Prisoners (2013)

Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners has everything it needs to be a staggering thriller, from some good performances to Roger Deakins’ stunning cinematography. Somehow, however, this 2013 motion picture winds up falling well shy of the excellence it so clearly reaches for. It is bursting at the seams, with its 153-minute runtime packed to the rafters with […]

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Oculus (2013)

Directed by Mike Flanagan, Oculus is that rarest of breeds: a modern horror movie that doesn’t push things too far. The 2013 release isn’t just a springboard for a franchise and it’s not merely filled with jump scares and things that go bump in the night. It contends with a truly psychological matter and deals […]

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Locke (2013)

It’s tempting to discard Locke as gimmickry and move on, but cinematic cynicism is for the birds. This 2013 motion picture is written and directed by Steven Knight and features Tom Hardy in an absolutely stellar performance. The whole film, for the most part, takes place inside a car as Hardy’s character drives to London.

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The Drop (2014)

Helmed by Belgian director Michaël R. Roskam, The Drop is a curious but thrilling crime picture. The 2014 movie features a screenplay by Dennis Lehane and is based on his 2009 short story Animal Rescue. The script, coupled with the careful cinematography of Nicolas Karakatsanis, weaves a convoluted tale of cold and hot moments. The […]

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On the Waterfront (1954)

Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront is a classic of American cinema, a quintessential showcase of tremendous performances and a stunning portrait of the struggles of trying to do the right thing in a world gone wrong. This 1954 picture was a deeply personal project for Kazan and it came to be seen as a partial […]

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Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015)

Directed by Steve Pink, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is the grime at the bottom of the comedy barrel. This 2015 sequel to the 2010 original is an unmitigated disaster from start to finish, with nary a life to be found. It’s also endlessly self-indulgent and nearly drowns every joke in endless riffing. There’s no […]

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Film Noir Friday: Fallen Angel (1945)

“I feel like I’m a million years old,” says Dana Andrews’ drifter in the underrated noir Fallen Angel. Directed by Otto Preminger, this 1945 motion picture is about obsession and a down-on-his-luck lead who can’t quite figure life out. Andrews, who was in Preminger’s brilliant Laura a year prior, brings a pleasing collage of complications […]

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Let’s Be Cops (2014)

A relatively useless undertaking, the 2014 bro-cop comedy Let’s Be Cops leans heavily on its mindless formula to get by. This is paint-by-numbers stuff, the sort of hollow filmmaking that blends broad comedy with violence and comes up with an obligatory happy ending. There are no real consequences and the 30-something leads learn their compulsory […]

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Film Noir Friday: Laura (1944)

A twisted and twisting tale of obsession and murder, Otto Preminger’s Laura is film noir dynamite. This 1944 motion picture was nominated for five Oscars, including Best Director and Best Supporting Actor. It eventually scooped the award for Best Cinematography thanks to the scintillating work of Joseph LaShelle.

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Hot Pursuit (2015)

An infuriating and lazy exercise in mechanical comedy, Hot Pursuit is an awful movie. Directed by Anne Fletcher with a screenplay by John Quaintance and David Feeney, this 2015 flick attempts to brand itself as a female-centric Midnight Run. It purports to be some sort of opposites-attract buddy comedy, with Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon […]

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The Maze Runner (2014)

Based on the 2009 novel of the same name by James Dashner, The Maze Runner is yet another entry in the dystopic young adult genre carving its way through cinemas. This 2014 picture is directed by Wes Ball with an intended sequel set for release in September of 2015. A final film in the series […]

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Godzilla (1954)

Ishirō Honda’s Godzilla is arguably one of the most important Japanese films of all time. While today, representations of the stomping prehistoric monster have been rebooted to become synonymous with fun displays of mass destruction, the 1954 original was part ludicrous monster flick and part catharsis for a shattered country.

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The Great Silence (1968)

Blood stains the snow in Sergio Corbucci’s The Great Silence, a 1968 western that is as bleak as its uncharacteristic locale. It explores the fragile formation of justice in untamed lands, pitting a mute gunslinger against a squad of callous bounty hunters. The action is underscored by Ennio Morricone’s score, which is chillingly forthright.

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