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Friday movie roundup: Big game, little movies

Published February 3, 2012 10:04 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Hollywood knows what you're doing on Sunday — staying home and watching the Super Bowl — so the studios aren't throwing out any big movies to fight against it.

"The Woman in Black" marks the beginning of Daniel Radcliffe's post-"Harry Potter" career, as he plays a Victorian-era lawyer assigned to sort out the will of a widow woman in a creaky country mansion. The movie is robustly old-fashioned in its scares, though it loses some brainpower as it goes.

"Chronicle" is another "found footage" thriller, this one with superhero-origin trappings. Three high-school friends discover some glowing thingee in the woods — and, after touching it, discover they have telekinetic abilities. The storyline follows too-familiar contours, as one of the teens succumbs to the dark side of his new powers. The effects are pretty cool, although the "found footage" gimmick gets a little stretched.

"Big Miracle" is a family-friendly tale of three grey whales trapped under the ice near Alaska, who receive aid from a TV reporter (John Krasinski), a Greenpeace activist (Drew Barrymore) and others. The Cricket didn't see the movie (it screened while he was still in Park City for the Sundance Film Festival), but Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel quite liked it.

This week's big art-house movie is "Shame," the controversial (and NC-17-rated) drama in which Michael Fassbender plays a New York metrosexual with a severe sex-addiction problem. Fassbender's performance is intense, as is Carey Mulligan's as his troubled sister, but the glossy sheen applied by British director Steve McQueen saps the emotional energy from the film.

Lastly, the Clark Planetarium is debuting an educational IMAX documentary, "Space Junk 3D," which points out the dangers of too much stuff — defunct satellites, lost space tools, etc. — orbiting the planet. The Tribune's Scott D. Pierce reviews it.