The Sessions

In The Sessions, John Hawkes is real-life poet Mark O’Brien, paralyzed from the neck down after a childhood polio affliction and relegated to an iron lung. At age 38, O’Brien decided it was time to lose his virginity and hired a sex surrogate, played…

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Alex Cross

Tyler Perry is woefully miscast as James Patterson’s star detective in Rob Cohen’s mean-spirited Alex Cross, featuring a wildly possessed performance by Matthew Fox as a subhuman killer whose “true calling” is pain—a bounty which he inflicts upon viewers of this movie. Perry, an…

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Argo

Ben Affleck’s Argo so expertly balances its seemingly disparate story elements—the political history, the high-flying Hollywood satire, the great escape, the father seeking redemption—it signals a marked directorial growth from Affleck in one of the year’s best movies. Moving away from the Boston setting…

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Taken 2

There was something special about 2008’s Taken, starring Liam Neeson as an ex-CIA operative raising hell to rescue his teenage daughter from a Eurotrash sex slavery ring. It was a fast, efficient, Paris-set thriller about a father who’d stop at nothing to save his…

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of the most sensitive movies ever made about teenagers. At a time in American movies where teens are vapid aliens who speak/text in too-cool poseur dialogue de rigueur, Hollywood has reached its nadir in depicting the…

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Looper

Looper is an inventive sci-fi picture that asks a few provocative questions, mainly—if your future self traveled back in time and you were able to meet, what might happen?  If it doesn’t exactly deal with that paradox, it nonetheless provides a high-concept and imaginative…

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Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect almost is just that, a roaring comedy about dueling collegiate a capella teams featuring more laughs than just about any comedy this year, and that’s saying something in a year that’s brought us such offbeat gems as Safety Not Guaranteed and Ruby…

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Trouble with the Curve

There’s something immensely satisfying about Clint Eastwood’s current movie persona as the grizzled old man who has seen it all and has no patience for any of it. He did this curmudgeon in spite of himself routine in 2008’s Gran Torino to great effect,…

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The House at the End of the Street

You can’t dismiss a B-movie merely for its derivations from other movies—most are predicated upon familiar tropes that usually never fail to get the audience amped up, particularly in the case of horror movies, the genre of all genre movies. Cue the darkness, ominous…

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The Words

Well-meaning and solidly acted, The Words doesn’t quite work as a movie, but it’s a sometimes thoughtful and entertaining picture about the relationship between art and life, moral lapses, betrayals and how we live with them. It’s not a compelling drama, but it’s well…

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