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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. Rated PG. 92 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola; Sto­ry­teller, Taos. (Not re­viewed) AN­I­MAL TREA­SURE IS­LAND This 1971 an­i­mated ad­ven­ture from Ja­pan — which boasts the heavy in­volve­ment of an early-ca­reer Hayao Miyazaki— loosely trans­lates Robert Louis Steven­son’s tale into a Looney Tunes-style ad­ven­ture star­ring an­i­mals. The movie is the cin­e­matic equiv­a­lent to set­ting sail for the hori­zon with your best bud­dies at your side and a spy­glass in hand. Satur­day and Sun­day, Jan. 9 and 10, only. Not rated. 78 min­utes. Dubbed in English. CCA Cin­e­math­eque, Santa Fe. (Robert Ben­ziker) AVATAR James Cameron’s ad­ven­ture— about an ex-sol­dier (Sam Wor­thing­ton) 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. 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. 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) THE BLIND SIDE 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, and the film is the first movie with a fe­male lead to make more than $200 mil­lion at the box of­fice. Rated PG-13. 128 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola. (Lau­rel Glad­den) BROTH­ERS 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. ( Jonathan Richards) CAP­TAIN ABU RAED This en­dear­ing first fea­ture from writer-di­rec­tor Amin Matalqa is an­chored by a low-key but com­mand­ing per­for­mance from Nadim Sawalha as an el­derly jan­i­tor at the Amman air­port who one day finds an air­line cap­tain’s cap in the trash. When he wears it home, neigh­bor­hood urchins take him for an in­ter­na­tional pi­lot and beg him for sto­ries of the world. Af­ter ini­tially dis­cour­ag­ing them, he em­braces the ruse and be­comes emo­tion­ally in­volved in the lives of the kids. The movie is some­times a bit un­likely and melo­dra­matic but still ab­sorb­ing and up­lift­ing. Not rated. 102 min­utes. In Ara­bic with sub­ti­tles. The Screen, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards) DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE MOR­GANS? 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 out West to hide, where they try to mend their re­la­tion­ship and milk cows. Grant and Parker give it their all, but a poor script and lack­lus­ter di­rec­tion weigh the whole thing down. Rated PG-13. 103 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola. (Robert Nott) DIS­NEY’S A CHRIST­MAS CAROL 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 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) EV­ERY­BODY’S FINE A wid­ower (Robert De Niro) trav­els to see each of his four chil­dren. 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. It’s a fine movie— but goopy Hall­mark touches, a lack of ten­sion, and an oat­meal-fla­vored pro­tag­o­nist high­light the dif­fer­ence be­tween “fine” and good. Rated PG-13. 100 min­utes. Re­gal North, Santa Fe. (Robert Ben­ziker) 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, whim­si­cal, and so­phis­ti­cated, and is per­fect for adults and chil­dren without pan­der­ing to ei­ther au­di­ence. Rated PG. 87 min­utes. Re­gal North, Santa Fe. (Robert Ben­ziker) IN­VIC­TUS 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 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; Sto­ry­teller, Taos. ( Jonathan Richards) IT’S COM­PLI­CATED This frothy com­edy from writer/di­rec­tor Nancy Mey­ers 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; Reel Deal, Los Alamos Sto­ry­teller, Taos. ( Jonathan Richards) 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 MES­SEN­GER Oren Mover­man’s mov­ing drama takes a re­fresh­ing ap­proach to the sub­ject of war as it fo­cuses on two emo­tion­ally wounded war­riors (played by Ben Foster andWoody Har­rel­son) who work in a Ca­su­alty No­ti­fi­ca­tion unit. Seem­ingly un­scripted scenes in the first half res­onate with the raw re­al­ity that shrap­nel from war in­jures those back home. The sec­ond half suf­fers from a slow pace and some soap-opera script­ing, but the act­ing is top flight. Rated R. 112 min­utes. CCA Cin­e­math­eque, Santa Fe. (Robert Nott) NINE Rob Mar­shall’s lat­est mu­si­cal is adapted from a 1982 Broad­way pro­duc­tion based on Fed­erico Fellini’s 1963 film 8 ½, but it has wan­dered so far from Fellini that, as far as trans­lat­ing an au­then­tic Ital­ian ex­pe­ri­ence goes, it’s more Olive Gar­den than Trat­to­ria Nos­trani. Daniel Day-Lewis tries his best, but the mu­si­cal num­bers are all duds, and a sup­port­ing cast of gifted ac­tresses (in­clud­ing Judi Dench, Nicole Kid­man, Mar­ion Cotil­lard, and Pené­lope Cruz) is squan­dered. Rated PG-13. 110 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas, Santa Fe. (Robert Ben­ziker) PRE­CIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL “PUSH” BY SAP­PHIRE 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. (Lau­rel Glad­den) THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG Dis­ney re­turns to hand-drawn an­i­ma­tion in this beau­ti­fully ren­dered 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, but she gets a lot more than she bar­gained for. Rated G. 95 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola; Sto­ry­teller, Taos. (Rob DeWalt) REM­BRANDT’S J’AC­CUSE This many-lay­ered 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. Not rated. 86 min­utes. The Screen, Santa Fe. (Dou­glas Fair­field) THE ROAD Cor­mac McCarthy’s 2006 novel about a fa­ther and son in a postapoc­a­lyp­tic Amer­ica is adapted for the screen by writer Joe Pen­hall and di­rec­tor John Hill­coat ( The Propo­si­tion), and they do about as good a job as you could ask. 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) SHER­LOCK HOLMES Robert Downey Jr. com­bines wit, in­tel­lect, and an action hero’s phys­i­cal vir­tu­os­ity in a tour-de­force 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) 2012 In his lat­est dis­as­ter film, Roland Em­merich 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, 2012 is flooded with too many talk­ing heads and too much melo­drama. Oh, the hu­man­ity! Rated PG-13. 158 min­utes. Re­gal North, Santa Fe. (Robert Ben­ziker) UP IN THE AIR With his third fea­ture, di­rec­tor Ja­son Reit­man ( Juno) 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 in Ryan’s life. The screen­play, by Reit­man and Shel­don Turner, up­datesWal­ter Kirn’s 2001 novel with 2009 rel­e­vance and smart, funny di­a­logue. Rated R. 109 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Sto­ry­teller, Taos. ( Jonathan Richards) THE YOUNG VIC­TO­RIA Emily Blunt is lovely and strong-minded as the young Vic, and Ru­pert Friend 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 self­con­scious di­rec­tion from Jean-Marc Val­lée, this biopic is in­for­ma­tive, el­e­gant, and lushly ro­man­tic. Rated PG. 104 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)

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