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. www.silvercinemasinc.com .
A Haunted House Marlon Wayans, Cedric the Entertainer and Essence Atkins star in this spoof of “found footage” movies such as Paranormal Activity. Rated R, 86 minutes. — TDMN
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. — Boo Allen
Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away Tumbling, dancing, high-wire magic, in story form, from the artists of Cirque du Soleil. In 3-D. Rated PG, 91 minutes. — TDMN
Django Unchained (**1/2) In Quentin Tarantino’s new tale of wickedly savage retribution, a black man (Jamie Foxx) gets to rewrite Deep South history by becoming a bounty hunter on a killing spree of white slave owners and overseers just before the Civil War. It’s Tarantino at his most puerile and least inventive, with the premise offering little more than cold, nasty revenge and barrels of squishing, squirting blood. Performances by Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson make the film intermittently entertaining. Rated R, 165 minutes. — The Associated Press
The Guilt Trip (*1/2) In this lame comedy written by Dan Fogelman and directed by Anne Fletcher, Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen star as a mother and son traveling together in a cross-country road trip. She talks constantly while he becomes more and more discomforted and annoyed, probably like most of the audience will be. Bad jokes, little chemistry and not much here to admire. Rated PG-13, 95 minutes. — B.A.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (***) Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson returns with J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel starring Martin Freeman as young Bilbo Baggins. Bilbo joins an army of dwarfs and Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) for a long march and multiple battles to prove his bravery. As usual, Jackson delivers a technically remarkable film, filled with memorable costumes and sets. Rated PG-13, 166 minutes. — B.A.
Jack Reacher (****) Clever, well-crafted and darkly humorous, Jack Reacher features one of those effortless bad-ass performances from Tom Cruise that remind us that he is indeed a movie star. OK, so maybe Cruise doesn’t exactly resemble the Reacher of British novelist Lee Child’s books, but Christopher McQuarrie’s film moves so fluidly and with such confidence, it’ll suck you in from the start. Besides being a mind teaser, Jack Reacher offers the muscular thrills of a ‘70s action flick, including fight scenes and a thrilling, prolonged car chase through the streets of downtown Pittsburgh. With Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall and Werner Herzog. Rated PG-13, 130 minutes. — AP
Les Miserables (***) Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) directed this big, brassy version of the stage musical with Hugh Jackman playing Jean Valjean, the wanted man followed and persecuted by the obsessive Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe). The film’s production values make the film visually engaging while the music never stops. With Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen. Rated PG-13, 157 minutes. — B.A.
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
Monsters, Inc. The Disney-Pixar hit returns, now in 3-D. Its groundbreaking computer animation tells the story of a girl named Boo, who finds herself in the scream-processing factory. But the soft and cuddly monsters who work there (voiced by John Goodman and Billy Crystal) turn out to be scared of her. They get over it and help Boo get back to her world. Rated G, 95 minutes. — B.A.
Parental Guidance There’s something touching about how hard Billy Crystal and Bette Midler hustle to peddle the threadbare material that makes Parental Guidance a perfectly tolerable, if uninspired, moviegoing experience. Artie Decker (Crystal), despondent over losing his longtime gig as “De Voice of the Fresno Grizzlies,” and his wife, Diane (Midler), have been recruited to baby-sit their daughter Alice’s (Marisa Tomei) three kids when she and her tech-geek husband Phil (Tom Everett Scott) get a last-minute opportunity to have some out-of-town alone time. Rated PG, 104 minutes. — The Hollywood Reporter
Promised Land (***1/2) Matt Damon stars and co-wrote the script with co-star John Krasinski from Dave Eggers’ story, a modern morality tale about a big company that comes into a small town to entice the residents to sign away their property rights for natural gas exploration and extraction. The town divides with tested loyalties. With Frances McDormand and Rosemarie DeWitt. Rated R, 107 minutes. — B.A.
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. 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. — THR
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.
Texas Chainsaw 3D The movie picks up where 1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre left off, with masked killer Leatherface on the loose again. Rated R, 92 minutes. — AP
This is 40 (**1/2) Theoretically, this moderately funny domestic comedy follows two characters, Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann), a few years after their appearance in writer-director Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up. Here, Apatow seems to be revealing all, milking his own life for its crotch gags and bathroom humor as the couple approach their 40th birthdays. Apatow’s and Mann’s two daughters even appear as Pete and Debbie’s offspring. Rated R, 134 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
Zero Dark Thirty (***) Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) directed this movie concerned with the years-long process behind finding and then executing Osama bin Laden. Jessica Chastain stars as the dedicated CIA agent who doggedly continued on a long and tedious journey to piece together the clues that will lead to the film’s final, well-executed assassination sequence. With an excellent supporting cast. Rated R, 157 minutes. — B.A.