Mark Wahlberg shepherded this superb drama through the production process for years, but ironically, he was the only major cast principal not to score an Oscar nomination for the true story of Boston boxer-against-the-odds Micky Ward. Those up for the honors included Christian Bale (who won) as Ward’s fighter-turned-trainer half brother, Melissa Leo (who also won) as their mother and Amy Adams as Ward’s tough-in-her-own-right girlfriend. Director David O. Russell not only draws superb performances from all of them, he also generates an indelible sense of the tale’s setting. (Rated R)
Clint Eastwood’s yen for tackling a variety of genres as a director extends to the supernatural with this well-acted drama, reuniting him with Invictus co-star Matt Damon as one of several people with strong connections to the afterlife. Cecile De France and young Frankie McLaren play the others, and they eventually meet up with Damon’s character, who finds his special ability more a curse than a blessing. Eastwood stages a whopper of a tsunami sequence to set the story in motion. (Rated PG-13)
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Unrequited love takes an unusual turn in this would-be comedy teaming Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman. She’s an unmarried woman who wants to have a child, and he’s the longtime friend who secretly pines for her romantically. He manages to switch his sperm with that of the intended donor; the latter half of the film, which advances several years and isn’t quite as jokey, plays better than the first. (Rated PG-13)