ZERO DARK THIRTY 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö
Globe, Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital. 14A
Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) directs this dramatic chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaida terrorist leader Osama bin Laden through the eyes of an obsessive CIA agent (Jessica Chastain). It may seem shapeless compared to the average war/espionage movie, but the gist of this compelling drama is that war has changed and war movies must change accordingly.
óè STARTING TOMORROW
Globe, Polo Park, St. Vital. 14A
Mark Wahlberg plays a private investigator obliged to look into the extramarital activities of a woman (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who happens to be married to New York City's mayor (Russell Crowe).
THE INVISIBLE WAR
Cinematheque. Subject to classification
This documentary by Kirby Dick examines the crisis of rape in the U.S. military, wherein a female soldier is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by an enemy combatant.
THE LAST STAND
McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 14A
Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to action hero territory as a small-town sheriff obliged to stop a fugitive Mexican drug cartel boss from crossing the border through his town.
Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. PG
A couple (Jessica Chastain and Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) take custody of a pair of long-lost feral sisters, only to find they have been accompanied by a spectral protector in this thriller produced by Guillermo del Toro.
Grant Park. PG
Maggie Smith stars as a former opera diva who stirs things up at a retirement home for retired musicians, whose numbers include her own embittered ex-husband (Tom Courtenay) in this feature directed by Dustin Hoffman.
The following movies have been previously reviewed by Free Press movie critic Randall King, unless otherwise noted.
McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 18A
Quentin Tarantino's latest stars Jamie Foxx as a freed slave who joins up with a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) to rescue his wife (Kerry Washington) from the decadent plantation of a depraved southern gentleman (Leonardo DiCaprio). It's a runaway stagecoach of a movie, suspenseful, shocking and grimly funny. As always with Tarantino, it is wildly referential. (Hey, that zoom shot is right out of The Wild Bunch! Hey, I recognize that music from Two Mules for Sister Sara!) But as usual, the disparate references add up to something entirely unique. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö
Grant Park, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne. 18A
A noble cop (Josh Brolin) is tasked with taking on the spreading crime empire of Micky Cohen (Sean Penn) in this movie featuring Ryan Gosling as another cop dangerously courting Cohen's mistress (Emma Stone). It may look like a stylish exercise in L.A. noir, but it is merely a violent, stupid variant of The Untouchables, without any of the inspiration that made that movie great. 'Ö'Ö
THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park IMAX, St. Vital, Towne. PG
Director Peter Jackson revisits Lord of the Rings turf with another three-part epic, albeit one based on a much slimmer story than the first trilogy. Martin Freeman plays the young Bilbo Baggins and Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf, who comes to the Shire with a mission to help restore a Dwarf kingdom to an heir to the throne. While it feels good to be back in Middle-earth, one can't help the niggling feeling that Jackson is padding out this story in a transparent attempt to duplicate LOTR's multibillion-dollar box office. 'Ö'Ö'Ö
Polo Park. PG
Maria (Naomi Watts) and Henry (Ewan McGregor) are the parents of a Brit family on vacation in Thailand who find themselves fighting for their survival when a tsunami hits. Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona has crafted an intimate disaster movie, terrifying in its veracity, but inspiring in its story arc, particularly with respect to Maria's eldest son (Tom Holland) who experiences a rough road to empathy. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2
Polo Park. 14A
Ex-military investigator Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) investigates a seemingly open-and-shut murder charge against an unbalanced ex-army sniper accused of randomly killing five civilians. Cruise may bear no resemblance to the literary Reacher, but he carries the film well enough, and director Christopher McQuarrie pulls off one of the better action films of the year, including one of the more thrilling car chase scenes in recent memory. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2
LIFE OF PI
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, Polo Park, Towne. PG
Ang Lee adapts the bestselling novel by Yann Martel about a young man who finds himself adrift on a lifeboat with a man-eating tiger. Lee crafts one of the finest entries in his eclectic resumé with this gorgeous, ruminative film that is soulfully, provocatively entertaining. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2 (Reviewed by David Germain)
Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Towne. 14A
Steven Spielberg succeeds at getting under the skin of American icon Abraham Lincoln from the perspective of his singular genius as he negotiates the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment banning slavery, an effort that required prodigious political skill. Daniel Day-Lewis offers a sure-thing Oscar-quality performance. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö
Globe, Grant Park, Polo Park, St. Vital. PG
The hit musical finally gets its big-screen treatment as Victor Hugo's tragic novel comes to life with the help of Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe as, respectively, the fugitive Jean Valjean and the relentless Inspector Javert. While this may not be a feel-good movie, it's doubtful there has been any movie so invested with such raw feeling, especially a musical. Anne Hathaway's performance of I Dreamed a Dream is one for the ages. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
Grant Park, McGillivray, McGillivray VIP, Polo Park. 14A
Bradley Cooper plays an unemployed bipolar school teacher who moves back in with his parents (Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver) planning to reunite with his estranged wife, only to be distracted by a young widow (Jennifer Lawrence) with issues of her own. Director David O. Russell returns to the same eccentric/blue-collar milieu as The Fighter but a climactic dance competition doesn't have the same impact as a prize fight, and Bradley Cooper doesn't have the same impact as Mark Wahlberg. 'Ö'Ö'Ö
TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D
Polo Park, Towne. 18A
This 3D thriller takes place years after the events of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, when a young woman inherits an old house in Texas only to discover it houses the depraved secrets of a killer cannibal clan. But there's nothing thrilling about summarily dispatching everybody who isn't meant to survive to the credits, nothing entertaining about meathook-, hatchet- and chainsaw-murdering that we've seen scores of times. 'Ö (Reviewed by Roger Moore)
THIS IS 40
Polo Park, St. Vital. 14A
This semi-sequel to Knocked Up focuses on the married couple Pete and Debbie played by Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann. As they enter their fourth decades the same week, they negotiate sex, parenting, careers and frayed relationships with their own parents in this raucous but relatable comedy from writer-director Judd Apatow. 'Ö'Ö'Ö1/2