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Monday, Dec. 16, 2013

Film Clips: Dec. 16

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American Hustle R

Loosely based on actual events, this retelling of the Abscam sting of the 1970s is narrated by con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and his girlfriend Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams). She overlooks Irving’s marriage to unstable Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) because she enjoys the rewards gained by swindling down and out businessmen. That is, until FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) busts the pair and offers them immunity in exchange for helping him to catch a gaggle of dirty politicians—and that’s when the real fun begins. Walking the line between drama, comedy and tragedy, the story is a playground of appealing characters that march to the beat of their own drum. (Lisa Miller)

 

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues PG-13

In 2004, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy comically chronicled the trials and misbehavior of ’70s San Diego anchorman Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell). Now in the ’80s and married to co-anchor Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), his new boss (Harrison Ford) promotes Veronica to primetime and fires Burgundy. Following a remarkably inept suicide attempt, Ron’s former producer (Dylan Baker) helps to reconnect Ron with his posse, Champ Kind (David Koechner), Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) and weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell). After learning that a 24-hour news station is being launched from NYC, the guys head over to the Big Apple where they plan to unseat slick newscaster Jack Lime (James Marsden), but can’t foresee they’ll make glorious fools of themselves while doing so. (L.M.)

 

Saving Mr. Banks PG-13

Saving Mr. Banks tells the fascinating real-life tale of the difficult campaign waged by Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) to curry the favor of author P. L. Travers (Emma Thompson) for his adaptation of her story, Mary Poppins. Determined to keep his promise to his daughters, Walt grants the reluctant Travers final approval, only to find he has unleashed a taskmaster. The film flashes back to the author’s early life in Australia with her charming, alcoholic father (Colin Farrell), whom she adored even when her mother did not. Now a proper, married British lady, Travers claims to fear her book will receive “cartoon treatment,” but her demands regarding the film’s casting, sets, songs, costuming, and of course its script, drive Walt and his production crew to distraction. Happily, as we know, the final outcome was terrific, but few are aware that one of childhood’s most beloved films nearly wasn’t. (L.M.)

 

Walking with Dinosaurs PG

Co-opting its title from a British six-part television miniseries, this BBC-produced film relies on children’s fascination with dinosaurs. Set during the Late Cretaceous period, the prehistoric fantasy follows three Pachyrhinosauruses named Patchi (voice of Justin Long), Scowler (Skyler Stone), and Juniper (Tiya Sircar) as they grow from infants into adulthood. Along the way, their herd endures natural disasters, climate change and fearsome predators, though there’s also ample time for play and anthropomorphized friendships. The lifelike dinosaur habitats were filmed on location in Alaska and New Zealand, where carefully executed camera moves allowed animators to drop CGI dinosaurs into the action. Budgeted at approximately $85 million, the production money was raised by preselling the film’s theatrical distribution rights. (L.M.)

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