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ALVIN AND THE CHIP­MUNKS: THE SQUEAKUEL

Thanks a lot, kids. Ap­par­ently enough of you saw the 2007 live-action adap­ta­tion of Alvin and the Chip­munks that the stu­dio is bring­ing Ja­son Lee and the shrill CGI ro­dents back for more butcher­ing of 2009’s big­gest songs and 1997’s hippest slang. This time, there are fe­male ’ munks, too. Let’s hope that the jokes in the movie aren’t as la­bored as the one in the ti­tle. Rated PG. 92 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola; Reel Deal, Los Alamos; Sto­ry­teller, Taos. (Not re­viewed)

AVATAR

James Cameron’s ad­ven­ture — about an ex-sol­dier (SamWor­thing­ton) who uses a syn­thetic body to in­fil­trate a race of gi­ant blue aliens and help the mil­i­tary tap into their nat­u­ral re­sources— fi­nally hits screens af­ter years of prepa­ra­tion. The script is stale and the pic­ture is an hour too long, but the planet of Pan­dora is the most fully re­al­ized fic­tional world that’s ever been put up on screen. The at­ten­tion to de­tail is ex­traor­di­nary, and the ef­fects are way ahead of the curve. See it in 3-D if pos­si­ble. Rated PG-13. 162 min­utes. Screens in dig­i­tal 3-D at Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola; Sto­ry­teller, Taos. Also shows in 2-D at Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola; Reel Deal, Los Alamos. (Robert Ben­ziker)

This crowd pleaser re­counts the story of Michael Oher (Quin­ton Aaron), a home­less Mem­phis teen who, af­ter be­ing taken in by the wealthy Tuohy fam­ily, went on to be­come a first-round NFL draft pick. It’s a feel-good yarn that would be nau­se­at­ing if it weren’t true, but it scores the ex­tra point for not go­ing long into melo­dra­matic ter­ri­tory. San­dra Bul­lock, Tim McGraw, and Ray McKinnon give solid per­for­mances. Rated PG-13. 128 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola. (Lau­rel Glad­den)

Di­rec­tor Jim Sheri­dan has made a classy but emo­tion­ally un­der­done re­make of Su­sanne Bier’s 2004 Dan­ish drama about two broth­ers. One is a war hero and fam­ily man; the other is an ex-con. Broth­ers deals with the hid­den mor­tal­ity of war— the deaths that go un­recorded be­cause the de­ceased are still alive and out­wardly func­tion­ing. Rated R. 104 min­utes. Re­gal North, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola. ( Jonathan Richards) Here is a mild fish-out-of-wa­ter com­edy that will make you yearn for more wa­ter. Hugh Grant and Sarah Jes­sica Parker play a sep­a­rated mar­ried cou­ple who are thrust into the gov­ern­ment’s wit­ness pro­tec­tion pro­gram af­ter they wit­ness a mur­der. They’re sent outWest to hide, where they try to mend their re­la­tion­ship and milk cows. Grant and Parker give it their all, as do costars Sam El­liot and Mary Steen­bur­gen (as a hus­band-and-wife team of mar­shals), but a poor script and lack­lus­ter di­rec­tion weigh the whole thing down. Rated PG-13. 103 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola; Sto­ry­teller, Taos. (Robert Nott)

THE BLIND SIDE

BROTH­ERS

Some peo­ple might groan at yet an­other ver­sion of the Dick­ens tale, but those who still love it will find this one to be a prize goose. Di­rec­tor Robert Zemeckis ap­plies the same ap­proach that he used in The Po­lar Ex­press to grimy old Lon­don

DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE MOR­GANS?

DIS­NEY’S A CHRIST­MAS CAROL

and all those ghosts, in a ren­di­tion of the story that is gen­uinely and de­light­fully scary. Jim Car­rey per­forms Scrooge at var­i­ous ages as well as the three spir­its. Rated PG. 96 min­utes. Re­gal North, Santa Fe. (Robert Ben­ziker)

Lynn Bar­ber, a Bri­tish jour­nal­ist with a rep­u­ta­tion for the jugu­lar, fell in with a shady older man when she was 16, and 40 years later she wrote a mem­oir. Carey Mul­li­gan plays the teenage Jenny, Bar­ber’s al­ter ego, and a star is born. Peter Sars­gaard is the charm­ing, preda­tory David, and the top-notch cast in­cludes Emma Thomp­son, Al­fred Molina, and Do­minic Cooper. It’s a com­ing-of-age movie that ex­am­ines the rel­a­tive im­por­tance of dif­fer­ent ap­proaches to an ed­u­ca­tion. Rated PG-13. 95 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)

A wid­ower (Robert De Niro) trav­els to see each of his four chil­dren af­ter they all turn down his Christ­mas in­vi­ta­tion. On his trav­els, he learns about the sub­tle lies fam­ily mem­bers tell one an­other and the dif­fer­ence be­tween be­ing “fine” and happy. This is a skill­fully shot feel-good hol­i­day flick that fea­tures nice act­ing by De Niro, Drew Bar­ry­more, and Sam Rockwell. It’s a fine movie— but goopy Hall­mark touches, a cu­ri­ous lack of ten­sion, and an oat­mealfla­vored pro­tag­o­nist high­light the dif­fer­ence be­tween “fine” and good. Rated PG-13. 100 min­utes. Re­gal North, Santa Fe. (Robert Ben­ziker)

AN ED­U­CA­TION

EV­ERY­BODY’S FINE

FAN­TAS­TIC MR. FOX

Film­maker Wes An­der­son proves to be a per­fect match for chil­dren’s au­thor Roald Dahl as he and a tal­ented team of voice ac­tors and stop-mo­tion an­i­ma­tors bring Dahl’s novella about a crafty fox and three nasty farm­ers to life. They’ve man­aged to make a film that is herky-jerky and slightly sur­real in the clas­sic stop-mo­tion tra­di­tion. It’s funny, con­tains equal parts whimsy and so­phis­ti­ca­tion, and is per­fect for adults and chil­dren without pan­der­ing to ei­ther au­di­ence. Rated PG. 87 min­utes. Re­gal North, Santa Fe. (Robert Ben­ziker)

Mor­gan Free­man cap­tures the dig­nity, com­pas­sion, and wis­dom of Nel­son Man­dela in di­rec­tor Clint East­wood’s beau­ti­fully crafted movie. It’s an ac­count of the strat­egy used by the new South African pres­i­dent (fresh from 30 years in prison) in 1994 to bring to­gether a coun­try riven with post-apartheid re­sent­ment and fear by fo­cus­ing on the na­tional rugby team’s pur­suit of the­World Cup. Pre­dictably

IN­VIC­TUS

feel-good but filled with sub­tle touches and char­ac­ter ob­ser­va­tions and fine per­for­mances, par­tic­u­larly by Matt Da­mon as the team cap­tain. Rated PG-13. 134 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola; Reel Deal, Los Alamos. Sto­ry­teller, Taos. ( Jonathan Richards)

This frothy com­edy from writer/di­rec­tor Nancy Mey­ers ( Some­thing’s Gotta Give) re­volves around a naughty bit of adul­tery in­volv­ing a man (Alec Bald­win) hav­ing sex with his wife (Meryl Streep). The com­pli­ca­tion arises from the fact that she’s not his cur­rent wife. There’s noth­ing wildly orig­i­nal here, but it’s funny, and it lets us es­cape for a cou­ple of hours into a world where ev­ery­thing is beau­ti­ful, even ad­vanc­ing mid­dle age. Rated R. 118 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola; Sto­ry­teller, Taos. ( Jonathan Richards)

NINE

The posters for Rob Mar­shall’s ( Chicago) lat­est mu­si­cal ask that you “be Ital­ian.” It’s adapted from a 1982 Broad­way pro­duc­tion based on Fed­erico Fellini’s 1963 film 8½ and has wan­dered so far from the source of in­spi­ra­tion that, as far as trans­lat­ing an au­then­tic Ital­ian ex­pe­ri­ence goes, it’s more Olive Gar­den than Trat­to­ria Nos­trani. Daniel Day-Lewis tries his best to save Nine with his turn as burned-out di­rec­tor Guido Con­tini, but the mu­si­cal num­bers are all non-starters, and a sup­port­ing cast of gifted ac­tresses (in­clud­ing Judi Dench, Nicole Kid­man, Mar­ion Cotil­lard, and Pené­lope Cruz) is ef­fec­tively squan­dered. Rated PG-13. 110 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas, Santa Fe. (Robert Ben­ziker) See re­view, Page 40.

IT’S COM­PLI­CATED

OLD DOGS LA DANSE: LE BAL­LET DE L’OPÉRA DE PARIS

This doc­u­men­tary by Fred­er­ick­Wise­man shows the huge and some­times dan­ger­ously icy bulk that sup­ports the magic of the Paris Opera Bal­let: dancers re­hears­ing with manic in­ten­sity, tech­ni­cians and cos­tumers at work, ad­min­is­tra­tors ar­gu­ing with union per­son­nel, and the mil­lions of de­tails it takes to make one per­fect mo­ment hap­pen on­stage. The film never lets us see in­side minds and hearts: we are sep­a­rated from the dancers byWise­man’s ap­proach and con­cept. The re­sult feels al­most sec­ond­hand; the movie is filled with a sort of glo­ri­ous sad­ness amid the tri­umph. Not rated. 159 min­utes. In French and English with sub­ti­tles. The Screen, Santa Fe. (Craig Smith)

The 2007 com­edy Wild Hogs en­joyed a very suc­cess­ful run in Santa Fe. Old Dogs doesn’t carry the ap­peal of hav­ing been filmed in Madrid, but it does boast the same di­rec­tor (Walt Becker) and star ( John Tra­volta) as that film. Tra­volta and Robin Wil­liams play bach­e­lors who must learn new tricks when they’re forced to care for 7-year-old twins. Rated PG. 88 min­utes. Re­gal North, Santa Fe. (Not re­viewed)

Richard Cur­tis, who gave us the sub­limely funny Love, Ac­tu­ally, scores again with a nos­tal­gic look at the mid-’60s, when Brits, whose rock revo­lu­tion had taken the world by storm, had to get their fix of their mu­si­cal he­roes from off­shore pi­rate-ra­dio sta­tions while the BBC kept them off the ap­proved air­waves. Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh, and Philip Sey­mour Hoff­man lead a ter­rific cast. The com­edy is hi­lar­i­ous and the mu­sic is great. Rated R. 115 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas, Santa Fe. (Jonathan Richards)

Pre­cious Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) is a poor, il­lit­er­ate, obese teen who lives in Har­lem with her abu­sive mother (Mo’Nique). Her drug-ad­dict fa­ther re­peat­edly rapes her, and she is preg­nant with their sec­ond child. She’s about to be kicked out of school when her prin­ci­pal tells her about an al­ter­na­tive school where she can pur­sue her GED. With its cor­nu­copia of mis­ery, Pre­cious al­most seems like a new type of hor­ror film, but it suc­ceeds thanks to su­pe­rior per­for­mances and by run­ning on re­al­is­tic hope rather than syrupy op­ti­mism. Rated R. 110 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola. (Lau­rel Glad­den)

PI­RATE RA­DIO PRE­CIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL “PUSH” BY SAP­PHIRE

THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG

Dis­ney re­turns to hand-drawn an­i­ma­tion in this beau­ti­fully ren­dered, mu­si­cally rich re-imag­in­ing of E.D. Baker’s The Frog Princess. When hand­some prince Naveen (Bruno Cam­pos)

pulls into New Orleans in search of a wealthy bride, his plans are dashed by a voodoo witch doc­tor (Keith David) who turns him into a frog. A woman named Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) wishes upon a star and kisses the frog, hop­ing that it will help her re­al­ize her dream of open­ing a restau­rant, but she gets a lot more than she bar­gained for. Rated G. 95 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola; Reel Deal, Los Alamos; Sto­ry­teller, Taos. (Rob DeWalt)

This many­lay­ered docu­d­rama by film­maker Peter Greenaway ex­am­ines in de­tail the con­tent and con­text of Rem­brandt’s 1642 paint­ing The Night Watch. Part lec­turer and part in­ves­tiga­tive re­porter, Greenaway puts him­self in the film and sifts through the cast of char­ac­ters in Rem­brandt’s paint­ing— who, ac­cord­ing to the di­rec­tor, are all sus­pects in a mur­der that the painter al­ludes to in this sem­i­nal work. The film is a fas­ci­nat­ing in­ter­weav­ing of art his­tory, bi­og­ra­phy, 17th-cen­tury Dutch pol­i­tics, and mur­der mys­tery. Not rated. 86 min­utes. The Screen, Santa Fe. (Dou­glas Fair­field)

REM­BRANDT’S J’AC­CUSE

Cor­mac McCarthy’s 2006 novel about a fa­ther and son in a des­per­ate, post-apoc­a­lyp­tic Amer­ica is adapted for the screen by writer Joe Pen­hall ( En­dur­ing Love) and di­rec­tor John Hill­coat ( The Propo­si­tion), and they do about as good a job as you could ask.

THE ROAD

They hit the ma­jor themes, the land­scapes look stun­ning, and Viggo Mortensen con­trib­utes a mov­ing lead per­for­mance. How­ever, you’re never un­aware that you’re watch­ing a movie, which weak­ens the ex­pe­ri­ence. Rated R. 111 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas, Santa Fe. (Robert Ben­ziker)

This isn’t your fa­ther’s Sher­lock Holmes, but it may be closer to Arthur Co­nan Doyle’s in some re­spects. Robert Downey Jr. com­bines wit, in­tel­lect, and an action hero’s phys­i­cal vir­tu­os­ity in a tour-de-force up­dat­ing of the sleuth of Baker Street. De­spite a few lag­gard mo­ments, di­rec­tor Guy Ritchie has pulled off an en­ter­tain­ing coup in giv­ing us a Holmes for the 21st cen­tury by dig­ging back to the 19th-cen­tury orig­i­nal and adding a few bells and whis­tles. Rated PG-13. 128 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola; Reel Deal, Los Alamos; Sto­ry­teller, Taos. ( Jonathan Richards) See re­view, Page 40.

2012

SHER­LOCK HOLMES

In his lat­est dis­as­ter pic­ture, Roland Em­merich ( Godzilla) uses half-baked in­ter­pre­ta­tions of Maya prophecy and ex­ten­sive CGI tech­nol­ogy as ex­cuses to de­stroy the en­tire world. One crazy scene, in which the hero ( John Cu­sack) takes a limo and a small plane to nar­rowly es­cape L.A. fall­ing into the ocean, is epic in its silli­ness. Un­for­tu­nately, the movie is at least an hour too long, flooded with too many talk­ing heads and too much melo­drama. Oh, the hu­man­ity! Rated PG-13. 158 min­utes. Re­gal North, Santa Fe. (Robert Ben­ziker)

With his third fea­ture, di­rec­tor Ja­son Reit­man ( Juno, Thank You for Smok­ing) de­liv­ers a comic win­ner with un­der­tones of con­tem­po­rary angst. Ryan Bing­ham (an im­pec­ca­ble Ge­orge Clooney) spends most of his life on planes, hap­pily trav­el­ing to the cities where he fires peo­ple as a hired gun for down­siz­ing cor­po­ra­tions. Anna Ken­drick and Vera Farmiga are bril­liant as the two women who com­pli­cate dif­fer­ent as­pects of Ryan’s un­com­pli­cated life. The screen­play, by Reit­man and Shel­don Turner, up­dates Wal­ter Kirn’s 2001 novel with 2009 rel­e­vance and smart, funny di­a­logue. Rated R. 109 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Sto­ry­teller, Taos. ( Jonathan Richards)

UP IN THE AIR

Emily Blunt is lovely and strong-minded as the young Vic, and Ru­pert Friend ( Mrs. Pal­frey at the Clare­mont) is a charm­ing Prince Al­bert, once he over­comes a first meet­ing with the Queen ap­par­ent in which he plays the awk­ward­ness rather than try­ing to dis­guise it. Out­stand­ing sup­port­ing work comes from Jim Broad­bent as King William, Mi­randa Richardson as Vic­to­ria’s schem­ing mother, and Paul Bet­tany as the smooth-as-silk P.M., Lord Mel­bourne. With a lit­er­ate if oc­ca­sion­ally fan­ci­ful script by Ju­lian Fel­lowes ( Gos­ford Park) and fluid but some­times self-con­scious di­rec­tion from Jean-Marc Val­lée, this biopic is in­for­ma­tive, el­e­gant, and lushly ro­man­tic. Rated PG. 104 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas, Santa Fe. (Jonathan Richards) ◀

THE YOUNG VIC­TO­RIA

When you have found the shrub­bery, you must place it here be­side this shrub­bery, only slightly higher:

Emily Blunt in The Young Vic­to­ria, at Re­gal DeVar­gas

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