The middle ground
Amour (127 min., PG-13) Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva play an elderly couple confronting issues of life, love, and death. One scene involves nudity as Riva’s character is bathed by a visiting nurse. Euthanasia as an issue figures in the story.
Mama (106 min., PG-13) Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, of “Game of Thrones,” and Jessica Chastain star in this creepy ghost story. Stains in the walls, like rot, grow larger and release tentacles or noisy moths that portend death. Later scenes of violence — someone pushed by the ghost down a flight of stairs, someone’s neck snapped — are stylized, quick, and not graphic. The film includes occasional profanity and a brief love scene that never becomes explicit.
Quartet (98 min., PG-13) Four faded opera stars (Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins) live in an English country mansion where retired classical singers and other musicians can live out their days and celebrate their music. Characters occasionally talk about sex and use sexual slang, but nothing too explicit. The script includes some profanity.
Warm Bodies (97 min., PG-13) “Romeo and Juliet” gets the zombie treatment. The movie pushes the PG-13 envelope here and there, when zombies get blown away gorily or kill humans and eat their brains. Skeletal creatures called “Bonies” kill and eat other, fleshier zombies. The dialogue includes a little profanity. There’s mild sexual innuendo.
Broken City (109 min., R) Mark Wahlberg is a detective. Russell Crowe is a big-city mayor who hires him to investigate his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Violence is relatively infrequent and not too graphic. The detective secretly photographs a woman in lingerie about to engage in a sexual encounter with a man, but the film cuts away. Another more explicit sex scene with toplessness occurs in his girlfriend’s new movie. Characters use strong profanity and sexually explicit language.
Bullet to the Head (92 min., R) Sylvester Stallone up to his old — very old — tricks: Point-blank shootings involve much blood and gore. Characters use cocaine. Naked women wander through a house party. An extremely graphic autopsy scene shows a victim’s entire thorax cut open. Bullets are pried out of wounds, and the wounds sewn up. Oh, and the script includes strong profanity.
Gangster Squad (113 min., R) Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, and Emma Stone star in this tale of fighting the mob in LA after World War II. The film opens with an attempted rape. Shoot-outs are loud, bloody, and frequent. The violence also includes stabbings and bone-breaking fistfights. A stripper is seen nearly topless. The script is filled with profanity and explicit sexual slang. A few ethnic slurs are also used.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters(88 min., R) What fairy-tale title characters do when they grow up. A character is strung up, his body pulled apart, with gore flying. Violence between witches and humans depicts hearts pierced or heads torn off, but the digital effects are so outlandish, none of it seems very real. The film includes considerable strong (and modern) profanity, back-view nudity, and an implied sexual situation. The relationship between Hansel and Gretel has an incestuous undercurrent.
The Last Stand (107 min., R) Arnold Schwarzenegger as a border-town sheriff in the Southwest. Loud gunfire from all sorts of weapons fills the movie. However, with a couple of exceptions — a body blown apart, a couple of bloody close-ups — the depiction of wounds and the spattering of blood are relatively understated. Characters use a lot of profanity and there is brief, mild sexual innuendo.
Movie 43 (90 min., R) This collection of very gross and sexually explicit comic short films abounds in lewdness. It weaves sexual situations with toilet humor, psychological torment, and occasional violence (against leprechauns) — all laced with profanity.
Parker (118 min., R) Jason Statham is a thief, and Jennifer Lopez complicates things for him. The violence includes graphic gunplay, knifings, and bone-cracking fights, often with bloody wounds, plus explosions and fires that endanger innocent people. The profanity is strong. We see one briefly implied but nongraphic sexual situation and scenes with topless women that narrowly avoid full frontal nudity. Lopez strips to her underwear to show she isn’t wearing a wire.
Stand Up Guys (100 min., R) Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin play old pals who are aging crooks. The language is often strong, both in terms of profanity and sexual slang. The film includes a protracted and visually implied Viagra joke. There are strong hints of nudity. Visits to a brothel are not explicit, but much is implied in a comic way. A character tries to get high snorting prescription drugs. The action features relatively subdued gun and fist violence.
Zero Dark Thirty (157 min., R) A fictional, if highly realistic, look at the search for and killing of Osama bin Laden. Scenes in which CIA operatives use waterboarding and other coercive methods are graphic and disturbing. Other violence includes frightening suicide bombings. Characters use strong profanity. The movie opens in blackness, with recordings of phone calls made by victims trapped in the the burning World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.