Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained is an explosion of violence and humor and delicious performances, a visceral and upsetting portrait of slavery that borders on blaxploitation at times, all wrapped up in a spaghetti western. It’s a movie so entertaining for each of its 164…

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Les Misérables

The screen version of the musical Les Misérables is pretty much what you would expect and a fairly straightforward adaptation of the beloved musical, itself adapted from Victor Hugo’s classic novel. As mounted by director Tom Hooper, the picture has the look, feel and thematic…

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Rust and Bone

Marion Cotillard, the world-class, Oscar winning actress whose tour de force in 2006’s La Vie En Rose made her an international movie star, plays a killer whale trainer maimed in an unfortunate accident in Rust and Bone, the sophomore picture from Jacques Audiard, whose…

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The Impossible

The principal reason to see The Impossible is the herculean performance of Naomi Watts as a real-life wife and mother swept away in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, fighting to hang onto her life and family.  In a film directed by the gifted Spanish…

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Hyde Park on Hudson

Bland Hyde Park on the Hudson, about a 1939 weekend sojourn between the FDR, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, doesn’t do much to illuminate Roosevelt and even less to enliven its decidedly slight chapter of history. It wants to be a whimsical comedy…

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Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook is one of the year’s most emotionally generous movies, a crowd-pleaser of a romantic comedy that also happens to be a gritty family drama about bi-polar disorder. If that sounds like an unlikely combination, writer-director David O. Russell deftly juggles such…

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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2

Bigger is definitely not better in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, an overblown series finale that jettisons Twilight’s signature love triangle between a vampire, human and werewolf in favor or a cluttered, badly CGI-d vampire showdown the likes of which we’ve seen…

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Anna Karenina

All the world’s a stage, but in the case of Joe Wright’s new screen adaptation of Anna Karenina, perhaps it shouldn’t be. While wish I could say that Wright’s conceptual audacity in setting his new movie version of Tolstoy’s classic largely inside a decrepit,…

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Flight

The opening scenes of Flight tell us everything we need to know about Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington), a middle-aged, coked up alcoholic who happens to be a respected commercial airline pilot.  He’s just had a wild binge of sex and substances with a pretty…

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Cloud Atlas

If ambition and scale were the sole criteria for judging movies, Cloud Atlas would be a towering achievement. But this sometimes daring movie, based on David Mitchell’s sprawling novel about the interconnectedness of humanity and lives that reverberate across centuries, is at best a…

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