Reel Picks

Reel Picks

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The American (R)

Weary but effective American assassin (George Clooney), retreats to a small Italian village and, while taking on a mysterious assignment, finds romance and friendship — a risk for someone in his line of work.

3 shells

Cairo Time (PG)

A beautiful, nuanced character study of what does and doesn’t happen when a lonely wife, Juliette (Patricia Clarkson), goes to Cairo to meet her husband for a vacation, and finds herself seeing the city with his friend Tareq (Alexander Siddig).

4.5 shells

Eat Pray Love (PG-13)

Julia Roberts — in close ups. Perfect woman leaves a perfect marriage and embarks on a perfect world quest for self-discovery. With Javier Bardem, Billy Crudup.

3 shells

The Expendables (R)

A low-tech, high body-count action flick about South American drug lords, mercenaries, and a corrupt CIA agent (Eric Roberts). Directed, co-written, and co-starring Sylvester Stallone, and all the ’80s action stars still able to touch their toes like Bruce Willis, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (no, really), and Mickey Rourke.

2.5 shells

Get Low (PG-13)

Sensitive, funny down-home tale. A stunning portrayal by Robert Duval, as a hermit who comes out of hiding after 40 years and learns what townsfolk think of him by staging his own funeral. Bill Murray as the sorrowful undertaker, Sissy Spacek as his old flame. Brilliant.

5 shells

The Girl Who Played with Fire (R)

Goth, tattooed computer hacker Lisbeth (Noomi Rapace), seeks revenge in Stieg Larsson’s second novel in the unrelentingly grisly Swedish trilogy. Way too over the top to be affecting. With Michael Nyqvist.

2.5 shells

Going the Distance (R)

A truly dismal, unfunny comedy about a couple (Drew Barrymore and Justin Long) trying to sustain their romance while living on different coasts. Appealing stars, but contrived and embarrassing.

.5

The Kids Are All Right (R)

Teenagers (Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson) find their biological father Paul (Mark Ruffalo) — the sperm donor used by lesbian couple Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore) — and everything gets scrambled in a thoughtful, reality-based way.

Nanny McPhee Returns (PG)

The magical nanny — a perfect Emma Thompson —comes to a 1940s English farm to rescue a harried mom (Maggie Gyllenhaal) trying to cope with her three kids and their rotten city-bred cousins. Charm, fine cast —Ralph Fiennes, Maggie Smith, Rhys Ifans — and fun.

4 shells

The Other Guys (PG-13)

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as mismatched detectives who stumble on a major crime. Michael Keaton nails it as a shady precinct chief. With Eva Mendes, Steve Coogan, Samuel L. Jackson, and Dwayne Johnson.

2.5 shells

Ramona and Beezus (G)

A family film with a dose of economic reality. Financial setbacks create problems for Dad (John Corbett) and Mom (Bridget Moynahan) that affect everyone: mischievous Ramona (Joey King), and her perfect teenage sister, Beezus (Selena Gomez).

2.5 shells.

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