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Contraband 3

Review: Contraband

A high-quality composite of knock-offs
True to its name, this standard heist thriller is a composite of knock-offs, but when Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America is among the sources ripped off, the quality is pretty high.
By: PETER KEOUGH  |  January 17, 2012

Short take flowers of war

Review: The Flowers of War

Unimpressive outing from Zhang Yimou
In 1937 the invading Imperial Japanese Army killed and raped thousands of people in the Chinese city of Nanjing. The atrocity has recently inspired two Chinese films, including Lu Chuan's City of Life and Death and this unimpressive outing from Zhang Yimou.
By: PETER KEOUGH  |  January 17, 2012

Carnage review

Review: Carnage

Claustrophobic close encounters
As befits someone with jail time hanging over his head, Roman Polanski does his best work in close quarters. From Knife in the Water , to Repulsion , to The Tenant and The Pianist , he's a master of claustrophobic close encounters, and as such has a good time adapting Yasmin Reza's play, God of Carnage .
By: PETER KEOUGH  |  January 10, 2012

Dreileben review

Review: Dreileben

TV trilogy from three German directors
Taking a cue from Kieslowski's Three Colors by way of the British Red Riding series, this TV trilogy from three German directors of the Berlin School starts out with a creepy aura of dread and mystery and ends with contrived and unsatisfying resolutions.
By: PETER KEOUGH  |  January 10, 2012

Joyful Noise short take

Review: Joyful Noise

Rafter-rocking gospel singing
There's not much joy but there's plenty of noise of the rafter-rocking gospel singing variety in Tony Graff's musical dramedy.
By: TOM MEEK  |  January 10, 2012

The Devil Inside short take

Review: The Devil Inside

William Brent Bell's limp mockumentary
William Brent Bell's film opens with a disclaimer that "the Vatican does not endorse this movie." No kidding — the Catholic Church isn't exactly known for its sense of humor.
By: ALEXANDRA CAVALLO  |  January 10, 2012

The Divide review

Review: The Divide

The horrors of human nature
Many a teleplay for The Twilight Zone threatened atomic Armageddon, and though Frontier(s) director Xavier Gens nukes New York in the opening shots of his latest thriller, he finds more inspiration in the horrors of human nature as seen in the old TV show's episode "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street."
By: BRETT MICHEL  |  January 10, 2012

The Iron Lady short take

Review: The Iron Lady

Streep's not enough to save this one
Meryl Streep's two films with Phyllida Lloyd, Mamma Mia and this silly biopic, demonstrate that even when the world's greatest actress is at the peak of her powers — whether dramatic, comic, or musical — it's not enough.
By: PETER KEOUGH  |  January 10, 2012

Pariah - review

Review: Pariah

Dee Rees's first feature
Compared to the non-stop trauma of Precious , or even Gun Hill Road , Dee Rees's first feature plays like an episode of The Cosby Show .
By: PETER KEOUGH  |  January 03, 2012

Review: Hell and Back Again

Review: Hell and Back Again

The real-life story of a young marine
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, Hell and Back Again offers a potent documentary correlative to the narrative of The Hurt Locker .
By: GERALD PEARY  |  January 05, 2012

Blood and honey

Review: In the Land of Blood and Honey

Angelina Jolie's feature directorial debut
Jolie has loosely reworked the story of Romeo and Juliet in an infamous setting familiar from CNN but here seen from the inside.
By: TOM MEEK  |  January 05, 2012

Review: A Dangerous Method

Review: A Dangerous Method

Cronenberg's dramatization of the rise of psychoanalysis
Perhaps the three characters in David Cronenberg's handsome, eloquent dramatization of the birth and near demise of psychoanalysis represent the parts of the psyche that the movement would eventually hypothesize.
By: PETER KEOUGH  |  December 20, 2011

Short Takes: Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol

Review: Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Worthy of an IMAX screen
Impossible Missions Force agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) returns to the screen in dramatic fashion as new teammate Jane (Paula Patton) and the returning Benji (Simon Pegg) break him out of a Russian prison.
By: BRETT MICHEL  |  December 20, 2011

Short Takes: The Artist

Review: The Artist

Michel Hazanavicius's flashback to '20s-era Hollywood
The advent of talking pictures sends a screen idol into both a career nosedive and an identity crisis in Michel Hazanavicius's flashback to Hollywood's transitional period of the late '20s.
By: BETSY SHERMAN  |  December 20, 2011

Short Take: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Flamboyantly grisly sex crimes
Unfortunately, Fincher doesn't add much to Niels Arden Oplev's Swedish version: more Googling and plot-compressing montages and an altered but still convoluted ending.
By: PETER KEOUGH  |  December 20, 2011

Movies: We Bought A Zoo

Review: We Bought A Zoo

Cameron Crowe's film version of Benjamin Mee's memoir
Matt Damon plays Mee, a journalist who decides that he and his daughter (a precocious Maggie Elizabeth Jones) and sullen teenage son (Colin Ford) need a new start after the death of his wife, so he spends his life savings on a house in the country.
By: BRETT MICHEL  |  December 20, 2011

Short Take: War Horse

Review: War Horse

A veritable, old-fashioned story
War Horse is corny, sentimental, overlong, but also spectacular at times, even stirring.
By: GERALD PEARY  |  December 20, 2011

Short Take: The Adventures of Tintin

Review: The Adventures of Tintin

Spielberg's second-rate animated Indiana Jones
I don't know how fans of the title hero are going to take this adaptation, since I'm not familiar with the classic Hergé comic strip on which it's based, but followers of Steven Spielberg might regard it as a second-rate, animated Indiana Jones.
By: PETER KEOUGH  |  December 20, 2011


Review: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Alfredson tinkers with le Carré's spy classic
Aside from the obvious differences — a knack for Quidditch for example — George Smiley might be considered the Cold War equivalent of Harry Potter.
By: PETER KEOUGH  |  January 04, 2012


Review: Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

Helium-infused banter
For 50 years, Alvin and the Chipmunks have been driving parents nuts with their helium-infused banter and shrill bastardizations of pop music.
By: TOM MEEK  |  December 13, 2011


Review: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Guy Ritchie's return to the world of Sherlock Holmes
A new game is afoot in director Guy Ritchie's return to the world of Sherlock Holmes, but Robert Downey Jr.'s first outing as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famed sleuth puts Shadows in the shade.
By: BRETT MICHEL  |  December 13, 2011

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