Warm Bodies

The worn out zombie genre gets a welcome reboot in the winning Warm Bodies, about a zombie and human who fall in love and—what else?— change the world. Based on the popular novel by Isaac Marion and directed by Jonathan Levine (The Wackness, 50/50)…

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Mama

Jessica Chastain, the ubiquitous star of Zero Dark Thirty whose versatility apparently knows no bounds, stars in the new supernatural thriller Mama, an eerie ghost story that relies more on suggestion than visceral thrills.  If it doesn’t exactly scare us, it certainly raises a…

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Amour

Michael Haneke’s Amour, the winner of last year’s Palm d’Or at Cannes, is a likely candidate for the most painful movie you might ever see. It’s a movie that looks at aging and death with such open-eyed, clinical precision, completely lacking in sentiment, that…

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Zero Dark Thirty

Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, about the decade-long hunt for and ultimate killing of Osama bin Laden, is an unmistakable masterpiece. It’s also a picture that does not reach out to us with character, sentiment or resolution – and is nonetheless an essential, thought-provoking,…

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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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