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Movie Stars

Movie capsules

Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role in “Lincoln.”

DreamWorks Picturesand 20th Century Fox

Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role in “Lincoln.”

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. With Jude Law. (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)

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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. Directed by Robert Zemeckis. (138 min., R) (Wesley Morris)

½ A Late Quartet A smartly cast, discreetly contrived melodrama about classical musicians, with retiring cellist Christopher Walken upsetting the delicate balance of his string quartet. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, and Mark Ivanir are the other players; the music’s sublime but the situations feel pat. Fans of the actors (and of Beethoven) should check it out, though. (105 min., R) (Ty Burr)

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 bogeyman Pitch (Jude Law) in an adaptation of kid-lit author 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. With Alicia Vikander and Mads Mikkelsen. 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. Its director is David O. Russell, who’s become Hollywood’s most instinctive maker of ensemble dramatic comedies. With a never-haler Robert De Niro as Cooper’s gambler 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 fifth and 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)

An archive of movie reviews is at www.boston.com/movies.
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