“Pan’s Labyrinth”

At Quality 16, Showcase and the State Theater

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Guillermo del Toro’s lush and complex masterpiece fiercely articulates the evils of fascism with a gorgeous fantasy outfit, including fauns, fairies and the whole bit. But be advised: the year’s most uncompromised vision is also one of its most violent.

“The Painted Veil

At the State Theater

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The adaptation is customarily faithful, the actors are customarily strong and the scenery is customarily fetching. All is well in this stilted world, but sometimes doing everything just fine yields a movie no one will want to see.

“Venus”

At the Michigan Theater

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Peter O’Toole’s affable turn as a philandering geezer going after his last conquest is a wry and funny vehicle for the actor and a fine film in its own right, benefiting from the sly understatement of director Roger Michell (“Notting Hill”).

“Volver”

At the Michigan Theater

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Pedro Almodovar’s sprawling melodrama returns the director’s female-driven roots and is thrilling alive a murder, a possible ghost and all kinds of cross-generational drama. Penelope Cruz is as radiant as ever, but she’s finally given something more to do than look pretty.

“Hannibal Rising”

At Quality 16 and Showcase

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

The secret behind the most infamous killer in the past two decades of cinema, basically Hollywood’s go-to icon of implacable evil? Some dudes ate his sister. That’s right: Hannibal Lecter is not really all that complex a guy. Add Gong Li and some cheek-chomping and you have the most bizarre misfire of the early year.

“Norbit”

At Quality 16 and Showcase

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

OK. We get it. Long shots of Eddie Murphy in a fat suit are totally, irrevocably hilarious. When he gets his Oscar in a couple weeks, who will the joke be on then?

“Because I Said So”

At Quality 16 and Showcase

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

The dude responsible for that flick where Josh Hartnett couldn’t dick around for 40 days brings us, obviously, the story of a middle-aged mother (Diane Keaton) who bitches at her daughters ’cause she’s getting old. Mandy Moore’s in it, too. Creepy.

“The Messengers”

At Quality 16 and Showcase

Rating: 1 out of 5 star

In their English-language debut, Danny and Oxide Pang, the Hong Kong-bred film editors, take every haunted-house and dead-little-kid convention they can find and cook up soft horror for preteens. Seems a long way to travel to cough up such shit.

“Smokin’ Aces”

At Quality 16 and Showcase

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Basically an intermediate between “Ocean’s Twelve” and “Ocean’s Thirteen” with fetishistic lesbians, graphic violence and washed-up celebrities in place of the A-listers, it’s a shoot-’em-up that does everything in its power to get you to stop paying attention.

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