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Movie Stars

Demia Bruce comforts daughter Deja in a scene from the documentary “The Waiting Room”

International Film Circuit

Demia Bruce comforts daughter Deja in a scene from the documentary “The Waiting Room”

New releases

The Collection This horror sequel to 2009’s “The Collector” doesn’t make five seconds of sense and most of what’s here is borrowed — from movies, music videos, and art installations. The resident boogeyman is made up of so many other maniacs and boogeymen that, even by the loose standards of horror-movie sloppiness, he’s a mess. To that end, “The Collection” is an honest title. This is just a lot of other people’s greatest hits. (88 min., R) (Wesley Morris)

The Flat A documentary in which the Israeli director Arnon Goldfinger attempts to understand the nature of his late grandparents’ friendship with a Nazi propagandist. There’s something touching about the way Goldfinger obeys his moral compass. He doesn’t seem at all happy with this generational luxury of truth seeking. It’s simply a burden by a different name. In English, German, and Hebrew, with subtitles. (97 min., unrated) (Wesley Morris)

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½ Killing Them Softly A bleakly comic, brutally Darwinian gangland saga that at times comes close to being this year’s “Drive.” Writer-director Andrew Dominik jettisons novelist George V. Higgins’s Boston settings for a generic urban wasteland during the 2008 economic collapse. Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy, and James Gandolfini stand out in a cast full of mean, mouthy, small-time thugs. (97 min., R) (Ty Burr)

½ Mahler on the Couch Using the real 1910 meeting between composer Gustav Mahler and psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud as a springboard, this intentionally overripe melodrama examines the tormented marriage of Mahler (Johannes Silberschneider) and his hotsy younger wife, Alma (Barbara Romaner). Taken in the right spirit, it’s enjoyably ridiculous, with Mahler’s music smeared over everything. In German, with subtitles. (98 min., unrated) (Ty Burr)

½ The Waiting Room Peter Nicks’s observant but warm documentary spends 24 hours in Highland Hospital, which serves Oakland’s Alameda County. It’s a public-service facility and, accor-ding to a nurse, a place of last resort. What’s captured is a great deal of stress and worry and wincing — and that’s just on the faces of the staff. Nicks isn’t lobbying. He’s storytelling. The aggregation of those stories is its own editorial. (82 min., unrated) (Wesley Morris)

Previously released

½ Anna Karenina Joe Wright’s adaptation of the Tolstoy classic staggers under the weight of a dazzling, hermetically sealed visual style that fails to connect with our emotions; the entire movie seems to take place in a snow globe. The cast, led by Keira Knightley, is good, although Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Vronsky may be too much the boy-toy. (130 min., R) (Ty Burr)

Chasing Ice A calmly furious documentary about the disappearance of the great northern glaciers and the photographer, James Balog, who captures this silent apocalypse in time-lapse images that balance between beauty and horror. Director Jeff Orlowski gives us more about Balog than we need to know; it’s the work that matters. (76 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

½ Cloud Atlas A dazzling cinematic folly from writer-directors Andy and Lana Wachow-ski (“The Matrix”) and Tom Tykwer (“Run Lola Run”) that tries to explain human interconnectedness through six narrative strands spread over centuries. It’s profound on the surface — and absurdly watchable — but banal beneath. Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and others play multiple characters in sometimes convincing makeup. (172 min., R) (Ty Burr)

Flight A so-so movie with Denzel Washington as a commercial-airline pilot in hot water after he crash-lands a plane while drunk, high, hung over, and horny. The movie doesn’t do much that you couldn’t anticipate just by seeing the trailer. But you know what’s still worth $15 plus the cost of a baby sitter, popcorn, and parking? Two hours with Washington at the height of his everything. (138 min., R) (Wesley Morris)

Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters Ben Shapiro’s documentary chronicles Crewdson’s stellar career, focusing on a series of photographs called “Beneath the Roses,” which includes images shot in Western Massachusetts. Crewdson has become known for his haunting photographs of uncanny twilight scenes in dilapidated suburban settings. This film gives insights into his working processes, and relationships with the communities he shoots in. (77 min., unrated) (Sebastian Smee)

Life of Pi Ang Lee’s adaptation of Yann Martel’s best-selling novel is a marvel of contradictions: a movie about the magnificence of nature that’s largely computer-made, a two-character epic, a 3-D extravaganza that takes place inside a 20-foot lifeboat. The movie shouldn’t work at all, but it does. Keep kids under 10 at home, though. With Suraj Sharma and Irrfan Khan. (127 min., PG) (Ty Burr)

½ Lincoln In the weeks following his reelection, Abraham Lincoln (a remarkable Daniel Day-Lewis) fights to get the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery passed. A terrifically entertaining film that, against all odds, makes politics exciting again. Steven Spielberg is in top form, Tony Kushner’s script is full of crackling talk (and lots of it), and there are scene-stealing turns from Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field, and James Spader. (149 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

Red Dawn The teen commie-anxiety flick from 1984 gets a remake, dated title and all. The new version drops Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, and Josh Hutcherson into the roles, shifts their guerrilla fight from Colorado to more urban Spokane, and promotes North Korea to Evil Empire status. Semi-forced, but hey, it satisfies the brand. Mostly solid viewing as a combat action spectacle, but politically, unable to decide whether to play it retro-jingoistic or contempo-liberal. (93 min., PG-13) (Tom Russo)

½ Rise of the Guardians Happily, this 3-D animated dream-teaming of “Guardians of Childhood” Santa (Alec Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), and the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) doesn’t just coast on familiar lore. Jack Frost (Chris Pine) is placed at the center of the adventure, joining them against boogeyman Pitch (Jude Law) in an adaptation of William Joyce’s books. Distinctive, but could push its crossover gimmick more aggressively. (97 min., PG) (Tom Russo)

A Royal Affair This Danish historical drama about a mad 18th-century king, his wife, and her lover is one of the stodgier entries in the Oscar-season costume parade but also one of the more straightforwardly enjoyable: a crowned-heads soap opera that balances effectively between pomp and melodramatic circumstance. In Danish, with subtitles. (137 min., R) (Ty Burr)

½ Silver Linings Playbook Bradley Cooper finally gets a role that gives his oily charm some vulnerability. He plays a mental patient living in Philadelphia with his parents, hung up on his estranged wife and spending time with an equally unstable woman (Jennifer Lawrence). The movie whizzes and stings, and features a never-haler Robert De Niro as Cooper’s dad. (122 min., R) (Wesley Morris)

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2 Boy, there’s a lot of standing around in this movie. In this series there’s always a lot of standing and waiting and sitting and hoping — for Edward the vampire (Robert Pattinson) to kiss human Bella (Kristen Stewart), for him to make transformative love to her. But this mercifully final installment features so much idle anticipation that it’s unclear whether we’re watching a movie or an Apple product launch. (116 min., PG-13) (Wesley Morris)

Wreck-It Ralph A video arcade villain (voiced by John C. Reilly) has an existential crisis and busts out into other games in an attempt to become a hero. Bright, fast, reasonably funny, and depressingly formulaic, it’s more fodder to keep your kids tethered to their home entertainment centers. Cranky old critic says: Send them out to play instead. (93 min., PG) (Ty Burr)

Find an archive of reviews at www.boston.com/movies.

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