EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


April 14, 2013

In theaters this week


PROMISED LAND 2 stars. Matt Damon plays a fracking salesman, offering struggling family farmers big bucks to tap their land for natural gas. Despite its strong cast (Frances McDormand, John Krasinski, Hal Holbrook) and awards-laden director (Gus Van Sant), this is less a compelling study of characters in conflict (with one another, with themselves) than a preachy, cautionary environmentalist tale. 1 hr. 46 R (profanity, adult themes)

QUARTET 3 stars. Dustin Hoffman makes his directing debut — smartly — with this charming and poignant adaptation of the Ronald Harwood stage play about four old friends in a home for retired musicians. Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins and Billy Connolly star. 1 hr. 38 PG-13 (adult themes)

THE SAPPHIRES 2 stars. Four Aboriginal girls form a vocal group, find a boozy but loveable manager and head for Vietnam, where they shimmy through a set-list of Motown covers for hordes of appreciative, war-weary GIs. A Down Under “Dreamgirls,” but the feel-good fakeness feels kind of bad. 1 hr. 43 PG-13 (violence, profanity, sex, adult themes)

SIDE EFFECTS 3 1/2 stars. Filmmaker Steven Soderbergh’s tightly coiled psychological thriller — with “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s” Rooney Mara, with Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones — would make James M. Cain proud. On one level, a dark take on the culture of pharmaceutical cure-alls, on another, a classic, twisting noir. 1 hr. 46 R (violence, profanity, sex, nudity, drugs, adult themes)

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK 4 stars. A head-spinning wonder of a movie about love, pain, reinvention, rehabilitation and the totemic power of an NFL franchise, with Bradley Cooper as a guy dealing with bipolar disorder and heartbreak, Jennifer Lawrence as a young widow with her own troubles and woe, and with an amazing supporting cast. From director David O. Russell, based on Matthew Quick’s novel. 2 hrs. 02 R (profanity, sex, drugs, violence, adult themes)

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