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ADDICTION INCORPORATED (PG) This documentary reveals how, in 1994, scientist Victor DeNoble became the first whistleblower to reveal the tobacco industrys efforts to manufacture a maximally addictive product. Interviewees include former Philip Morris VP Steven C. Parrish and Jeffrey Wigand, subject of Michael Manns film
5 stars (R) Ralph Fiennes' affinity for playing wrathful, infuriated characters reaches its pinnacle with his contemporary adaptation of a lesser-known Shakespeare play. Fiennes plays a Roman superwarrior whose intensity on the battlefield earns him enemies when he plays politics at home. Fiennes' direction of the script by John Logan (
FRIENDS WITH KIDS 2 stars (R ) A pair of platonic BFFs (Adam Scott and writer/director Jennifer Westfeldt) look at their friends angry marriages and resolve to have a baby together while remaining just friends. Nearly a
JOHN CARTER 2 stars (R ) In this adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs classic sci-fi adventure, Civil War cavalryman turned Arizona prospector John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) finds himself transported to Mars, where he takes up the cause of Martian Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins, whos like a classy Megan Fox) against a vicious warlord (Dominic West). Friday Night Lights Taylor Kitsch brings laid-back charisma to a role that the film cant seem to decide is a tortured hero or a charming rogue.
proves too silly and rushed to work as a respectable fantasy epic, but too heavy and convoluted to achieve pure escapism. Pixars Andrew Stanton delivers astounding visual effects, including the heros ability to make incredible jumps in the Martian gravity, but
IN DARKNESS (NR) One of this years Best Foreign Language Oscar nominees, this Holocaust drama depicts a sewer worker in a Polish city who uses his knowledge of underground tunnels to shelter a group of Jewish fugitives. Director Agnieska Holland helmed another terrific Holocaust-themed movie,
SILENT HOUSE (R) The night Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen, the younger sister of the Olsen twins), and her father visit the family lake house, they hear sinister noises and suspect that they're not alone. Torture, panic, blood and psychological terror ensue. This horror film is shot as a single 88 minute scene.
A THOUSAND WORDS (PG-13) Jerky literary agent Jack McCall (Eddie Murphy) fouls up a deal for a self-help guru, who plants a tree in Jack's back yard. A leaf falls from the tree every time Jack utters a word, and once they're all gone, Jack believes he will die. Sounds like
THE BEYOND (1981) (R) A woman inherits a spooky hotel in Louisiana built over a portal that can bring the dead into the land of the living. One of the most acclaimed films from famed Italian horror director Lucio Fulci.
BONJOUR TRISTESSE (1954) Directed in CinemaScope by Otto Preminger, this drama depicts a young heiress (Jean Seberg) who resolves to break up the relationship between her playboy father (David Niven) and his new flame (Deborah Kerr).
plays host to the largest environmental film festival in North America, when the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, the Georgia River Network, and the Georgia Forest Watch all partner up for a program of "green" films. (Sold out.)
2 stars (R ) Glenn Close has earned an Academy Award Best Actress nomination for playing the title character, a woman passing as male hotel waiter in 19th century Ireland. Closes 30-year dedication to bring the character to the big screen doesnt quite transfer to an engrossing story, although Janet McTeer genuinely earns her supporting actress nomination as another cross-dressing woman who brings masculine swagger to her masquerade. Curt Holman
THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN 2 stars (PG) Young ace reporter Tintin (voiced by Jamie Bell) races bad guys to uncover the secret of lost pirate treasure, with the assistance of his dog Snowy and a boozing sea captain (Andy Serkis). Director Stephen Spielberg clearly enjoys another chance for Indiana Jones-style derring-do, and delights in motion capture animations ability to put his virtual camera anywhere. But for all its cliffhangers,
proves surprisingly dull, and the script doesnt deliver the laughs youd expect from three of the cleverest Brits in show business (Stephen Moffat, Edgar Wright, and Joe Cornish). Curt Holman
ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED (G) When Dave (will he ever learn?) decides its a good idea to take the Chipmunks and their gal pal counterparts, the Chipettes, on a cruise, one-too-many AAAlvin!-related disasters leave them chipwrecked on an island. Separated from Dave after the accident, with only their wits and pop music to sustain them, the survival skills of the Munks and the Ettes are put to the test.
5 stars (PG) In this pitch-perfect recreation of Hollywoods black-and-white silent films, the effortlessly charming Jean Dujardin plays a swashbuckling matinee idol who stubbornly refuses to change his ways when the film industry switches to sound. Even in the films most downbeat moments, director Michel Hazanavicius uses clever visual gags to convey
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 3D (1991) 5 stars (G) The tale as old as time jumps on a trend as new as two years ago with this 3D release. Its still probably the best of the animated films that would fall under the Disney Princess umbrella, with great songs from Alan Mencken and the late Howard Ashman. Holman
BIG MIRACLE (PG) When a family of gray whales become trapped under ice shelf in the Arctic Circle, a small town in Alaska rallies behind a young boy's attempts to save them. A feel-good film starring The Office's Josh Krasinski and Drew Barrymore.
CHRONICLE (PG-13) Three high school boys stumble upon a fallen meteor, and in the process gain superhero-like powers. But when one of the teens begins to abuse his new-found powers, his friends must stop him from destroying everything in his way.
CONTRABAND (R ) Mark Wahlberg stars in this action thriller as Chris Farraday, a former smuggler who has retired from the smuggling game and settled down with his wife in New Orleans. But when his brother-in-law (Caleb Landry) screws up a drug deal, Chris must come out of retirement to save him.
DECLARATION OF WAR (NR) Director Valrie Donzelli and Jrmie Elkam co-wrote and play versions of themselves in this dramedy about a young couple who discover their newborn child is gravely ill and declare war on both the disease and the grim emotions that accompany it. Despite the subject matter, its supposed to be unexpectedly humorous.
THE DESCENDENTS 4 stars (R ) George Clooney positions himself for a Best Actor win as the trustee of a Hawaiian real estate fortune who must step up his parenting skills when a boating accident puts his wife in a coma.
THE DEVIL INSIDE (R) In this documentary-stylized movie, the main character Isabella travels to Italy when her mother is committed to insane asylum after a botched exorcism in which Isabella's mother murders two priests and a nun. In an attempt to discover if she too will go crazy like her mother, Isabella finds herself in her own exorcism fiasco. -Henry Samuels
DRIVE 4 stars (R ) Ryan Gosling delivers a macho star turn as a taciturn Los Angeles mechanic and stunt driver who moonlights as a wheelman for high-risk heists. Quirky Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn won Best Director at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival for this terrific, moody film noir update that has all the L.A. alienation of Sofia Coppolas
DR. SEUSS THE LORAX (PG) In this adaptation of Dr. Seuss' beloved picture book, a young boy tries to woo a girl by bringing a tree to their treeless home, leading to a flashback of how the land lost all of its trees. This comedy's nod towards environmental conservation is balanced out by a hilarious performance from Danny DeVito as the Lorax.
2 stars (PG-13) An obsessive-compulsive boy (Thomas Horn) embarks on a complicated quest across the five boroughs of New York to solve the final game left by his father (Tom Hanks), who died in the fall of the World Trade Center. Max Von Sydow gives a terrific performance as a mute man who becomes the boys companion, but overall the film proves too contrived, too sentimental and much too quirky for its own good. Holman
GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE (PG-13) Nicolas Cage returns as Johnny Blaze, the motorcycle-riding, flaming-skull-headed comic book character, in the second installment in the Ghost Rider series. This time Ghost Rider tries to protect a boy from Satan, with the hopes that his infernal curse will be lifted.
GONE (PG-13) Amanda Seyfried plays Jill, a young woman who suspects that her younger sister taken by the same twisted murderer who kidnapped her two years ago. When the police write Jill off as being crazy and unstable, she takes matters into her own hands to find her sister and stop her former kidnapper before it's too late.
3 stars (R ) Liam Neeson reaffirms his status as the new Chuck Norris in this icy thriller about oil refinery workers fighting wolves in the Alaskan wilds. Director Joe Carnahan delivers a cracking first hour that features a terrifying plane crash and grisly animal attacks, but the films second half slows down considerably to ponder questions of faith and mortality. Neesons sorrowful gravity always serves to take the guilt out of his guilty pleasure action films. Holman
2 stars (R ) Mixed martial arts star and American Gladiator Gina Carano makes her film acting debut as Mallory Kane, a covert ops contractor marked for death by her own employers. Director Steven Soderbergh clearly enjoys dabbling in
-style chases and action scenes, and Carano makes an impact as a muscular action heroine, particularly in hand-to-hand fight scenes with Channing Tatum and Michael Fassbender. But Soderbergh and scripter Lem Dobbs seem utterly indifferent to the films plot and motivations and leave Carano emotionally stranded. Holman
THE HELP 2 stars (PG-13) In Jackson, Miss., in the early 1960s, a white would-be journalist (Emma Stone) attempts to enlist African-American housekeepers (Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer) to write about about Southern race relations from their point of view. In adapting the bestselling novel by Atlanta's Kathryn Stockett, writer/director Tate Taylor retains too much of the book's sprawling plot and spends too much time trying to establish
. The film conveys the African-American characters' anger and captures plenty of winning details about the South, but uses Bryce Dallas-Howard's manipulative, racist socialite as nearly a scapegoat for Southern racism. Holman
HUGO 3 stars (PG) An ingenious orphan boy (Asa Butterfield) lives in a 1930s Parisian railway station, where he tries to solves the riddles of a malfunctioning mechanical man and a mysterious toy shop owner (Ben Kingsley). Martin Scorsese experiments with both 3D effects and family-oriented storytelling with mixed results.
THE IDES OF MARCH 2 stars (PG-13) Ryan Gosling faces a test of ideals as an ambitious staffer for a presidential candidate (George Clooney) during the Democratic primary. Clooney directed this adaptation of the play
, which features juicy roles for A-list actors, particularly Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti as rival campaign managers. Unfortunately the plot relies on minor scandals and the temptation of a bland central character, so it feels like an exhibition game between terrific thespians, with nothing at stake. Curt Holman
seems primarily interested in the doddering, elderly Thatcher who speaks to her deceased husband Denis (an excellent Jim Broadbent), while the wishy-washy script refuses to form an opinion about Thatchers controversial politics. Holman
JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND 3 stars (PG) In the sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth, Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson) and his moms new beau (Dwayne Johnson) pick up a cryptic signal originating from the mysterious island from Jules Vernes books. Taking full advantage of the technologies at his disposal, director Brad Peyton places his cast upon a fantastic tropical paradise full of amazing creatures and fantastic landscapes. Full of baseline humor, teen angst, and family bonding moments theres an equal amount of intense chases and thrill rides on both ships and beasts to balance it out. Journey 2 is a definite improvement in the franchise and definitely worth seeing. Edward Adams
2 stars (PG-13) Disgraced cop turned convict Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthingon) threatens to leap from the ledge of a high-rise Manhattan hotel. Is he really suicidal, or is he part of a complicated heist to clear his good name? Like Worthington struggling with his American accent,
. Danish director Asger Leth builds suspense in the heist scenes, but doesnt capture the Big Apples colorful character, so everything feels overcooked and slightly phony. It ends on a satisfying note, but
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL 4 stars (PG-13) Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his IMF team of superspies must go rogue to catch a nuclear terrorist obsessed with launching World War III. Pixar director Brad Bird makes a confident leap to live-action with this outlandishly exciting spy flick, unified by plausible gadgets and jaw-dropping set pieces, which include Cruise dangling from Dubais Burj Khalifa tower, the worlds tallest building, as a sandstorm approaches. Simon Pegg deserves top billing for his hilarious comic relief. Curt Holman
THE MUPPETS 4 stars (PG) The heyday of The Muppet Show long behind them, Kermit and the gang must reunite to put on a show and save their beloved studio from Chris Coopers evil oilman. Co-writer/star Jason Segel and a great team of screen artists (including music supervisor Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords) shower love on the original muppets while craft jokes and situations that are genuinely funny, not just corny. Musical numbers ranging from the faux-melodramatic Muppet or Man to some jaw-dropping covers provide the most inspired lunacy of 2011. Holman
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN (R ) Based on two books by British director Colin Clark, My Week With Marilyn recalls the week in 1957 that young Clark spent as set assistant to The Prince and the Showgirl, where he became friends with Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams). When Monroes new husband Arthur Miller leaves London, will Monroe focus more on work or play? Co-starring Kenneth Branagh as Laurence Oliver.
NEW YEARS EVE (PG-13) In what might be the years most generic holiday film, a huge ensemble cast of characters (Michelle Pfeiffer, Ashton Kutcher, and Ludacris to name a few) put aside various gripes in an attempt to regain the holiday spirit and enjoy New Years Eve in New York. Also, Katherine Heigl delivers a pretty good slap to Bon Jovis face.
ONE FOR THE MONEY (PG-13) When newly-divorced Stephanie Plum (Katherine Heigl) loses her job at Macy's, she is left with few options for employment. But when Stephanie finds work at her cousin's bail-bond business, her first assignment is to track down an old lover (Jason O'Mara) who has skipped out on paying bail.
3 stars (NR) The animation trumps the live-action in this annual program of the Academy Awards freshly-anointed short subjects. Highlights include the whimsical charmer The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore and the bittersweet historical sketch Wild Life. Ciarin Hinds stars in Terry Georges warm, live-action film The Orphan, but the most powerful punch comes from Raju, in which a German couple adopts an orphan in Calcutta. Holman
3 stars (PG) German choreographer Pina Bausch died two days before director Wim Wenders was scheduled to begin filming a documentary about her work. The German director and Bauschs ensemble of dancers completed the film as a deeply-felt posthumous tribute, but if you dont know much about Bausch, you might wish
filled in more autobiographical tales between dancer numbers. Wenders ingenious use of 3D, particularly the introductory piece The Rite of Spring, superbly does justice to Bauschs choreography. Holman
PROJECT X ( R) In this found-footage-style teen comedy, three high schoolers throw an epic birthday party to become the cool kids of their school, only to see the festivities spin out of control. High-jinks and debauchery create comedy, but this begs the question, who cleans up when the party is over.
author James Ellroy. Against the backdrop of the Rampart corruption scandal of 1999, Daves personality problems and possibly a conspiracy against him begin tearing his life apart. While Ellroys work can sometimes seem like apologias for sadists willing to break the law to protect the peace, Moverman provides a more humanistic counterweight, with sensitivity that refuses to glorify or demonize the character. Harrelsons excellent sparring partners include Ice Cube, Ann Heche, Ben Foster and Robin Wright. Curt Holman
RED TAILS 3 stars (PG-13) Stationed in Italy in 1944, the Tuskegee Airman fight to prove their value to the U.S. Air Force in battling evil German aviators. Self-consciously corny, repetitive and overloaded with subplots, this old-fashioned war movie benefits from spectacular air battles and some interesting details about the strategies of airborne combat. Terence Howard stands out as a tough colonel. Holman
SAFE HOUSE ( R) When a rouge ex-CIA agent named Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) is brought to Agent Weston's (Ryan Reynolds) CIA safe house in South Africa, a small militia attacks the safe house in an attempt to capture Frost. The inexperienced Weston is then tasked with protecting Frost, one of the most dangerous men alive.
depicts the wary friendship between a sickly boy convalescing in a country house and the Thumbelina-sized Borrower who lives with her mom and dad beneath the floorboards. This contemplative fantasy adventure is never more exciting than when Arrietty goes on an expedition to get a cube of sugar in the colossal kitchen (from her point of view). Like nearly all of the animated films from Japans Studio Ghibli, it introduces a sharp, self-reliant young heroine while advancing a message of respect for other people and nature. Holman
A SEPARATION 4 stars (NR) Filmmaker Asghar Farhadi presents no villains in his powerful, wrenching Iranian drama, except possibly for the legal and political system that puts undue pressure on the lives of ordinary citizens. A woman wants to immigrate from Iran to secure a better life for her teenage daughter, but her husband wont abandon his Alzheimers-ridden father, and their separation sets off a chain reaction of mishaps and confrontations. One of the best films of 2011 and a nominee for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Curt Holman
SHAME 4 stars (NC-17) Steve McQueen directs this austere, compelling drama about a Manhattan sex addict (Michael Fassbender) whose well-maintained life spins out of control when his self-destructive sister (Carey Mulligan) comes for a visit. Fassbender plays a consummate pick-up artist whose life amounts to killing time until the next orgasm, turning a portrait of a glamorous lifestyle into a portrait of addiction. Like Ryan Gosling in
SHERLOCK HOLMES: GAME OF SHADOWS (PG-13) Director Guy Ritchie directs Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in another fast-paced, bromantic take on Arthur Conan Doyle's supersleuth. Noomi Rapace of Sweden's
STAR WARS: THE PHANTOM MENACE 3D (1999) 2 stars (PG) Two Jedi knights (Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor), a bumbling fish-man and a gifted young boy (Jake Lloyd) aid the deposed queen (Natalie Portman) of a besieged alien planet. The first of George Lucas
who call it the worst film ever made should really see more movies. On the plus side it offers some subtly ingenious intergalactic skullduggery, some lavishly designed alien worlds and the best light-saber battle in the six-film franchise. Holman
TIM AND ERICS BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE 2 stars ( R) After blowing a billion dollars on an unreleasable film, Adult Swims Tim Heidecker and Eric Warenheim (playing deranged versions of themselves) attempt to revitalize a crappy shopping mall to pay back the nefarious Schlaaang Corporation. The fake commercials, endless company credits and ghastly make-up provide an entertaining first half-hour, but Tim and Erics mix of gross-outs and corporate kitsch proves no substitute for a satisfying plot, and the film turns into kind of a slog. Featuring John C. Reilly, Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis. Holman
attempts to combine the light comedy, sexy actors and explosive set pieces of both rom-coms and action movies, but in some kind of mix-up, presents weak jokes, thin clichs and ugly set pieces. Witherspoon and Hardy are better than the material and Pine proves blandly handsome in a Ben Affleck sort of way. Where Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt play battling spy spouses in
TYLER PERRYS GOOD DEEDS (PG-13) Tyler Perry plays the title role (sort of) as Wesley Deeds, a successful businessman who, despite his good fortune and great life, is unhappy. One night he discovers the janitor Lindsey (Thandie Newton) has been letting her daughter sleep in a supply closet at night while she works. Will Wesley's friendship with Lindsey teach him how to be happy for the first time in his life? Spoilers.
UNDERWORLD AWAKENING (R ) Kate Beckinsale returns as Selene, the vampire warrior, in the fourth installment in the 'Underworld' series. After being captured and cryogenically frozen for 12 years, Selene wakes up to a world where the tables have turned on her kind, and humans are hunting the vampires.
THE VOW (PG-13) Brain damage from a car accident causes Paige (Rachel McAdams) to lose her memory, including all of the memories of her newlywed husband Leo (Channing Tatum). As Leo tries to win over Paige's heart again, the couple encounters many obstacles in finding the meaning of true love.
WANDERLUST ( R) When Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston suddenly find themselves both unemployed in NYC, they realize they must move away to stay financially stable. After driving aimlessly, they arrive at an off-the-map bed and breakfast that turns out to be a hippie-esque commune. The comedy ensues as Rudd and Aniston learn whacky lessons from the eclectic group of people living on the commune.
3 stars (PG-13) A Devon farmboy (Jeremy Irvine) raises a thoroughbred named Joey, only to see it sold to an English cavalry officer and whisked away to World War I No-Mans-Land. When director Stephen Spielberg focuses on the military the film proves powerful and harrowing, but its scenes of farm life (including the endless first half hour) are clumsy, mawkish, and practically crushed under the weight of a suffocating John Williams score. At least
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN ( R) Tilda Swinton gives a powerful performance as the anguished mother of a teen (Ezra Miller) who does something very, very bad in this grim, abrasive portrayal of guilt and parenting. Director Lynne Ramsey intercuts between Swintons hellish present and Kevins childhood as a budding sociopath. Throughout the film, Kevin comes across as almost cartoonishly evil, like a kid from an
Daniel Radcliffe) in 19th century London journeys to a remote estate to sort out a will, and encounters all kinds of spooky goings-on. The film is based the same novel by Susan Hill as the popular stage version, which is one of the most spooky plays ever written. Ciarin Hinds and
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