SINCEREST FORM OF FLATTERY …

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Dec. 26, 2014

Well, it's the final weekend of 2014, so here come the Oscar hopefuls, PG/PG-13 division — because the kids are out of school and it is hoped by Hollywood that families will come out together for these end-of-the-year cinematic efforts.

"The Imitation Game" (PG-13). A true story, about a brilliant but socially awkward British mathematician (Benedict Cumberbatch) tasked with cracking the Nazi's Enigma code during World Wart II, which he did, turning the tide of the war. But he later found himself criminally prosecuted for being gay. Co-stars include Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong and Charles Dance.

"Unbroken" (PG-13). Angelina Jolie directed this biography of Louis Zamperini (Jack O'Connell), who died at age 97 last July, a former Olympic track star who became a World War II hero, surviving brutality at the hands of the Japanese in a POW camp.  

"Into the Woods" (PG) is Disney's all-star adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's beloved musical riff on fairy tales, long before its ideas were co-opted by the TV series "Grimm" and "Once Upon a Time." The cast includes Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine and Johnny Depp.

"Big Eyes" (PG-13). Tim Burton directed this true story of Margaret Keane (Amy Adams) whose unique paintings of children with huge eyes were a sensation in the 1950s. But her husband (Christopher Walz) signed his name to them and claimed he was the painter, ultimately leading to a courtroom showdown. Co-stars include Krysten Ritter, Danny Huston, Terence Stamp and Jason Schwartzman.

"The Gambler" (R) is a remake of a 1974 James Caan movie about a literature professor (Mark Wahlberg) who can't control his gambling impulses, which soon leads to trouble with mobsters. Co-stars include John Goodman, Jessica Lange and George Kennedy.

"The Interview" (R) is the controversial, crude comedy with Seth Rogan and James Franco playing producer and star, respectively, of a celebrity tabloid show that receives an invitation to North Korea from an unexpected fan, dictator Kim Jong-un — so the CIA recruits them to assassinate him. After Sony's flip-flopping, this limited run gets two Utah theaters to play along, the Megaplex District in South Jordan and Salt Lake City's Brewvies.

"The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness" (not rated, in Japanese with English subtitles). Documentary about the life and art of Japanese animation filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, whose films include "Spirited Away," "Howl's Moving Castle" and "Ponyo," among others. Exclusively at the Tower Theater.