Annie: Rated PG: Roger Moore of McClatchy Tribune News Service: "Quvenzhane Wallis, that wonder of a child actress from Beasts of the Southern Wild,' is no tap-dancing Broadway baby with a voice built to reach the balcony. But director Will Gluck and the producers tailor this production to her talents, and it pays dividends."
Big Eyes, starring Amy Adams as artist Margaret keane. Rated PG-13. Jeff Simon gives this Tim Burton movie 3 stars. "The grand Keane story that Tim Burton tells us is one of feminist empowerment, the one about the woman who was the real painter in the family finally and irrevocably wresting all credit for painting her big-eyed waifs away from her big-talking, art-hustling, fraudulent blunderbuss of a husband, Walter."
Foxcatcher: Rated R. Jeff Simon gives this true crime story 3.5 stars and calls it "a prime piece of American gothic" and "one of the better films to be coming out in the major film opening season of the year."
The Gambler. Rated R. Jeff Simon gives film 3 stars. "Rupert Wyattu2019s surprisingly entertaining remake of Karel Reiszu2019s 1974 film 'The Gambler,' stars Mark Wahlberg as a college English professor Jim Bennett", a compulsive gambler.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Christopher Schobert gives the film 2.5 stars. "Peter Jackson can take pleasure in knowing he brought Tolkien to the screen in a manner few ever thought possible, and turned a new generation on to the joys of Middle-earth. But enough is enough. It is time for the director to return to the simpler world of something like u201cHeavenly Creatures,u201d his most chilling film, and still his finest"
The Imitation Game. Rated PG-13. Jeff Simon gives the movie 3.5 stars "Everything about 'The Imitation Game' is exceptional u2013 the lead performances by Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, the needlessly tragic end of the historic tale itu2019s telling and, most of all, the u201cnow it can be toldu201d story of how the Nazis were defeated by code-breakers in World War II."
Into the Woods. PG. Colin Dabkowski gives the movie 3 stars. "Rob Marshallu2019s lush, big-budget adaptation of the beloved 1987 musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine... is exactly the beautifully wrapped package that musical theater fans have been daydreaming about tearing open on Christmas morning for more than a year."
The Interview. Rated R. Jeff Simon gives movie 2 stars. "If ever a movie provided rich proof that there are many reasons indeed for people to u201chate usu201d beyond the fact that they u201cainu2019t us,u201d itu2019s this one. The Three Stooges not only had one more stooge u2013 compared to this, they also had honor and dignity."
Top Five. Rated R. Jeff Simon gives the Chris Rock comedy 4 stars and calls the movie "the best film comedy of 2014."
Unbroken. PG-13. Charity Vogel gives movie 3.5 stars. "'Unbroken' is a good movie and it does Zamperini proud." (The movie tells the story of Louis Zamperini, an Olean native and Olympic runner who survived a plane crash in the Pacific during World War II and torture as a prisoner of war of the Japanese.)
Wild. Rated R. Jeff Simon gives film 3 stars. Reese Witherspoon stars in movie adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's memoir of her experience hiking alone on the Pacific Coast Trail. "'Wild' is a good movie. It is hugely likable. For those women who found Strayedu2019s memoir a tale of empowerment, it will be much more, no doubt."