Last updated: February 20. 2013 2:35AM - 147 Views

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Facing fears is a common theme among this week's new releases.

THE POSSESSION, GRADE B: The film is proof a movie can be scary without an onslaught of blood, guts and profanity. Director Ole Bornedal gets the maximum chills from gloomy weather, a foreboding soundtrack, lighting trickery, decent special effects and acting that sells each startle. And it still comes in with a PG-13 rating.

MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON, GRADE B-PLUS: The cable series looks at three average guys who wonder if their lives have been well spent. The focus is on males about 50 but should reach viewers of all ages because of a first-rate cast and smart writing. It works because of the honest dialogue. These men don't suddenly know the meaning of life but struggle just to get through another day. Those struggles are both funny and serious. Ray Romano, Scott Bakula and Andre Braugher turn in first-rate performances.

WON'T BACK DOWN, GRADE C: This feels like a Lifetime film that lacks clarity. It bounces through hot-button issues with such randomness as to muddy the central message. Buried under all the distracting elements is a gem of an idea. But the tangled plots leave this story of class struggle incomplete. At its heart are two mothers (Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal) who decide to transform their children's failing inner-city Pittsburgh school. They start the bureaucratic process of taking over the school so they can run it, despite resistance from all sides.


TAKEN 2: Liam Neeson stars in this sequel to 2008's Taken.

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