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The Cricket's Daily 3: One nasty 'Mama'

Published February 22, 2013 9:55 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Three studio movies battle for the top this weekend, with one mean mother poised to win.

"Mama" is an atmospheric horror-thriller, about two little girls who survive in the wild — thanks to a supernatural presence that gets awfully protective. That mysterious thing starts wreaking havoc on the lives of the girls' uncle (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) and his rocker girlfriend (Jessica Chastain), who take the girls in when they are "rescued" from their feral existence. Director Andy Muschietti stirs up some old-school chills, and benefits from having a strong actress like Chastain to flesh out what would otherwise be a typical damsel-in-distress role.

Scheduling issues and Sundance preparations kept The Cricket from seeing the other two movies opening this weekend, but the Tribune's Vince Horiuchi pinch-hit admirably.

Vince was unimpressed with Arnold Schwarzenegger's return to leading-man status, in the shoot-'em-up "The Last Stand." He also didn't care for "Broken City," an urban political thriller starring Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe.

The art-house slate is empty this week, as the Tower and half of the Broadway have given themselves over to the Sundance Film Festival.