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Top Picks - Arkansas Daily Deal

Film clips

By The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

This article was published January 17, 2014 at 2:23 a.m.

At area theaters

89 AMERICAN HUSTLE, R A rogue FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) forces a brilliant con man (Christian Bale) and his equally cunning and seductive “British” partner (Amy Adams) into an enchanting but dangerous world of Jersey power brokers and mobsters. (138 minutes)

86 ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES, PG-13 Will Ferrell reprises his role as a “legendary” top-rated San Diego newsman who, with the ’70s behind him, is still looking to stay classy while he and his colleagues take the nation’s first 24-hour news channel by storm. (119 minutes)

88 AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, R A family crisis brings the strong willed women of a Midwest family, whose lives have diverged, back to the house where they grew up and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them. With Meryl Streep, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ewan McGregor, Abigail Breslin, Julia Roberts; directed by John Wells. (130 minutes)

89 CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, PG-13 Tom Hanks plays the title character, Richard Phillips, the captain of the U.S. cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009 and the subject of a daring Navy rescue operation. (134 minutes)

87 CARRIE, R Not a remake but a “reimagining” of the 1976 movie based on the Stephen King tale, in which a shy outcast (Chloe Grace Moretz) dominated by her extremely religious mother (Julianne Moore) unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom. (92 minutes)

72 CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2, PG Inventor Flint Lockwood thought he saved the world when he destroyed his most infamous invention, a machine that turned water into food, causing cheeseburger rain and spaghetti tornadoes. But now he discovers that his invention not only survived, but is creating feral food animals. Animated. (95 minutes)

88 DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, R A Texas electrician and rodeo cowboy (Matthew McConaughey) refuses to accept the death sentence implicit in an HIV-positive diagnosis in the mid-’80s and starts smuggling alternate treatments from Mexico into the United States. (117 minutes)

87 ENDER’S GAME, PG-13 Under the tutelage of legendary commanders (Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley), a shy but strategically brilliant boy (Asa Butterfield) becomes Earth’s next great hope against a hostile alien race. (114 minutes)

78 ESCAPE PLAN, R One of the world’s foremost authorities on structural security (Sylvester Stallone), wrongly imprisoned, must recruit a fellow inmate (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to help devise a daring, nearly impossible plan to escape from an ultra secret, high tech facility called “The Tomb.” (116 minutes)

75 FREE BIRDS, PG Two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks must put aside their differences and team up to travel back in time to change the course of history - and get turkey off the Thanksgiving menu for good. Animated. (90 minutes)

89 FROZEN, PG In a kingdom trapped in eternal winter, a fearless optimist (voice of Kristen Bell) teams up with an extreme mountain man (voice of Jonathan Groff) and his sidekick reindeer Sven on an epic journey to find the Snow Queen (voice of Idina Menzel) and put an end to her icy spell. Animated. (108 minutes)

89 GRAVITY, PG-13 A horrific accident during a space walk strands a brilliant medical engineer (Sandra Bullock) on her first shuttle mission with no apparent chance for rescue. (90 minutes)

71 GRUDGE MATCH, PG-13 A slick boxing promoter makes a can’t-refuse offer to two Pittsburgh fighters (Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro) to get back into the ring 30 years after their fierce rivalry put them in the national spotlight, and settle the score once and for all. (113 minutes)

90 HER, R In a near-future Los Angeles, a complex, soulful man (Joaquin Phoenix) finds a new relationship in a new, advanced operating system with a female voice (Scarlett Johansson) with an insightful, sensitive and surprisingly funny personality. With Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, Amy Adams; directed by Spike Jonze. (120 minutes)

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

83 HOMEFRONT, R A widowed Drug Enforcement Administration agent who’s quitting for the sake of his 10-year-old daughter picks the wrong small town for his retirement. (110 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)

91 INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, R A young folk singer (Oscar Isaac) tries to navigate the 1961 Greenwich Village folk scene against seemingly insurmountable obstacles - some of them of his own making. With Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, Justin Timberlake; directed by Ethan and Joel Coen. (105 minutes)

72 JACKASS PRESENTS: BAD GRANDPA, R Johnny Knoxville plays the title character, on a journey across America with his 8-year-old grandson (Jackson Nicoll), playing pranks on supposedly “ordinary” folks who have no idea what’s really going on. (92 minutes)

78 LAST VEGAS, PG-13 Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline play friends who, when one of them finally proposes to his much younger girlfriend, head to Las Vegas. (105 minutes)

83 LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER, PG-13 Forest Whitaker plays a White House butler who served eight American presidents over three decades. (132 minutes)

68 THE LEGEND OF HERCULES, PG-13 Kellan Lutz plays the son of Zeus who, when he learns his real identity, must make a hard choice: the love of a beautiful princess or fulfi ll his destiny, overthrow the tyrannical king and become the true hero of his time. With Gaia Weiss, Scott Adkins, Roxanne McKee; directed by Renny Harlin. (98 minutes)

87 LONE SURVIVOR, R Four Navy SEALs on an ill-fated covert mission to neutralize a high-level Taliban operative are ambushed by enemy forces in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. With Taylor Kitsch, Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch; directed by Peter Berg. (121 minutes)

83 MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM, PG-13 Idris Elba plays the late South African statesman in this film based on his autobiography, covering his early life and the 27 years he spent in prison. (139 minutes)

90 NEBRASKA, R A cantankerous father (Bruce Dern), believing he’s struck it rich, wrangles his son (Will Forte) into a road trip to claim the “fortune” he believes he’s won in a magazine sweepstakes. (115 minutes)

79 OUT OF THE FURNACE, R Christian Bale plays a steelworker who cares for his terminally ill father by night and puts his life on the line to seek justice for his brother (Casey Affleck), just home from serving in Iraq, who has mysteriously disappeared after getting lured into a nefarious crime ring. (116 minutes)

74 PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES, R The same malevolent demon from previous films in this series marks a young California Hispanic for possession. (84 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)

85 RED 2, PG-13 Retired black-ops CIA agent Bruce Willis reunites his unlikely team of elite operatives for a global quest to track down a missing portable nuclear device. (116 minutes)

79 SAVING MR. BANKS, PG-13 Walt Disney’s (Tom Hanks) mission to turn the beloved book Mary Poppins into a movie runs into the intransigence of the curmudgeonly author (Emma Thompson). (125 minutes)

86 THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, PG Ben Stiller directs and plays the title character, whose heroic fantasies lead to a global journey to save his and a co-worker’s jobs. (114 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)

82 2 GUNS, R Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg play undercover operatives from competing bureaus who, when their attempt to infiltrate a Mexican drug cartel goes haywire, are forced to go on the run together. (109 minutes)

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

88 THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, R Leonardo DiCaprio plays a late’80s stockbroker who takes his fi rm rapidly from penny stocks and righteousness to initial public offerings and a life of corruption and drugs.

(180 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 39 on 01/17/2014

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