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COENS, SPARKS & ZOMBIES!

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Feb. 5, 2016

The Coen brothers return to comedy, two longtime British stars headline a highly praised new film, and for you literary types, well, cover your eyes — Nicholas Sparks returns and Jane Austen is zombiefied.

“Hail, Caesar!” (PG-13). The Coen brothers are in full-spoof mode here, lampooning 1950s Hollywood with an all-star ensemble cast as a “fixer” (James Brolin) is tasked by a movie studio with finding its biggest star (George Clooney), who has apparently been kidnapped. Also on hand are Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Tilda Swinton and Channing Tatum.

“45 Years” (R). This British drama has been reaping praise for the performances of its stars, Tom Courtenay, and especially Charlotte Rampling, as a long-married couple preparing for an anniversary party when news of the tragic death of the husband’s former girlfriend conjures up old feelings and begins to intrude on the proceedings.

“The Choice” (PG-13). Nicholas Sparks’ annual book-to-film offering has two neighbors (Benjamin Walker, Teresa Palmer) in the small coastal town of Beaufort, North Carolina, falling in love. But then she goes into a coma following a serious car accident. And somebody dies, right? Someone always dies in Nicholas Sparks movies, am I right? Maggie Grace, Tom Welling and Tom Wilkinson co-star.

“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” (PG-13). Some movies have titles that tell it all, and that’s the case here. Take a little Jane Austen, stir in some George Romero, but keep it in a PG-13 stew so as to not prevent the kiddies from seeing it. Lily James stars, along with Sam Riley, Jack Huston, Charles Dance and Lena Headey.

“Oscar Shorts: Animated and Live Action” (Not Rated). Two collections of Oscar-nominated short films, animated and live-action, will rotate on the schedule. (Exclusively at the Tower Theater.)