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Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 11:40 p.m.
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Film clips

By The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

This article was published March 28, 2014 at 1:54 a.m.

At area theaters

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 (Meryl Streep) who raised them. (130 minutes)

81 BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY, not rated A small-town pharmacist’s uneventful life turns into a walk on the wild side when he embarks on a drug-and-alcohol fueled affair with a seductive customer. With Olivia Wilde, Michelle Monaghan, Sam Rockwell, Jane Fonda, Ben Schwartz; directed by Geoff Moore, David Posamentier. (91 minutes)

85 DIVERGENT, PG-13 In a world where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues, a young woman who’s been labeled as a Divergent and a misfi t discovers a conspiracy to destroy her and everybody like her. With Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Jai Courtney, Zoe Kravitz; directed by Neil Burger. (143 minutes)

89 FROZEN, PG Some theaters have either added or substituted a singalong 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)

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. With Kevin Sorbo, Shane Harper, David A.R. White, Dean Cain, Willie Robertson; directed by Harold Cronk. (113 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)

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. With Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Animal, Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey; directed by James Bobin. (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)

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◊ight 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 nutstore 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)

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)

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)

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. With James Franco, Krysten Ritter; directed by Rob Thomas. (107 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 33 on 03/28/2014

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