Ottawa Citizen

STILL IN TOWN

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Anna Karen­ina ★★★ 1/2 14A Joe Wright’s re­mount­ing of Leo Tol­stoy’s story of in­fi­delity is sump­tu­ous, though its the­atri­cal­ity re­moves us from the emo­tions. Keira Knight­ley is beau­ti­ful as the un­hap­pily mar­ried Anna, but Aaron Tay­lor-John­son seems too feck­less for her lover Vron­sky. (Jay Stone)

Argo ★★★★ 14A Ben Af­fleck’s en­ter­tain­ing thriller re­vis­its the 1979 res­cue of Amer­i­can hostages in Iran. Af­fleck stars as a CIA agent who puts to­gether a fake movie so he can smug­gle the Amer­i­cans out dis­guised as Cana­dian film­mak­ers. (Jay Stone)

Django Un­chained ★★★★ 18A Quentin Tarantino tells the story of Amer­i­can slav­ery as a spaghetti west­ern. Jamie Foxx is Django, a slave-turned-bounty hunter who trav­els with his men­tor to free his wife, a slave to a vi­cious plan­ta­tion owner played by Leonardo DiCaprio. It’s a long and blood-soaked trip. (Jay Stone)

Cloud Atlas ★★ 1/2 14A David Mitchell’s novel be­comes an un­gainly film span­ning cen­turies. Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and oth­ers play mul­ti­ple roles in a sci-fi ex­trav­a­ganza with a mes­sage — we are all con­nected — that hardly seems worth it. (Jay Stone)

Flight ★★★ 18A This Robert Ze­meckis fea­ture of­fers a spec­tac­u­lar start to a sur­vival story. Flight features Den­zel Washington as a boozy com­mer­cial pi­lot strug­gling to come clean af­ter a tragic crash, yet the script moves in cir­cles. (Kather­ine Monk)

Flight of the But­ter­flies ★★★★ G A 3D Imax film about the mi­gra­tion of monarch but­ter­flies, this film shows the voy­age with mag­i­cal scenes of in­sects fly­ing right off the screen and close-ups of a cater­pil­lar trans­form­ing it­self. (Jay Stone)

Here Comes the Boom ★★ PG A mid­dle-aged teacher tries to save his school’s mu­sic pro­gram by en­ter­ing a mixed-mar­tial arts fight to raise $50,000. Most film­go­ers will find this a swing that misses. (An­dre Ramshaw)

Hitch­cock ★★★★ PG An­thony Hop­kins chan­nels Al­fred Hitch­cock in this pe­riod piece that takes us to the film­ing of Psy­cho. Ex­plor­ing emo­tion and his­tory, di­rec­tor Sacha Ger­vasi cre­ates a film that is en­ter­tain­ing and ed­u­ca­tional — with­out los­ing its sex ap­peal. (Kather­ine Monk) The Hob­bit: An Un­ex­pected

Jour­ney ★★★ 1/2 PG The first in a tril­ogy of films based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel runs 169 min­utes. It’s a long haul for a slim vol­ume, but af­ter a slow start di­rec­tor Peter Jack­son fills the screen with imag­i­na­tive crea­tures and ex­cit­ing bat­tles. Too bad the new high film speed robs the movie of warmth. (Jay Stone)

Ho­tel Tran­syl­va­nia ★★ 1/2 PG Adam San­dler stars as a vam­pire who runs a ho­tel for mon­sters, where he can keep his daugh­ter safe. Kids will find the 3D an­i­ma­tion se­duc­tive, but grown-ups may tire of the dirty diaper theme. (Kather­ine Monk)

Hyde Park on Hud­son ★★★ PG Bill Mur­ray plays FDR at his po­lit­i­cal prime in this biopic with a novel edge, and a con­tro­ver­sial premise. Based on the di­aries of a dis­tant rel­a­tive, this fact-based film fo­cuses on the se­cret af­fair the U.S. pres­i­dent had with his cousin. With Laura Lin­ney play­ing the ob­ject of de­sire and a back­drop of a world on the verge of war, this odd ef­fort from Roger Michell cre­ates a spec­ta­cle and finds some comic mo­ments but fails to make a big emo­tional im­pres­sion. (Kather­ine Monk)

Ice Age: Con­ti­nen­tal Drift

★★★ PG Manny, Diego and Sid are back for an­other round of ex­tinc­tion-themed hi­jinks. The script is the weak­est in the fran­chise, but there’s some­thing darkly com­pelling about watch­ing evo­lu­tion­ary Ar­maged­don dressed as fam­ily fluff. (Kather­ine Monk)

Jack Reacher ★★★ 14A Tom Cruise stars as a drifter who solves crimes and rights wrongs while re­main­ing a ghostly cipher. In this case, he helps a lawyer He­len solve the case of a sniper. The im­plau­si­bil­i­ties mount, but Cruise brings in­ten­sity to a vi­o­lent re­venge fan­tasy. (Jay Stone)

Killing Them Softly ★★★ 1/2 18A Brad Pitt stars as an en­forcer who comes to town to set­tle a score, but he’s de­toured by in­com­pe­tent side­kicks, a cor­po­rate li­ai­son and crim­i­nal in­ep­ti­tude. De­spite the blood, guts and graphic lan­guage, this movie has tons of style. (Kather­ine Monk)

A Late Quar­tet ★★★ 18A Yaron Zil­ber­man writes and di­rects this story of a string quar­tet about to snap. When Peter (Christo­pher Walken) dis­cov­ers he has Parkin­son’s disease, he looks for his re­place­ment. A solid, but un­re­mark­able, ef­fort. (Kather­ine Monk)

Life of Pi ★★★ 1/2 PG Os­car win­ner Ang Lee adapts the like-named Yann Martel novel in stun­ning, high-def 3D. Though there are some stilted scenes and forced drama, Lee con­jures enough cin­e­matic magic to pull off this heavy mix of soul-search­ing and ac­tion-sur­vival. (Kather­ine Monk)

Lin­coln ★★★ 1/2 PG Daniel Day-Lewis is per­sua­sive as The Great Eman­ci­pa­tor in Steven Spiel­berg’s biopic about the last few months of the U.S. pres­i­dent’s life. There’s rev­er­ence even as Lin­coln makes un­der­handed deals to free the slaves, and the po­lit­i­cal machi­na­tions give the film its in­trigue. (Jay Stone)

Les Misérables ★★★★ PG Tom Hooper brings Vic­tor Hugo’s novel to the big screen with emo­tional success thanks to an Hugh Jack­man and a tool chest full of cin­e­matic good­ies. The his­tor­i­cal and po­lit­i­cal sides feel un­de­vel­oped, but then again, no one goes to the movies for a his­tory les­son. (Kather­ine Monk)

Parental Guid­ance ★★ G Billy Crys­tal and Bette Mi­dler do the best they can in this so-called com­edy about grand­par­ents who look af­ter three high-strung kids while the par­ents are away. The best run­ning gag is that Crys­tal’s char­ac­ter, a re­cently fired base­ball an­nouncer named Ar­tie, gets nick­named Far­tie by one of his charges. (Chris Knight)

Pitch Per­fect ★★★ PG-13 It’s a Glee-type mu­si­cal with a more comic sen­si­bil­ity. Anna Ken­drick plays a col­lege stu­dent who joins an a cap­pella singing group that’s try­ing to de­feat the male team. Ro­mance is in the air, but it’s the mu­sic that car­ries the day. (Jay Stone)

Play­ing for Keeps ★★ PG A silly ro­man­tic com­edy with Ger­ard But­ler as a re­tired soc­cer star who at­tracts the at­ten­tions of all the wives in town — but he’s try­ing to re­unite with his ex, played by Jes­sica Biel. Watch­ing him fend off their ad­vances is more hu­mil­i­at­ing than funny. (Jay Stone)

Red Dawn ★★ PG A re­make of the like-named ac­tion film about mid­dle Amer­ica be­ing in­vaded — this time by North Korea — with only a feisty group of teenagers will­ing to go to war to stop them. It’s a para­noid fan­tasy that com­bines ado­les­cent angst with sur­vival­ist fer­vour. (Jay Stone)

Rise of the Guardians ★★★ G Be­neath this slick piece of hol­i­day fan­tasy is a mes­sage about per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity. Jack Frost strug­gles with his new duty as a Guardian — a force that cares for chil­dren in ex­change for faith. It’s com­plex and of­ten funny, but it fails to move us at an emo­tional level. (Kather­ine Monk)

Sil­ver Lin­ings Playbook

★★★ 14A Bradley Cooper plays a man who re­turns from a men­tal hospi­tal and tries to re­sume his life, yet his wife has a re­strain­ing or­der against him and he’s not en­tirely sta­ble. Di­rec­tor David O. Rus­sell sells the screw­ball and dra­matic sides, but it’s awk­ward and un­even. (Kather­ine Monk)

Sky­fall ★★★ 1/2 PG When the names of em­bed­ded agents fall into the wrong hands, James Bond (Daniel Craig) must de­stroy the ven­dor, who might be work­ing on the in­side. The film is en­ter­tain­ing, and Craig is com­pelling. Yet, there’s one too many winks to make us weep. (Kather­ine Monk)

This is 40 ★★★ 14A Paul Rudd and Les­lie Mann reprise their roles from Knocked Up in this dra­matic com­edy that at­tempts to take the mickey out of mid­dle age. While the spirit of the film is heart­felt, di­rec­tor Judd Apa­tow’s low­brow hu­mour leaves the script a lit­tle soggy. (Kather­ine Monk) The Twi­light Saga: Break­ing

Dawn — Part 2 ★★★ PG The last in­stal­ment in the five film fran­chise finds Bella (Kris­ten Ste­wart) learn­ing how to be a vam­pire, while the evil Vol­turi threaten her half-im­mor­tal new­born. Robert Pat­tin­son and Tay­lor Laut­ner re­turn as vam­pire and were­wolf, re­spec­tively. A treat for the fans, at least. (Chris Knight)

Wreck-It Ralph ★★★ 1/2 PG A 3D an­i­mated film about a video game vil­lain (voiced by John C. Reilly) who wants to be a hero. He mi­grates to an­other game and helps a lit­tle girl (voiced by Sarah Sil­ver­man) find her­self. It’s a fa­mil­iar plot, with in­ge­nious de­sign. (Jay Stone)

 ?? THE WE­IN­STEIN COM­PANY ?? Jamie Foxx, at left, and Leonardo DiCaprio in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Un­chained. It’s a spaghetti west­ern fo­cused on slav­ery in the U.S.
THE WE­IN­STEIN COM­PANY Jamie Foxx, at left, and Leonardo DiCaprio in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Un­chained. It’s a spaghetti west­ern fo­cused on slav­ery in the U.S.

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