For, Friday, Jan. 9, 2015

An Oscar frontrunner, or so the Hollywood prognosticators would have us believe, is "Selma," which opens today. Also on tap is Liam Neeson's third go-round of his "Taken" franchise — which will never win any Oscars but is poised to run away with the biggest box-office bucks of the weekend.

Sunday we'll know about the box-office tallies and next Thursday (Jan. 15) we'll know the Oscar nominees.

"Selma" (PG-13) is about the 1960s Civil Rights movement — and specifically the 1965 march on Selma, Alabama, led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., played in the film by David Oyelowo, who is being touted as a probable Oscar nominee. Also on hand are Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon Johnson and Tim Roth as Gov. George Wallace.

"Taken 3" (PG-13). After his ex-wife is killed, former government operative Bryan Mills … who has a special set of skills … is accused of killing her. This entry in the franchise apparently eschews kidnapping for a revenge/mystery plot with Liam Neeson once again taking on the bad guys in lone-wolf fashion. Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace return, and Forest Whitaker is the cop chasing Neeson, "Fugitive"-style.

"Inherent Vice" (R). With Paul Thomas Anderson ("There Will Be Blood," "The Master") at the helm and a Thomas Pynchon novel providing inspiration, this film noir thriller is bound to be eccentric. Oh, and did I mention that it stars Joaquin Phoenix as a private eye? Co-stars include Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio del Toro and …wait for it … Martin Short.

"The Search for General Tso" (not rated). Comic documentary running a scant 71 minutes explains the name of the popular Chinese chicken dish of the title but also explores the Chinese food industry that is such a mainstay of American eateries, while offering a brief history lesson of Chinese culture. Exclusively at the Tower Theater in Salt Lake City.