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Calls to her grown chil­dren go to voice mail. Com­plaints to her apart­ment man­ager go ig­nored. She is an ob­server de­ter­mined to be a par­tic­i­pant. Which might sound sad. Yet Chilean di­rec­tor Se­bas­tian Le­lio’s in­ge­nu­ity in stag­ing the film and an ex­tremely clever script, make “Glo­ria” one of the most en­joy­able movies to come along in a while. 110 min. (R) for sex­ual con­tent, some graphic nu­dity, drug use and lan­guage. — Betsy Sharkey, Tri­bune News­pa­pers ★★★★ The Lego Movie — Fi­nally! A com­edy that works. An an­i­mated film with a look — a ki­netic aes­thetic honor­ing its prod­uct line’s bright, brick­like ori­gins — that isn’t like ev­ery other clin­i­cally rounded and bland dig­i­tal 3-D ef­fort. A movie that works for the Lego-in­debted par­ent as well as the Lego-crazed off­spring. A movie that, in its bril­liantly crammed first half es­pe­cially, will work even if you don’t give a rip about Le­gos. 100 min. (PG) for mild ac­tion and rude hu­mor. — Michael Philips, Tri­bune News­pa­pers ★★ The Mon­u­ments Men— The cu­ra­tors, ar­chi­tects, art his­to­ri­ans and artists of the FDR-sanc­tioned Mon­u­ments, Fine Arts and Ar­chives crew scram­bled around Europe dur­ing the war, sav­ing what they could, find­ing Naz­ilooted and cul­tur­ally price­less Rem­brandts and Pi­cas­sos and fres­coes, many of them crated deep within Hitler’s salt mines. It’s a won­der­ful sub­ject, but di­rec­tor, co-writer and star Ge­orge Clooney’s “Mon­u­ments Men” is a ge­nial dis­ap­point­ment about the pre­cious­ness of art amid the de­struc­tive hor­rors of war.110 min. (PG-13) for some im­ages of war vi­o­lence and his­tor­i­cal smok­ing. — Michael Philips, Tri­bune News­pa­pers ★★ Mr. Pe­abody & Sher­man — The fran­tic, oc­ca­sion­ally funny an­i­mated fea­ture is a 3-D big-screen ver­sion of a de­fi­antly 2-D and ut­terly fan­tas­tic early 1960s ar­ti­fact. The film may in­spire the same kind of love among to­day’s young­folk. But to fans of the orig­i­nal, the movie’s more a mat­ter of eh, eh, eh. The re­jig­gered premise casts a cold, cruel light on the cen­tral dog/boy re­la­tion­ship. Sher­man is bul­lied mer­ci­lessly by a mean girl, who hu­mil­i­ates him for hav­ing a dog for a fa­ther. Then, a child-pro­tec­tion-ser­vices of­fi­cial threat­ens to sep­a­rate Sher­man from Mr. Pe­abody for­ever. This is the sup­posed “heart” of the story, prop­ping up the wacky trips in time made by Sher­man and his fren­emy, Penny. Some of this is amus­ing, but the story gets off to such a sour start, it takes a long time for the com­edy to re­cover. 90 min. (PG) for some mild ac­tion and brief rude hu­mor. — Michael Phillips, Tri­bune News­pa­pers ★★★ Ne­braska — Through­out Bob Nel­son’s tidy, well-or­dered screen­play, fam­ily and friends drop bits of bio­graph­i­cal de­tail re­gard­ing Woody Grant, the ir­ri­ta­ble, melan­choly soul at the movie’s cen­ter. We learn he’s a life­long al­co­holic; a Korean war vet­eran; and he wasn’t much of a fa­ther. He may also have early-on­set de­men­tia. And now, hav­ing re­ceived a mag­a­zine sub­scrip­tion flier, he be­lieves him­self to be the lucky win­ner of a sweep­stakes, and is de­ter­mined to travel from Billings, Mont., to Lin­coln, Neb., to col­lect the grand prize. This road trip story has Woody find­ing a trav­el­ing com­pan­ion in his younger son. “Ne­braska” is less a movie than a fea­ture-length equiv­a­lent of a wry comic bal­lad, ob­serv­ing some or­di­nary lives. 110 min. (R) — Michael Philips, Tri­bune News­pa­pers ★★★ Non-Stop —“Non-Stop” con­fines its ac­tion al­most en­tirely to the in­side of a tran­satlan­tic New York to Lon­don flight. A fast, ef­fi­cient in­tro­duc­tion lays the ground­work: U.S. federal air mar­shal Bill Marks (Liam Nee­son) is a ner­vous flier, an al­co­holic ex-cop who looks as though he’s car­ry­ing around a suit­case of un­re­solved is­sues. His seat-mate, played by Ju­lianne Moore, sees in Bill a man in need of some com­fort and con­ver­sa­tion. But is she hid­ing some­thing? Di­rec­tor Col­letSerra’s cut­away shots ap­pear to in­di­cate as much. Marks re­ceives a text mid-flight from some­one de­mand­ing $150 mil­lion in wired funds, or else the ter­ror­ist will be­gin killing one pas­sen­ger per 20 min­utes. Tick­ing clock! And why does ev­ery ac­tor with a speak­ing role in “Non-Stop” ap­pear to be a shifty-eyed po­ten­tial killer? And there are a dozen more red her­rings (or are they?) de­signed to keep the fish­ing ex­pe­di­tion worth our time. 107 min. (PG-13) for in­tense se­quences of ac­tion and vi­o­lence, some lan­guage, sen­su­al­ity and drug ref­er­ences. — Michael Phillips, Tri­bune News­pa­pers ★★ ½ Need for Speed — Do­minic Cooper and Imo­gen Poots star in the ex­u­ber­antly stupid, time-killing and pedes­trian-killing movie. It is based on the Elec­tronic Arts gam­ing fran­chise be­gun in 1994, when video games bank­ing on ve­hic­u­lar homi­cide weren’t yet real­is­tic enough to erase the ex­pe­ri­en­tial boundary be­tween an­i­ma­tion and live-ac­tion es­capism. The point of the movie, of course, is to make the mayhem as fakeyre­al­is­tic as pos­si­ble, and that para­dox guides a fairly en­ter­tain­ing se­ries of stunts. When the ac­tors are in cars, the movie’s fun. When they get out to ar­gue, or seethe, it’s uh-oh time. Hap­pily, di­rec­tor Scott Waugh comes out of the stunt world him­self, and there’s a re­fresh­ing em­pha­sis on ac­tual, the­o­ret­i­cally dan­ger­ous stunt driv­ing over dig­i­tal ab­sur­di­ties. 130 min. (PG-13) for se­quences of reck­less street rac­ing, dis­turb­ing crash scenes, nu­dity and crude lan­guage. — Michael Phillips, Tri­bune News­pa­pers ★ The Nut Job — Job Di­rec­tor and co-writer Peter Lepe­ni­o­tis’ movie comes from “Surly Squir­rel,” an an­i­mated short the film­maker made nearly a decade ago. A re­vised, ul­ti­mately redeemed ver­sion of the same squir­rel re­turns to take the lead in “The Nut Job.” The generic com­puter an­i­ma­tion lo­cates the story in a vague 1940s/early ’50s uni­verse. Surly is ban­ished from the park’s threat­ened an­i­mal king­dom and, to get back in the park’s good graces, his scheme to steal a win­ter’s worth of food from a nut shop. Big prob­lem straight off: tone. The vi­o­lence isn’t slap­sticky; it’s just vi­o­lent. An­other prob­lem: Since Surly spends so much of the story be­ing a flam­ing jerk, “The Nut Job” fights its pro­tag­o­nist’s own charm­less­ness from the first scene. 86 min. (PG) for mild ac­tion and rude hu­mor. — Michael Philips, Tri­bune News­pa­pers (NR) Omar — A riv­et­ing blend of thriller and ro­mance el­e­ments, “Omar” grabs you from the very first im­age. A fit, en­er­getic young man climbs a knot­ted rope to the top of Is­rael’s 25-foot sep­a­ra­tion wall, the con­crete cur­tain iso­lat­ing West Bank Pales­tini­ans from Is­raelis. Hand over hand he makes his way to the top of the loom­ing bar­rier. The long shot shows there’s noth­ing to break his de­scent if he slips. In He­brew and Ara­bic. 96 min. (U). ★★★ Philom­ena — Judi Dench is not the only rea­son to see this un­apolo­getic crowd-pleaser di­rected by the vet­eran Stephen Frears which tells the story of a woman in Ire­land look­ing for a child she was forced to give away in adop­tion. But she is the best one. On the job for 55 years, Dench el­e­vates ev­ery­thing she does, from Min the James Bond epics to this less in­tim­i­dat­ing but equally de­ter­mined “lit­tle old Ir­ish lady.” 97 min. (PG-13) — Kenneth Tu­ran, Tri­bune News­pa­pers ★★ Ride Along — This is the ol’ odd­cou­ple cops rou­tine, this time rigged up to sup­port the pair­ing of Ice Cube, in the role of a snarling At­lanta po­lice de­tec­tive on the trail of a mys­te­ri­ous arms dealer, and Kevin Hart, as the de­tec­tive’s prospec­tive brother-in-law, a high school se­cu­rity guard with as­pi­ra­tions to join the force. Di­rec­tor Tim Story can’t do much with the screen­play, which smells of the eter­nally rewrit­ten paste-up job. “Ride Along,” trad­ing in too much ac­tion and not enough com­edy, is best con­sid­ered as the lat­est restau­rant to open in an Olive Gar­den-type chain. No sur­prises. Pretty much like the last one you went to. Plus lots of bread­sticks. 100 min. (PG-13) for se­quences of vi­o­lence, sex­ual con­tent and brief strong lan­guage. — Michael Philips, Tri­bune News­pa­pers ★★★ RoboCop — In­trigu­ingly am­bigu­ous in its root­ing in­ter­ests, the “RoboCop” re­make doesn’t re­ally be­lieve its own poster. The tagline “Crime has a new en­emy” sug­gests lit­tle more than point and shoot — the same old cy­borg song and dance. While no­body’d be dumb enough to re­boot the orig­i­nal 1987 kill-’em-up fran­chise by hold­ing back on the scenes of slaugh­ter in fa­vor of sly po­lit­i­cal satire about arm-twist­ing Fox News jin­go­ism or Amer­i­can busi­ness ethics, Brazil­ian-born di­rec­tor Jose Padilha man­ages to do all that and still deliver the prod­uct. There’s a lot to en­joy here, though the bru­tal­ity is very rough for a PG-13 rat­ing. 116 min. (PG-13) for in­tense se­quences of ac­tion in­clud­ing fre­netic gun vi­o­lence through­out, brief strong lan­guage, sen­su­al­ity and some drug ma­te­rial. — Michael Philips, Tri­bune News­pa­pers ★★★ The Sin­gle Mom­sClub — For “The Sin­gle Moms Club,” Tyler Perry trades the over-the-top an­tics of Madea for a some­times se­ri­ous — and of­ten funny — look at what it means to be a sin­gle mo­mas seen through the per­spec­tive of a va­ri­ety of women. Al­though Perry does of­fer a cou­ple of Madea mo­ments through the char­ac­ter played by Co­coa Brown, the film gen­er­ally is an in­ter­est­ing look at a group of MILKs (Moms I’d Like to Know). 111 min. (PG-13) for some sex­ual ma­te­rial and the­matic el­e­ments. — Rick Bent­ley, The Fresno Bee ★★ ½ Son of God — Blame Mel Gibson for it if you like, but no Je­sus movie these days is worth its salt with­out an ut­terly un­flinch­ing treat­ment of his tor­ture and Cru­ci­fix­ion. But “Son of God,” a big-screen ver­sion of Mark Bur­nett and Roma Downey’s His­tory Chan­nel TV se­ries “The Bi­ble,” has a re­demp­tive op­ti­mism about it that makes the bru­tal­ity go down eas­ier. Their Je­sus may be all busi­ness. But he sports a be­atific smile as he ren­ders unto au­di­ences lines that feel like rough drafts of the pol­ished po­etry of the King James Bi­ble. It’s a stan­dard-is­sue Christ pic­ture, but un­like “The Pas­sion of the Christ,” there’s no Ara­maic with English sub­ti­tles, a lot less blood and no anti-Semitism; no char­ac­ter feels like a car­i­ca­ture. But it’s also dra­mat­i­cally flat, with few ac­tors who make an im­pres­sion as they play saints and sin­ners, the icons of the Bi­ble. 140 min. (PG-13) for in­tense and bloody de­pic­tion of The Cru­ci­fix­ion, and for some se­quences of vi­o­lence. — Roger Moore, McClatchy News­pa­pers ★★ ½ 300: Rise of an Em­pire — Even with a change in di­rec­tors and a halfen­light­ened, half-sala­cious em­pha­sis on the vo­ra­cious Per­sian con­queror played by Eva Green, “300: Rise of an Em­pire” hews closely to the look, vibe and the ca­su­alty count of its sleekly schlocky 2007 pre­de­ces­sor, helmed by Zack Sny­der. Also taken from a Frank Miller graphic novel, the se­quel chron­i­cles mighty Gre­cian bat­tles re­gard­ing who’s go­ing to get to use the work­out equip­ment first. This is the genre of abs and pecs and ar­rows in the eye in slow mo­tion, with gey­sers of globby blood float­ing around, pret­tily and pain­lessly, for our gamer-style delec­ta­tion. 103 min. (R) for strong sus­tained se­quences of styl­ized bloody vi­o­lence through­out, a sex scene, nu­dity and some lan­guage. — Michael Phillips, Tri­bune News­pa­pers ★★★ Tim’s Ver­meer — Here’s the the­ory. Well be­fore the ad­vent of pho­tog­ra­phy, in paint­ings of para­dox­i­cally pho­to­re­al­is­tic light and de­tail such as “Girl With a Pearl Ear­ring” and “The Mu­sic Les­son,” 17th century Dutch artist Johannes Ver­meer may have used a cam­era ob­scura and a cou­ple of mir­rors. “Tim’s Ver­meer” is a di­vert­ing ac­count of one man’s mis­sion to ex­plore the Ver­meer op­tics the­ory in de­tail. The Tim in ques­tion, video soft­ware pioneer Tim Jeni­son, went about his mis­sion by paint­ing his own damn Ver­meer, pre­cisely the way he thinks Ver­meer did, with the sim­ple op­tics the artist may well have de­ployed. It’s an odd, re­ward­ing film. 80 min. (PG-13) for some strong lan­guage. — Michael Phillips, Tri­bune News­pa­pers ★★ ½ 3 Days to Kill — Kevin Cost­ner and di­rec­tor McG are plunged into the mad­cap mayhem of Mon­sieur Luc Bes­son in “3 Days to Kill,” a se­rio-comic thriller about mor­tal­ity, mur­der for hire and fa­ther­hood. Pro­ducer Bes­son gives Cost­ner the full Liam Nee­son-in-”Taken” treat­ment, cash­ing in on a ca­reer of cool in a movie that moves al­most fast enough to keep us from notic­ing how scruffy, dis­com­fit­ing and ab­surdly over-the-top the whole thing is. Cost­ner plays Ethan, a vet­eran CIA agent di­ag­nosed with cancer. But his new con­trol agent, a vamp named ViVi and played to the stiletto-heeled hilt by Am­ber Heard, wants him to fin­ish one last mas­sacre — tak­ing out a nu­clear arms dealer and his as­so­ciates in the City of Light. 113 min. (PG-13) for in­tense se­quences of vi­o­lence and ac­tion, some sen­su­al­ity and lan­guage. — Roger Moore, McClatchy News­pa­pers ★★ Veron­ica Mars — Ev­ery­thing about the way the movie ver­sion of “Veron­ica Mars” came to pass is more in­trigu­ing than the movie it­self. Can­celed in 2007 by the CWnet­work af­ter three sea­sons, cre­ator Rob Thomas’ wised-up dan­ger mag­net of a teenage sleuth por­trayed by Kris­ten Bell left the show’s ar­dent core au­di­ence hun­gry for more. Then God cre­ated Kick­starter, and nearly 100,000 fans con­trib­uted $5.7 mil­lion to the cam­paign bring­ing Ms. Mars, her de­tec­tive pop and var­i­ous skeezes and climbers re­sid­ing in the fic­tional, cor­rupt beach town of Nep­tune, Fla., to the big screen, mak­ing it the first ma­jor stu­dio re­lease to open in the­aters and on­line si­mul­ta­ne­ously. Where does this leave new­bies? The film, which is ad­e­quate, cares not about the new­bies; this one’s strictly for the fan base. 107 min. (PG-13) for sex­u­al­ity in­clud­ing ref­er­ences, drug con­tent, vi­o­lence and some strong lan­guage. — Michael Phillips, Tri­bune News­pa­pers ★★ ½ WhenCom­edy Went to School — A doc­u­men­tary about the birth of mod­ern stand-up com­edy which be­gan in the Catskill Moun­tains - a boot camp for the great­est gen­er­a­tion of Jewish-Amer­i­can co­me­di­ans. Star­ring Sid Cae­sar, Robert Klein, Jerry Stiller, Jackie Ma­son, Larry King, Jerry Lewis. 83 min. (U) — Kenneth Tu­ran, Tri­bune News­pa­pers ★★ The Wolf of Wall Street — The var­i­ous il­le­gal­i­ties and near-death ex­pe­ri­ences of Jordan Belfort, who ran Strat­ton Oak­mont, the Wall Street bro­ker­age house, like a coked-up 24-hour bac­cha­nal were self-chron­i­cled in his mem­oirs. Now, di­rec­tor Martin Scors­ese has made a three-hour pic­ture about the man (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) and his plea­sure mis­sions. Scors­ese’s cam­era en­er­gizes all he can, but around the 80-minute mark the bul­let train of a pro­tag­o­nist be­gins to run in cir­cles, how­ever ma­ni­a­cally. It’s di­vert­ing, sort of, to see DiCaprio do­ing lines off a strip­per’s pos­te­rior, but af­ter the 90th time it’s, like, enough al­ready with the heinous cap­i­tal­is­tic ex­tremes. 179 min. (R) for se­quences of strong sex­ual con­tent, graphic nu­dity, drug use and lan­guage through­out, and for some vi­o­lence. — Michael Phillips, Tri­bune News­pa­pers ★★★ Dal­las Buy­ers Club — In “Dal­las Buy­ers Club,” we meet Matthew McConaughey’s Ron Woodroof mid­coitus, sec­onds be­fore he jumps onto a wild bull for thrills and the prom­ise of a few bucks. The year is 1985, the same year clos­eted ac­tor Rock Hud­son died of AIDS-re­lated causes. By con­trast Woodroof, a dru­gus­ing het­ero­sex­ual, is just an­other good ol’ boy with a dan­ger­ous edge and zero sense of per­sonal frailty. How Woodroof be­came his own brand of AIDS ac­tivist is the stuff of “Dal­las Buy­ers Club,” which does a few things wrong but a lot right, start­ing right at the top with McConaughey. He’s riv­et­ing as Woodroof, who scram­bled to stay alive af­ter be­ing given one month to live by his doc­tors. 117 min. (R) for per­va­sive lan­guage, some strong sex­ual con­tent, nu­dity and drug use. — Michael Phillips, Tri­bune News­pa­pers ★★★★ 12 Years a Slave — Movie­go­ers may well ap­proach di­rec­tor Steve McQueen’s pa­tient, clear-eyed and al­to­gether ex­tra­or­di­nary adap­ta­tion of the 1853 slave nar­ra­tive with a com­bi­na­tion of pre­con­di­tioned shock and awe (given the sub­ject mat­ter) and mis­lead­ing ex­pec­ta­tions of classy, eight-cylin­der Hol­ly­wood melo­drama. The his­tor­i­cal ur­gency and stag­ger­ing in­jus­tice of the events keep McQueen and com­pany ut­terly hon­est in their col­lec­tive act of imag­in­ing Solomon Northup’s odyssey to hell and back, that of a free­born man of color from Saratoga, N.Y., to the swamps and whip cracks of pre-Civil War Louisiana. Al­ready we’re go­ing in the op­po­site di­rec­tion of vir­tu­ally ev­ery other slave ac­count in the movies. To say (rightly) that “12 Years a Slave” is the best so far says too lit­tle. 134 min. (R) — Michael Phillips, Tri­bune News­pa­pers

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