Last updated: February 14. 2014 3:45PM - 253 Views

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AMERICAN HUSTLE — David O. Russell’s caper comedy is built around the 1970s ABSCAM scandal, a wide-ranging FBI sting operation from the golden age of such stings. 138 mins. R for pervasive language, some sexual content and brief violence. ♦ ♦ ♦ 1/2

FROZEN — Instead of the bygone damsels in distress, the female royals of Disney’s latest animated wonder are feisty, forward and independent. Inspired by the 19th-century fairytale “The Snow Queen,” by Hans Christian Andersen. 108 mins. PG for some action and mild rude humor. ♦ ♦ 1/2

KIDS FOR CA$H — The locally based story, documentary-style, of thousands of youths whose lives were derailed by two corrupt Pennsylvania judges, a post-Columbine fervor for zero-tolerance policies and a secretive juvenile court system. 102 mins. PG-13. ♦ ♦ 1/2

LABOR DAY — A generic slab of escapist romantic Velveeta from, of all people, sharp-witted Jason Reitman. Working from Joyce Maynard’s novel, he delivers a Harlequin-level potboiler so shameless it would make Nicholas Sparks blush. 11 mins. PG-13 for thematic material, brief violence and sexuality. ♦

LONE SURVIVOR — Some stories are best brought to screen as simply and purely as possible. This is especially true with Peter Berg’s expertly rendered account of a disastrous 2005 military operation in Afghanistan. 121 mins. R for strong bloody war violence and pervasive language. ♦ ♦ ♦

THE MONUMENTS MEN —This is a roughly true/fictionally embellished account of the efforts of American arts scholars — drafted into the Army — to preserve the artistic patrimony of Europe from the scourge of combat and theft by the Germans. It’s a cute but clunky ensemble piece. 115 mins. PG-13 for images of war violence and historical smoking. ♦ ♦ 1/2

NEBRASKA — Woodrow “Woody” Grant, 80ish, has gotten a letter in the mail that tells him he “may have already won” a million bucks in a sweepstakes. And by God, he’s going to get from Billings, Mont., to Lincoln, Neb., to collect it. Because he’s too feeble to drive, there’s nothing for it but to give the slip to his doubting family. He’ll walk. Bruce Dern gives a spot-on, shambling, performance. 115 mins. R for some language. ♦ ♦ ♦ 1/2

THE NUT JOB — A surprisingly simple, funny and often cute slapstick comedy about a squirrel planning a nut heist so that he’ll have enough food to last through winter. 85 mins. PG for mild action and rude humor. ♦ ♦ 1/2

PHILOMENA — Take a shocking and tragic tale — a true one, involving the Catholic Church, no less — and make it into a film that’s part serious drama, part jaunty road-buddy movie, and part comedy. Such a mix flirts with danger, but “Philomena” works, thanks to the quality of its ingredients — especially the nuanced performances by Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. Based on the 2009 investigative book “The Lost Son of Philomena Lee,” by Martin Sixsmith, about an Irish woman who, as a teenager, became pregnant during a fairground tryst. She was sent to a convent, where she endured a painful birth, then was forced to work in the laundry with other “fallen women” for years in virtual imprisonment. 98 mins. PG-13 for some strong language, thematic elements and sexual references. ♦ ♦ ♦

RIDE ALONG — Joining the ranks of odd-couple police comedies, this delivers laughs over action, with loudmouthed funnyman Kevin Hart driving the hilarity. 100 mins. PG-13 for violence, sexual content and brief strong language. ♦ ♦ 1/2

THAT AWKWARD MOMENT — A chatty romantic comedy in the modern mode — rude, nude and crude — with some funny, writerly riffs on relationships and how to avoid them. 94 mins. R for sexual content and language throughout. ♦ ♦

VAMPIRE ACADEMY — Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, one of the half human/vampire guardians of the Moroi, peaceful, mortal vampires living discreetly within our world. Her legacy is to protect the Moroi from bloodthirsty, immortal vampires the Strigoi. This is her story. 104 mins. PG-13.

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