MORE OSCAR-BAIT

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015

January continues to be the catch-up month for most of the country when it comes to Oscar-nominated movies.

"American Sniper" and "Foxcatcher," both coincidentally featuring Sienna Miller, opened at the end of last year in Los Angeles to qualify for 2014 Academy Award consideration (and also in New York and a couple of other major metropolitan areas). And today, they're here in little ol' Salt Lake City (and a lot of other North American cinemas).

And, of course, on Thursday both films did indeed receive Oscar nominations, including the lead actors in both films.

Another late-comer is the family-friendly true story "Spare Parts."

Three across-the-country openings include the children's film, "Paddington," and a pair of R-rated efforts, the thriller "Blackhat" and the comedy "The Wedding Ringer."

"American Sniper" (R) is the true story of "the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history," based on the autobiography of Chris Kyle, played in the film by Bradley Cooper. Sienna Miller co-stars as Kyle's wife. The film is directed by Clint Eastwood.

"Foxcatcher" (R) is also a true story, this one about millionaire John E. du Pont (played by an unrecognizable Steve Carell) who sponsored a private team he hoped to turn into world champions. The focus here is on his relationship with wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and Schultz's brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo), both Olympic gold medalists. Vanessa Redgrave co-stars as du Pont's mother and Sienna Miller plays Dave's wife.

"Spare Parts" (PG-13) is yet another true story, this one with George Lopez as a teacher that helps four Hispanic students in a Phoenix, Arizona, high school enter an MIT robotics competition, where they are clearly the underdogs. Jamie Lee Curtis and Marisa Tomei co-star.

"Paddington (PG). The ultra-polite anthropomorphic bear of Michael Bond's series of children's book comes to life (via computer animation) in this live-action comedy that stars Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent and Peter Capaldi, with Nicole Kidman as the villain. Ben Whishaw voices Paddington.

"Blackhat" (R). Chris Hemsworth (better known as "Thor") stars in this thriller as a convicted hacker sprung from prison to help capture a cyber criminal that wants to disrupt international banking. Viola Davis co-stars. The first directing effort in six years from Michael Mann ("The Last of the Mohicans," "Heat").

"The Wedding Ringer" (R) is Kevin Hart, who provides best-man services for about-to-be-married men with no friends and few social skills. Josh Gad hires Hart and the two bond, or so Gad thinks, as he prepares for his wedding. The raunchy comedy co-stars Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Cloris Leachman, Mimi Rogers and Ken Howard.