GUIDANCE * * * . Billy Crystal and Bette Midler anchor this engaging comedy that bridges multiple generation gaps. Made with more heart than art by director Andy Fickman, the film also features Marisa Tomei. 1 hr. 44 PG (one instance of below-the-belt humor)

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK * * * * . A head-spinning wonder of a movie about love, pain, reinvention, rehabilitation and the totemic power of an NFL franchise, with Bradley Cooper as a guy dealing with bipolar disorder and heartbreak, Jennifer Lawrence as a young widow with her own troubles and woe, and with an amazing supporting cast. From director David O. Russell, based on Matthew Quick’s novel. 2 hrs. 02 R (profanity, sex, drugs, violence, adult themes)

SKYFALL* * * . The 23d Bond film, and the third with Daniel Craig as the steely 007, takes a veddy British turn, even if it starts in Istanbul and hopscotches across the Pacific. Javier Bardem is the fey and psycho (and not terribly interesting) villain and Judi Dench is back, and bristling, as M. There’s a new young Q (Ben Whishaw) pleased with himself, and there’s a fussy parliamentarian (Ralph Fiennes) displeased with MI6’s security lapses. Berenice Marlohe is the exotic Bond girl, Naomie Harris the empowered one. Great action, and a bit of Bond backstory, too. PG-13 (violence, intense action, profanity, adult themes)

ZERO DARK THIRTY * * * * . Kathryn Bigelow’s slow-burning and brilliant account of the decade-long Osama bin Laden manhunt, with Jessica Chastain as the CIA officer determined to track the al-Qaeda figure down, no matter what. With Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Ehle, Joel Edgerton and Mark Strong. 2 hrs. 37 R (intense violence, profanity, adult themes)

Compiled by MCT

Compiled by MCT

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