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1-11-2013: Kam's Kapsules: Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun

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BIG BUDGET FILMS

Gangster Squad (R for profanity and graphic violence) Mob saga, set in the Forties, revolving around the efforts of a half-dozen detectives to prevent the Mafia from gaining a foothold in Los Angeles. Ensemble cast includes Sean Penn, Emma Stone, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Anthony Mackie and Giovanni Ribisi.

A Haunted House (R for profanity, sexuality, crude humor and drug use) Marlon Wayans stars in this horror comedy as a guy who enlists the help of a priest (Cedric the Entertainer) to perform an exorcism on his wife (Essence Atkins) when she becomes possessed by a ghost soon after they move into a new home. With David Koechner, Bobbie Lee and Nick Swardson.

Zero Dark Thirty (R for profanity, disturbing images and graphic violence) War on Terror docudrama, directed by Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow (for The Hurt Locker), chronicling the efforts of the CIA Agent (Jessica Chastain) spearheading the decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden (Ricky Sekhon) culminating in his death during a daring, nighttime assault on his compound in Pakistan. With Jason Clarke, Jennifer Ehle, Kyle Chandler, Jeremy Strong and Harold Perrineau.

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

The Baytown Outlaws (R for sexuality, drug use, graphic violence and pervasive profanity) Custody comedy about a woman (Eva Longoria) who hires a trio of rough rednecks (Clayne Crawford, Daniel Cudmore and Travis Fimmel) to rescue her godson (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) from the clutches of her abusive ex-husband (Billy Bob Thornton). With Zoe Bell, Serinda Swan and Natalie Martinez.

Clandestine Childhood (Unrated) Dirty War drama, set in the Seventies, following the fortunes of a couple (Natalia Oreiro and Ernesto Alterio) which assumed new identities upon moving with their sons (Cesar Troncoso and Teo Gutierrez Romero) back to Argentina from Cuba to take part in the guerilla movement trying to topple the government. With Violeta Palukas, Mayana Neiva, Douglas Simon and Cristina Banegas. (In Spanish and Portuguese with subtitles)

Fairhaven (Unrated) Prodigal Son drama about a substance-abusing ne'er-do-well (Chris Messina) very eventful weekend spent with a couple of pals (Rich Sommer and Tom O'Brien) when he returns to his hometown for the first time in a decade to attend his estranged father's funeral. With Sarah Paulson, Alexie Gilmore and Natalie Gold.

High Tech, Low Life (Unrated) Big Brother documentary examining censorship of the media and the Internet in the People's Republic of China. (In Mandarin with subtitles)

Quartet (PG-13 for profanity and suggestive humor) Dustin Hoffman directed this musical drama set at a home for retired opera singers where plans for the annual concert celebrating Verdi's birthday are complicated by the arrival of a pampered diva (Maggie Smith). Featuring Michael Gambon, Billy Connolly and Sheridan Smith.

$ellebrity (Unrated) Paparazzi documentary, directed by Kevin Mazur, offering an inside look at the lives of the rich and famous as well as the shutterbugs who get paid to stalk them with cameras. Featuring appearances by Kid Rock, Jennifer Aniston, Sheryl Crow, Marc Antony, Salma Hayed and Sir Elton John.

Storage 24 (R for violence, gore and profanity) Sci-fi horror flick about four Londoners who find themselves trapped with an alien in a storage facility after the crash of a military cargo plane. Starring Noel Clarke, Colin O'Donoghue and Antonia Campbell-Hughes.

Struck by Lightning (Unrated) Coming-of-age comedy narrated by a socially-ostracized, high school senior (Chris Colfer) recounting the events leading up to his untimely death in a parking lot. With Allison Janney, Rebel Wilson and Dermot Mulroney.

Uprising (Unrated) Arab Spring documentary chronicling the 2011 overthrow of Hosni Mubarak 's repressive regime in Egypt.

Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze. Read more reviews by Kam Williams.

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