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Movie picks 

*50/50 (R)

As stridently as the comedy-drama 50/50 works to avoid sentimentality, it manages to be more than a collection of caustic anecdotes because of how committed Joseph Gordon-Levitt is to his character's humanity. Which makes it all the more frustrating that the movie is merely a good film instead of a great one. — Scott Renshaw

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Abduction (PG-13)

The film focuses on a youth who discovers the parents who raised him aren't his real folks, a revelation that triggers events and leaves him running for his life. — Not reviewed

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Arthur Christmas (PG)

An animated holiday comedy featuring the voices of James McAvoy (as the younger son of Santa Claus), Hugh Laurie (Santa's eldest son) and Jim Broadbent (Santa). — Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Cars 2 (G)

It felt like Pixar promised us that it would remain grounded in something more vital than the sparkle and speed of contemporary computer-generated movie-making. But with Cars 2, it feels as though that promise has been broken. — Scott Renshaw

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*Contagion (PG-13)

This is no mere disaster movie; it's a meticulous doomsday scenario imagined by someone with a clear need to visualize the worst as a salve to his anxiety. — Justin Strout

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Crazy, Stupid, Love. (PG-13)

For two hours, the film offers up a terrific cast and some genuinely funny moments, but its inability to find real greatness can be encapsulated by one scene — an attempt at sophistication that's too often undercut by sitcom simplicity. — Scott Renshaw

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*The Descendants (R)

The film is an almost dirge-like story about grief, but so much more than that. George Clooney plays Matt King, a Hawaiian real-estate baron; it's a triumph for all, especially the audience. — Justin Strout

Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Kimball's Peak Three, Tinseltown

Dolphin Tale (PG)

Swimming free, a young dolphin is caught in a crab trap, with the result of severely damaging her tail. This is the amazing true story of a brave dolphin and the compassionate strangers who banded together to save her life. — Not reviewed

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Happy Feet Two (PG)

Weirdness, as Rango proved, isn't, of course, an automatic deal-breaker when it comes to animated features. But nothing here coheres in a meaningful way. It's all a big pile of crazy, with no one scooping up after it. — Scott Renshaw

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Cinemark 16 IMAX, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

The Help (PG-13)

Set in Mississippi in the '60s, a southern society girl returns home from college determined to become a writer, but then turns her friends' lives upside down when she decides to interview the black women who have spent their adult lives taking care of prominent Southern families. — Not reviewed

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*Hugo (PG)

Hugo is about both the dreamers and the keepers, and a masterful clarion call for new ones like them, from a man (Martin Scorsese) who's been both. It's a deeply personal animated film that doesn't preach, and a majestic love letter to the cinema. — Justin Strout

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

The Ides of March (R)

The political film's first half moves fast enough to avoid losing viewers to inside-the-Beltway chatter, and the punchy script provides enough entertaining situations. But everything in the film ultimately pivots on the way Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling) reacts when cornered and that's where it hits a wall. — Scott Renshaw

Chapel Hills 15

*Immortals (R)

Immortals is pretty much completely bonkers — actually, that is its secret and its glory. It's sort of about mad King Hyperion, but what's important here isn't what's going on, but how what is going on is presented. The style is substantial, the meat of the meal here. And it is hugely intriguing. — MaryAnn Johanson

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

In Time (PG-13)

Welcome to a world where time has become the ultimate currency. You stop aging at 25, but there's a catch: You're genetically engineered to live only one more year, unless you can buy your way out of it. — Not reviewed

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J. Edgar (PG)

J. Edgar almost never offers the buzz of discovery. It's merely a 50-year kaleidoscope of American history, with the founder of the modern FBI serving as Forrest Gump. — Scott Renshaw

Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Jack and Jill (PG)

Family man Jack (Adam Sandler) must deal with his twin sister, Jill, when she visits for Thanksgiving and then will not leave. — Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

The Lion King (G)

A chance to catch Walt Disney Picture's 32nd animated film again, in theaters for two weeks only. — Not reviewed

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*Moneyball (PG-13)

What follows could have been a standard-issue "underdog sports team" tale, and in some sense, it is. But Moneyball takes angles on these components that are at times completely original, and at times so well executed that they feel completely original. — Scott Renshaw

Chapel Hills 15

*The Muppets (PG)

When dealing with something like The Muppets, nostalgia certainly plays into one's response. But there's the nostalgia that comes from simply trotting out a bunch of characters and saying, "Hey, remember them?" and then there's showing such a deep respect for your source material that you allow another generation to fall in love with them for the exact same reason the previous generation did. — Scott Renshaw

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

My Week With Marilyn (R)

With inert plotting and over-the-top supporting performances, Marilyn feels small and, frankly, dumb. But the prime culprit here can be found in post-production; the film is edited to within an inch of its life: In every scene, we come in too late and leave too early, and certain pivotal plot points are shown from nonsensically diverse viewpoints. — Justin Strout

Kimball's Peak Three

Paranormal Activity 3 (R)

Two sisters try to make sense of the supernatural events they experienced as children. — Not reviewed

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Puss in Boots (PG)

Puss in Boots takes arguably the best part of the last two Shrek movies, stretches it as thin as can be, and leaves us hating cats. — Dan Hudak

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

*Rise of the Planet of the Apes (PG-13)

Escapism isn't about what happens on the screen, but what happens to us: You want to lose yourself in a movie. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the essence of the summer flick, and this is how you do it. — MaryAnn Johanson

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The Smurfs (PG)

A hybrid live-action and animated family comedy. When the evil wizard Gargamel chases the Smurfs out of their village, they're forced through a portal and into our world. They must find a way home. — Not reviewed

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Spy Kids: All the Time in the World (PG)

Marissa Cortez Wilson's world turns upside down when the Timekeeper threatens to take over the planet and she is called back into action by the OSS. — Not reviewed

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The Three Musketeers (PG-13)

If Alexandre Dumas wrote a Resident Evil movie, this would be it. This is a terrible, terrible movie: It cheats; it's flat and empty; and it ends with the threat of a sequel. — MaryAnn Johanson

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*Tower Heist (PG-13)

I'm truly stunned by how much I love Tower Heist. But delightedly so. Seriously, see this movie and ask yourself why more big, silly entertainments can't be this smart. — MaryAnn Johanson

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (PG-13)

Bella and Edward, plus those they love, must deal with the chain of consequences brought on by a marriage, honeymoon, and the tumultuous birth of a child. — Not reviewed

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

*A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (R)

Of course, there are moments where the jokes don't work. But the movie succeeds by remaining sweet as a sugarplum, and dank as best buds can be. — Anders Wright

Tinseltown

Zookeeper (PG)

Kevin James stars as a lovelorn zookeeper who gets a little help from his animal buddies in order to find a mate. — Not reviewed

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  • Our reviewers' recommendations for films playing around the area.

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