Silver Screen: The Score Card, February 2, 2012 Edition

Silver Screen: The Score Card, February 2, 2012 Edition
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Silver Screen: Confidence Man: The Hugh DeNeal Story Is Stranger than Fiction
Silver Screen: Hereafter *
Silver Screen: Machete **
Silver Screen: Saw VII 3D Zero Stars
Silver Screen: Takers *1/2
Silver Screen: 127 Hours ****
Silver Screen: A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas ***
Silver Screen: Bad Teacher ***
Silver Screen: Battle: Los Angeles **
Big Muddy Film Festival 33
Silver Screen: Black Swan ****
Silver Screen: Blue Valentine ****
Silver Screen: Breaking Dawn Part I *1/2
Silver Screen: Bridesmaids ****
Silver Screen: Captain America **
Silver Screen: Cars II *1/2
Silver Screen: Case Thirty-nine *
Silver Screen: Cedar Rapids ****
Silver Screen: Charlie Saint Cloud **
Silver Screen: Contagion ****1/2
Silver Screen: Contraband *
Silver Screen: Cowboys & Aliens ***
Silver Screen: Crazy, Stupid, Love **
Silver Screen: Despicable Me **1/2
Silver Screen: Devil ***
Silver Screen: Dinner for Schmucks *1/2
Silver Screen: Director Rusty Nails Presents... Dead On: The Life and Cinema of George A. Romero
Silver Screen: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark **
Silver Screen: Dream House *1/2
Silver Screen: Drive ****1/2
Silver Screen: Drive Angry 3D **1/2
Silver Screen: Due Date ***1/2
Silver Screen: Easy A ***1/2
Silver Screen: Eat Pray Love ***
Silver Screen: Fast Five **1/2
Silver Screen: Fifty/Fifty ****
Silver Screen: Final Destination V **
Silver Screen: Friends with Benefits **
Silver Screen: Fright Night ***
Silver Screen: Get Him to the Greek ***
Silver Screen: Going the Distance ***
Silver Screen: Green Lantern *1/2
Silver Screen: Grown Ups *
Silver Screen: Hall Pass *1/2
Silver Screen: Hanna ****
Silver Screen: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II ****
Silver Screen: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I ***
Silver Screen: Haywire ***1/2
Silver Screen: Horrible Bosses **1/2
Silver Screen: How Do You Know ***
Silver Screen: I Am Number Four *
Silver Screen: In Time **1/2
Silver Screen: Inception ****1/2
Silver Screen: Insidious ***1/2
Silver Screen: J. Edgar **
Silver Screen: Jack and Jill 1/2*
Silver Screen: Jackass 3D **1/2
Silver Screen: Jonah Hex *
Silver Screen: Josh Hyde’s Postcards and Love Letters
Silver Screen: Just Go with It *
Silver Screen: Killer Elite **
Silver Screen: Killer Elite **
Silver Screen: Knight and Day *1/2
Silver Screen: Kung Fu Panda II ***
Silver Screen: Larry Crowne *1/2
Silver Screen: Let Me In ***
Silver Screen: Life as We Know It *1/2
Silver Screen: Limitless ***
Silver Screen: Megamind ***1/2
Silver Screen: Midnight in Paris ****
Silver Screen: Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol ****
Silver Screen: Moneyball ***1/2
Silver Screen: My Soul to Take 3D 1/2*
Silver Screen: New Year’s Eve *
Silver Screen: No Strings Attached ***
Silver Screen: One Day **
Silver Screen: Our Idiot Brother ***
Silver Screen: Paranormal Activity II ***1/2
Silver Screen: Paranormal Activity III ***1/2
Silver Screen: Paul ***1/2
Silver Screen: Piranha 3D ***1/2
Silver Screen: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides *1/2
Silver Screen: Predators ***
Silver Screen: Priest 1/2*
Silver Screen: Real Steel *
Silver Screen: Red ***
Silver Screen: Rise of the Planet of the Apes ****
Silver Screen: Salt ***
Silver Screen: Scott Pilgrim versus the World ***1/2
Silver Screen: Scream IV *
Silver Screen: Sex and the City II 1/2*
Silver Screen: Shaft and Coffy: Novotny Lawrence Discusses the Blaxploitation Movement
Silver Screen: Shark Night 3D 1/2* -- Apollo 18 **
Silver Screen: Skyline *
Silver Screen: Soldiers Speak Out: Carbondale Oscar Winner Barb Trent’s Latest Film
Silver Screen: Something Borrowed *
Silver Screen: Source Code ****1/2
Silver Screen: Splice ****
Silver Screen: Straw Dogs *1/2
Silver Screen: Straw Dogs *1/2
Silver Screen: Super Eight ****
Silver Screen: The A-Team **1/2
Silver Screen: The Academy Honors... The Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale
Silver Screen: The Adjustment Bureau *1/2
Silver Screen: The American ****
Silver Screen: The Audubon Trilogy: Fugitive Narratives and the Drama of the Natural World
Silver Screen: The Big Year *1/2
Silver Screen: The Debt ***1/2
Silver Screen: The Descendants ****1/2
Silver Screen: The Dilemma *1/2
Silver Screen: The Expendables **1/2
Silver Screen: The Fighter ****
Silver Screen: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo *
Silver Screen: The Green Hornet **1/2
Silver Screen: The Hangover Part II **1/2
Silver Screen: The Ides of March ****
Silver Screen: The Karate Kid ***
Silver Screen: The Karate Kid ***
Silver Screen: The King's Speech ****
Silver Screen: The Last Airbender *
Silver Screen: The Last Exorcism ***
Silver Screen: The Lincoln Lawyer ***
Silver Screen: The Mechanic **1/2
Silver Screen: The Next Three Days ***
Silver Screen: The Other Guys ***
Silver Screen: The Rite *
Silver Screen: The Roommate *1/2
Silver Screen: The Rum Diary ***
Silver Screen: The Score Card , February 24, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card , February 3, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card , March 31, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card , September 16, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card , September 23, 2010 Edition
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Silver Screen: The Score Card August 19, 2010 Edition
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Silver Screen: The Score Card August 5, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card July 8, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card September 2, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card September 9, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, April 14, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, April 21, 2011 Edition
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Silver Screen: The Score Card, August 19, 2011 Edition
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Silver Screen: The Score Card, December 1, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, December 15, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, December 16, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, December 2, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, December 8, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, December 9, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, February 10, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, February 17, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, January 12, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, January 13, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, January 19, 2012 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, January 20, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, January 26, 2012 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, January 27, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, July 14, 2011 Edition
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Silver Screen: The Score Card, June 30, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, June 9, 2011 Edition
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Silver Screen: The Score Card, May 26, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, May 5, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, November 10, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, November 11, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, November 17, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, November 18, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, November 3, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, November 4, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, October 06, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, October 14, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, October 20, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, October 21, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, October 27, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, October 28, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, October 7, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, September 01, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, September 15, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, September 22, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, September 29, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Score Card, September 8, 2011 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard July 01, 2020 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard July 15, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard July 22, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard July 29, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard June 10, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard June 17, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Scorecard June 24, 2010 Edition
Silver Screen: The Sitter ***1/2
Silver Screen: The Social Network ****1/2
Silver Screen: The Sorcerer's Apprentice **
Silver Screen: The Thing **1/2
Silver Screen: The Tourist **
Silver Screen: The Town ***1/2
Silver Screen: The Tree of Life *****
Silver Screen: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse *1/2
Silver Screen: Thirty Minutes or Less ***1/2
Silver Screen: Thor ***
Silver Screen: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy ***1/2
Silver Screen: Tower Heist ***
Silver Screen: Toy Story III ****
Silver Screen: Transformers: Dark of the Moon *1/2
Silver Screen: True Grit ****1/2
Silver Screen: Unknown ***
Silver Screen: Unstoppable **
Silver Screen: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps ****
Silver Screen: War Horse **
Silver Screen: Water for Elephants ***
Silver Screen: We Bought a Zoo ****
Silver Screen: X-Men: First Class ***
Silver Screen: Your Highness ***1/2
Silver Screen: Zookeeper *


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Silver Screen: The Score Card, February 2, 2012 Edition
Bryan Miller

> Opening this week (Friday unless otherwise noted).

< Leaving Carbondale this Friday.

Contraband (R, *): Dismal, lazy heist thriller that assumes you’ve never seen another heist thriller in your life. Would-be September 11 hero Mark Wahlberg stars as a reformed ex-con dragged back into the criminal underworld when his brother-in-law gets in deep with a small-time hood (Giovanni Ribisi). Of course, that one last job never goes quite so well, families (including wife Kate Beckinsale) are threatened, double-crosses are pulled. It’s flat, unimaginative stuff with utterly unlikable characters and terrible dialogue. Only supporting player Ben Foster draws any attention, but he gets far too little screen time. There will be worse movies in 2012 to be sure, but for a brief time this gets to shine as the biggest waste of time at the movies so far this year.

The Descendants (R, ****1/2): George Clooney leads a phenomenal ensemble cast in this deeply affecting dramedy about a land baron (Clooney) struggling to maintain his family's historic legacy at the same time his wife, lingering in a coma, nears death. Clooney's ace businessman must reconnect with his estranged children (Amara Miller and the exceptional Shailene Woodley) and find a way to cope with a loss that stubbornly continues to unfold even as it seems to end. Yet despite the morose plot, director Alexander Payne's latest film is a deft blend of humor and sadness that finds sympathy with all of its characters, no matter how dubious they seem. A script dense with stirring and revelatory character interactions unfolds at a meditative pace, highlighted with great performances all around. This is a rare treat, a beautiful-looking studio film featuring standout performances from big stars that truly resonates. One of 2011’s best.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (R, *): Overlong, indulgent, and ultimately dull adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s popular mystery novel that intertwines two primary stories, one about a disgraced journalist (Daniel Craig) trying to solve a decades-old disappearance, the other in which his inscrutable, punked-out research assistant (Rooney Mara) attempts to detach herself from her dangerous past. Screenwriter Steven Zaillian is unwilling to cut any significant subplots, so the result is a cursory pass over every element of a tangent-heavy plot that never comes into focus. Only Mara's exceptional performance as the intriguing Lisbeth Salander, along with some unsurprisingly nifty visual touches from director David Fincher, keeps the movie from being a total snooze.

< Haywire (R, ***1/2): Real-life mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano makes her debut as an action-movie star with mixed results in Steven Soderbergh's latest genre exercise, a sharply executed boilerplate action-thriller with a bent for espionage. Carano stars as an ex-Marine working for a private military subcontractor who is sold out by her boss on a job in Barcelona. She returns Stateside to clear her name and find out who in the chain of command set her up; it's an agonizingly standard-issue plot leavened by Soderberg's nifty camerawork and Carano's truly intimidating presence. She's both an object of beauty and a true-blue badass, the latter fact made evident in some impressively brutal fight scenes. She's a mediocre actress at best, though, and not well served by a script that's all razzle dazzle and that never even allows her top-flight costars (Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Bill Paxton) to gain any traction. Soderbergh is clearly out to make a statement here about gender roles and femininity in the modern action movie, and he succeeds, although it never stops feeling like an experiment.

< Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol (PG-13, ****): Director Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille) makes his first foray into live action with the improbable third sequel to Tom Cruise's mediocre action franchise. In a pleasant surprise, this one turns out to be the best of the bunch, thanks not to the standard-issue plot-- generic madman threatens nuclear disaster, disavowed team of superspies must conduct secret mission to stop him-- but Bird's sharp execution. His kinetic camerawork is perfect for the big setpieces, which send star Cruise propelling through the air by fireballs and dangling off the world's tallest building, but Bird also brings a light touch and adds humor the series has long missed. An ace supporting cast, including Jeremy Renner as a suspiciously deadly bureaucrat and Simon Pegg as a motormothed techie, help make this one of 2011’s most enjoyable popcorn flicks.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (R, ***1/2): Swedish director Tomas Alfredson revels in the autumn-colored 1970s chintz and low-fi technology of Cold War London, where ousted MI6 agent George Smiley (Gary Oldman) is brought out of forced retirement to investigate a possible Russian mole in the organization. As he investigates his old friends-- played by a roster of top British actors, including Colin Firth, Ciará n Hinds, Mark Strong, and Toby Jones-- Smiley is forced to reckon with secrets from his own past. Alfredson has made a handsome and intriguing adaptation of John le Carré 's classic novel, but it's bloodless even for a movie partly about emotional distance and manipulation. Following the byzantine plot is difficult enough without pausing to wonder why you're even bothering. Solid performances from the reliably excellent Oldman as well as costars John Hurt and Tom Hardy keep it just interesting enough.

War Horse (PG-13, **): Steven Spielberg is without a doubt a master technician able to create astonishing images and incredible textures with film, but as a storyteller he's given over to the maudlin and the teleological. That's the case with this occasionally great but mostly misguided World War I tale that uses the perspective of its title character, a horse sold into battle, to link together an anthology about the far-reaching effects of the conflict. The grimmer stories ring far truer than the hopeful fantasies, and while the narrative asides are illuminating, the frame story rings utterly hollow. Jeremy Irvine stars as the young farmboy who raises the horse and loses his own innocence in the war, but the real standouts are Tom Hiddleston as a pensive soldier in the cavalry and Niels Arestrup as an aging civilian trying to help his orphaned granddaughter survive the war.

Also in or Coming to Local Theaters

The Artist (PG-13): A silent black-and-white film by director Michel Hazanavicius about the dawn of the film industry. Nominated for ten Academy Awards and starring Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, James Cromwell, Missi Pyle, John Goodman, Penelope Ann Miller, and Malcolm McDowell.

Beauty and the Beast 3D (G): Rerelease of Disney's popular animated spin on the musical tale of a man cursed to live as a monster and the woman who sees beyond his affliction. Retrofitted for 3D, so the beastliness comes right out at you.

> Big Miracle (PG): Inspirational drama based on a true story about a journalist (John Krasinski) and a Greenpeace worker (Drew Barrymore) who unite an unlikely group of volunteers to help save a pod of whales trapped under Arctic ice. Featuring Ted Danson, Kristen Bell, and Tim Blake Nelson.

> Chronicle (PG-13): Suspenseful faux-found-footage flick about three high-school friends who gain superpowers but find the initial thrill of the abilities is eclipsed by their ominous potential when one of the trio takes a dark turn. With a screenplay by Sam Landis, son of John Landis, and directed by young upstart Josh Trank.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (PG-13): Director Stephen Daldry (The Reader, The Hours, Billy Elliot) leads a terrific cast (Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, John Goodman, Max von Sydow) in a film about a young boy trying to come to terms with the loss of his father after the September 11 atrocities.

The Grey (R): Survivalist thriller from director Joe Carnahan in which badass senior citizen Liam Neeson leads a group of plane-crash victims toward safety through the treacherous wilds of Alaska. And he fights wolves.

Hugo (PG): Martin Scorsese’s kid-friendly 3D film follows orphan Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield), who keeps the clocks running in a train station while trying to reconnect with his deceased father by building an automaton. Featuring Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jude Law, and Chloë Moretz. In 2D only.

The Iron Lady (PG-13): Biopic about the late Margaret Thatcher, starring Meryl Streep as the female British equivalent of Ronald Reagan.

Joyful Noise (R): Two members of a church choir (Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah) battle it out to help their group win a national contest. Featuring Kris Kristofferson and Courtney B. Vance.

Man on a Ledge (PG-13): Heist thriller in which an ex-con (Sam Worthington) fakes a suicide attempt to distract police while his brother (Jamie Bell) attempts to rob a crooked financier (Ed Harris). Featuring Elizabeth Banks, Kyra Sedgwick, and Ed Burns.

One for the Money (PG-13): The first installment of Janet Evanovich’s chick-lit mystery novels gets the big-screen treatment with the toxic Katherine Heigl starring as plucky bail bondswoman Stephanie Plum, who’s tracking down an accused cop on the lam.

Red Tails (R): George Lucas produced this action-heavy war tale about the exploits of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, a segregated unit of African American pilots who distinguished themselves during World War II. Starring Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Method Man, and Bryan Cranston.

Underworld: Awakening (R): Further proving that America just cannot get enough of vampires fighting werewolves, producer Len Wiseman cranks out yet another installment in this action-centric series starring his real-life wife, Kate Beckinsale, as the savior of the vampire race, who here are threatened with extermination not from the Lycans but the humans from whom they hide. In 2D and 3D.

> The Woman in Black (PG-13): British horror flick starring a post-Potter Daniel Radcliffe as a lawyer summoned to an isolated village the locals claim is haunted by the spirit of a dead woman. Featuring Ciará n Hinds and Janet McTeer.