"Amour": Director Michael Haneke's "Amour" -- a multiple Oscar nominee -- is one of the best films of 2012 and certainly the most haunting. But there also is such intensity that, at times, it can be hard to watch.
* * * * -- (Charlie McCollum, Staff.) PG-13 (intense moments). 2 hours, 7 minutes.
"Bullet to the Head": Choppy and bordering on incoherent, "Bullet to the Head" is Sylvester Stallone's answer to Arnold Schwarzenegger's "The Last Stand." It shows all the hallmarks of a movie that's been recut, that changed directors. Characters, relationships and motivations seem shortchanged. And it's every bit as dated and dumb, in different ways, as "The Last Stand."
* � -- (Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service.) R (violence, language, nudity). 1 hour, 30 minutes.
''Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters": An R-rated horror action comedy fairy tale -- how's that for genre bending? This film is more Gatling guns and grenades than The Brothers Grimm. It takes the kidnapped kiddies into adulthood, where they've parlayed their fame at cooking a witch's goose into a business. Got a witch problem? Call H&G -- the extermination experts. But high concept pitch or not, the movie doesn't really work.
* � -- (Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service.) R (violence, language). 1 hour, 26 minutes.
"The Last Stand": The question
* * � -- (Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas.) R (violence, language). 1 hour, 47 minutes.
"Les Miserables": This ambitious big-screen adaptation may be short on subtlety, but it comes up huge for sheer gobsmacking sentiment. While the film has many flaws, from sloppy pacing and imperfect vocals to a miscast Russell Crowe as the vile Javert, there's no denying its emotional ferocity. And if you are in the mood for a good cry (or three!), rejoice. Your eyes may well be red for days after this relentless tear-jerker. Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper ("The King's Speech") stays very true to the muckraking spirit of Victor Hugo's 1862 novel, its harrowing denunciation of a society that oppresses the many to benefit the few.
* * * -- (Karen D'Souza, Staff.) PG-13 (violence, sexual content). 2 hours, 37 minutes.
"Mama": This unusual thriller is a reminder that the best chills don't involve chain saws, blood and guts. Horror is a product of empathy -- in this case, fearing for the safety of small children and the reluctant 20-something rock musician (Jessica Chastain) stuck with caring for them.
* * * -- (Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service). PG-13 (violence, terror). 1 hour, 40 minutes.
"Movie 43": "Movie 43" is a collection of one-joke short films strung together as a feature, movies seemingly built around this guiding directive: Find big-name stars and see how far "out there" they'll go for a laugh. It's rude, crude and not very good.
* � -- (Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service.) R (for language, crude humor, sexual content). 1 hour, 39 minutes.
"Parker": "Parker" enlivens the movie landscape, and thank the action-movie gods, because we needed a little something to wake us from our winter slumber. Based on a novel in a series by the late, great Donald E. Westlake, the film is basically a heist-and-payback movie. But it's made with such skill and smarts that it stands above most eye-rolling blow-'em-up fare.
* * � -- (Connie Ogle, Miami Herald.) R (violence, language, sexual content). 1 hour, 58 minutes.
"Quartet": Making "Quartet," a film about life in the spotlight and the drive to stay in the game, doesn't seem like much of a stretch -- or a risk -- for Dustin Hoffman. With a storied career that is still lively, the 75-year-old certainly knows the terrain. Instead of delving into the human psyche, as he's done so unflinchingly in too many roles to mention, the actor's first turn in the director's chair is a genteel comedy.
* * � -- (Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times.) PG-13 (language, suggestive humor). 1 hour, 37 minutes.
"Rust and Bone": On paper, "Rust and Bone" sounds like a particularly bad Lifetime movie. But basic storyline aside, "Rust and Bone" turns out to be a compelling and moving drama, thanks to some sharp and thoughtful direction by Jacques Audiard and fine performances by Matthias Schoenaerts and, in particular, Marion Cotillard.
* * * -- (Charlie McCollum, Staff.) R (sexual content, violence, language). 2 hours.
"Stand Up Guys": Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin star in "Stand Up Guys," a buddy comedy about a trio of wiseguys coming out of retirement for one last roll of the dice. Despite some predictable predicaments -- and the inevitable Viagra joke -- the film is clever in the way it deals with the high cost of mob connections and the even higher cost of old age.
* * * -- (Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times.) R (language, sexual content). 1 hour, 35 minutes.
"Warm Bodies": We've had slow zombies, fast zombies and funny zombies. Now, with "Warm Bodies," romantic zombies have shuffled into the mix. Based on a novel by Isaac Marion, "Warm Bodies" is a sweetly funny and touching riff on "Beauty and the Beast" or "Romeo & Juliet" -- if the Beast feasted on flesh or Romeo came back from the dead.
* * * -- (Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas.) PG-13 (violence, language). 1 hour, 37 minutes.
"Zero Dark Thirty": Given the intense praise and criticism swirling around "Zero Dark Thirty," it seems like the riveting Oscar hopeful has been in theaters everywhere for the past month. It hasn't, but now that it is, expect the debate, the outrage -- and superlatives -- to continue.
* * * * -- (Randy Myers, Staff.) R (violence, language). 2 hours, 37 minutes.