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.
A Miracle in Spanish Harlem Magical romantic drama follows Tito Jimenez, a hardworking widowed father who gets a second chance at love. With Kate Del Castillo and Luis Antonio Ramos. Directed by Derek Velez Partridge. Rated PG, 90 minutes.
The Best Man Holiday (3 stars) Writer/director Malcolm D. Lee’s sequel to the 1999 sleeper hit The Best Man follows a tight-knit circle of black friends who gathered then for a wedding, now to spend Christmas together. But 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 Melissa De Sousa, Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long and Harold Perrineau. Rated R, 122 minutes. — McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Black Nativity A child is born, a family is healed, and a sermon on forgiveness is delivered with sledgehammer subtlety in this bold but clumsy attempt to bring Langston Hughes’ popular 1961 musical to life onscreen. Writer-director Kasi Lemmons seeks a free-form cinematic equivalent of Hughes’ stage show-cum-worship service — a rousing fusion of pageantry, gospel music and 19th-century folk spirituals. It’s days before Christmas when moody Baltimore teenager Langston (Jacob Latimore) learns that he and his recently laid-off mother, Naima (Jennifer Hudson), are about to be evicted. With Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett. Rated PG-13, 93 minutes. — Variety
The Book Thief (2 stars) 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. — 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
Dallas Buyers Club (3 stars) In a true story, Matthew McConaughey plays Ron Woodroof, an electrician and part-time cowboy who tests HIV positive in 1985 and is given a month to live. He turns to alternative drugs, obtaining them in trips around the globe, eventually organizing the buyers’ club, a ruse for others to buy them. Touching, persuasive performances from McConaughey and Jared Leto. Jennifer Garner plays an attending, caring physician. Rated R, 117 minutes. — B.A.
Delivery Man (2.5 stars) 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.
Free Birds In this animated film, two turkeys travel back in time to the first Thanksgiving to try to get their kind off the menu. With the voices of Woody Harrelson, Owen Wilson and Amy Poehler. In 3-D. Rated PG, 91 minutes. — LAT
Frozen (3.5 stars) Disney’s new movie, very roughly based on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” follows two princesses: rambunctious young Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell as an adult) and older sister Elsa (Idina Menzel), who has the secret, magical ability to chill whatever she touches. Traumatized by a near-miss, Elsa turns her back on the outside world, and her confused, disheartened little sis. When Elsa’s coronation day approaches, a squabble between the sisters sets off a freak cold snap throughout the land. Like Pixar’s Brave, the new Mouse House entry gives a young woman the heroic role. Rated PG, 85 minutes. — Minneapolis Star Tribune
Gravity (4 stars) Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men) directed this white-knuckle outer-space thriller about two astronauts (Sandra Bullock and George Clooney) who become detached from their spacecraft. Cuaron conveys what it feels like to be lost in space, vulnerable to the vast oblivion that lurks beyond. He uses his two-person cast to ratchet up the tension. Rated PG-13, 90 minutes. — B.A.
Homefront (3 stars) Homefront is hard not to like and impossible to respect. It was directed by Gary Fleder (Kiss the Girls, The Impostor), but the more meaningful credit here is that Sylvester Stallone wrote the screenplay. It has all the things you might expect from a routine Stallone effort: snappy dialogue, clearly drawn characters, tense situations — and that’s it. Based on a novel by Chuck Logan, it’s the story of a Drug Enforcement Agency officer (Jason Statham) forced to move to remote Louisiana, in order to escape the wrath of the drug-dealing, motorcycle gang that he’s helped destroy. With James Franco and Winona Ryder. Rated R, 100 minutes. — San Francisco Chronicle
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (3 stars) The action roars along in this second film edition of Suzanne Collins’ popular novels. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) again face off against a team of rivals, but this time heavy intrigue at the capital looms large, particularly with President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Much looks familiar, but impressive special effects and outlandish costumes serve as visual distractions. With an excellent supporting cast: Jeffrey Wright, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz. Rated PG-13, 146 minutes. — B.A.
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa An elderly man and his 8-year-old grandson embark on a series of misadventures in this hidden-camera comedy. With Johnny Knoxville and Jackson Nicoll. Written by Knoxville, Spike Jonze and Jeff Tremaine. Directed by Tremaine. (1:31) Rated R, 91 minutes. — LAT
Last Vegas (2.5 stars) 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. In what has been called “Hangover for Seniors,” expect plenty of Viagra, death and prostate gags. Predictable, good-natured and yet harmless enough. Rated PG-13, 105 minutes. — B.A.
Philomena (3.5 stars) In director Stephen Frears’ film, Judi Dench plays the title character, an Irish woman who decides to try and find the son she lost to adoption 50 years ago, when he was snatched away by nuns. Infuriating but at times inspirational film captures the pain of loss suffered by a mother. Based on the book by a nonfiction book by British journalist Martin Sixsmith, played here by Steve Coogan. Rated R, 98 minutes. — B.A.
Thor: The Dark World (2.5 stars) Thor has spent the last two years restoring order to the nine realms of the cosmos, but just as peace settles, a previously locked-away dark energy called the Aether seeps out. It leaks into an astrophysicist (Natalie Portman), awakening a previously vanquished species of Dark Elves, led by Malekith (Christopher Eccleston). To save Life As We Know It, Thor seeks help from his duplicitous adoptive brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston). With Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgard, Chris O’Dowd and Anthony Hopkins. Directed by Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones). Rated PG-13, 111 minutes. — The Associated Press