Reel Picks


Black Swan (R)

There’s innocence and madness as the dance-obsessed ballerina Nina (a brilliant Natalie Portman), competes with Lily (Mila Kunis) for the principle role in “Swan Lake,” a dual role that represents good and evil. Nina succeeds in claiming the starring role, but at a cost to mind and body that borders on gothic as she strives for perfection. Barbara Hershey wonderfully plays her ambition-crazed mother.

The Fighter (R)

Lowell, at its fierce Irish-Catholic tribal best in welterweight Micky Ward’s (Mark Wahlberg) true-life story of the triumph of the underdog. The battles are really with his dysfunctional family, town expectations, the large shadow of his tragic and scary half-brother Dicky (Christian Bale), and his domineering mother (Melissa Leo). A gripping, beautifully acted movie.

Gulliver’s Travels (PG)

Jack Black as Gulliver, the chubby little travel writer shipwrecked by a storm, then captured by the tiny Lilliputians, making him a giant among men. But there are so many predictable jokes and bawdy sight gags that even Mr. Black looks confused. The plot centers on the Lilliput society with its strict rules and its warring factions. There is a budding romance between commoner Horatio (Jason Segel) and Princess Mary (Emily Blunt). She’s engaged to a pompous general (Chris O’Dowd) who’s out to bring an end to Gulliver. We wish him luck.

Little Fockers (PG-13)

Tron: Legacy (PG)

A fantastic adventure in a digital world. Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), son of Kevin Flynn (A very Zen Jeff Bridges who’s reprising his 1982 role), sets out to find his father and gets drawn into a world of Frisbee-like killer disks, and video games within video games where his father has been living for 25 years. Bridges also plays his grid creation Clu, an ageless, perfection-seeking cybernaut. The plot is not made secondary to the effects, and the film deals with fathers and sons, free will, and techno-overload as Sam and Kevin set off on a life-and-death journey across a visually stunning cyber universe.

True Grit (PG-13)

The Coen brothers’ version of this classic western stays true to the original with Jeff Bridges as the drunken Rooster Cogburn, Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie, the scrappy girl out for revenge on her father’s murderer. Matt Damon as the Texas Ranger, Josh Brolin, the bad guy.