MOVIES

Jan. 1-7 Movies Calendar

What's showing at area theaters

(FSR:AA)
Posted

FILM RATINGS
4 stars MORE FAMILY TIME
3 stars VOLUNTEER
2 stars LOSE WEIGHT 
1 stars DRINK LESS


NOW SHOWING

47 RONIN
2 stars
Rated PG-13 
He’s a long way from an excellent adventure, but Keanu Reeves is clawing his way back up. In this action-fantasy-adventure, he plays Kai, a half-Brit/half-Japanese man recruited by Oishi, respected leader of the 47 Ronin, a band of awesome samurai. Even if you don’t follow the intricate plot, you’ll like the visuals and the score.

AMERICAN HUSTLE
2 1/2 stars
Rated R  
Writer-director David O. Russell has fashioned a beautiful, cinematic junk heap that’s likeable and engaging despite its overly long running time, sloppy screenplay and rambling structure. For professional scam artist Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale, with the best comb-over we’ve seen in years), working with the Feds is tougher than running cons. He’s helping the FBI (Bradley Cooper) nab public officials on the take in the infamous Abscam operation. Co-stars Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence. 

ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES
3 1/2 stars
Rated PG-13  
The most-ballyhooed comedy this year reunites the quartet of newsmen – Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), Brick Tamland (Steve Carell, who is indeed thick as a brick), Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd, charmingly smarmy) and Champ Kind (David Koechner) – as they blithely blunder toward the ’80s. Co-stars Christina Applegate, Kristen Wiig, Vince Vaughn and James Marsden.

THE BOOK THIEF
4 stars
Rated PG-13 
Amid the chaos and horror of WWII, Liesel (Sophie Nélisse) steals books – before the Nazis can burn them – and shares them with the folks around her. Based on the novel by Markus Zusak, the drama co-stars Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson.

DHOOM 3
2 stars 
Not Rated 
Bollywood superstar Abhishek Bachchan plays a tough cop in this third installment in a popular series. Co-stars Aamir Khan and Uday Chopra. In Hindi, English, Tamil and Telugu.

FROZEN
3 1/2 stars
Rated PG 
Disney’s animated feature introduces sisters Anna and Elsa, royalty of Arendelle. Princess Anna (Kristen Bell) and Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel) are strong characters in this version of “The Snow Queen.”

GRUDGE MATCH
3 1/2 stars
Rated PG-13 
No, it’s not Rocky Balboa vs. Jake LaMotta (wouldn’t that be awesome?). It’s two old – as in former and years – boxers coming out of retirement for one last fight, to settle old scores. Co-starring Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Kim Basinger, Alan Arkin and Kevin Hart. Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield pop up, too.

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG
3 stars
Rated PG-13 
Co-writer and director Peter Jackson has stretched J.R.R. Tolkien’s books into lucrative movies and made stars of the cast members, including Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans and Ian McKellen. Then there’s the titular Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch), a villainous fire-breathing dragon who lays claim to Bilbo’s homeland. The film sings with vibrant colors and stunning images.

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE
3 1/2 stars
Rated PG-13 
In Part 2 of the saga, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is a celebrity warrior hero manipulated by the Capitol’s leader Snow (Donald Sutherland). Co-stars Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson and Stanley Tucci.

JUSTIN BIEBER’S BELIEVE
1 1/2 stars
Rated PG 
The Beebs in all his glory. Billed as the “real story” behind the megastar’s rise to fame, this documentary is no doubt a must-see for his screaming fans.

A MADEA CHRISTMAS
1 1/2 stars
Rated PG-13 
Tyler Perry is wringing every last ounce from his megastar creation Madea; now she’s celebrating Christmas in her own unique style, with her brutal panache. Co-stars Chad Michael Murray (OMG!), Tike Sumpter, Larry the Cable Guy and Anna Maria Horsford.

MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM
3 1/2 stars
Rated PG-13
Adapted by Oscar-nominated screenwriter William Nicholson, the film follows Nelson Mandela (Idris Elba) from childhood, his 27 years in prison, his victorious release and election as South Africa’s first black president in 1994. The movie effectively examines the many battles Mandela had to face throughout his life, not only against the white rulers but against members of his own African National Congress and, even more difficult, his wife Winnie Mandela (Naomie Harris).

NEBRASKA
3 1/2 stars
Rated R 
Cantankerous Woody Grant (Bruce Dern, getting long-overdue Oscar buzz) gets a piece of junk mail declaring him the winner of $1 million, so he convinces David (Will Forte) – the son who’s never quite synched with his old man – to drive him to Lincoln, Nebraska, to claim the prize. Co-stars Stacy Keach, June Squibb and Bob Odenkirk.

PHILOMENA
4 stars
Rated PG-13 
Journalist Martin (Steve Coogan) needs to boost his career. Philomena (Dame Judi Dench) wants to find the son she gave up for adoption, forced by not-so-holy nuns decades earlier. Stephen Frears directed.

SAVING MR. BANKS
3 stars
Rated PG-13 
P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson), author of the popular “Mary Poppins” series of children’s books, travels to Disney Studios in Los Angeles to collaborate on adapting the book for film. For 20 years, she’s rebuffed Walt Disney’s (Tom Hanks) efforts to make this happen, not wanting her beloved characters to be altered. The Mr. Banks character – the father of the children Mary Poppins nannies – is based on Travers’ own papa, a bank manager and a drunkard who died when she was 7 years old. Hanks doesn’t try to mimic the avuncular businessman, but he seeks to capture the essence of the man. Thompson is great; expect her among the next round of Oscar nominations.

THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY
3 1/2 stars
Rated PG 
The versatile Ben Stiller plays James Thurber’s classic dreamer, Walter Mitty, who puts himself in fantasy situations with daring femme fatales and dastardly villains, with him as the hero who saves the day. Then he gets the chance to be a real hero on a real adventure. Co-stars Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott and Shirley MacLaine, with cameos from Andy Richter and Conan O’Brien.

WALKING WITH DINOSAURS
2 stars
Rated PG 
This animated feature about dinosaurs is not the usual kiddie film of cute-but-doomed characters. The realistic 3D depiction of prehistoric creatures features the voices of Charlie Rowe, Karl Urban, Angourie Rice, John Leguizamo and Justin Long.

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
3 stars
Rated R 
Hotshot young stockbroker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) has a mansion, yacht, private jet, six cars, a steady supply of cocaine and everything else money can buy. Debauchery isn’t a habit for him; it’s a way of life. It’s the late ’80s, so anything goes. Co-stars Jonah Hill, Rob Reiner, Margot Robbie, Jon Favreau, Kyle Chandler and Matthew McConaughey.

 

OTHER FILMS

LATITUDE 30 MOVIES
“Thor” and “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2” screen at CineGrille, Latitude 30, 10370 Philips Highway, Southside. 365-5555.

WORLD GOLF HALL OF FAME IMAX THEATER
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug IMAX 3D Experience,” “Great White Shark 3D,” “Tornado Alley 3D” and “The Last Reef 3D” are screened at World Golf Hall of Fame IMAX Theater, 1 World Golf Place, St. Augustine, 940-IMAX, worldgolfimax.com.

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