Movies

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THEATERS

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 Cinemas 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.

 

OPENING FRIDAY

The Collection A teenage girl disappears into the clutches of a serial killer known as “The Collector” in this slasher picture. Rated R, 82 minutes. — The Dallas Morning News

Killing Them Softly (**1/2) With sounds and fleeting images in the background of the 2008 financial crisis and the presidential election campaign, two inept meatballs (Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn) hold up a card game. A hit man (Brad Pitt) is called in to rectify the situation. Later, he calls in another man (James Gandolfini). This latest film from writer-director Andrew Dominik, based on George V. Higgins’ novel, has plenty of scenes of two guys talking in cars and bars, punctuated by bursts of brutal violence. Moderately entertaining, Tarantino-lite mug fest. Rated R, 97 minutes. — Boo Allen

Starlet (***) A young woman, Jane (Dree Hemingway), befriends Sadie (Besedka Johnson), an elderly woman, mainly because Jane feels she cheated Sadie out of some money she was unaware of. Jane virtually stalks Sadie until the cranky woman finally opens up, only slightly. Co-writer and director Sean Baker takes the tired gambit of young and old befriending by throwing in unexpected twists, such as Jane being a porn star. Engaging cross-cultural examination. Not rated, 103 minutes. At the Magnolia in Dallas. — B.A.

 

NOW PLAYING

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. 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

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. — B.A.

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. It’s ridiculous and predictable but also just a ton of fun, so you may as well give up and give into your inner musical theater geek. The debut feature from director Jason Moore (Broadway’s Avenue Q) and writer Kay Cannon (30 Rock), based on the nonfiction book by Mickey Rapkin, feels like a mash-up of Glee and Revenge of the Nerds. Starring Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and Hana Mae Lee. Rated PG-13, 112 minutes. — AP

Red Dawn (*) The army invading the U.S. in this ill-advised remake of the campy 1984 original was changed in post-production from Chinese to North Korean. With a few snips here, a few re-dubs there, the filmmakers re-edited and re-shot, fearful of offending China. In director Dan Bradley's remake, Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson, Adrianne Palicki and Chris Hemsworth mount an insurrection on the North Koreans controlling their hometown. The implausibility is dizzying all around. Rated PG-13, 93 minutes. — AP

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

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 further  action 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.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2 (***1/2) The first four adaptations of Stephenie Meyer’s mega-best sellers were, for the most part, laughably self-serious affairs full of mopey teen angst, stilted dialogue and cheesy special effects. Now, Bill Condon (who also directed Breaking Dawn — Part 1) finally lets his freak flag fly. His 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


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