Movies opening this weekend, still in theaters
Victoria (Megan Charpentier) brings a dark secret into her new home in the horror film "Mama." | Universal Pictures
Updated: February 25, 2013 11:39AM
PG-13 for brief strong language and suggestive humor
Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins
The quiet life of three retired opera singers in a rest home is disrupted when the diva who used to be part of their quartet appears on the scene. Dustin Hoffman makes his directorial debut with the drama.
R for pervasive language, some sexual content and violence
Russell Crowe, Mark Wahlberg, Catherine Zeta-Jones
An ex-cop (Wahlberg) hired by New York City’s mayor (Crowe) to trace the activities of his wife (Zeta-Jones) suddenly finds himself involved in a much bigger scandal.
THE LAST STAND
R for strong bloody violence throughout, and language
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Eduardo Noriega, Johnny Knoxville, Forest Whitaker
It’s hard to tell if he really is as slow and creaky as he’s playing it in this surprisingly low-key action extravaganza, but one thing’s for sure — he’s still the same old Ah-nold. Just a little old and a little tired. In his first starring role in 10 years, Schwarzenegger plays a former LA detective who got tired of the mean streets and took the job of sheriff in a sleepy New Mexico border town. After escaping from the FBI, a vicious (yet handsome) Mexican drug lord heads for the border in a souped-up Corvette. The only thing standing in between him and freedom is Sheriff Ray and his ragtag group of deputies. To its credit, “The Last Stand” doesn’t ask us to take any of this seriously. Despite the mounting body count, the overall mood is light and mildly humorous, with a touch of poignancy as the sheriff takes his tough-guy moves out of mothballs and attempts to lay down the law one last time.
PG-13 for violence and terror, some disturbing images and thematic elements
Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nelisse
This old-school-creepy ode to demented mother love is a better than average shocker despite its predictable and slow-moving plot. It relies more on suspense and atmosphere than splattery gore, plus it features a memorably freaky spectral boogey-woman who’s liable to linger as a nasty memory whether you want her to or not. After rescuing his two long-lost nieces from the cabin in the woods where they were abandoned five years ago by his brother, uncle Lucas (Coster-Waldau) brings the feral children home to live with his rocker girlfriend (Chastain) — unaware that they’ve been adopted by a psychotic ghost with baby issues from beyond the grave.
PG-13 for mature thematic material including a disturbing act and for brief language
Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert
Michael Haneke’s films tend to contemplate human behavior at its worst. They do their best to make us reevaluate whatever comforting notions we may have about life and about our ability to order the world into a benign place. The same holds true for the much-celebrated, Cannes Festival-winning “Amour,” a film that forces us to confront the very thing we like least to consider — the end of our lives — but with one new ingredient: tenderness and devotion. The Cannes Festival Palme d’Or-winning “Amour” is the story of Georges and Anne (Trintignant and Riva) a couple of retired, octogenarian Parisian piano teachers, whose quiet, content life is devastated when Anne is suddenly afflicted with a series of strokes that leave her partially paralyzed, then suicidal, then entirely helpless. Anne exacts a promise from her husband not to send her back to the hospital no matter what happens. A promise that Georges does his best to fulfill.
R for strong violence and language
Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone
Action-comedy director Ruben Fleischer (“Zombieland”) is no stranger to mayhem and crime, but taking on this ersatz, film noir-style, and almost entirely humorless, hard-boiled cops and robbers saga still seems a bizarre choice. “Gangster Squad” works within a just barely true-to-life framework to re-imagine the downfall of the post-World War II-era Los Angeles gangster kingpin Mickey Cohen — courtesy of a crew of maverick cops organized to attack him outside the law. Brolin is suitably square-jawed as the gangster squad honcho and Gosling is a plus as his enigmatic, world-weary right-hand man, but the mannered tough-guy dialogue is as over the top as the bullet-riddled final showdown in the heart of downtown LA.
ZERO DARK THIRTY
R for strong violence including brutal, disturbing images, and for language
Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, James Gandolfini
This harrowing, morally complicated drama by the creative team behind the Oscar-winning “The Hurt Locker” is every bit as realistic, suspenseful and emotionally intense. The closely based on fact “Zero Dark Thirty” opens with the introduction of a fictional, composite character — Chastain as an obsessively dedicated young CIA officer named Maya. After working for years to track down Osama bin Laden, Maya is convinced the Al Qaeda leader is in Pakistan. Of course, we know she is right and we know what happens when she ultimately locates him, but that doesn’t lessen the impact of this gripping, fast-moving dramatization, in which countless false starts and blind alleys only serve to heighten the feeling that the story could jump in any direction at any moment.