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Recently reviewed movies

Summaries are condensed from Blade or wire reviews and reflect the theater schedule starting Friday. Films are rated on a scale of 5 stars (best) to Bomb (worst). The reviewer's name, movie running time, and abbreviations of the theaters where the movie is playing are at the end of each summary.

Argo is the real-life account of the daring rescue of six Americans in hiding at the home of the Canadian Embassy ambassador in Iran during the hostage crisis in Tehran. The hush-hush operation involves the six Americans posing as part of a Canadian film crew, with CIA operative Tony Mendez, played by Ben Affleck, attempting to lead them out of the country. The tense drama is broken by wonderful comedic turns by Alan Arkin and John Goodman as Hollywood big shots, but it's Affleck's work behind the camera that really shines, in his most accomplished and impressive directorial effort thus far. R **** 120 min. (Baird) (FP, FT, LC)

Atlas Shrugged Part 2. With the global economy on the brink of collapse, Dagny Taggart (Samantha Mathis) discovers what might be the answer to a mounting energy crisis and races against the clock to prevent the motor of the World from being stopped for good. PG-13 * 1/2 112 min. (wire review) (FT)

Brave. Stubborn Merida yearns for independence from her royal duties, while her Queen Mother prefers she stick to tradition. A poor decision by Merida affects her mother and family in a horrifying way, forcing the teen to accept responsibility for her mistakes. In 3-D at select theaters. R **** 100 min. (Baird) (MIT)

End of Watch. Young Los Angeles police officers Taylor and Zavala patrol the city's meanest streets of south central Los Angeles. The action unfolds through footage from the handheld HD cameras of the police officers, gang members, surveillance cameras, and citizens caught in the line of fire to create a riveting portrait of the city's most dangerous corners, the cops who risk their lives there every day, and the price they and their families are forced to pay. R *** 1/2 109 min. (Wire review) (MIT)

Frankenweenie. In Tim Burton's Mary Shelley-inspired Frankenweenie, a boy named Victor Frankenstein, heartbroken by the unexpected death of beloved pet Sparky, turns mad scientist and resurrects his dog, which leads to a series of unexpected, mostly funny consequences. Based on Burton's 1984 live-action short, Frankenweenie and its stop-motion animation in glorious black and white is stunning in 3-D, but the film's celebration of the odd and quirky is a theme Burton exhausted several movies ago. PG ** 1/2 87 min. (Baird) (FP, FT, LC)

Here Comes the Boom. Former collegiate wrestler Scott Voss is a 42-year-old apathetic biology teacher in a failing high school. When cutbacks threaten to cancel the music program and lay off its teacher, Scott begins to raise money by moonlighting as a mixed martial arts fighter. Everyone thinks Scott is crazy, most of all the school nurse, Bella, but in his quest, Scott gains something he never expected as he becomes a sensation that rallies the entire school. PG ** 1/2 105 min. (Wire review) (FP, FT, LC)

Hotel Transylvania. Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count's teen-aged daughter. In 3-D at select locations. PG ** 91 min. (Wire review) (FP, FT, LC)

House at the End of the Street. Seeking a fresh start, newly divorced Sarah and her daughter Elissa find the house of their dreams in a small town. But when startling and inexplicable events begin to happen, Sarah and Elissa learn the town is located in the shadows of a chilling secret. PG-13 *** 101 min. (Wire review) (FP, FT)

Looper. In this futuristic action thriller, time travel will be invented -- but it will be illegal and only available on the black market. When the mob wants to get rid of someone, they will send their target 30 years into the past, where a "looper" -- a hired gun, like Joe -- is waiting to mop up. Joe is getting rich and life is good... until the day the mob decides to "close the loop," sending back Joe's future self for assassination. R **** 118 min. (Wire review) (FP, FT, LC)

Magic Mike. A veteran male dancer takes on a young protege, with the help of the club's owner. R *** 110 min. (Baird) (MIT)

Perks of Being a Wallflower. An introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world. PG-13 *** 1/2 103 min. (Wire review) (FP, LC)

Pitch Perfect. Beca, a freshman at Barden University, is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school's all-girls singing group. Injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus competition. PG-13 112 min. (Wire review) (FP, FT, LC)

Savages. Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson star as best friends-turned successful Southern California pot dealers, and Blake Lively is their shared girlfriend who is kidnapped by the leader of Mexico's top drug cartel (Salma Hayek) who has problems of her own: a disapproving daughter and a rebellious enforcer (Benicio Del Toro). R *** 1/2 130 min. (Baird) (SDI)

Seven Psychopaths. A struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster's beloved Shih Tzu. R *** 1/2 109 min. (Wire review) (FP, FT, LC)

Sinister. A true crime novelist discovers a box of mysterious, disturbing home movies that plunge his family into a nightmarish experience of supernatural horror. R ** 1/2 110 min. (Wire review) (FP, FT, LC)

Taken 2. Bryan Mills, the retired CIA agent stopped at nothing to save his daughter Kim from Albanian kidnappers. When the father of one of the kidnappers swears revenge, and takes Bryan and his wife hostage during their family vacation in Istanbul, Bryan enlists Kim to help them escape, and uses his special forces tactics to systematically take out the kidnappers one by one. PG-13 ** 1/2 91 min. (Wire review) (FP, FT, LC, SDI)

Trouble with the Curve. Clint Eastwood stars as a grouch of a baseball scout with failing eyesight who is sent on a final scouting mission to save his job. His go-getter daughter (Amy Adams) reluctantly takes a leave from work to accompany him and to mend their strained relationship. Of course, on the trip she meets what will probably be the love of her life in the form of a younger baseball scout for another team (Justin Timberlake). PG-13 ** 111 min. (Baird) (FT, SDI)

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