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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Film Clips: Mar. 18

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Divergent PG-13

Based on the first of three young adult novels by Veronica Roth, this futuristic saga centers on teenager Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley). She and all other 16-year-olds must undergo a grueling test to determine each teen’s place within society. Factions include: Abnegation (the selfless leaders); Amity (the peaceful); Candor (the truthful); Dauntless (the brave); and Erudite (the knowledgeable). A rare “Divergent,” Beatrice fits several factions, choosing the Dauntless, where she trains as a warrior. Though brutalized by peers doubting her worthiness, Beatrice forms a connection with her protective instructor Tobias (Theo James). Upon graduation from training, Beatrice and Tobias uncover a plot to kill all Divergents after the Erudites force the Dauntless to seize control from the Abnegation faction. Woodley’s portrayal is both heartfelt and athletic, despite the director’s emphasis on beauty over grit. Currently, films based on novels two and three are scheduled for release in March 2015 and 2016. (Lisa Miller)

 

Muppets Most Wanted PG

Constantine (a master jewel thief and Kermit look-alike) hatches a plot to steal European jewels with the aid of talent manager Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) and the unwitting Muppets. Badguy sells the Muppets on doing a European tour, though the furry ones are unaware they’ll perform in theaters adjacent to the museums Constantine plans to rob during Muppet shows. Once overseas, Kermit is mistaken for the thief and is arrested, then imprisoned in Siberia. His prison guard is ruthless Nadya (Tina Fey), but her weakness for Broadway musicals presents Kermit’s one hope of escape. Constantine, posing as Kermit, has arranged to marry Miss Piggy at the Tower of London, where the thief means to steal the Crown Jewels. Though the film’s humans are weighed down by tedious characterizations, snappy songs bolster the Muppets’ likability. Ty Burrell appears as Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon, and if you don’t blink, you’ll catch cameos by Sean “Diddy” Combs, Salma Hayek and Zach Galifianakis. (L.M.)