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Movies

Movie Stars

“Quartet," directed by Dustin Hoffman and based on the play by Ronald Harwood.

Austin Film Festival

“Quartet," directed by Dustin Hoffman and based on the play by Ronald Harwood.

New releases

A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman And now for something completely different: an animated multi-chapter documentary life story that is narrated by its own subject, Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, who has been inconveniently dead for 23 years, and who’s probably making it all up anyway. For Python completists only. (85 min., R) (Ty Burr)

½ Quartet From first-time director Dustin Hoffman, a sweet-tempered, rather fuddly drama about retired British opera singers, less slick than the vaguely similar “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and better for it. Maggie Smith gets to go glam as a soprano who has lost her gift; Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, and Pauline Collins provide support. A minor treat. (98 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

Previously released

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Amour A simple yet devastatingly profound story of an elderly French couple (Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva) during the long, squalid months of the wife’s decline. Writer-director Michael Haneke observes his subject with an unadorned style that takes on aspects of the holy. The movie avoids melodrama; it’s just extraordinarily intimate. In French, with subtitles. (127 min., PG-13) (Ty Burr)

Broken City A cluttered, formulaic thriller, with Mark Wahlberg miscast as a conflicted tough-guy detective caught in an election week conspiracy. The best thing here — i.e., the most enjoyably bad — is Russell Crowe as a greasy, macho mayor. (109 min., R) (Ty Burr)

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 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. (165 min., R) (Wesley Morris)

Gangster Squad Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling head a secret crew of cops intent on bringing down 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, but it inadequately substitutes for what you could be watching instead. (113 min., R ) (Wesley Morris)

The Last Stand Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wrinkles actually serve him well in playing a veteran lawman working a border enclave. Things get dicey when slithery Peter Stormare hits town with bridge-building gear, and an escaped Mexican cartel boss comes rocketing south. Director Kim Jee-woon seems to take an approach that’s less “let’s see what sticks” than “who cares what sticks,” with results that can be funny but also oddly arrhythmic. (107 min., R) (Tom Russo)

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)

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)

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 Robert De Niro as Cooper’s gambler dad. (122 min., R) (Wesley Morris)

Zero Dark Thirty Kathryn Bigelow’s brilliantly crafted ground-level procedural unfolds from the early days of the war in Afghanistan to the midnight assault on Osama bin Laden’s compound. Jessica Chastain plays a CIA agent obsessed with the search; the early torture scenes make viewers confront their own response. (157 min., R) (Ty Burr)

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

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