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Film clips

By The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

This article was published April 4, 2014 at 1:51 a.m.

At area theaters

86 BAD WORDS, R Jason Bateman makes his directorial debut and plays a 40-year-old who exploits a loophole in the rules to hijack a national spelling bee, in which he’s unstoppable until he finds himself forging an alliance with an awkward but unflappable 10-year-old competitor (Rohan Chand). With Kathryn Hahn, Allison Janney, Phillip Baker Hall, Rachael Harris. (89 minutes)

78 CESAR CHAVEZ, PG-13 The story of the civil rights leader and farm labor organizer, torn between his duties as a husband and father and his commitment to securing a living wage for farm workers. With Michael Pena, Rosario Dawson, America Ferrera, Jacob Vargas, Yancey Arias, Wes Bentley, John Malkovich; directed by Diego Luna. (101 minutes) See review on blooddirt angels.com.

85 DIVERGENT, PG-13 In a world where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues, a young misfit (Shailene Woodley) who’s been labeled a Divergent and a misfit discovers a conspiracy to destroy her and everybody like her. (143 minutes)

87 ENEMY, R Jake Gyllenhaal plays a university lecturer engaged in a complex and dangerous struggle with a minor movie actor who looks just like him. With Melanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini; directed by Denis Villeneuve. (90 minutes)

79 GOD’S NOT DEAD, PG A devoutly Christian college freshman who finds his faith challenged by a dogmatic and argumentative philosophy professor must prove God’s existence by presenting well-researched, intellectual arguments and evidence over the course of the semester. (113 minutes)

87 THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, R The legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars and the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend become involved in the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune. With Saoirse Ronan, Ralph Fiennes, Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe, Jude Law; directed by Wes Anderson. (100 minutes)

89 GRAVITY, PG-13 A horrific accident during a space walk strands a medical engineer (Sandra Bullock) on her first shuttle mission and a veteran astronaut (George Clooney) commanding his last flight, tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness with no apparent chance for rescue. (90 minutes)

87 THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, PG-13 Bilbo Baggins’ (Martin Freeman) epic quest continues with the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and 13 dwarfs to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor. (161 minutes)

82 THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE, PG-13 Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her fellow 74th annual Hunger Games victor embark on a “Victor’s Tour” while a possible rebellion is brewing and the president is about to announce the next year’s extra-special games. (146 minutes)

89 THE LEGO MOVIE, PG An ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average Lego minifigure (voice of Chris Pratt), mistakenly identifi ed as the key to saving the world, joins a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant. Computer animated in 3-D. (100 minutes)

84 THE MONUMENTS MEN, PG-13 George Clooney directs and plays the leader of a team of museum directors, curators and art historians assembled as a platoon and sent into Germany in the latter days of World War II to retrieve artistic masterpieces from the Nazis and return them to their rightful prewar owners. (118 minutes)

86 MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN, PG Super-genius canine Mr. Peabody and his mischievous boy, Sherman, took all kinds of time-travel adventures, via their “Wabac” machine, on the old Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends show. But when Sherman and his friend Penny accidentally rip a hole in the universe, wreaking havoc on the most important events in world history, Mr. Peabody must come to their rescue. Animated. (90 minutes)

86 MUPPETS MOST WANTED, PG The Muppet gang, on a world tour and selling out grand theaters in several European capitals, find themselves entangled in an international crime caper headed by a master criminal who’s a dead ringer for Kermit. (112 minutes)

72 NEED FOR SPEED, PG-13 This latest video-game derivative involves a blue-collar mechanic (Aaron Paul), just out of prison on a manslaughter frame-up, who takes on his arrogant ex-partner in a cross-country race against time that begins as a mission for revenge but proves to be one of redemption. (130 minutes)

82 NOAH, PG-13 Russell Crowe plays the patriarch whom God chooses to save human and animal life before an apocalyptic flood destroys the world. With Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins, Logan Lerman, Nick Nolte; directed by Darren Aronofsky. (138 minutes)

74 NON-STOP, PG-13 Liam Neeson plays an air marshal faced with cryptic text messages demanding that the airline transfer $150 million into an offshore account; until it happens, every 20 minutes a passenger on his flight will be killed. (106 minutes)

80 THE NUT JOB, PG An obnoxious squirrel (voice of Will Arnett) and his rat friend’s plans for a monster nut-store heist embroils them in a much more complicated adventure. Animated. (86 minutes)

89 PHILOMENA, R Judi Dench plays an Irish Catholic who, years after giving up her out-of-wedlock baby for adoption in the United States, sets out with the help of a crusty BBC reporter to search for her long-lost son. (98 minutes)

80 POMPEII, PG-13 A slave turned invincible gladiator races against time to save his true love, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant unwillingly betrothed to a corrupt Roman senator, as Mount Vesuvius erupts, burying Pompeii in a torrent of ash and blazing lava. (102 minutes)

70 RIDE ALONG, PG-13 A squad-car ride-along turns into 24 hours of insanity when a high-school security guard (Kevin Hart), trying to show he has what it takes to marry the sister (Tika Sumpter) of a decorated detective (Ice Cube), enters the police academy. (100 minutes)

79 SABOTAGE, R Arnold Schwarzenegger leads an elite DEA task force that has apparently successfully taken on the world’s deadliest drug cartels - until, one-by-one, the 10 members mysteriously start to die. With Olivia Williams, Sam Worthington, Harold Perrineau, Terrence Howard, Joe Manganiello; directed by David Ayer. (109 minutes)

73 THE SINGLE MOMS CLUB, PG-13 Tyler Perry’s latest actor-director-screenwriter effort involves five struggling single moms who put aside their differences to form a support group and find inspiration and laughter in their new sisterhood. (111 minutes)

82 THOR: THE DARK WORLD, PG-13 Chris Hemsworth returns as Marvel Comics hero Thor, the Mighty Avenger, battling to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from the shadowy enemy, an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith, that returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. (120 minutes)

78 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE, R So, although all 300 Spartans died by the end of the first movie, since when has that ever stopped the making of a sequel? The Spartans’ heroic sacrifice has delayed the armies of Persian Emperor Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) just long enough for Athenian general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) to try to unite all Greece against the invaders. (102 minutes)

91 12 YEARS A SLAVE, R Chiwetel Ejiofor plays a free black man from pre-Civil War upstate New York who, abducted and sold into slavery, struggles not only to stay alive under the thumb of a malevolent owner but to retain his dignity. (133 minutes)

89 VERONICA MARS, PG-13 With her amateur sleuthing days behind her, Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell), interviewing at high-end New York law firms, heads back to her small hometown to help her ex-boyfriend, who has been accused of murder. (107 minutes)

75 WALKING WITH DINOSAURS, PG An underdog dinosaur triumphs against all odds to become a hero for the ages. Animated. (87 minutes)

Movie-rating point system

Movies are rated on a scale from 50 to 100. Guidelines for moviegoers:

96-100 Transcendent

90-95 Exceptional

80-89 Better than most to remarkable

70-79 Average

60-69 Awful to mediocre

50-59 Irredeemable

MovieStyle, Pages 35 on 04/04/2014

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