Movies opening this weekend, still in theaters
Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen in “Les Miserables.”
Updated: February 4, 2013 6:16AM
ZERO DARK THIRTY
R for strong violence including brutal, disturbing images, and for language
Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, James Gandolfini
A determined CIA agent (Chastain) relentlessly follows leads in Pakistan that lead to the death of Osama bin Laden. Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”) directed the drama.
R for strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, language and some nudity
Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson
Here’s an interesting
bit of holiday counter-
programming. Quentin Tarantino wrote and directed this overlong, uneven, yet scandalously entertaining saga, loosely based on the 1960s Spaghetti Western classic “Django.” Waltz is excellent as a dentist-turned-bounty hunter who frees a slave (Foxx) to help him locate a fugitive. He then makes him a partner and agrees to help rescue his long-lost wife on the infamous plantation of Calvin Candie (DiCaprio). Much violence ensues.
PG for some rude humor
Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Marisa Tomei, Tom Everett Scott
It takes a lot of effort to come up with something as contrived and utterly artificial as this painfully unfunny family comedy. Crystal and Midler go into grandparent mode as out-of-touch, old-school elders butting heads with their New Age-influenced, work-obsessed daughter and son-in-law (Marisa Tomei, Tom Everett Scott) and their three children, with plenty of one-liners, pratfalls, potty jokes and schmaltzy sentiment — a little something for everyone from 9 to 90, capisci? The only trouble is that everything about it is strained and phony, and very little of it works.
R for language
Matt Damon, Frances McDormand, Hal Holbrook, John Krasinski
Two corporate salespeople (Damon and McDormand) offering to purchase natural-gas drilling rights in a small farming community are met with unexpected opposition from a respected teacher (Holbrook) and a crusading environmentalist (Krasinski) — but the drama never quite clicks into gear.
PG-13 for suggestive and sexual material, violence and thematic elements
Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway
A 19th-century French ex-convict (Jackman) who has broken parole and a relentless officer of the law (Crowe) form a fateful relationship in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel.
THE GUILT TRIP
★★ ½ Rated
Seth Rogen, Barbra Streisand
It’s the road trip from hell for young inventor Andy (Rogen in unaccustomed dull schlub mode) when he invites his over-involved, nagging mother (Streisand) for the cross-country ride while pitching his new miracle cleaning product to various big-league retailers. His relationship with his widowed mom isn’t so much love/hate as it is love/tremendously annoyed. He also wants to reintroduce her to the great lost love of her life, now living in San Francisco. There’s not much in the way of big laughs in this mild, modest comedy, but you do get to see Streisand wolf down a 50-ounce steak.
★★★ ½ Rated
Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Geraldine Chaplin
Grueling, harrowing, difficult to watch at times — yet utterly compelling. Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona takes an artful approach to this real-life disaster movie, depicting a vacationing family’s efforts to survive after their beach-front resort in Thailand is wiped out by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Bayona captures the enormity and power and terrifying suddenness of the 100-foot-tall tidal wave, in a brief but breathtaking 10-minute sequence. But the real subject of “The Impossible” is how far the separated and injured mother and father (Watts and McGregor, each delivering emotionally wrenching performances) are willing to go to remain alive, care for their children and maintain varying degrees of hope of being reunited.
PG-13 for violence, language and some drug material
Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, Werner Herzog, Rosamund Pike
If you’re an action fan with a high tolerance for far-fetched potboiler plots and rampant clichés, there might be enough testosterone-juicy moments in this brisk, well-crafted macho male fantasy to make the whole thing seem worthwhile. Cruise does a nice job as the intellectual savant, methodically ultra-violent, former military-police supercop hero. This time he’s investigating the case of a seemingly guilty mass-murdering sniper for a beautiful blonde defense attorney (Pike) and uncovering a nefarious conspiracy masterminded by an unspeakably evil master-villain (Herzog). Cruise, director Christopher McQuarrie (“The Usual Suspects”) and company unfortunately play the unabashedly ridiculous pulp-fiction plot and posturings straight, to increasingly wearisome effect. Yet there are compensations: the action scenes are impressive, Herzog is a hoot as the glass-eyed bad guy and Duvall appears in the final reel as a crotchety old ex-marine marksman providing assistance in the high-body-count finale.
THIS IS 40
R for sexual content, crude humor, pervasive language and some drug material
Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Albert Brooks
Writer/director Judd Apatow continues to distance himself, gradually, from the raunchy, gross-out comedy that made his reputation, without entirely letting go of his signature showcasing of quick-witted people getting comically down and dirty. Roughly half of “This Is 40,” which follows the marital misadventures of “Knocked Up” supporting characters Pete and Debbie (Rudd and Mann), is on the humorous, yet essentially serious side, while the rude and crude stuff pulls awkwardly in the opposite direction. There’s a lot to like though, here and there, as Pete and Debbie melt down during the week they enter their 40s. Primarily because it’s clearly a personal (not strictly autobiographical) film — featuring Apatow’s real-life wife and daughters — resulting in enough emotional resonance to provide dramatic balance.