SHORT TAKES

Condensed from Daily News movie critic Gary Thompson's reviews, unless noted otherwise.

AMERICAN HUSTLE. Began as an Abscam tale. Became an actors' free-for-all, with Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence all chewing disco-era scenery. (R) B

ANCHORMAN II. Airhead anchor Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) moves to New York, still with no interest in staying classy. (PG-13) B

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS. Coen Bros. turn the 1960s folk scene into a funny, moving tribute to every artist who almost made it. (R) A

SAVING MR. BANKS. Light comedy about how Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) brought "Mary Poppins" to the screen, over objections of the book's author (Emma Thompson). (PG-13) B

WALKING WITH DINOSAURS 3D. BBC series gets kid-friendly big-screen treatment, complete with dino-poop jokes. Limited appeal, but dino-fixated 7- to 12-year-olds will love it. (PG) B

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG. Lighter, funnier and with a feisty new female elf (Evangeline Lilly). But still too freaking long. (PG-13) B

TYLER PERRY'S A MADEA CHRISTMAS. Holiday cheerless, except when Madea and Larry the Cable Guy riff. (PG-13) C- Reviewed by Daily News Wire Services.

OUT OF THE FURNACE. Ambitious but too-grim blue-collar epic, with Christian Bale, Casey Affleck. (R) C+

BLACK NATIVITY. Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige sing in revamped movie version of the Langston Hughes gospel play. (PG-13) B

FROZEN. Disney's latest starts slow but finds its groove, with Broadway-ready tunes by Robert Lopez of "Book of Mormon" fame. Note the rating, for some scary parts. (PG). B

PHILOMENA. True story of an Irish woman searching America for the child she gave up as a young unwed mother, with Judi Dench. (PG-13) B

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE. As smart as the first installment, and it looks even better. Again starring Jennifer Lawrence as the most morally compelling "teen" genre heroine Hollywood has produced in ages. Maybe ever. (PG-13) B+

NEBRASKA. Will Forte takes aging, delusional father Bruce Dern on a road trip in Alexander Payne's bleakly funny comedy, full of insights and deadpan laughs. (R) B+

DALLAS BUYERS CLUB. Matthew McConaughey as AIDS patient running a business for black-market medications. Based on a true story. (R) B+

THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY. Terrence Howard steals the show again in "Best Man" sequel. Humor with a dose of pathos. (R) B

THE BOOK THIEF. Sophie Nelisse stars as a rebellious Nazi-era German girl taught to read by a Jewish neighbor. (PG-13) B-

THOR. It's hammer time again as Chris Hemsworth battles universe-destroying elves, and the sequel's more fun than the first film. (PG-13) B

BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR. Overlong, frowny tale with notorious lesbian sex scene. (NC-17) B Reviewed by Daily News wire services.

12 YEARS A SLAVE. The triumphant and moving story of a kidnapped free man (Chiwetel Ejiofor) whose intellect is a threat to the men who would own him. (R) A

GRAVITY. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are stranded- in- space astronauts in gripping drama with great visual effects. Alfonso Cuarón ("Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," "Children of Men") directs. (PG-13) A-