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Originally published April 15, 2014 at 6:15 AM | Page modified April 17, 2014 at 8:58 AM

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‘Philomena,’ ‘Black Nativity,’ ‘The Nut Job,’ ‘Ride Along’

New releases for Tuesday, April 15, include “Philomena,” starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan; the contemporary Christmas story “Black Nativity”; the animated “The Nut Job”; and the Ice Cube/Kevin Hart comedy “Ride Along.”


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Tuesday’s releases include an Oscar nominee, a Christmas story and a “Nut Job.” Star ratings are by Seattle Times movie reviewers, freelancers or wire services. For full reviews, search the title at seattletimes.com. Release dates are subject to change.

4 stars“Philomena” (PG-13): “A charming combination of road-trip movie, odd-couple comedy and heart-touching true story that will leave few dry-eyed, ‘Philomena’ rests comfortably in the lap of the great Judi Dench, writes Seattle Times movie critic Moira Macdonald. “As Philomena Lee, an Irishwoman who as a teenager was forced to give up her toddler son for adoption, she presents a character of many layers.” Steve Coogan plays the journalist who tries to help Philomena.

The film received four Oscar nominations: for best picture, actress (Dench), music and adapted screenplay.

3 stars“Black Nativity” (PG): Based on the Langston Hughes play, this contemporary Christmas tale follows a teenage boy (Jacob Latimore) who is sent to New York by his struggling single mother (Jennifer Hudson) to spend the holidays with his grandparents (Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett), whom he has never met.

2.5 stars“The Nut Job” (PG): Will Arnett voices a squirrel planning a nut heist.

2 stars“Better Living Through Chemistry” (not rated; for mature audiences): Strait-laced small-town married guy (Sam Rockwell) meets a seductive, dysfunctional woman (Olivia Wilde); sparks fly; trouble brews.

2 stars  “Ride Along” (PG-13): A cop-buddy action comedy starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart.

2 stars“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (PG): Ben Stiller plays a regular guy who dreams of a more exciting life — one that might include romance with a co-worker who doesn’t know he’s alive (Kristen Wiig).

Lori Taki Uno: luno@seattletimes.com



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