The Descendants (2011)
The Muppets (2011)
The Skin I Live In (2011)
Like Crazy (2011)
Tower Heist (2011)
"This film is not really about promoting an alternate theory of authorship so much as presenting an intriguing (if unlikely) scenario and seeing how it would play out. It makes for a ripping good story, whether or not it's factual."
The Thing (2011)
Real Steel (2011)
"Director Shawn Levy is a certified lightweight who always goes for the easiest emotional payoff. But Hugh Jackman's lovable as a loser, Dakota Goyo has spunk and charm, and the robot battles are genuinely thrilling."
The Ides of March (2011)
The Train (1965)
The Heiress (1950)
633 Squadron (1964)
"Drive is long on mood and sleek visuals, and the narrative seems merely a slender frame upon which to hang the director's highly stylized dressings. It's a tone poem set against the backdrop of a fairly standard crime-heist-gone-awry frame."
The Lion King (1994)
"The Lion King was made a mere 17 years ago, but seems from a different era now. Here was a "kiddie" flick that was big, grandiose and ambitious, a sprawling Shakespearean epic playing out on the African savannah."
"From a technical standpoint, Henry is amateurish. But ultimately it's not the gilded frame that made it a modern horror classic, but its unblinking portrait of a remorseless killer who stares back at the audience and forces them to turn away."
The Guard (2011)
"The Guard is the sort of movie that makes you smile and squirm, often within the confines of the same scene. It's certainly engaging, though many times I felt the film's stylistic choices overwhelmed its sense of itself."
The Debt (2011)
"No, The Debt is not worthy of any Oscar talk, and the last third or so wades into a tar pit of melodrama which bogs down the narrative. But the film never failed to engage me, and I am the better for having seen it."
Fright Night (2011)
"The casting of Colin Farrell is inspired, but the script doesn't give him much to do other than pose and strut. With his strange mannerisms and cool-uncle shtick, Jerry seems more like a third-rate male model on depressants than a horrifying night killer."
Sarah's Key (2011)
The Help (2011)
A Tale of Two Cities (1935)
"The reboot attacks Pierre Boulle's concept with straightforward flair, taking it to its logical conclusion - or, in this case, origin. A smart, contemplative movie bound neither by the conventions of the science fiction genre or action/adventure tropes."
The Bravados (1958)
Cowboys & Aliens (2011)
The Smurfs (2011)
"I don't mind this sort of claptrap for kiddies if it's executed well and the filmmakers invite adults along for the journey. But there's nothing to recommend about The Smurfs. Every obvious joke is covered, every morsel of cuteness exploited."
Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)
Play Dirty (1969)
"A fine, memorable performance by Nigel Davenport, as a man who's as calculating as he is black-hearted. He works for the Brits, but one senses that if the Germans offered him more money, switching sides would pose no dilemma."
"Fitfully entertaining, especially the first half, plus a pretty decent villain in Red Skull played by Hugo Weaving, wearing an impressive/scary crimson get-up that looked like it was done through makeup rather than CGI."
Friends With Benefits (2011)
"This hip romantic comedy wants you to know that it's not just an average romcom. It is aware that it's a romantic comedy and acknowledges and mocks the convention of that genre - even as it falls back on them time and again."
A Little Help (2011)
The Tenth Man (1988)
"Harry Potter's epic journey ends with power and majesty. For 10 years, we've waded through oceans of exposition and endured ever-burgeoning layers of new characters and mythology to absorb. All building to: This."
A Better Life (2011)
"Chris Weitz and Eric Eason use the immigration issue not as cheap agitprop but as the backdrop for a deep and truly moving human story about people caught in a web of screwy public policy and arbitrary enforcement."
Horrible Bosses (2011)
"Director Seth Gordon and his trio of screenwriters needed to give this script another wash or two. But once the movie hits its stride, it's a decent enough laugh-fest to garner a marginal letter of recommendation."
Sid and Nancy (1986)
"The film's crowning achievement is depicting the soul-sucking toll that drugs take on the talented and the naive. Eventually, drugs replace the people they were, and they turn into mere vessels to an all-consuming craving. They become their addiction."
Larry Crowne (2011)
"Here's a movie for adults that's warm and enjoyable, but has brains and ambition. Tom Hanks directs with a soft touch but not a soft head. "Larry Crowne" is like fancy French toast - comfort food with a dollop of aspiration."
"I'll give Michael Bay credit for crisper, more lucid action scenes. But the plot is still a hot mess of endless exposition, double crosses, people running hither and fro without much reason, and a lot of unnecessary humans."
The One That Got Away (2012)
"The German POW character played by Hardy Kruger is not terribly different from Steve McQueen's star-making role in The Great Escape - the dedicated escape artist who singlemindedly focuses on getting out of enemy clutches."
Cars 2 (2011)
"With Toy Story 3, one could sense the heartfelt devotion the filmmakers put into visiting those characters again; I don't feel it here. Cars 2 is still a highly entertaining bit of animation, but the soul isn't filled by watching it."
Darby's Rangers (1958)
"Never have I seen a military drama so done in by sex. It's not enough to say that romance is a recurring distraction in this film; it would be more accurate to describe the battle scenes as interrupting all the mush."
Green Lantern (2011)
The Art of Getting By (2011)