Movies

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THEATERS

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.

OPENING THIS WEEK

47 Ronin Rated PG-13, 119 minutes. Opened Wednesday.

Grudge Match (2.5 stars) Grudge Match is a sort of “Punchy Old Men,” a slow-footed, high-concept comedy that pairs up the screen’s greatest pugilists, circa 1981, for a few slaps and a few laughs. Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone square off as aged boxers brought back by desperation and a desperate fight promoter (Kevin Hart). Hart slows his roll to match his two leads and the sluggish film around them, where every punch, every gag and most performances is played at half speed. It’s all very much in the style of director Peter Segal (Get Smart) — slow, sentimental, slick and sadly recycled. With Kim Basinger and Alan Arkin. Rated PG-13, 113 minutes. Opened Wednesday. — McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (3.5 stars>) The pitfalls of making biopics are manifold, but Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom does a worthy job of honoring both its subject and its audience. It can feel, at times, both overlong and oversimplified, but the story propels itself while awakening in viewers some profound emotions — thanks largely to star Idris Elba (The Wire, Luther). Elba looks not at all like Nelson Mandela, and yet his demeanor, not to mention his impressive accent, captures the icon, who died Dec. 5. What’s perhaps most interesting is the persistent melancholy that pervades the film, especially toward the end as Mandela achieves more that he hoped to, not just ending apartheid but becoming the leader of South Africa. Mandela may not have been a martyr in the traditional sense, but he still gave up his life for the cause. Directed by Justin Chadwick. Rated PG-13, 139 minutes. Opened Wednesday. — The Washington Post

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Adapted from James Thurber’s short story of the same name, the outlandish scenes in Mitty bring the most memorable element of the original tale — reality bending — to the forefront. Luckily, the CGI-marred moments flood only the first 30 minutes of the film. Walter (a poised and sincere Ben Stiller, who also directed) works at Life magazine, which is transitioning from print to digital. A top executive (a brilliantly vexing Adam Scott) takes to bullying Walter, who must pin down the negative image for the final issue’s cover. With Sean Penn, Shirley MacLaine, Kristen Wiig and Patton Oswalt. Written by Steven Conrad (The Pursuit of Happyness). Rated PG. Opened Wednesday. — The Associated Press

NOW PLAYING

American Hustle (3.5 stars) David O. Russell co-wrote and directed the story of Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), who in 1978, began running scams with his partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams). Busted by an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper), the two then help trap politicians. High-energy scenes combine with bad hair and worse costumes for a wild ride. Jennifer Lawrence burns up the screen as Irving’s unstable wife. Rated R, 138 minutes. — Boo Allen

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (3.5 stars) Everything about 2004’s Anchorman, a cult classic of the Will Ferrell oeuvre, and its lead character, Ron Burgundy, was puffed up and absurd and ridiculous. And so, why wouldn’t the sequel be even more puffed up, more absurd and more ridiculous? It’s 1980, and Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), now married, host a morning show together. Burgundy gets fired, but opportunity comes in the form of a job offer at a new 24-hour news channel. Burgundy heads for New York, stopping to gather the old news team from San Diego — overly emotional sportscaster Champ Kind (David Koechner), overly sexed reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) and overly insane weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell, reliably hilarious). With James Marsden, Meagan Good, Kristen Wiig and Sacha Baron Cohen, and directed with total self-assurance by Adam McKay. Rated PG-13, 119 minutes. — AP

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

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (3.5 stars) The first film of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, last year’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, took way too long to get going and then dragged for much of its 169 minutes. The Desolation of Smaug is not much shorter — 8 minutes, to be exact — but it feels brisker, lighter, funnier. The characters are more varied, more interesting, and there’s even a romantic subplot added to J.R.R. Tolkien’s original story. Instead of a drawn-out intro, we get right to the action — the quest of Bilbo (Martin Freeman, himself livelier and funnier) and the band of dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (a suitably noble Richard Armitage) to reclaim the kingdom of Erebor, under the Lonely Mountain, from the frightening dragon Smaug. With Ian McKellen, an engaging Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Orlando Bloom and Evangeline Lilly. Rated PG-13, 161 minutes. — AP

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.

A Madea Christmas Coaxed into helping a friend pay her daughter a surprise holiday visit, the stern, sassy matriarch Madea (Tyler Perry) shakes up a small rural town preparing for its annual Christmas Jubilee. With Kathy Najimy, Chad Michael Murray and Anna Maria Horsford. Written and directed by Perry. Rated PG-13, 100 minutes. — Los Angeles Times

Saving Mr. Banks (3 stars) Tom Hanks stars as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson turns in a spirited performance as Mrs. P.L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins. He brings her to Hollywood from England in hopes of landing the movie rights to her book. But he finds her cantankerous and obstructionist at every turn. Amusingly entertaining with two fine lead performances. Rated PG-13, 125 minutes. — B.A.

Walking With Dinosaurs (1.5 stars) Like an elaborately decorated wedding cake, the kid-friendly Walking With Dinosaurs may leave you wondering how something so stunning could end up being so bland. Aesthetic attention to detail goes only so far when the content is mediocre. The movie begins with a modern-day framing device about an archaeologist (Karl Urban) on a dig with his niece and nephew, and then goes back to prehistoric times to follow a young pachyrhinosaurus, Patchi (voiced by Justin Long), and his best friend, a colorful bird named Alex (John Leguizamo). The movie aims to show the harshness of the dinosaur-eat-dinosaur world, yet a bit of comedy and a little love softens the reality. Based on a documentary television series of the same name. Rated PG, 80 minutes. — The Washington Post


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