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What Are You Seeing This Weekend? ‘This Is 40’ & ‘Jack Reacher’ Are ‘On The Road’ At ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

What Are You Seeing This Weekend? 'This Is 40' & 'Jack Reacher' Are 'On The Road' At 'Zero Dark Thirty'

Well folks, today is the Mayan Apocalypse, the official end of the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar — which doesn’t sound so bad — and, possibly, the world as we know it, which sounds pretty terrible. If we’re all still here tomorrow (or tonight, for that matter), there is a delectable spread of filmic morsels on this weekend’s menu. The latest Judd Apatow feature, Tom Cruise‘s new moody thriller, the first direct cinematic adaptation of Jack Kerouac‘s most famous work, and Kathryn Bigelow‘s second venture into modern warfare will grace the nation’s silver screens, and we would encourage you to indulge wherever possible. So, toast the end of planet Earth while you tell us what you hope you’ll be seeing in the comments section below. It probably wouldn’t hurt to knock on wood or rub a rabbit’s foot too. No, seriously: we really want to see “Gangster Squad” next year.
This Is 40.” Directed by Judd Apatow. Starring Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Megan Fox, Albert Brooks, and John Lithgow. Our review: “While there’s a more refined movie in here somewhere, the excesses and loose ends of the story render away much of its power.” Metacritic: 58 Rotten Tomatoes: 58% The Playlist: C+

Jack Reacher.” Directed by Christopher McQuarrie. Starring Tom Cruise, Werner Herzog, Rosamund Pike, David Oyelowo, Richard Jenkins, and Robert Duvall. Our review: “In terms of pure pop entertainment value, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more smartly constructed, beautifully shot, pulse-pounding movie this holiday season. Cruise’s Reacher might be small, but he is mighty.” MC: 48 RT: 66% PL: B+

Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away.” Directed by Andrew Adamson. Starring Dallas Barnett, Erica Linz, Lutz Halbhubner, and Sophia Elisabeth. This filmed account of the famous company’s acrobatic feats — rendered in 3D — is technically savvy and spectacularly staged, but can’t compare with the thrills or magnificence of the live shows that are sure to be familiar to most moviegoers. MC: 55 RT: 53%

The Guilt Trip” opened Wednesday. Directed by Anne Fletcher. Starring Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen (and their red car). Our review: ” ‘The Guilt Trip’ isn’t wholly regrettable…But mostly it’s a dull, lifeless missed opportunity” and “goes down the path most traveled, indulging in a series of well-worn clichés and devoting a minimal amount of time to character development or actual conflict.” MC: 53 RT: 36% PL: C-
Zero Dark Thirty” opened Wednesday. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Starring Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Jennifer Ehle, Harold Perrineau, and Kyle Chandler. Our review: “While not as taut and lean as the more action-based ‘The Hurt Locker,’ ‘ZDT’ is an electric, sprawling and ambitious effort that’s easy to become absorbed by, and a picture that should impress those keen on the director’s intelligent, composed and determined brand of filmmaking.” MC: 95 RT: 95% PL: B+

The Impossible.” Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona. Starring Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Tom Holland, Oaklee Pendergast, and Samuel Joslin. Our review: ” ‘The Impossible’ strikes an insincere tone, one that doesn’t let the obviously powerful moments stand on their own, but instead follows the beautiful Hollywood stars to safety, while the real story is left on the ground.” MC: 78 RT: 82% PL: D+

On the Road.” Directed by Walter Salles. Starring Sam Riley, Garret Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Amy Adams, and Viggo Mortensen. Our review: “Salles may have pulled off the achievement of faithfully adapting Kerouac’s novel, but as episodes blur and bleed between each other with scenery as punctuation, you might find yourself wishing for a little less literary fidelity and a little more cinematic storytelling.” MC: 53 RT: 46% PL: B

Barbara.” Directed by Christian Petzold. Starring Nina Hoss and Ronald Zehrfeld. Our review: “While ‘Barbara’ gets plenty right, there’s still something that feels a tad bit off…For a film that takes pains to focus on peoples’ lives during a precise era, its stern sensibility sometimes gets in the way of genuine soul.” MC: 83 RT: 94% PL: B-

Not Fade Away.” Directed by David Chase. Starring John Magaro, Jack Huston, Will Brill, Brahm Vaccarella, Bella Heathcote, and James Gandolfini. Our review: “Somewhat wistfully conventional, attempting to cram too much into too little space, meandering and failing to create any kind of statement or emotional mark, ‘Not Fade Away’ might take a cue from the harsh and crude Tony Soprano-esque father of the picture and take some shears to its shaggy and overgrown haircut.” MC: 69 RT: 77% PL: C+

No Rest for the Wicked.” Directed by Enrique Urbizo and Henry Jacob Kim. Starring José Coronado, Rodolfo Sancho, Helena Miquel, and Juanjo Artero. This Spanish police drama features noir and thriller elements in spades, making for a delightfully satisfying genre pic. MC: n/a RT: no score yet

Amour” opened Wednesday. Directed by Michael Haneke. Starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, and Isabelle Huppert. Our review: “Masterfully directed by Haneke, boasting two great performances and a commitment to the narrative that might be too much for some, ‘Amour’ is nevertheless the work of a filmmaker who isn’t afraid to ask the big questions about human nature.” MC: 94 RT: 92% PL: B+

Django” not unchained. Wait, that’s a double negative, so… chained? No, that’s not right either. Anyway, this isn’t the new Quentin Tarantino flick — that’s out next Tuesday. It is, however, related. Deemed the most violent film ever made upon its release, this 1966 spaghetti western was directed by Sergio Corbucci and stars Franco Nero, Eduardo Fajardo, José Bódalo, and Loredana Nusciak. In its reissue this weekend, watch the titular gunslingin’, chaw-chewin’ cowboy drag a coffin across the desert until he gets caught up in a feud between the KKK and Mexican bandits. Can you count the inspirations? MC: n/a RT: 91%

And, finally: “Monsters, Inc.” was re-released in 3D on Wednesday, proudly maintaining Disney‘s inimitable legacy of appealing to the newest generation of kiddos. And making a gazillion dollars off their parents. In case you (or your children) missed this tale — behind the scenes with the monsters who lurk inside closets and underneath beds — the first time around, Pete Doctor, David Silverman, and Lee Unkrich directed the Pixar flick, which stars John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, as well as a number of other famous faces, er, voices. Our review: ” ‘Monsters, Inc.’ is a Pixar movie particularly suited for the 3D conversion that has retrofitted ‘The Lion King,’ ‘Beauty and the Beast‘ and ‘Finding Nemo‘ in recent months. The monster world is an incredibly tactile one, and the newly dimensional version gives every image some real oomph…But more than any 3D whiz-bang moment, the thing that makes ‘Monsters, Inc.’ such an enduring gem is its underlying emotion.” MC: 78 (original release) RT: 95% PL: A

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