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‘Spy’ snapshot review

Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) and her fellow CIA operative Rick Ford (Jason Statham) pose as a “happy” couple as they go deep undercover to stop an arms dealer.

Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) and her fellow CIA operative Rick Ford (Jason Statham) pose as a “happy” couple as they go deep undercover to stop an arms dealer.
Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

SPY

Critical rating: 3 stars out of four

Directed by: Paul Feig (“The Heat,” “Bridesmaids”)

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Jude Law and Rose Byrne

Rated: R for language throughout, violence, and some sexual content including brief graphic nudity

The story: “Spy” is centered on a CIA analyst (Melissa McCarthy) who is promoted from her long-time desk job to an undercover assignment where she must try to stop a nuclear weapon from falling into the wrong hands.

The scoop: Writer-director Paul Feig becomes one of the industry’s most reliable comedy directors with a film that’s set to become a mainstream hit. “Spy” isn’t the most original picture to hit theaters in 2015, but it is a consistently funny Hollywood concoction that entertains while poking good-natured fun at the espionage genre. Melissa McCarthy does most of the heavy lifting, but the excellent supporting cast – particularly Jason Statham in a rare comedic role – is likable as well.

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Video Verdict: Review of ‘Night at the Museum – Secret of the Tomb’

From left, Patrick Gallagher, Robin Williams, Ben Stiller and Rami Malek star in “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.”  Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

From left, Patrick Gallagher, Robin Williams, Ben Stiller and Rami Malek star in “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.”Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

The latest entry in the “Night at the Museum” franchise is the only major theatrical release making its way to home video this week.

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Video Verdict: Reviews of ‘The Judge,’ ‘Fury,’ ‘The Book of Life’ and ‘Before I Go to Sleep’

From left to right, Shia LaBeouf, Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman (rear), Michael Peña and Jon Bernthal star in the war drama “Fury”   Photo courtesy of Sony

From left to right, Shia LaBeouf, Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman (rear), Michael Peña and Jon Bernthal star in the war drama “Fury”Photo courtesy of Sony

There is a strong slate of home video releases this week, and it is anchored by a movie that helped actor Robert Duvall earn his seventh Academy Award nomination.

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Video Verdict: Reviews of ‘The Boxtrolls,’ ‘Lucy’ and ‘Annabelle’

The title characters from the stop-motion animated movie “The Boxtrolls” are sadly misunderstood.   Photo courtesy of Focus Features

The title characters from the stop-motion animated movie “The Boxtrolls” are sadly misunderstood.

Photo courtesy of Focus Features

This week’s major home video releases include two R-rated thrillers and a family friendly animated film.

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Video Verdict: Reviews of ‘Gone Girl’ and ‘Love Is Strange’

Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) becomes the chief suspect when his wife goes missing in the David Fincher thriller “Gone Girl.”  Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) becomes the chief suspect when his wife goes missing in the David Fincher thriller “Gone Girl.”

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

A pair of R-rated dramas anchor this week’s major home video releases.

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Top 10 Movies of 2014

From left to right, Zoe Saldana plays Gamora, Bradley Cooper plays Rocket, Chris Pratt plays Peter Quill, Vin Diesel plays Groot and Dave Bautista plays Drax in “Guardians of the Galaxy.”  Forrest ranks the film among the best of 2014. Photo courtesy of Disney

From left to right, Zoe Saldana plays Gamora, Bradley Cooper plays Rocket, Chris Pratt plays Peter Quill, Vin Diesel plays Groot and Dave Bautista plays Drax in “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Forrest ranks the film among the best of 2014.

Photo courtesy of Disney 

As we march into the new year and prepare ourselves for upcoming awards shows, it’s appropriate to reflect on the best movies of 2014. As usual, the year produced sure bets from well-known auteurs and a strong crop of art-house darlings, but we also had terrific pictures emerge from the much-derided cinematic mainstream. In fact, a number of blockbusters cracked my top 10. Following is the cream of the 2014 movie crop, complete with notes on how you can see them.

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Video Verdict: Reviews of ‘Boyhood’ and ‘Get On Up’

Ellar Coltrane stars in the Richard Linklater film “Boyhood.”  Photo courtesy of Paramount

Ellar Coltrane stars in the Richard Linklater film “Boyhood.”

Photo courtesy of Paramount

This week’s home video releases are anchored by a much-hyped project from writer-director Richard Linklater.

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