BLACK NATIVITY (PG-13). Kasi Lemmons wrote and directed this soimewhat ciormy but vuibrant musical adaptation of Langston Hughes’ play about a Baltimore teen (Jacob Latimore) being raised by a single mother (Jennifer Hudson) who spends Christmas with his estranged -- and strict --relatives (Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett). Hokey and predictable, the piety of this project is, nonetheless, so genuine, its emotions so relatable and the music so darn good that "Black Nativity" deserves to become a holiday perennial. HHH (Persall, Tampa Bay Times -- 11/30). 1:35.
BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR (NC-17). This graphic adaptation of Julie Maroh’s graphic novel traces the same-sex relationship between a wide-eyed working class high school girl and a slightly older art school student. In French, with English subtitles.
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB (R). Matthew McConaughey keeps getting better and better, turning in performances that are layered and powerful while portraying characters who are resolutely of a particular time and place. But he might find it hard to top himself after this flawed but moving drama based on a true story about a 1980s Texas electrician, amateur rodeo rider and Dallas ladies man battling both terminal AIDS and the federal government. With Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto. HH1/2 (Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram -- 11/23). 1:57.
DELIVERY MAN (PG-13). An irresponsible 40ish guy learns he’s been the sperm donor daddy to hundreds of kids, and decides to secretly involve himself in their lives. Vaughn is at his most appealing here, even if it robs the film of many potential laughs. HH (Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service -- 11/25). 1:45.
FROZEN (PG). There’s wit and whimsy in this 53rd Disney animated feature -- a distant cousin of Hans Christian Anderson’s "The Snow Queen" -- about a young girl cursed with an X-Men-like ability to freeze things and her baby sister’s determined effort to lift the curse. With the voices of Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Josh Gad. HH (Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service -- 11/27). 1:42.
HOMEFRONT (R). Jason Statham stars as a DEA agent who quits his job and moves to a small town under a new identity to live a quiet life with his 17-year-old daughter until a seemingly everyday occurrence -- a schoolyard scrap -- turns into an increasingly dangerous situation that spirals out of control. The film is done in by uninspired action scenes, hyper-editing and so many loose ends that you wonder if 20 minutes were accidentally cut from the movie. H1/2 (Rodriguez, Miami Herald -- 11/27). 1:40.
OUT OF THE FURNACE (R). When his brother goes missing under shady circumstances shortly after returning home from Iraq, a blue-collar steel worker seeks justice on his own terms. With Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Forest Whitaker.
PHILOMENA (PG-13). A disgraced journalist in search of a human interest story teams up with an old, ill-educated Irish woman who sets off to America in search of the out-of-wedlock child she was forced to give up 50 years earlier by the Irish Catholic Church. Judi Dench gives a performance of spunk and sparkle. Director Stephen Frears never lets the story lapse into sentiment. HHH (Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service -- 11/27). 1:38.
THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE (PG-13). A satisfying second installment in the promised quadrilogy based on Suzanne Collins’ megaselling series about life in a dystopian land where a select group of boys and girls run into the woods and kill each other for the entertainment of the masses. Bigger, better and broodier than the first film. HHH (Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer -- 11/23). 2:26.
THOR: THE DARK WORLD (PG-13). There’s a fleet and funny comic-book movie buried inside this action film and you catch glimpses of it here and there. But the bulk of this bloated, plodding sequel is just another riff about an ancient being who wants to destroy the universe as payback for an ancient slight against his people. HH (Rodriguez, The Miami Herald -- 11/11). 1:52.
12 YEARS A SLAVE (R). Unsparing drama based on the true story of a black American living in upstate New York with his wife and children who had never been a slave and was kidnapped, smuggled south and sold into slavery in 1841. Director Steve McQueen takes us on a sometimes awful and only faintly inspiring odyssey that will make you want to avert your eyes. It is to his great credit that we never do. HHHH (Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service -- 11/9). 2:14.