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  • ‘Rush’ fires on all cylinders
    ‘Rush’ fires on all cylinders

    Racing movie one of the year’s best

    It isn’t easy to make a great sports movie. There are plenty of decent examples and quite a few good ones, but the true greats are exceedingly rare. It is just too difficult to marry the greatness of sport with the requirements of great cinema.

    So when a great sports movie does make an appearance, it warrants our attention.

  • Love and pornography – ‘Don Jon’
    Love and pornography – ‘Don Jon’

    Gordon-Levitt makes feature writing, directorial debut

    When an actor – even a talented one – makes his or her first foray behind the camera, viewers should always approach with some trepidation. Talent in one film-related arena does not necessarily equate to talent in another. And when the actor in question has written and directed the film – one in which he himself stars – all you can do is cross your fingers and hope for the best.

    Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“Looper”) has managed it better than most.

  • Take no ‘Prisoners’
    Take no ‘Prisoners’

    Quality direction, performances elevate thriller

    The best films are the ones that provoke reactions long after you’ve seen them. There are few things in the pop cultural world as rewarding as a movie that prompts you to ask yourself the big questions - questions about your own basic nature, about how what we do defines who we are.

    “Prisoners” is one of those movies; it holds up a mirror and asks us if we’re really so different from what we’re seeing before us. It’s the sort of movie that, for better or worse, stays with us long after the credits roll. 

  • A losing ‘Battle’
    A losing ‘Battle’

    “Battle of the Year” a trite, tepid dance movie

    There’s something to be said for knowing that a movie is going to be bad before you go into it. While I’m generally a proponent of doing my utmost to give any film the benefit of the doubt, there are plenty of offerings whose lack of quality is impossible to ignore.

    I’ll also admit to not being a huge fan of the dance movie genre. It’s rare for me to be genuinely engaged by a story of how a youth center/school/neighborhood/who-gives-a-crap is going to be saved by the power of dance.

  • Little value in ‘The Family’
    Little value in ‘The Family’
    Film much less than the sum of its parts
    Sometimes, you look at a film and you can just tell that it isn’t going to work, no matter how impeccable the pedigree of the people involved.
    For instance, if someone were to say that Luc Besson was going to direct and co-write a Mafia action comedy starring Robert DeNiro (“Killing Season”), Michelle Pfeiffer (“People Like Us”) and Tommy Lee Jones (“Men in Black 3”) and executive produced by Martin Scorsese, you’d probably think that that had a chance to be a pretty good movie.
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