Movie Guide 3-7-14


Editor’s note: Ratings by the Motion Picture Association of America are: (G) for general audiences; (PG) parental guidance urged because of material possibly unsuitable for children; (PG-13) parents are strongly cautioned to give guidance for attendance of children younger than 13; (R) restricted, younger than 17 admitted only with parent or adult guardian; (NC-17) no one younger than 17 admitted.

Opening in Hollywood this week

“300: Rise of an Empire” — The Athenian general Themistokles attempts to unite all of Greece by leading the charge against the invading Persian King Xerxes and his navy. With Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green and Lena Headey. Written by Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad. Directed by Noam Murro. In 3-D and Imax. (1:43) R.

“The Activist” — During the Wounded Knee uprising in 1973, two jailed Native American activists team with a conscientious lawyer to try to win their freedom and discover the truth about the death of a woman dear to them both. With Chadwick Brown, Tonantzin Carmelo and Michael Spears. Written and directed by Cyril Morin. (1:30) NR.

“Awful Nice” — Two estranged brothers are forced to travel to Branson together to renovate and flip the lake house they’ve inherited from their recently deceased father. With Alex Rennie, James Pumphrey and Christopher Meloni. Written by Alex Rennie and Todd Sklar. Directed by Sklar. (1:28) R.

“Bethlehem” — An Israeli Secret Service officer forms a personal bond with his teenage Palestinian informant, the younger brother of a wanted militia leader. With Shadi Mar’I, Tsahi Halevy and Hitham Omari. Written by Yuval Adler and Ali Waked. Directed by Adler. In Hebrew and Arabic, with English subtitles. (1:39) NR.

“Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me” — A documentary portrait of the 87-year-old Broadway star Elaine Stritch, on stage and off. Directed by Chiemi Karasawa. (1:22) NR.

“The Face of Love” — Five years after losing her husband, a widow meets a man who looks exactly like him and begins to fall in love again but can’t bring herself to tell him the truth about what drew her to him. With Annette Bening, Ed Harris and Robin Williams. Written by Arie Posin and Matthew McDuffie. Directed by Posin. (1:32) PG-13.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” — At a European hotel between the wars, a concierge and a lobby boy get mixed up in the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune. With Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Edward Norton and Saoirse Ronan. Written and directed by Wes Anderson. (1:40) R.

“Grand Piano” — Years after a catastrophic performance, a gifted pianist reemerges for a long-awaited public concert, only to discover a death threat scrawled on the score. With Elijah Wood and John Cusack. Written by Damien Chazelle. Directed by Eugenio Mira. (1:30) R.

“Haunt” — After he and his family move into a beautiful new home with a dark past, a moody teenager and his mysterious new girlfriend inadvertently wake an evil presence. With Harrison Gilbertson, Liana Liberato and Jacki Weaver. Written by Andrew Barrer. Directed by Mac Carter. (1:23) R.

“In Fear” — A young English couple get lost on their way to a remote hotel in Ireland and find themselves terrorized by unknown tormentors. With Iain De Caestecker, Alice Englert and Allen Leech. Written and directed by Jeremy Lovering. (1:25) R.

“Journey to the West” — A young demon hunter who prefers a nonviolent approach embarks on a quest for spiritual enlightenment. With Shu Qi, Wen Zhang and Huang Bo. Written and directed by Stephen Chow. In Mandarin with English subtitles. (1:50) PG-13.

“Kids for Cash” — A documentary about the scandal surrounding a Pennsylvania judge who sentenced thousands of youths to draconian prison terms while receiving kickbacks from a juvenile detention center. Directed by Robert May. (1:42) PG-13.

“Lucky Bastard” — A found-footage thriller about an awkward young man who wins a contest to star in a pornographic video that goes terribly awry. With Betsy Rue, Don McManus and Jay Paulson. Written by Robert Nathan and Lukas Kendall. Directed by Nathan. (1:34) NC-17.

“Mr. Peabody and Sherman” — In this animated film, a genius dog and his mischievous boy set out to undo the damage caused when the latter takes their time machine for a joy ride to impress a girl. With the voices of Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter and Allison Janney. Written by Craig Wright. Directed by Rob Minkoff. In 3-D. (1:22) PG.

“Particle Fever” — A documentary following six scientists during the launch of the Large Hadron Collider. Directed by Mark Levinson. (1:37) NR.

“Southern Baptist Sissies” — A filmed version of the stage production about four boys growing up gay in the Southern Baptist church. With Emerson Collins, William Belli and Matthew Scott Montgomery. Written and directed by Del Shores. (2:18) NR.

“Special ID” — An undercover cop deep inside China’s most ruthless crime syndicate finds that his days are numbered when the boss starts hunting down traitors. With Donnie Yen and Collin Chou. Written by Kam-Yuen Szeto. Directed by Clarence Fok Yiu-Leung. In Mandarin and Cantonese, with English subtitles. (1:39) R.

“Thomas Keating: A Rising Tide of Silence” — A documentary portrait of Father Thomas Keating, the Trappist monk who reintroduced “centering prayer” to the modern world. Directed by Peter Jones. (1:15) NR.

Also in theaters

“About Last Night” — Two couples navigate the ups and downs of modern love and romance in this remake of the 1986 film of the same name. With Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall and Joy Bryant. Written by Leslye Headland. Directed by Steve Pink. (1:40) R.

“American Hustle” — Two con men are compelled to work with a wild federal agent to concoct a sting targeting New Jersey power brokers and the mafia in this drama based on the FBI’s Abscam operation of the 1970s. With Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell. Directed by Russell. (2:17) R.

“Endless Love” — A privileged young woman and a charismatic young man spark an intense but star-crossed love affair in this remake of the 1981 movie of the same name. With Alex Pettyfer, Gabriella Wilde and Robert Patrick. Written by Shana Feste and Joshua Safran. Directed by Feste. (1:45) PG-13.

“Frozen” — An optimistic princess sets off on a journey with a rugged mountain man to find her sister, whose icy powers have trapped their kindgom in an eternal winter. With the voices of Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad. Written by Jennifer Lee. Directed by Lee and Chris Buck. In 3-D. (1:48) PG.

“The Monuments Men” — A fact-based drama about an unlikely World War II platoon tasked by FDR with going to Germany to save rare antiques, art and architecture from theft and destruction by the Nazis. With George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray and John Goodman. Written by Clooney and Grant Heslov. Directed by Clooney. (1:58) PG-13.

“Non-Stop” — During a flight from New York City to London, a U.S. air marshal receives a series of cryptic text messages demanding a $150 million ransom, or a passenger on the flight will be killed every 20 minutes. With Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore. Written by John W. Richardson, Chris Roach and Ryan Engle. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. (1:45) PG-13.

“The Nut Job” — In this animated film, a mischievous squirrel sets out to rob the town’s biggest nut shop in order to feed himself and his pals for the winter. With the voices of Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson and Katherine Heigl. Written by Lorne Cameron and Peter Lepeniotis. Directed by Lepeniotis. In 3-D. (1:26) PG.

“Pompeii” — In the year 79 A.D., a slave turned unstoppable gladiator races against time to save his true love from a corrupt Roman senator and the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. With Kit Harington, Emily Browning and Carrie-Anne Moss. Written by Janet Scott Batchler, Lee Batchler and Michael Robert Johnson. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. (1:45) PG-13.

“Ride Along” — In an effort to prove himself worthy, a fast-talking security guard goes for a ride-along with his girlfriend’s brother, a hot-headed Atlanta cop, and gets mixed up in his latest case. With Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, John Leguizamo and Bruce McGill. Written by Greg Coolidge, Jason Mantzoukas, Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi. Directed by Tim Story. (1:40) PG-13.

“RoboCop” — In 2028, a controversial corporation specializing in military drones turns a critically injured Detroit cop into a part-man, part-robot police officer. With Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton and Abbie Cornish. Written by Joshua Zetumer. Directed by Jose Padilha. In Imax. (1:58) PG-13.

“Son of God” — A film portraying the life of Jesus, from birth through his preaching, crucifixion and resurrection. With Diogo Morgado, Greg Hicks and Adrian Schiller. Written by Nic Young. Directed by Christopher Spencer. (2:18) PG-13.

“3 Days to Kill” — A spy who is determined to give up his dangerous life and reconnect with his estranged family must complete one last mission — hunting down a ruthless terrorist — while also looking after his teen daughter for the first time in years. With Kevin Costner, Hailee Steinfeld and Amber Heard. Written by Luc Besson and Adi Hasak. Directed by McG. (1:57) PG-13.