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Alvin and the Chipmunks, Mission Impossible, Sherlock Holmes, and more

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Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked The computer-animated Chipmunks and girl-group BFFs the Chipettes (what, you haven’t been keeping up?) return, as do Jason Lee and David Cross, cashing those checks one more time. Opens Dec. 16.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol Director Brad Bird, of The Iron Giant/The Incredibles/Ratatouille fame, goes live-action as the latest helmer for star Tom Cruise’s personal action franchise. Swedish The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo star Michael Nyqvist is the latest overqualified villain. Opens Dec. 16.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows Director Guy Ritchie unleashes a sequel to his slo-mo-tastic reboot, with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law reprising their Holmes and Watson, respectively, alongside (lookee there) Swedish The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo star Noomi Rapace. Opens Dec. 16.

True Grit Longtime fans of both the Coen brothers and Charles Portis’ novel will understand why the Coens wanted to adapt True Grit as a movie: It’s already a Coen brothers movie. It’s a genre piece ripe for tweaking—in this case a Western, and it comes pre-tweaked, with a seriocomic tone veering from dry (and not so dry) humor to bloody mayhem within minutes. The colorful collection of characters—a humorlessly precocious teenage girl (Hailee Steinfeld), a drunken one-eyed trigger-happy lawman (Jeff Bridges), a preening Texas ranger with half a tongue (Matt Damon), various comically unsavory outlaws—spouts arcane lingo, here a contraction-light farrago of absurd courtliness and violent threats. All the Coens needed to do was cast it, shoot it, and get regular collaborator Carter Burwell to score it. Which, it appears, is pretty much what they did.At the Enoch Pratt Free Library main library Dec. 17 at 10:30 a.m.

The Wizard Of Oz Everyone’s seen it—it must be the most-rerun movie in TV history. But how long has it been since you sat down and watched it—as a film, not as an iconic strip of celluloid Americana? First, check out the art direction—pretty trippy for 1939, eh? And forget the fantastical setting and story for a moment and get a load of the performances. Judy Garland bleeds vulnerability right off the screen as Dorothy, and Ray “Scarecrow” Bolger, Jack “Tin Man” Haley, and Bert “Cowardly Lion” Lahr are even funnier, sweeter, and more skilled under close examination. And while “Over the Rainbow” is the acknowledged classic number, Harold Arlen wasn’t wasting his score paper on the likes of “If I Only Had a Heart” either. You can spend 103 minutes contemplating the film as a thoroughgoing allegory for the political situation in late 19th-century America (seriously—Google “wizard oz political allegory”). Or you can just sit back and take in one of cinema’s most beloved and influential works, as it was meant to be seen.At the Senator Theatre Dec. 16-20.

World On A Wire Rainer Werner Fassbinder shot this three-and-a-half-hour sci-fi story for German television in 1973, and it has remained unseen except in bootleg form for decades. While the tres-’70s design, tech, and fashions are the usual retro-future quaint, its Matrix-like tale of a conspiracy lying behind multiple layers of computer-bound artificial intelligence is visionary. Last chance to see it on the big screen. At the Charles Theatre Dec. 15 at 9 p.m.

Z Costa-Gavras’ 1969 docudrama remains one of the best and most chilling accounts of how political power can play itself out in the streets as well as in government offices. At the Charles Theatre Dec. 17 at noon and Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.

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