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Films recommended by our reviewers are indicated by an *.

The Adventures of Tintin (PG)

Visually, Tintin offers an exponential leap in the potential for motion-capture adventure, with action set pieces. But there are vacant human spaces in the center. It's like Raiders of the Lost Ark, if Indiana Jones had been played by Taylor Lautner. — Scott Renshaw

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

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (G)

After surviving the sinking of their cruise ship, Alvin, Simon and Theodore must survive on a Polynesian island. — Not reviewed

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

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

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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Courageous (PG-13)

Four cops tackle fatherhood, raising life's big questions and challenges. — Not reviewed

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The Darkest Hour (PG-13)

Five young people find themselves stranded in Moscow, fighting to survive during an alien attack. — Not reviewed

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

*The Descendants (R)

The film is an almost dirge-like story about dealing with grief, but it's 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

Hollywood Interquest, Kimball's Peak Three

Dolphin Tale (PG)

Swimming free, a young dolphin is caught in a crab trap, 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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*Footloose (PG-13)

The fidelity with which this film attempts to reproduce the original is something rarely seen in contemporary remakes. And by virtue of doing very little that's different, it does a whole lot right. — Scott Renshaw

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*The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (R)

The mood is by turns brooding and cheeky, the method technically exacting, the temperature not warm. The movie works briskly through its sadistic cycle of brutal violence, a very dark space in which actors lurk and give off glints of their charisma. — Jonathan Kiefer

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

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

The Help (PG-13)

Set in Mississippi in the '60s, a Southern society girl returns from college determined to become a writer, but turns her friends' lives upside down when she decides to interview the black women who have spent their 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

Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

Ides of March (R)

George Clooney tries to add directing flair, but many of his choices feel showy. Ryan Gosling's usual taciturn presence on-screen becomes problematic. — Scott Renshaw

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Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (PG-13)

A bomb destroys the Kremlin and the IMF is blamed. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team must unravel the conspiracy. — Not reviewed

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

*Moneyball (R)

Brad Pitt in a baseball movie for people who don't think they like baseball movies. — Scott Renshaw

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*The Muppets (PG)

When dealing with something like The Muppets, nostalgia certainly plays into one's response. But there's also 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 that the previous generation did. — Scott Renshaw

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

New Year's Eve (PG-13)

The ball drops. And unfortunately, everyone involved in the making of this movie was not beneath it. — Scott Renshaw

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

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

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Real Steel (PG-13)

Hugh Jackman, in a story set in the near-future, where the sport of boxing has gone hi-tech. — Not reviewed

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*Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (PG-13)

Firstly, Kieran and Michele Mulroney deliver a more streamlined plot for Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Dr. Watson (Jude Law). Another significant advantage Shadows has over the first film: the presence of the great detective's greatest enemy. Guy Ritchie's latest installment is fun, witty and, perhaps most shocking of all, occasionally restrained. — Scott Renshaw

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

The Sitter (R)

Jonah Hill has a wild night to remember when he agrees to babysit three challenging kids. — Not reviewed

Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

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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*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

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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, Cinemark 16

War Horse (PG)

War Horse boasts plenty of terrific individual scenes, but Spielberg falls back on his old bag of tricks to make sure we grasp Significance: his trademark slow zoom in; under-the-chin hero shots; glorious landscapes set to John Williams' music. — Scott Renshaw

Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Tinseltown

We Bought a Zoo (PG)

It all feels as maudlin and cloying as it sounds, though Matt Damon occasionally is able to rise above the material and lend it some importance and gravitas. It's less that We Bought a Zoo feels phony than that it just feels so damn safe, even when the snakes get loose or the porcupines get frisky. And no, safe isn't necessarily bad. Let's face it, when you take your family to the zoo, safe and predictable is exactly what you're looking for. It isn't, however, what you look for in a Cameron Crowe movie. — Anders Wright

Carmike 10, Chapel Hills 15, Cinemark 16, Hollywood Interquest, Kimball's Peak Three, Tinseltown

*Young Adult (R)

Young Adult is as much a triumph for its makers as for its star. Writer-director team Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody have both grown leaps and bounds since Juno. Gone are Cody's cutesy turns-of-phrase and Reitman's faux-everyman moralizing that peaked with his last outing, Up in the Air. This is a film shot through with observational clarity, lived-in performances and touching nuances. — Justin Strout

Chapel Hills 15, Tinseltown

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

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