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Movie picks


Films recommended by our reviewers are indicated by an *.

The Adventures of Tintin (PG)

Visually, Tintin offers an exponential leap in the potential for motion-capture adventure with action set pieces. But there are vacant human spaces in the center. It's like Raiders of the Lost Ark, if Indiana Jones had been played by Taylor Lautner. — Scott Renshaw

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (G)

After surviving the sinking of their cruise ship, Alvin, Simon and Theodore must survive on a Polynesian island. — Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Courageous (PG-13)

Four cops tackle fatherhood, raising life's big questions and challenges. — Not reviewed

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The Darkest Hour (PG-13)

Five young people find themselves stranded in Moscow, fighting to survive during an alien attack. — Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Tinseltown

*The Descendants (R)

The film is an almost dirge-like story about grief, but so much more than that. George Clooney plays Matt King, a Hawaiian real-estate baron. It's the small details in The Descendants that add up to more than the sum of its parts, and it's director Alexander Payne's assured hand that delivers them. It's a triumph for all, especially the audience. — Justin Strout

Hollywood Interquest, Kimball's Peak Three

The Devil Inside (R)

In 1989, emergency responders received a 9-1-1 call from Maria Rossi confessing that she had brutally killed three people. 20 years later, her daughter Isabella seeks to understand the truth about what happened that night. — Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Dolphin Tale (PG)

Swimming free, a young dolphin is caught in a crab trap, severely damaging her tail. This is the amazing true story of a brave dolphin and the compassionate strangers who banded together to save her life. — Not reviewed

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*Footloose (PG-13)

The fidelity with which this film attempts to reproduce the original is something rarely seen in contemporary remakes. And by virtue of doing very little that's different, it does a whole lot right. — Scott Renshaw

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*The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (R)

The mood is by turns brooding and cheeky, the method technically exacting, the temperature not warm. The movie works briskly through its sadistic cycle of brutal violence, a very dark space in which actors lurk and give off glints of their charisma. — Jonathan Kiefer

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Happy Feet Two (PG)

There's no focus to the narrative or to the tone, as director George Miller bounces between big musical production numbers and high-energy chases, frequently interrupted by awkward attempts at comic relief. There are so many different characters with so many different individual journeys and back-stories that it starts to feel like a 1970s disaster movie in animated form. Weirdness, as Rango proved, isn't an automatic deal-breaker when it comes to animated features. But nothing here coheres in a meaningful way. It's all a big pile of crazy, with no one scooping up after it. — Scott Renshaw

Carmike 10, Picture Show

The Help (PG-13)

Set in Mississippi in the '60s, a Southern society girl returns from college determined to become a writer, but turns her friends' lives upside down when she decides to interview the black women who have spent their lives taking care of prominent Southern families. — Not reviewed

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*Hugo (PG)

Hugo is about both the dreamers and the keepers, and a masterful clarion call for new ones like them, from a man (Martin Scorsese) who's been both. It's a deeply personal animated film that doesn't preach, and a majestic love letter to the cinema. — Justin Strout


*Immortals (R)

Immortals is pretty much completely bonkers — that is its secret and its glory. It's sort of about mad King Hyperion, but what's important here isn't what's going on, but how what is going on is presented. The style is substantial, the meat of the meal here. And it is hugely intriguing. — MaryAnn Johanson

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Jack and Jill (PG)

Family man Jack (Adam Sandler) must deal with his twin sister, Jill, when she visits for Thanksgiving and then will not leave. — Not reviewed

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Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (PG-13)

A bomb destroys the Kremlin and the IMF is blamed. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team must unravel the conspiracy. — Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Cinemark 16 IMAX, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

*Moneyball (R)

In adapting the nonfiction book by Michael Lewis (who also wrote The Blind Side), director Bennett Miller and screenwriters Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin tell the story of people who decided to throw away the romanticized notion of baseball in favor of something pragmatic. It's basically Brad Pitt in a baseball movie for people who don't think they like baseball movies. — Scott Renshaw

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*The Muppets (PG)

When dealing with something like The Muppets, nostalgia certainly plays into one's response. But there's the nostalgia that comes from simply trotting out a bunch of characters and saying, "Hey, remember them?" and then there's showing such a deep respect for your source material that you allow another generation to fall in love with them for the exact same reason the previous generation did. — Scott Renshaw

Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

New Year's Eve (PG-13)

New Year's Eve is a unique movie experience — as unique as it gets from director Garry Marshall and screenwriter Katherine Fugate, who subjected us to Valentine's Day just 20 months ago. But basically, the ball drops and, unfortunately, everyone involved in the making of this movie was not beneath it. — Scott Renshaw

Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Paranormal Activity 3 (R)

Two sisters try to make sense of the supernatural events they experienced as children. — Not reviewed

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Puss in Boots (PG)

Puss in Boots takes arguably the best part of the last two Shrek movies, stretches it as thin as can be, and leaves us hating cats. Well, maybe not hating cats. But this movie plays like one of Puss' tired, well-worn boots — it feels used and recycled, with a few good kicks but really on its last leg. — Dan Hudak

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Real Steel (PG-13)

Hugh Jackman, in a story set in the near-future, where the sport of boxing has gone hi-tech. — Not reviewed

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*Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (PG-13)

Guy Ritchie's latest installment is fun, witty and, perhaps most shocking of all, occasionally restrained. It's more satisfying than its predecessor. — Scott Renshaw

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

*Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (R)

Before Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was a movie by Swedish director Tomas Alfredson, it was the definitively English Cold War espionage thriller. While a previous miniseries spanned five-plus hours, the movie, a bracing distillation, is rigorously concise. Its pace feels thick and slow, but in fact what's happening is a succession of brutally economical scenes. — Jonathan Kiefer

Cinemark 16, Kimball's Peak Three, Tindseltown

*Tower Heist (PG-13)

On top of all the juicily satisfying fury, the actual heist stuff is clever and original (if completely preposterous). The action is fresh and funny. There's the real New York vibe that can come only from shooting in New York. I'm truly stunned by how much I love Tower Heist. But delightedly so. Seriously, see this movie and ask yourself why more big, silly entertainments can't be this smart. — MaryAnn Johanson

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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (PG-13)

Bella and Edward, plus those they love, must deal with the chain of consequences brought on by a marriage, honeymoon and the tumultuous birth of a child. — Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Cinemark 16

War Horse (PG)

War Horse boasts plenty of terrific individual scenes, but Spielberg falls back on his old bag of tricks to make sure we grasp Significance: his trademark slow zoom in; under-the-chin hero shots; glorious landscapes set to John Williams' music. — Scott Renshaw

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

We Bought a Zoo (PG)

Let's face it, when you take your family to the zoo, safe and predictable is exactly what you're looking for. It isn't, however, what you look for in a Cameron Crowe movie. — Anders Wright

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

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