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Patriots Live

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Movie Stars

Movie Stars

Ryan Gosling (left) and Josh Brolin in “Gangster Squad.”

Jamie Trueblood/Warner Bros. Pictures

Ryan Gosling (left) and Josh Brolin in “Gangster Squad.”

Previously released

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)

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 Samuel L. Jackson. (165 min., R) (Wesley Morris)

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½ Fairhaven This locally shot indie’s slender story line features Medford-bred writer-director Tom O’Brien as an aspiring writer still somehow kicking around his small town, trying to sort out his self-actualization issues. He falls somewhere between one schlubby, divorced friend (Rich Sommer) and another (Chris Messina) who’s back in town for his estranged father’s funeral. O’Brien and his castmates have some too-loose dialogue, but a Tom Brady riff is idiosyncratically entertaining, and there’s some promising drama. (81 min., unrated) (Tom Russo)

Gangster Squad Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling head a secret crew of cops intent on bringing down crime boss Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn). This is almost like every popular movie about crooks and cops made in the last four decades, but it’s never enough like its own movie. Director Ruben Fleischer gives it some flash and bang, but it inadequately substitutes for what you could be watching instead. (113 min., R ) (Wesley Morris)

A Haunted House “Paranormal Activity” fans will recall that the phenomenon-spawning fright flick opened just over three years ago — meaning that the time for parodies was ripest about two years and 11 months ago. Yet here comes Marlon Wayans’s new spoof, blithely looking to ride the found-footage wave regardless of whether it’s crested. Not that it would matter, if the comedy were sharp enough — but no such luck. (86 min., R) (Tom Russo)

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, 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 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. (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)

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 dad. The soundtrack, naturally, is aces. (112 min., R) (Ty Burr)

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)

½ The Sessions It sounds like a bad joke: A man in an iron lung hires a sex surrogate to help him lose his virginity. But the achievement of this simple, intensely moving drama (based on a true story) is the clarity with which it portrays a good soul in an inert body. John Hawkes and Helen Hunt give rich, unshowy performances as the leads; William H. Macy plays the hero’s priest. (95 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)

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)

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