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 duel role that represents good and evil. Nina succeeds in claiming the staring 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 Dilemma (PG-13)

Do you tell your best friend and business partner that his wife of 20 years is cheating on him? But husband Nick (Kevin James) —married to the conniving Geneva (Winona Ryder) — and friend Ronny (Vince Vaughn) — coupled with the long-suffering Beth (Jennifer Connelly) — are having such a good-ole-boys slapstick romp, it hardly seems to matter. The only subtleties are provided by the women. With Queen Latifah.

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 Princes Mary (Emily Blunt) who’s engaged to a pompous general (Chris O’Dowd). He is determined to bring an end to Gulliver. We wish him luck.

The King’s Speech (R)

The story of King George VI of England, (an absolutely brilliant Colin Firth), and his struggle with both his stammer and his speech therapist Lionel (Geoffrey Rush), who’s determined to uncover the traumatic origin of his stutter. A stellar cast: Helena Bonham Carter as George’s wife, Michael Gambon as his father, and Guy Pearce his brother, King Edward VIII, who abdicated to marry, thus forcing his younger brother to ascend the throne and offer a speech that inspires.

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 Pearlman 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 students 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.

Tangled (PG)

Beautifully animated musical of the Grimm Brothers tale. Held captive in a tower by the evil Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy), Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) uses her mile-long tresses (they hold the magic of eternal youth) to escape with a thief (Zachary Levi), and they embark on a grand romp.

True Grit (PG-13)

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