1. ‘Footloose’

The 1980s classic starring Kevin Bacon gets an update. Yes, dancing is still banned in an entire town, but director Craig Brewer’s take on what could’ve been even worse than “Step Up 3D” is much smarter than it looks.

2. ‘The Big Year’

Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson play three competitive birders who take on the challenge of seeing as many species of North American birds as they can in one year. “Marley & Me” director David Frankel puts a wholesome spin on a true story that had the potential for some great raunchy bird jokes.



3. ‘The Thing’


The thing with “The Thing” is that it’s not exactly a remake, nor is it a sequel. “The Thing” is a prequel to the 1982 film starring Kurt Russel, which was a remake of “The Thing from Another World” from 1952. And even if you get all the things confused, expect the new one, co-starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, to leave you spooked.

 

4. ‘Real Steel’

A movie about boxing robots sounds like something a couple of studio executives came up with after a few too many — but yes, it’s real, it owned the box office last weekend and Hugh Jackman stars in it. Not only do robots box, but one particularly down­trodden robot boxer is rehabilitated by a down-on-his-luck promoter (Jackman).

5. ‘Ides of March’ George Clooney directs and stars in this political thriller based on the celebrated Broadway play “Farragut North.” It’s about an ambitious political strategist (Ryan Gosling) who finds his integrity challenged by a cynical electoral system during the Democratic primaries. Backs will be stabbed — very, very nice-looking backs at that.

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