★ ★ ½ Promised Land Two movies in one: An earnest anti-fracking drama written by costars Matt Damon and John Krasinski, and a nuanced portrait of small-town America by director Gus Van Sant. The first tries not to be preachy but doesn’t quite succeed, the second is buoyed by the sympathetic performances. With Frances McDormand and Rosemarie DeWitt. (110 min., R) (Ty Burr)
★ ★ ★ Rust and Bone From Jacques Audiard (“A Prophet”), a twisted yet surprisingly ordinary love story about a kickboxing single dad (Matthias Schoenaerts) and a killer whale trainer (Marion Cotillard) whose legs get bitten off. Cotillard’s fearsome intensity and the glowing Antibes vibe make it worth seeing. In French, with subtitles. (120 min., R) (Ty Burr)
★ ★ ★ ½ The Sessions It sounds like a bad joke: A man in an iron lung hires a sex surrogate to help him lose his virginity. But the achievement of this simple, intensely moving drama (based on a true story) is the clarity with which it portrays a good soul in an inert body. John Hawkes and Helen Hunt give rich, unshowy performances as the leads; William H. Macy plays the hero’s priest. (95 min., R) (Ty Burr)
★ ★ ★ ½ Silver Linings Playbook Bradley Cooper finally gets a role that gives his oily charm some vulnerability. He plays a mental patient living in Philadelphia with his parents, hung up on his estranged wife and spending time with an equally unstable woman (Jennifer Lawrence). The movie whizzes and stings. Its director is David O. Russell, who’s become Hollywood’s most instinctive maker of ensemble dramatic comedies. With a never-haler Robert De Niro as Cooper’s gambler dad. (122 min., R) (Wesley Morris)
★ ★ ½ This Is 40 A “sort-of sequel” to 2007’s “Knocked Up” that focuses on that film’s supporting characters, Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann), as they grapple with a stalled marriage. Judd Apatow has made a contradiction in terms — a personal Hollywood comedy — that has good coarse laughs without ever coming to a point. (134 min., R) (Ty Burr)
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