American Hustle David O. Russell's wild, woolly take on the late-'70s FBI sting operation Abscam is also a wild, woolly love story: Christian Bale and Amy Adams as con artists recruited by the feds and fated for each other. Throw Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence into the mix and something goes kaboom in just about every scene - brilliantly. R

Inside Llewyn Davis Oscar Isaac is a hard-luck troubadour on the folk scene of early-'60s Greenwich Village in the Coen brothers' sublime odyssey to nowhere. A story of artistic struggle, and of the crushing beauty that can be wrested from a song. With Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, and John Goodman - and with many a dark, twisted laugh along the way. R

Philomena A surprisingly tough and tender tale from director Stephen Frears adapted from the true story of a 70-something Irish woman (Judi Dench) looking for the son she was forced to give up for adoption as an unwed teen - and of the cynical veteran journalist (Steve Coogan) who accompanies her on her quest. PG-13