Cinemark Denton 2825 Wind River Lane off I-35E. 940-535-2654. www.cinemark.com.
Movie Tavern 916 W. University Drive. 940-566-FILM (3456). www.movietavern.com.
Carmike Hickory Creek 16 8380 S. I-35E, Hickory Creek. 940-321-2788. www.carmike.com.
Silver Cinemas Inside Golden Triangle Mall, 2201 S. I-35E. 940-387-1957. www.silvercinemasinc.com.
The Book Thief — A slice of Holocaust history filters through a gauzy lens in this treacly rendering of Markus Zusak’s novel of the same name. In late 1930s Germany, an illiterate girl, Liesel (a bland Sophie Nelisse), is taken from her mother and placed with foster parents (Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson), then learns the joy of reading while having innocuous adventures with a friend. She also finds time to help hide a Jewish man. Overdone, often cloying, mawkish dramatization of familiar material interpreted with little new insight. (Stephen Holden in The New York Times called this movie “a shameless piece of Oscar-seeking Holocaust kitsch.”) Rated PG-13, 131 minutes. At the Angelika Dallas and the Cinemark West Plano. — Boo Allen
The Christmas Candle — As the dawn of the electric age threatens a centuries-old legend in a small English town, a progressive young minister finds himself at odds with a fiery candle maker. With Susan Boyle, Samantha Barks, Hans Matheson and Lesley Manville. Directed by John Stephenson. Rated PG, 100 minutes. — Los Angeles Times
Delivery Man — In this tepid remake of the 2011 French-Canadian serious comedy Starbuck, Vince Vaughn plays the title character, a hapless meat deliveryman who learns that he has fathered more than 500 children stemming from 20 years previous when he made anonymous yet copious donations to a sperm bank. Now, 142 of the offspring are suing to have his identity revealed. Chris Pratt plays the equally hapless lawyer fighting to retain his friend’s anonymity. Rated PG-13, 103 minutes. — B.A.
The Best Man Holiday — Writer/director Malcolm D. Lee’s sequel to the 1999 sleeper hit The Best Man follows a tight-knit circle of black friends. When Mia (Monica Calhoun) and her star running back husband Lance (Morris Chestnut) invite everybody to their New Jersey mansion for the holidays, cracks show in everyone’s facade. With Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, Terrence Howard and Nia Long. Rated R, 122 minutes. — McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Captain Phillips —Tom Hanks stars as Capt. Richard Phillips, head of the Maersk Alabama, a huge container ship that is stopped in the Somali Basin by pirates. Director Paul Greengrass ratchets up the tension with his rapid pacing and lack of narrative filler. The compelling story brings constant surprises and discoveries. Rated PG-13, 134 minutes. — B.A.
Ender’s Game — In this heavily derivative science-fiction saga based on Orson Scott Card’s novel, with screenplay and direction from Gavin Hood, Asa Butterfield plays young Ender Wiggin. In a future showdown with Earth’s enemies, he is chosen for his skills and leadership qualities to learn fighting tactics and then lead his minions into battle. Harrison Ford and Viola Davis play two of the adults in charge. Impressive special effects and auditorium-shattering sound complement the familiar action sequences. Rated PG-13, 114 minutes. — B.A.
Last Vegas — Four Oscar-winning actors (Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro and Kevin Kline) play childhood friends living in different parts of the country who reunite 58 years later in Las Vegas when one (Douglas) plans on marrying for the first time. Predictable, good-natured and yet harmless enough. Rated PG-13, 105 minutes. — B.A.
12 Years a Slave — British director Steven McQueen directs Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup, a free man in 1841 New York who is abducted and sold into slavery in the South. He experiences torture and humiliations from his various owners, particularly one (Michael Fassbender). Provocative yet well-made film touches many buttons while delivering a compelling experience. Rated R, 133 minutes. — B.A.