Friday October 26, 2012

ALEX CROSS (PG-13). A homicide investigator (Tyler Perry) squares off against a serial killer (Matthew Fox). This overwrought, oppressively violent police thriller has not got an original bone in its empty little head. 1/2H (Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune -- 10/20). 1:41.

ARBITRAGE (R). Richard Gere stars in a Wall Street thriller about a deceitful hedge-fund manager negotiating a merger whose carefully built house of cards begins to collapse when his mistress is killed in an automobile accident which he survives. As unseemly as it may sound, Gere makes us root for the lying, scrambling but extremely well-coiffed billionaire he plays. Part "Law & Order" morality play, part "Wall Street" with a dash of the more recent and topically pertinent "Margin Call," "Arbitrage" hums along, complicating its narrative without tying itself in knots. With Susan Sarandon, Brit Marling, Tim Roth. HHH (Phillips, Chicago Tribune -- 9/15). 1:40.

ARGO (R). Ben Affleck directs and stars in a rescue thriller set against the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. A glorious surprise. Directing his third feature, Affleck has come up with a seamless blend of detailed international drama -- based on the true story about the rescue of six American embassy employees hiding out in the Canadian ambassador’s house in Tehran -- and breathtaking suspense, with just the right amount of dry humor to provide context and levity.


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With John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, Victor Garber. HHHH (Lemire, Associated Press -- 10/12). 2:00.

CHASING MAVERICKS (PG). Gerard Butler and Jonny Weston star in the true-life story of surfer Jay Moriarity.

CLOUD ATLAS (R). Tom Hanks and Halle Berry lead an ensemble of stars in multiple roles in this epic saga -- told through characters living in six different time periods that cover a 500-year span -- that looks at how those living in one time period have an effect on those living in past and future times. Review, D4

FAREWELL, MY QUEEN (R). The story of the last days of Marie Antoinette, which takes place over three days in 1789, seen through the eyes of a fictional commoner, Sidonie, the queen’s reader. The first film about Marie Antoinette to give a real segse of what it must have been like to live inside that palace as the walls were caving in. This drama touches deep and universal anxieties that go well beyond the toppling and certain doom of the French monarchy. It is a comment on the fragility of all human institutions, even ones that seem monolithic and permanent. In French, with English subtitles. HHHH (LaSalle, San Franciasco Chrinicle -- 10/22). 1:37.

FUN SIZE (PG-13). A girl and her little brother get a lesson in school popularity on Halloween. Review, D4

HERE COMES THE BOOM (PG). A teacher and ex-wrestler (Kevin James) moonlights as a mixed martial-arts fighter to save his school’s music program. The film begins not well, with overstated and very broadly played comedy. But once it gets going and commits to its time-worn inspirational formula, it’s not bad. HH (Phillips, Chicago Tribune -- 10/17). 1:45.

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA (PG). Adam Sandler provides the voice of Dracula in an animated monster mash that finds the venerable count operating a luxurious resort for monsters on vacation. He also is eager to prevent his 118-year-old daughter from hooking up with a backpacking human cutie who accidentally stumbles into Dracula’s resort just in time for his daughter’s birthday party. Most of the laughs arise from director Genndy Tartakovsky’s cheeky take on famous monsters of filmland, funneled through the ordinariness of vacationing. Sandler’s voice-only turn outshines many of his front-of-camera appearances. HH (Persall, Tampa Bay Times -- 10/1). 1.31.

LITTLE WHITE LIES (NR). Jean Dujardin as Ludo is seen in a Paris nightclub, kissing women, dancing and snorting cocaine. Then he gets on his motorcycle and gets hit by a truck, and that’s the last he or we see of a party. He spends the rest of the movie in a hospital, while his best friends go off, as planned, to their annual vacation in the south of France. That vacation becomes the story of the film. Think of "Little White Lies" as a French "The Big Chill." In French, with English subtitles.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 (R). The supernatural franchise makes its annual return for Halloween.

SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN (PG-13). Documentary about the career and fate of 1970s Detroit singer-songwriter Rodriguez, who became the prophet and poet of young liberal Afrikaners opposing apartheid.

SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS (R). A hard-drinking screenwriter in Los Angeles with a severe bout of writer’s block falls into the messy hi-jinks of his friend -- a man who kidnaps dogs and then returns them for money. Irish playwright-director Martin McDonagh has mangled together a revenge flick that’s half Guy Ritchie, half Charlie Kaufman. With Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson. HH1/2 (Coyle, Associated Press -- 10/15). 1:49.

SILENT HILL: REVELATION 3D (R). Round two.

SINISTER (R). A collection of home movies unleashes horror on a crime novelist (Ethan Hawke) and his family who have moved into a house that’s possessed. Everything here is something we’ve seen before. (Persall, Tampa Bay Times -- 10/15). 1:40.

TAKEN 2 (PG-13). Liam Neeson reprises his role as retired CIA operative Bryan Mills faci8ng fuerce retirbution from the Albanian gang he all but decimatede in "Taken."A textbook on how to make beautful, successful and highly satIsfying junk-food cinema. With Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen. HHH (LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle -- 10/5). 1:30.

THE MASTER (R). A World War II Navy veteran (Joaquin Phoenix) falls under the spell of a charismatic cult leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Director Paul Thomas Anderson crafts engrossing character studies ("Boogie Nights," "There Will be Blood," "Magnolia") but "The Master" may go down as one of his most compelling works for two simple reasons -- Phoenix and Hoffman. HHH (Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram -- 9/24). 2:17.THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (PG-13). Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, and Ezra Miller star in a teen coming-of-age tale.

THE MASTER (R). A World War II Navy veteran (Joaquin Phoenix) falls under the spell of a charismatic cult leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Director Paul Thomas Anderson crafts engrossing character studies ("Boogie Nights," "There Will be Blood," "Magnolia") but "The Master" may go down as one of his most compelling works for two simple reasons -- Phoenix and Hoffman. HHH (Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram -- 9/24). 2:17.THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (PG-13). Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, and Ezra Miller star in a teen coming-of-age tale.