Cinemark Denton 2825 Wind River Lane off I-35E. 940-535-2654. www.cinemark.com .
Movie Tavern 916 W. University Drive. 940-566-FILM (3456). www.movietavern.com .
Rave Motion Pictures 8380 S. I-35E, Hickory Creek. 940-321-2788. www.ravemotionpictures.com .
Silver Cinemas Inside Golden Triangle Mall, 2201 S. I-35E. 940-387-1957.
Life of Pi (**1/2) Ang Lee directs from Yann Martel’s allegorical novel about a boy, Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma), who travels with his family from India to Canada. A shipwreck lands him in a small boat with a group of zoo animals, all quickly reduced to a tiger. Man and beast coexist, supposedly giving Zen-like life lessons to the boy, who grows into a man (Irrfan Khan) who tells the story in flashback. Moderately entertaining pseudo-spiritual diversion with elaborate but not particularly awe-inspiring special effects. Rated PG, 127 minutes. — Boo Allen
The Rise of the Guardians A very odd assortment of mythical childhood figures — the fearsome team of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman and Jack Frost — are thrown together as an unlikely set of action heroes in DreamWorks Animation’s attractively designed but overly busy and derivative mishmash of kid-friendly elements. Based on the book series Guardians of Childhood by William Joyce, the script plays fast and loose with these legendary fixtures of childhood. Jack (voiced by Chris Pine) is hard-pressed by a muscular Santa, known as North (Alec Baldwin), to join in the battle against a diabolical figure (Jude Law) who threatens to throw Earth into darkness and provide nightmares to kids everywhere. Rated PG, 97 minutes. — The Hollywood Reporter
Argo (***1/2) Ben Affleck directed and takes the lead role in this true story of a CIA operative who goes to Iran in 1980 posing as the producer of a bogus science-fiction film in order to extract six Americans hiding in the home of the Canadian ambassador. Abundant dark humor smoothly combines with frightening sequences and ample action. With an excellent supporting cast, including John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Clea DuVall and Tate Donovan. Rated R, 120 minutes. — B.A.
Flight (****) Robert Zemeckis’ first live-action film since 2000’s Cast Away is thrilling, engrossing and even darkly funny at times. It’s anchored by a tremendous performance from Denzel Washington as Whip Whitaker, a veteran airline pilot and serious alcoholic. Major mechanical failure on a flight to Atlanta forces him to pull off a daring crash landing, and he’s hailed as a hero for saving so many lives. But the subsequent federal investigation also reveals his rampant substance abuse. Don Cheadle, Bruce Greenwood and John Goodman all give strong supporting performances. Rated R, 135 minutes. — The Associated Press
Here Comes the Boom (**1/2) This comedy, with Kevin James as a tubby high school science teacher who becomes a mixed martial-arts sensation, is every bit as ridiculous as it looks. That’s not such a bad thing for the movie, whose makers embrace the fact that they’re essentially doing a live-action cartoon. Rated PG, 104 minutes. — AP
Lincoln (****) This is more a wonky, nuts-and-bolts lesson about the way political machinery operates than a sweeping historical epic that tries to encapsulate the entirety of the revered 16th president’s life. That was a smart move on the part of Steven Spielberg and Pulitzer-winning screenwriter Tony Kushner. Talky and intimate but also surprisingly funny, Lincoln focuses on the final four months of Abraham Lincoln’s life, and Daniel Day-Lewis inhabits the role fully. With Tommy Lee Jones, James Spader, John Hawkes and David Strathairn. Rated PG-13, 150 minutes. — AP
Pitch Perfect (****) Cheeky and snarky but with an infectious energy, this comedy set in the world of competing college a cappella groups makes us fall in love with the very thing it’s making fun of. Starring Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and Hana Mae Lee. Rated PG-13, 112 minutes. — AP
Skyfall (***1/2) Daniel Craig returns as James Bond in the 23rd film based on 007’s exploits. Britain’s MI6 comes under attack, with M (Judi Dench) as the chief target. Bond finds and brings back the villain (Javier Bardem), but that just sets the stage for furtheraction and adventure. Between the action sequences, director Sam Mendes takes time to build a personal drama that distinguishes this Bond film from its predecessors. Rated PG-13, 143 minutes. — B.A.
Taken 2 (**1/2) In this repetitive sequel, Liam Neeson again plays former CIA agent Bryan Mills. The father (Rade Serbedzija) of the men Mills killed in the original now seeks revenge, which results in more of the same: Mills using his detecting and tracking skills to ferret out locations, beating up and killing an army of men, and taking part in endless car chases, this time through Istanbul. The main difference is that mother (Famke Janssen) and daughter (Maggie Grace) get to participate. Lucky them. Rated PG-13, 91 minutes. — B.A.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2 (***1/2) Director Bill Condon’s final Twilight movie dares to have a little fun. Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) are now married vampires and parents to a daughter (Mackenzie Foy). With the help of the bloodsucking Cullen clan and vampires from around the globe, they must band together with Jacob (Taylor Lautner) and his werewolf buddies to protect the half-human, half-vampire spawn from the evil and suspicious Volturi. Rated PG-13, 115 minutes. — AP
Wreck-It Ralph Disney’s new animated film mixes retro eye-candy for grown-ups and a thrilling, approachable storyline for the tykes. Short-tempered, sledgehammer-fisted bad guy Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) journeys to Game Central Station, the gateway to every game in an arcade, to prove he can be a hero. Director Rich Moore (The Simpsons) ably manipulates the action by tantalizingly shifting the characters between game worlds. With Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch and Sarah Silverman Rated PG, 93 minutes. — HR