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Movie Stars

Movie stars

Christoph Waltz (left) and Jamie Foxx in “Django Unchained.”

Andrew Cooper/Weinstein Company

Christoph Waltz (left) and Jamie Foxx in “Django Unchained.”

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)

Barbara An exiled East Berlin physician (Nina Hoss) has just arrived in a provincial hamlet on the Baltic Sea, where she quietly plots her escape to West Berlin while seeing patients and avoiding the advances of a brawny doctor (Ronald Zehrfeld), who’s been conscripted by the Stasi to pass along intelligence on her. The movie’s quiet power comes from its air of meticulously maintained suspicion. In German, with subtitles. (105 min., PG-13) (Wesley Morris)

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½ Bestiaire In this documentary, the fine Canadian filmmaker Denis Côté views animals at a Quebec safari attraction, their holding facilities, their human caretakers, and paying visitors with a watchfulness that's always exquisitely framed even as a knowing cruelty accompanies that beauty. But Côté applies his hand too heavily. The very act of spending an entire movie behind the scenes at a zoo is indictment enough. (72 min., unrated) (Wesley Morris)

½ Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away 3D This moderately enjoyable film makes good use of 3-D technology but lacks the awe-inspiring visual and aural aplomb of Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil’s live shows. The story, told without dialogue, concerns a gamine who follows a handsome aerialist into another universe where the audience is treated to a compilation of acts from Cirque’s Las Vegas shows, including “O,” “Kà,” “Mystere,” “Zumanity,” and “The Beatles’ Love.” (91 min., PG) (Loren King)

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 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 The Guilt Trip Barbra Streisand as a noodgy mom and Seth Rogen as a stressed-out son in a tiny car driving across America. It’s silly, predictable, and surprisingly sweet — the sort of thing you can and probably should take your own mother to. The stars are believable as parent and child, but who’s the father, Fozzie Bear? (95 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

Hitler’s Children In this documentary from Israeli director Chanoch Ze’evi, we hear from Hermann Goering’s great-niece, Heinrich Himmler’s great-niece, the grandson of the commandant of Auschwitz, and other descendants of Nazi war criminals. They discuss the legacy of family guilt they feel. The subject is powerful and arresting. The film is talky and slack. (83 min., unrated) (Mark Feeney)

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½ The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Title notwithstanding, almost exactly as expected. More Middle-earth — the first third of Tolkien’s prequel story to “The Lord of the Rings” — Peter Jackson’s film has lots of sound and fury and not enough narrative momentum. Ian McKellan’s Gandalf and (joy) Andy Serkis’s Gollum return. The 48 fps digital version in theaters looks like high-end video. With Martin Freeman. In 3-D. (169 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

Jack Reacher The former supersoldier of Lee Child’s novels is now Tom Cruise, and his mission in this maiden outing involves clearing the name of a man accused of killing five people. The deaths are terrible, but the stakes are so low. Cruise works hard, as usual. But he’s so desperate to save us from atrocity and mediocrity that he’s forgotten to save himself. (131 min., PG-13) (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 (and hurts your ears). (157 min., PG-13) (Wesley Morris)

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)

Parental Guidance You really can make a bad family movie less terrible. The people responsible for this bland exercise in sentimentality and rambunctiousness 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. With Frances McDormand and Rosemarie DeWitt. (110 min., R) (Ty Burr)

Rust and Bone From Jacques Audiard (“A Prophet”), a twisted yet surprisingly ordinary love story about a kickboxing single dad (Matthias Schoenaerts) and a killer whale trainer (Marion Cotillard) whose legs get bitten off. Cotillard’s fearsome intensity and the glowing Antibes vibe make it worth seeing. In French, with subtitles. (120 min., R) (Ty Burr)

Bradley Cooper stars in “Silver Linings Playbook.”

JoJo Whilden/The Weinstein Company via AP

Bradley Cooper stars in “Silver Linings Playbook.”

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)

Skyfall The James Bond movie franchise turns 50 this year and continues with Daniel Craig in the title role. But to hear everybody in this tedious new movie debate whether, after 23 movies, James is too long in the tooth for glamorous spycraft, you would think the star of this movie is Methuselah. With Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, and, as the hilariously blond villain, Javier Bardem. (145 min., PG-13) (Wesley Morris)

½ This Is 40 A “sort-of sequel” to 2007’s “Knocked Up” that focuses on that film’s supporting characters, Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann), as they grapple with a stalled marriage. Judd Apatow has made a contradiction in terms — a personal Hollywood comedy — that has good coarse laughs without ever coming to a point. (134 min., R) (Ty Burr)

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