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Movie Stars

Movie capsules

New releases

½ Django Unchained In Quentin Tarantino’s clear-eyed and completely out of its mind exploitation western, Jamie Foxx plays a freed slave in 1853 on the way to rescue his wife (Kerry Washington) from a Mississippi plantation. Tarantino has never been more himself than he is here: grisly kitsch rigged for shock in a way that refuses to cheapen the atrocity of its subject. With Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, and an audacious Samuel L. Jackson. (165 min., R) (Wesley Morris)

½ Les Misérables What’s great about the first half of Tom Hooper’s gigantic film of the musical is the balance it strikes between the misérable and the miz. After 2½ hours, the movie becomes a bowl of trail mix — you’re picking out the nuts you don’t like and hoping the next bite doesn’t contain any craisins. With Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, who are wonderful, and Russell Crowe, who’s not and it breaks your heart. (157 min., PG-13) (Wesley Morris)

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Not Fade Away Beware filmmakers who have been carrying dream projects in their heads for decades. This is “Sopranos” creator David Chase’s fictionalized memoir of growing up a rock-loving teenager in suburban New Jersey, and it’s both achingly affectionate and a terrible mess. John Magaro plays the lead, James Gandolfini is his defeated dad. The soundtrack is aces. (112 min., R) (Ty Burr)

Parental Guidance You really can make a bad family movie less terrible. The people responsible for this bland exercise in sentimentality have done an honorable enough job, chiefly through casting. Bette Midler and Billy Crystal baby-sit for Marisa Tomei and Tom Everett Scott, and their limits to humiliation are kind of a relief. It’s: “It’ll do anything for this movie, but I won’t do that.” (96 min., PG) (Wesley Morris)

½ Promised Land Two movies in one: An earnest anti-fracking drama written by costars Matt Damon and John Krasinski, and a nuanced portrait of small-town America by director Gus Van Sant. The first tries not to be preachy but doesn’t quite succeed, the second is buoyed by the sympathetic performances. (110 min., R) (Ty Burr)

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