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Top Picks - Arkansas Daily Deal

Film clips

By The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

This article was published March 21, 2014 at 2:16 a.m.

At area theaters

87 THE ART OF THE STEAL, R Everything goes awry when a third-rate motorcycle daredevil and semi-reformed art thief agrees to pull off one final lucrative art theft with his untrustworthy brother. With Kurt Russell, Jay Baruchel, Katheryn Winnick, Chris Diamantopoulos, Kenneth Walsh; directed by Jonathan Sobol. (90 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 (Meryl Streep) who raised them. (130 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)

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 Some theaters have either added or substituted a sing-along version. 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 and a veteran astronaut (George Clooney) commanding his last flight, tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness and 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 identified 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)

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. (121 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)

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. With Imogen Poots, Dominic Cooper, Ramon Rodriguez, Michael Keaton, Dakota Johnson; directed by Scott Waugh. (130 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)

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)

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. With Nia Long, Wendi Mc-Lendon-Covey, Amy Smart, Cocoa Brown, Ryan Eggold. (111 minutes)

75 SON OF GOD, PG-13 Diogo Morgado plays Jesus in this expansive bio-pic that spans his humble birth, his teachings and his crucifixion and resurrection. (138 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)

76 3 DAYS TO KILL, PG-13 Kevin Costner plays a spy, determined to give it all up to finally build a closer relationship with his estranged wife and teenage daughter, but, of course, he must complete one last mission: hunting down the world’s most ruthless terrorist, oh, and while looking after his daughter while his wife is out of town. (100 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)

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

72 WINTER’S TALE, PG-13 Colin Farrell plays a crook who, when he discovers he has the gift of reincarnation, sets out to save the heiress he fell in love with, even though it puts him squarely in the middle of the eternal battle between good and evil. (118 minutes)

88 THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, R Leonardo DiCaprio plays a late’80s stockbroker who takes his firm 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 35 on 03/21/2014

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