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Philip Martin

Columnist: Philip Martin

Jennifer Christman

Weekend Editor, Columnist: Jennifer Christman

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Blackhat

Making the world of cyber intrigue thrilling onscreen is a formidable challenge. A challenge that proved too much for veteran director Michael Mann. After trying a variety of strategies toward making hacking look as bracing as the shootouts and fights in Heat and Collateral, Mann gives up and goes back to the stuff he has always done.

Female critics release award winners' names

Boyhood has been chosen as Best Film and Birdman received six awards, the most of any film, in the 2014 EDA Awards from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which Home Movies columnist Karen Martin is a member.

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Home Movies

Love Is Strange, directed by Ira Sachs (R, 98 minutes) There's passion, there's love, and there's commitment. All three are major motifs in the bittersweet, beautifully told story of a long-term commitment at the heart of Love Is Strange.

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Taken 3 takes No. 1 from Hobbit

Moviegoers were Taken again at the box office by Liam Neeson, as his Taken 3 opened to about $39 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters last weekend and pushed the third installment of the Hobbit out of first place.

Paddington

Launched by a much-loved children's book, A Bear Called Paddington (1958) by Michael Bond, which spawned yet more books, a clutch of TV series of varying quality, and oodles of merchandising, Paddington Bear is not a brand to be messed with lightly. The original stories' marmalade-flavored, quintessentially British tone of voice and the ursine orphan's episodic adventures don't seem immediately feature-friendly given the tales' lack of superpowers, princesses or stuff blowing up.

FILM CLIPS

At area theaters 75 ANNIE, PG In this remake of the stage and screen musical, Quvenzhane Wallis plays the title foster child who escapes her horrid foster mother, Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz), when a wealthy mayoral candidate (Jamie Foxx), in a campaign gimmick, takes her in, whereupon she turns his life, and that of everybody else around him, upside down. (118 minutes)

COMING ATTRACTIONS

(opening dates are tentative) Black Sea, R A submarine captain laid off by a salvage company makes a deal with a shadowy backer and forms a crew of English and Russian sailors to look for a storied sunken submarine reputed to be loaded with gold at the bottom of the Black Sea.

PREVIEWS

New this week American Sniper 88 R Clint Eastwood directs this bio-pic with Bradley Cooper as a U.S. Navy SEAL whose pinpoint accuracy during four tours of duty in Iraq saves countless lives but makes him a prime target for insurgents, and is meanwhile striving to be a good husband and father from halfway around the world. And when he finally returns home, he finds that he cannot leave the war behind.

Helpful Hints

DEAR READERS: I've been a "road warrior" for a long time, traveling to different cities and giving speeches for charity groups and civic organizations. I have learned a thing or two about packing. First off, everything in miniature, if possible. I refill small containers of liquid makeup, face moisturizer, baking soda (to brush teeth with) and lavender essential oil when I get home.

Horoscopes by Holiday

Happy birthday. You're teetering on the edge of adventure this new year. Not knowing what's next adds stress. Make a plan in February, and whether or not things follow, you'll feel better. March will feature new friends and responsibilities.

On Christianity

DEAR REV. GRAHAM: A few weeks before Christmas, a group claiming to be pagans demanded the city take down its holiday decorations (although they aren't really Christian; just snowflakes, candy canes and things like that). Were they sincere, do you think, or just trying to get some attention?

Super Quiz: "Pie"

1. A platform supported on pillars used as a landing stage for boats

PREVIEWS Northwest Arkansas

New this week American Sniper 88 R Clint Eastwood directs this bio-pic with Bradley Cooper as a U.S. Navy SEAL whose pinpoint accuracy during four tours of duty in Iraq saves countless lives but makes him a prime target for insurgents, and is meanwhile striving to be a good husband and father from halfway around the world. And when he finally returns home, he finds that he cannot leave the war behind.

COMING ATTRACTIONS Northwest Arkansas

(opening dates are tentative) Black Sea, R A submarine captain laid off by a salvage company makes a deal with a shadowy backer and forms a crew of English and Russian sailors to look for a storied sunken submarine reputed to be loaded with gold at the bottom of the Black Sea.

MovieStyle: Oscar bait

In a short story published in 1926, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.”

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