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.
ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES (R). A somewhat baggy successor to a gem, "Anchorman 2" may not have the same imprint in American culture as its predecessor but it has moments of howling hilarity and the improvisatory spit that gave Ron Burgundy’s origin story its ramshackle charm. With Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Christina Applegate. HHH (Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune -- 12/18). 1:59.
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.
GRUDGE MATCH (PG-13). Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone square off as aged boxers brought back by desperation and a desperate fight promoter, played by Kevin Hart. As formulas go, this one feels gassed. HH (Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service -- 12/28).
HER (R). A melancholy romance about a man who falls in love with a sentient, learning and loving operating system. With Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Rooney Mara, Amy Adams.
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS (R). Set against the background of the 1960s coffeehouse music scene, the Coen Brothers newest film focuses on the hard-luck odyssey of a hapless but talented folk singer. With Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Justin Timberlake, F. Murray Abraham, Ethan Phillips.
KILL YOUR DARLINGS (R). Director John Krokidas’ drama focuses on the transformative year when Beat writers Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs first meet. For all of the often interesting attempts at generating a kind of outrage and invention of its own, "Kill Your Darlings" feels like it is trying too hard. Far too conventional underneath all the trappings, you wish it would howl. With Daniel Radcliffe, Jack Huston, Ben Foster. (Sharkey, Los Angeles Times -- 1/8). 1:40.
LONE SURVIVOR (R). Based on the true story of the ill-fated SEAL Team 10 and a mission ro kill a Taliban leader in Afghanistan that went messy in 2005. With Mark Wahlberg.
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.
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES (R). A teen voyeur with a video camera on the trail of strange happenings in a mysterious house is himself marked and endowed with special powers. What once was fresh and original has turned annoying. (Genzlinger, New York Times -- 1/7).
SAVING MR. BANKS (PG-13). Drama based on the real-life story of Walt Disney’s courtly struggles with the dismissive writer P.L. Travers as he and his dream factory turned her "Mary Poppins" into one of the most beloved children’s musicals ever. The film’s a trifle long but with Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson at the center as Disney and Travers, the movie successfully blends the poignant with the unpleasant and the grim with the giddy. HHH (Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service -- 12/24). 2:00.
THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG (PG-13). Bilbo Baggins’ and the elves’ adventures and misadventures in Middle-earth continue in this second of three films based on J.R.R. Tolkein’s prelude to the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Funnier, livelier and action-packed. HHH (Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service -- 12/14). 2:41.
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. With Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson. HHH
THE LEGEND OF HERCULES (PG-13). The title says it all. doesn’t it? And in 3D, too.
THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY (PG). A shy 40something uses fantasy as an excuse for not seizing the day. It’s a charming, whimsical and ever-so-slight film, a bit of an overreach but pleasant enough, even when it falls short. HHH (Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service -- 12/26). 1:53.
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (R). A biopic charting the rise and fall of the hard-living New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), who founded the infamous boiler-room brokerage Stratton Oakmont and cheated investors out of as much as $200 million in the early 1990s. DiCaprio’s most charismatic performance ever anchors director Martin Scorsese’s robust and raunchy lowlifes-of-high-finance comedy. HHH (Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service -- 12/31). 3:00.
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