Movies opening this weekend, still in theaters
Mark Wahlberg stars in "Broken City."
Updated: February 19, 2013 12:31PM
PG-13 for mature thematic material including a disturbing act and for brief language.
Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert
The bond of a Parisian married couple (Trintignant and Riva), both retired music teachers in their 80s, is put to a severe test when the wife suffers a debilitating stroke. Michael Haneke (“The White Ribbon”) wrote and directed the Palme d’Or-winning drama.
R for strong violence and language
Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone
Action-comedy director Ruben Fleischer (“Zombieland”) is no stranger to mayhem and crime, but taking on this ersatz, film noir-style, and almost entirely humorless, hard-boiled cops and robbers saga still seems a bizarre choice. “Gangster Squad” works within a just barely true-to-life framework to re-imagine the downfall of the post-World War II-era Los Angeles gangster kingpin Mickey Cohen (Penn, in ultra-evil mode) — courtesy of a crew of maverick cops organized to attack him outside the law. Brolin is suitably square-jawed as the gangster squad honcho and Gosling is a plus as his enigmatic, world-weary right-hand man, but the mannered tough-guy dialogue is as over the top as the bullet-riddled final showdown in the heart of downtown LA — and both are equally unconvincing.
ZERO DARK THIRTY
R for strong violence including brutal, disturbing images, and for language
Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, James Gandolfini
This harrowing, morally complicated drama by the creative team behind the Oscar-winning “The Hurt Locker” is every bit as realistic, suspenseful and emotionally intense. The closely based on fact “Zero Dark Thirty” opens with the introduction of a fictional, composite character — Jessica Chastain as an obsessively dedicated young CIA officer named Maya. After working for years to track down Osama bin Laden, Maya is convinced the Al Qaeda leader is in Pakistan. Of course, we know she is right and we know what happens when she ultimately locates him, but that doesn’t lessen the impact of this gripping, fast-moving dramatization, in which countless false starts and blind alleys only serve to heighten the feeling that the story could jump in any direction at any moment.
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).
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 and their three children, with plenty of one-liners, pratfalls, potty jokes and schmaltzy sentiment. The only trouble is that everything about it is strained and phony.
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. 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 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. The real subject of “The Impossible” is how far the separated and injured mother and father are willing to go to remain alive, care for their children and maintain varying degrees of hope of being reunited.