Reel Picks

Reel Picks

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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 principal 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 town expectations, a tragic and scary half-brother Dicky (Christian Bale), and a domineering mother (Melissa Leo). A gripping, beautifully acted movie.

Gulliver’s Travels (PG)

Jack Black as Gulliver, the travel writer shipwrecked by a storm, then captured by the tiny Lilliputians, making him a giant among men. Predictable jokes and bawdy sight gags as we learn about Lilliput society with its strict rules and its warring factions. Commoner Horatio (Jason Segel) romances Princess Mary (Emily Blunt) who’s engaged to a pompous general (Chris O’Dowd), who is determined to bring an end to Gulliver. We wish him luck.

No Strings Attached (R)

Writer Adam (two leaps beyond cute Ashton Kutcher) and doctor Emma (irresistible Natalie Portman) as long-time friends trying a no-cuddling, no-commitments, no-emotion sexual relationship: make love without falling in love. Yeah, like that’s gonna fly. With Kevin Kline.

Season of the Witch (PG-13)

A long tiresome trip to the Middle Ages has Crusaders Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman sloughing through a convoluted terrain and an even more convoluted plot to bring an accused witch (Claire Foy) to trial.

The Social Network (PG-13)

Compelling award-winning film. The fascinating story of Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), who created Facebook in 2003. Justin Timberlake is perfect as Sean Parker, the flash-and-dash Napster creator who burrows in on Zuckerberg’s success.

True Grit (PG-13)

The Coen brothers’s 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 to get revenge on her father’s murderer. Matt Damon as the Texas Ranger, Josh Brolin, the bad guy.