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Movie Reviews

Kevin Hart steals the show in this cop comedy

Ben Barber (Kevin Hart: Grudge Match) is a tough, well-respected soldier nicknamed the Black Hammer — in virtual reality. In real life, Ben is a school security officer with a loud mouth and a big heart. He spends his day breaking up petty teenage fights, mentoring kids and dreaming of becoming a real cop.

Her

How do I love thee? Siri, count the ways.

People walk the streets talking aloud to their phones, wrapped up in their own electrical worlds. Digital interfaces have nullified human interaction.     Living a quiet life of digital obscurity is Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix: The Master). A ghostwriter of handwritten correspondence for a faceless corporation, he pours over the personal lives of people who would rather play with their phones than write love letters and thank you notes.

This series is a ghost of its former self

For his high school graduation, Jesse (Andrew Jacobs in his screen debut) gets a cool camera and a bite mark on his arm. This bite bestows some interesting powers on Jesse. He can leap great heights, float in midair and throw people across rooms. Jesse thinks he’s becoming a superhero, like Spiderman, and puts his camera to work filming his stunts, then posting them on YouTube.

Four SEALs fight for their lives in this gripping action film

Navy SEALs Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg: 2 Guns), Michael Murphy (Taylor Kitsch: Savages), Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch: Bonnie and Clyde) and Matt Axelson (Ben Foster: Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) are proud frogmen. They run long distances at great speeds, push their bodies to their limit for fun and take deadly assignments as part of the job.

Sometimes, you shouldn’t go home again

The only thing that could bring together the Weston women is tragedy. When the family patriarch — poet ­Beverly (Sam Shepard: Out of the Furnace) — goes missing, the three sisters converge at their ancestral home, steeling themselves to deal with old hurts, family secrets and, worst of all, their mother.

The Coen Brothers’ newest is a melancholy ­ballad to struggling artists

"If it’s not new, but it never gets old, it’s a folksong.” So Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac: Won’t Back Down) tells his audiences. The songs may never get old, but the lifestyle of a folk singer does.     A committed and uncompromising artist barely getting by, Davis is content to couch-surf around 1960s’ New York, depending on the kindness of his musician buddies and the two fans he has in the world. He’s got talent, he’s got drive, but not the career he believes he deserves.

How Walt Disney won over Mary Poppins

After Mary Poppins became a literary phenomenon in 1934, Walt Disney (Tom Hanks: Captain Phillips) promised his daughters he would make their favorite book into a movie. A lucrative film adaptation is a dream offer for many, but Poppins author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson: Love Punch) didn’t share the Disney vision. Horrified by all things animated and kitschy, Travers fought for 20 years to keep her beloved book out of the hands of “the Man Behind the Mouse.”

Here be dragons

If Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen: The Wolverine) weren’t a wizard, he would have been an excellent travel agent. He seems to live for organizing meandering trips through Middle-earth, acting as activities director for a ragtag group of his choosing.

A princess movie for people sick of princess movies

Princess Elsa (Idina Menzel: Glee) was born with a silver spoon in her mouth and a chill in her will. Creating ice and snow is a great power for a young girl, and she gleefully turns the palace into a winter wonderland for her little sister Anna (Kristen Bell: The Lifeguard). They skate in the grand ballroom, build snowmen by the suits of armor and frolic in snowdrifts under priceless paintings.

When fighting for life and liberty, who has time for teen romance?

In a dystopian nation of Panem, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence: The Silver Linings Playbook) is considered lucky. The winner of the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss was the last woman standing in a government-sponsored death match. With a spark of rebellion, she refused to kill hometown boy Peeta (Josh Hutcherson: Epic), claiming that she loved him and would rather die than end his life. The two were allowed to live as the first pair of winners in Hunger Games history.