BROKEN CITY from 20th Century Fox starring Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Kyle Chandler and Barry Pepper. Directed by Allen Hughes ("From Hell"; "The Book of Eli"). Opens January 18, 2013.
Ex-cop-turned-private-investigator (Wahlberg) is hired by the mayor (Crowe) to find out if his wife (Zeta-Jones) is cheating on him. She is and when her lover is murdered, all hell breaks loose following other unpleasant discoveries by Wahlberg. It doesn't exactly exude originality but it sounds way more fun than the other release this weekend--"Mama". That one has a plot that monkeys could concoct by banging away on a typewriter (keyboard to those under 25).
Wahlberg is not a great actor as such but he's been solid in several films, especially "The Big Hit" (1998), "The Departed" (2006), "Invincible" (2007) and "The Fighter" (2010). Anything he does onscreen beats his days as a rapper.
Crowe has also had some solid moments on film including "The Insider (1999), "Gladiator" (2000) and "A Beautiful Mind" (2001). This film seems to be beneath him but he will be discussed again in June 2013 prior to the release of "Man of Steel". "Man of Steel" is the marginally-necessary reboot of the Superman franchise in which Crowe portrays Jor-El, Superman's biological father.
By the way, the plot of "Mama" involves two little girls who disappeared the day their parents died. Now they're back and something still wants to be involved in their lives. It will also be released on Jan. 18. Those with money to throw away on potentially-lame films now have a choice. (Note: "The Last Stand" could also be lame but it has Schwarzenegger in it).