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Monsters, Inc. Disney-Pixar’s 2001 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. — 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. — The Dallas Morning News

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. — The Associated Press

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 approaches their 40th birthdays. Apatow and Mann’s two daughters even appear as Pete and Debbie’s offspring. Rated R, 134 minutes. — B.A.

Rust and Bone (***) Jacques Audiard co-wrote and directed this intense French-language drama about a whale trainer (Marion Cotillard) who loses both her legs in an accident. Eventually, she meets and begins a relationship with a reckless Belgian exile (Matthias Schoenaerts). He seems to make a living doing odd jobs and fighting in brutal street warfare. The film benefits more from two naturalistic performances than from any believable or involving narrative. Rated R, 120 minutes. At the Angelika Plano and Dallas. — B.A.

Barbara (**1/2) Christian Petzold co-wrote and directed this dire drama starring his frequent leading lady, Nina Hoss, as the title character. She plays a physician stuck in early 1980s East Germany. She labors under some kind of subtle scrutiny by the secret police, the Stasi, enough so that she refuses friendship or even camaraderie from her co-workers until finally jolted into action. Unfortunately Barbara remains as cold to audiences as she is to everyone else. Germany’s Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language film. Rated PG-13, 105 minutes. At the Angelika Plano and Dallas. — B.A.




Django Unchained Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio star in Quentin Tarantino’s tale of violence and revenge in the post-Civil War South. Rated R, 165 minutes. — TDMN

Les Miserables Movie adaptation of the hit stage musical comes to the screen with Hugh Jackman’s Jean Valjean squaring off against Russell Crowe’s Inspector Javert. Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen also are in the cast. Rated PG-13, 158 minutes. — TDMN




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.

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

Playing for Keeps (zero stars) It is truly baffling that all these talented, acclaimed people actually read this script and then agreed to devote their time to this movie. Judy Greer, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Uma Thurman play soccer moms shamelessly throwing themselves at George Dryer (Gerard Butler, still struggling with comedy), a once-great Scottish soccer star who’s now divorced and in financial straits. He moves to suburban Virginia to reconnect with his ex-wife (Jessica Biel) and their young son (Noah Lomax). Director Gabriele Muccino veers wildly between wacky high jinks and facile sentimentality. Rated PG-13, 105 minutes. — AP

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. — 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 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.

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