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AMER­I­CAN SNIPER Clint East­wood’s most com­mer­cially suc­cess­ful movie, this is far from his best ar­tis­ti­cally. Based on the mem­oir by Chris Kyle (played by Os­car-nom­i­nated Bradley Cooper), the most pro­lific sniper in Amer­i­can mil­i­tary his­tory. East­wood han­dles the ac­tion scenes pow­er­fully but doesn’t thread them to­gether with the kind of nu­anced sto­ry­telling he’s ca­pa­ble of, and he leaves some loose ends dan­gling. The home-front scenes of Kyle with his wife (Si­enna Miller) and fam­ily be­come a bore. Cooper is ex­cel­lent as a man in­creas­ingly ad­dicted to com­bat and with no other thought than to pro­tect his own. “It’s your call, Chris,” his su­pe­ri­ors keep telling him as he lines hu­man tar­gets up in his sights, and he never makes a wrong one. But East­wood has. Rated R. 132 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola. ( Jonathan Richards)

BIRD­MAN OR (THE UN­EX­PECTED VIRTUE OF IG­NO­RANCE) In Ale­jan­dro González Iñár­ritu’s back­stage satire, Michael Keaton daz­zles with his bril­liant dis­sec­tion of a movie star, in artis­tic eclipse since he sold his soul to play a masked comic-book su­per­hero, look­ing for re­demp­tion on the Broad­way stage. Aided by a ter­rific sup­port­ing cast that in­cludes Ed­ward Nor­ton, Naomi Watts, and Emma Stone and shot by the great Em­manuel Lubezki, Bird­man, a nom­i­nee for best pic­ture, crack­les with wit, fan­tasy, and pen­e­trat­ing in­sights about show busi­ness, cul­tural rel­e­vance, and the mod­ern world. The film re­ceived a to­tal of nine Os­car nom­i­na­tions, in­clud­ing ones for Iñár­ritu and Keaton. Rated R. 119 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)

BOY­HOOD Richard Lin­klater’s ex­tra­or­di­nary achieve­ment (and re­cip­i­ent of six Os­car nom­i­na­tions, in­clud­ing best pic­ture and best direc­tor) has been to take one boy, a six-year-old named El­lar Coltrane, and shoot him for a few days ev­ery year for a dozen years. Lin­klater wrote each screen­play seg­ment based on talks with his cast, which in­cludes Ethan Hawke and Pa­tri­cia Ar­quette as the boy’s par­ents. We watch as Ma­son grows up and makes it safely through boy­hood’s ad­ven­tures and dis­cov­er­ies, ar­riv­ing on the brink of young adult­hood as the movie ends. Rated R. 165 min­utes. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)

THE BOY NEXT DOOR Jen­nifer Lopez plays a high school teacher who takes up an ill-ad­vised af­fair with the teenage boy who moves in next door (in J-Lo’s de­fense, he’s played by Ryan Guz­man, who is 27 years old). The at­trac­tion proves fa­tal when he de­vel­ops an un­healthy ob­ses­sion with her. Rated R. 91 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola. (Not re­viewed)

CAKE Very lit­tle is sweet about this wellmean­ing but flawed indie. A con­spic­u­ously deglammed Jen­nifer Anis­ton plays Claire, a pill-pop­ping woman with phys­i­cal and emo­tional scars, a swanky house, and no friends. When the ghost of Nina (Anna Ken­drick), a woman from her sup­port group who has killed her­self, starts ap­pear­ing, Claire be­gins to con­sider sui­cide. Anis­ton’s per­for­mance is sub­tle, strong, and even oc­ca­sion­ally funny, and the film trots out some in­ter­est­ing sup­port­ing play­ers — Chris Messina as Claire’s es­tranged hus­band, Sam Wor­thing­ton as Nina’s wid­ower, and Adri­ana Bar­raza as Claire’s kind, loyal house­keeper, who drives her to Tijuana when she runs out of pain meds. It falls flat, though, by try­ing to thrust sen­ti­men­tal­ity and pro­fun­dity down your throat. Rated R. 102 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas, Santa Fe. (Lau­rel Glad­den)

CI­TI­ZEN­FOUR This doc­u­men­tary should be re­quired view­ing, whichever side of the Ed­ward Snow­den pa­triot/ traitor bias you fall on. Laura Poitras, the direc­tor con­tacted by Snow­den to break his story, presents only one side here, but it’s a com­pelling brief that asks what con­sti­tu­tional free­doms we’re will­ing to sur­ren­der for se­cu­rity. Poitras pads her film with some sleepy footage of Snow­den sit­ting in his ho­tel room, but there’s plenty of meat. Rated R. 114 min­utes. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)

DY­ING TO KNOW Gay Dilling­ham’s pro­found, up­lift­ing doc­u­men­tary takes us on a jour­ney to that bor­der no fence can keep us from cross­ing. Our guides are those two ir­re­press­ible icons of drugs and en­light­en­ment,

for­mer Har­vard pro­fes­sors Ti­mothy Leary and Ram Dass. Lo­cal fig­ures are among those in­ter­viewed, and there’s a nicely un­ob­tru­sive nar­ra­tion voiced by Robert Red­ford. Not rated. 99 min­utes. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)

THE HOB­BIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES The story of Bilbo Bag­gins (Martin Free­man) concludes with a battle that makes this film feel like the third act of the pre­vi­ous movie rather than a stand-alone fea­ture in its own right. Dwarves, elves, orcs, men, trolls, gob­lins, wiz­ards, ea­gles, gi­ant worms, and one hob­bit col­lide in one big melee. It’s im­pres­sive but ex­haust­ing — which at this point is true of Peter Jack­son’s en­tire foray into Mid­dle Earth. Rated PG-13. 144 min­utes. Screens in 2-D only at Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe. (Robert Ker)

THE IMI­TA­TION GAME This very en­ter­tain­ing movie, an Os­car nom­i­nee for best pic­ture, could have been a lot more. Morten Tyl­dum (nom­i­nee for best direc­tor) has taken the en­gross­ing story of Alan Tur­ing (Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch, a nom­i­nee for best ac­tor), the Bri­tish war hero, com­puter pi­o­neer, and ho­mo­sex­ual martyr, and fit it into the familiar con­fines of a biopic stocked with Movie Mo­ments, which never con­vince us that things re­ally hap­pened the way the film de­picts them. Rated PG-13. 114 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola. ( Jonathan Richards)

INTO THE WOODS Stephen Sond­heim’s mu­si­cal about psy­cho­log­i­cal self-dis­cov­ery gets Dis­ney­fied (though taste­fully) un­der Rob Mar­shall’s smart, sen­si­tive di­rec­tion. Top-drawer per­for­mances, with bet­ter singing than you might an­tic­i­pate, come from Meryl Streep (Witch), a sup­port­ing-actress Os­car nom­i­nee; Johnny Depp (Wolf); Anna Ken­drick (Cin­derella); and oth­ers. The score and dia­logue re­main largely in­tact, mak­ing this a must-see for Sond­heimites. Rated PG. 124 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe. ( James M. Keller)

MORT­DE­CAI Johnny Depp tack­les his first broad com­edy in some time, grow­ing out a care­fully waxed mus­tache and play­ing Charles Mort­de­cai, a Bri­tish art dealer and scoundrel who trav­els to Amer­ica to lo­cate a stolen paint­ing and finds him­self in a Pink Pan­ther­like ca­per. Gwyneth Pal­trow and Ewan McGre­gor co-star. Rated R. 106 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola. (Not re­viewed)

PADDING­TON The fa­mous stuffed bear brings his tog­gle coat and red hat to the big screen, star­ring in a comedic ca­per in which he ar­rives in Lon­don, is taken in by a fam­ily (headed by Down­ton Abbey’s Hugh Bon­neville), and at­tempts to es­cape a nasty taxi­der­mist (Ni­cole Kid­man). Paul King di­rects with charm and in­ven­tive­ness, and the hu­mor is a near-per­fect mix of car­toony silli­ness for the chil­dren and wryly Bri­tish wit for the adults. A bit too much of the for­mer evap­o­rates in the sec­ond half, which may get too dark and scary for smaller kids, but over­all, it’s a de­light. Rated PG. 95 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola. (Robert Ker)

SELMA Half a cen­tury ago, the civil rights attack on Jim Crow in this coun­try was just com­ing to a boil un­der the lead­er­ship of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. One of the wa­ter­sheds of that move­ment was a mas­sive protest march bound from Selma, Alabama, to Mont­gomery, 54 miles away, in sup­port of the 1965 Vot­ing Rights Act. That un­der­tak­ing is the cen­ter­piece and fo­cus of this un­even but pow­er­ful film (an Os­car nom­i­nee for best pic­ture) from direc­tor Ava Du­Ver­nay. David Oyelowo gives us an MLK in whom quiet, deeply re­li­gious so­cial con­vic­tions tri­umph over hu­man doubts and weak­nesses. Rated PG-13. 127 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)

STRANGE MAGIC Ge­orge Lu­cas con­ceived and pro­duced this an­i­mated com­edy about a goblin (voiced by Alan Cum­ming) who seeks to de­stroy all the prim­rose pe­tals re­quired to make love po­tions — un­til, of course, he falls in love. At that point he must com­pete with an elf (Eli­jah Kel­ley) to find them. Gary Ryd­strom di­rects. Rated PG. 99 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola. (Not re­viewed)

TAKEN 3 When the small ac­tion film Taken was un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously re­leased in 2008, it was dif­fi­cult to imag­ine that there would some­day be two se­quels. Peo­ple keep tak­ing stuff from Liam Nee­son’s Bryan Mills, so he must keep get­ting very cross with them. This time around, he’s framed for his wife’s mur­der and has to clear his name while get­ting re­venge. Rated PG-13. 109 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola. (Not re­viewed)

THE THE­ORY OF EV­ERY­THING A film about Stephen Hawk­ing ought to be burst­ing with ideas. What direc­tor James Marsh has come up with is a watch­able but con­ven­tion­ally struc­tured ro­man­tic biopic. An Os­car nom­i­nee for best pic­ture, its se­cret weapon is Ed­die Red­mayne (nom­i­nee for best ac­tor), who is bril­liant in his trans­for­ma­tion into the Hawk­ing we know, body con­fined to a wheel­chair, voice pro­duced by a ma­chine. Costar Felic­ity Jones is a nom­i­nee for best actress. Rated PG-13. 123 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas, Santa Fe. ( Jonathan Richards)

THE WED­DING RINGER Kevin Hart plays Jimmy Cal­la­han, a guy who makes him­self avail­able — for a fee — as a best man for grooms to be who don’t have many friends. Josh Gad plays a guy who doesn’t have any friends what­so­ever, so he in­vents a whole wed­ding party that needs to be filled out by Cal­la­han’s friends. Maybe they even be­come ac­tual friends. Rated R. 101 min­utes. Re­gal Sta­dium 14, Santa Fe; Dream­Catcher, Es­pañola. (Not re­viewed)

WHIPLASH Miles Teller plays teenage jazz drum­mer An­drew Neiman, whose dreams of be­com­ing one of the greats hinge on sur­viv­ing elite mu­sic in­struc­tor Terence Fletcher ( J.K. Sim­mons, nom­i­nated for an Os­car for best sup­port­ing ac­tor), the sort of teacher who’s more likely to throw a chair at his stu­dent’s head than say “please” when re­quest­ing a drum­roll. An Os­car nom­i­nee for best pic­ture, this indie-drama by Damien Chazelle com­pellingly ex­plores the ways in which the power dy­nam­ics of a men­tor­ing re­la­tion­ship can turn a teacher’s ob­ses­sion into a stu­dent’s com­pul­sion. Rated R. 107 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas, Santa Fe. (Loren Bien­venu)

WILD In 1995, in­ex­pe­ri­enced hiker and camper Ch­eryl Strayed strapped on a back­pack and cov­ered 1,100 miles of the Pa­cific Crest Trail. In this mov­ing, ruggedly beau­ti­ful adap­ta­tion of her mem­oir — star­ring Reese Wither­spoon (Os­car nom­i­nee for best actress) — direc­tor Jean-Marc Vallée cap­tures scenery and set­tings with deft cam­er­a­work, and the sto­ry­telling is hon­est, vivid, and non­judg­men­tal, if some­times a bit too on the nose. Rated R. 115 min­utes. Re­gal DeVar­gas, Santa Fe. (Lau­rel Glad­den)

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