For Marion Cotillard fans disappointed by The Dark Knight Rises: Hathaway's Dark Knight co-star also has a new movie out this week. Unlike Hathaway, Rust and Bone (Fri/21) star Marion Cotillard never seems like she's trying too hard to be sexy, or edgy, or whatever (plus, she already has an Oscar, so the pressure's off). Here, she's a whale trainer at a SeaWorld-type park who loses her legs in an accident, which complicates (but ultimately strengthens) her relationship with Ali (Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts, so tremendous in 2011's Bullhead), a single dad trying to make a name for himself as a boxer.
Jacques Audiard's follow-up to 2009's A Prophet gets a bit overwrought by its last act, but there's an emotional authenticity in the performances that makes even a ridiculous twist (like, the kind that'll make you exclaim "Are you fucking kidding me?") feel almost well-earned.
For those who are more Black Christmas (1974) than The Christmas Story (1983): Yes, Virginia, even smaller genre flicks get Christmas release dates. Irish import Citadel (Fri/21 at the Roxie) begins with terror: a young pregnant woman, on the verge of moving out of her soon-to-be-condemned high-rise, is attacked — while her husband, Tommy (Aneurin Barnard), looks on helplessly — by a pack of hoodie-wearing youths who inject her with a mysterious substance.
Though the baby lives, the woman dies, and Tommy becomes a haunted, paranoid husk of a man. Not that you can really blame him; the housing project he lives in is nearly deserted, and those hoodie-wearing gangs seem to be increasing (and are increasingly interested in his infant daughter). After an ominous build-up, the darkly disturbing Citadel can't quite keep the momentum going, though James Cosmo (Game of Thrones fans will recognize him even out of his Night's Watch blacks) offers an amusingly over-the-top performance as a foul-mouthed priest.
Thriller Deadfall (Fri/21), set amid a howling blizzard, has an all-star cast: Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde play a creepy-close brother-sister team who crash their getaway car after a successful casino heist; Sons of Anarchy's Charlie Hunnam plays a vengeful boxer just out of the slammer (with nervous parents played by Kris Kristofferson and Sissy Spacek); and Treat Williams and Kate Mara are an antagonistic father-daughter team of cops chasing after most of the above. Bana's glowering performance is the high point of this noir-Western, though if the snowy landscape were a character, it'd be the most important part of the ensemble.
And the rest: Tom Cruise plays Lee Child's taciturn ex-military investigator in action thriller Jack Reacher (Fri/21) — featuring a villainous Werner Herzog; Sulley and company return in Pixar's enhanced re-release of its 2001 animated hit, Monsters, Inc. 3D (Wed/19); more 3D in acrobatic fantasy Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away (Fri/21); a son (Seth Rogen) and mother (Barbra Streisand) drive cross-country in comedy The Guilt Trip (Wed/19); and Billy Crystal plays a harried grandpa on babysitting duty in Parental Guidance (Tue/25).