Reel Picks: More on movies playing this week


A Separation (PG-13)

This Iranian film, a critical and popular success, now banned in Iran, won this year’s best foreign language Academy Award. A married couple is faced with a difficult decision, to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer’s. Directed and written by Asghar Farhadi, starring Peyman Moadi, Leila Hatami, and Sareh Bayat.

Act of Valor (R)

An elite squad of Navy SEALs rescues a kidnapped CIA agent in this covert-action thriller. Active-duty SEALs play the lead fighting roles in this story based on actual events. Not a critical success, but enjoyed by most who have seen it. Stars Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez, and Nestor Serrano.

Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax (PG)

From the Dr. Seuss book about pollution and environmental damage. A boy tries to win the affection of the girl of his dreams and must discover the story of The Lorax, the grumpy, charming creature who fights to protect his world. An animated film for six-year-olds and over, including adults. Starring the voices of Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, and Danny DeVito.

John Carter (PG-13)

Civil War veteran John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) wakes up on an Earth-like Mars, with its own civil war. Based on the 100-year-old Edgar Rice Burroughs classic “A Princess of Mars,” Carter comes to the aid of a Martian princess in this sci-fi adventure. Not highly successful so far: recently reported to have lost $200 million for Disney. Also stars Lynn Collins and Willem Dafoe.

Project X (R)

Three friends, high school seniors, throw a birthday party to gain popularity and as the night progresses, the plan quickly escalates out of their control as word of the party spreads. Panned by the critics but enjoyed by those who enjoy unoriginal teen movies. Stars Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, and Jonathan Daniel Brown.

The Secret World of Arrietty (G)

Japanese animated fantasy film based on English children’s book author Mary Norton’s novel “The Borrowers.” When a tiny borrower named Arrietty makes friends with a young boy many times her size, she must also shield her family from his towering elders. Liked by critics and viewers alike. Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi. Starring the voices of Bridgit Mendler, Amy Poehler, and Will Arnett.

This Means War (PG-13)

Two best friends and top CIA operatives, determined to win the heart of a sexy blonde bombshell, turn their secret-agent skills against each other, blind to the trail of wreckage they leave in their wake. Not a critics’ favorite, but a crowd-pleasing action film. Starring Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, and Tom Hardy.