AMERICAN HUSTLE (R). From director David O. Russell comes this kinetcially retro, left-field funny crime caper inspired by the Abscam scandal about a con man (Christian Bale), his loony wife (Jennifer Lawrence) and his British partner in crime (Amy Adams) who are forced to collaborate with a loose-cannon FBI agent (Bradley Cooper). Their target: a New Jersey politician (Jeremy Renner). HHH (Persall, Tampa Bay Times -- 12/21). 2:09.
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY (R). A family reunion turns into a convergence of recriminations and spite in this film adaptation of Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play. There’s a pervasive cruelty, a condescension toward common folk like the Weston family that’s frequently off-putting even as we’re laughing. With Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Dermot Mulroney, Juliette Nicholson, Sam Shepard. HH1/2 (Persall, Tampa Bay Times -- 1/18). 1:59.
DEVILS DUE (R). After a mysterious lost night on their honeymoon, a newlywed couple find themselves dealing with an earlier-than-planned pregnancy that suggests sinister origins.
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.
GRAVITY (PG-13). Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as scientists adrift in space after debris from an explosion wrecks their space lab and leaves them as the only survivors. A gamechanger in the realm of digital 3D special effects. A technical and emotional spectacle.
I, FRANKENSTEIN (PG-13). Two centuries after his creation by Dr. Frankenstein, the creature Adam finds himself in the middle of a supernatural war over the fate of humanity. With Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto.
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS (R). Focusing on the hard-luck odyssey of a hapless but talented 1960s folk singer, the Coens’ most nearly perfect film is a bleak, bittersweet comedy of frustration that warns us against the tunnel vision that sees people, or life, in fixed formulas of good and evil. With Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Justin Timberlake, F. Murray Abraham, Ethan Phillips. HHHH (Covert, Monneapolis Star Tribune -- 1/13). 1:45.
JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT (PG-13). Based on characters created by Tom Clancy, this origins story is a workmanlike, if unoriginal and uninspiring, reboot. With Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Kenneth Branagh, Keira Knightley. HH1/2 (Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service -- 1/18). 1:45.
LONE SURVIVOR (R). Based on the true story of the ill-fated SEAL Team 10 and a mission in 2005 to kill a Taliban leader in Afghanistan that went messy. This grim chapter in Navy SEALs history earns a heroic no-punches-pulled accounting in this above-average action outing for Mark Wahlberg and company. HHH (Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service -- 1/13)
NEBRASKA (R). Director Alexander Payne uses black-and-white film to tell the story of a cranky old drunk (Bruce Dern) who goes on a road trip with his reluctant son (Will Forte) from Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Neb. to claim a million-dollar magazine sweepstakes prize. Bleak, brilliant, bitterly funny. HHHH (Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service -- 1/11). 1:56.
RIDE ALONG (R). Kevin Hart plays a pesky aspiring police officer seeking the approval of his girlfriend’s brother -- a no-nonsense veteran cop played by Ice Cube. A dull buddy cop movie engineered as a vehicle for the mini-motor mouth Hart and the perma-sneering Ice Cube. H1/2 (Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service -- 1/22). 1:40.
THE NUT JOB (PG). A surprisingly simple, funny and often cute animated slapstick comedy about a squirrel planning a nut heist so that he’ll have enough food to last through winter. With the voices of Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson, Katherine Heigl. HH (Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service -- 1/21). 1:25.
THE SELFISH GIANT (NR). Set in the West Yorkshire city of Bradford, this British drama, suggested by an Oscar Wilde fairy tale, concerns two boys, Arbor and Swifty, whose friendship is an oasis of warmth in a cold world. Director Clio Barnard captures the milieu and personalities of her characters with tact and sensitivity. At the same time, she locks them into a narrative prison. Their tragic fates seem predetermined less by their circumstances than by the iron will and limited imagination of their creator. (Scott, New York Times -- 1/23). 1:33.
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 and his stellar cast dispense with Hollywood’s moonlight-and-magnolias myths about the South and take us on a difficult journey, a sometimes awful and only faintly inspiring odyssey that will make you want to avert your eyes. It is to their great credit that we never do. With Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lupita Nyong’o. HHHH (Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service -- 11/9). 2:14.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.