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Movie Reviews

Two hitmen make mincemeat out of the company that betrayed them in this highly entertaining shoot-em-up

In a South American cartel compound, a wealthy drug jeffe dives into the blackened waters of his swimming pool. As his guards carelessly look away, he is caught by a scuba-geared assailant and drowned. Changing from scuba gear to a kitchen uniform, the assassin slips past the dozens of armed guards, who stare bewilderedly at their expired leader.     It’s ridiculous, yes, but it’s also pretty damn entertaining.

An economic downturn upends three corporate Americans in this redemptive recession drama

In the wake of 2010’s unyielding recession and the threat of a takeover, conglomerate GTX decides to secure the company’s bottom line by laying off thousands of workers. GTX doesn’t see people. It sees falling profits and nervous investors. By trimming non-essential jobs, the CEOs can keep their private jets, $500 lunches and mahogany-trimmed offices while also fending off corporate raiders.

A few Hail Marys might have saved this horror movie

Michael Kovak (Colin O’Donoghue: The Tudors) doesn’t want to join the family funeral business. To escape this morbid life, Kovak joins a seminary, hoping for a free education. As far as the drawbacks — the whole celibacy thing, the fact that he doesn’t believe in God — Kovak figures he’ll just quit before he makes his vows.

A fun action flick with a buzzkill for a lead

In Seth Rogen’s (Funny People) latest leading role, which he wrote for himself, he creates a superhero with all the personality faults of Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man but without any of the charm or competence. It’s a bold choice to craft a possible superhero franchise around a tiresome jerk, but Rogen relishes the challenge. 

Come for a love story, stay for an emotional evisceration

Blue Valentine isn’t a romantic drama; it’s a horror movie for romantics. Derek Cianfrance’s (Cagefighter) film asks questions that most modern romantic movies attempt to avoid: What happens to a married couple when they fall out of love? What if you’re not meant to be with the person you married? The answers to these questions are often painful, messy and uncomfortable.

A B-movie with an A-List cast earns a failing grade

A priest, some crusaders and a witch wander into the woods. Turns out the joke is on whoever pays to see the movie. An overwrought, overstuffed tale of medieval mysticism, Season of the Witch fails on every possible level, from storytelling to acting to star Nicolas Cage’s improbable hairpiece.

A speech impediment proves to be a royal pain in this excellent drama

At the close of the 1925 Empire Exhibition, England’s Duke of York Albert (Colin Firth: A Single Man) stands before a live audience for his radio broadcast debut. Instead of a refined address, the Duke broadcasts a halting stuttering address as his countrymen regard him in horror. 

A teenage girl spurs eccentric lawmen in a manhunt for her father’s killer in this sharp remake of a western classic.

Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld in her feature debut) is a quick-witted and willful 14-year-old girl, come to the end of the railroad line in some dusty Arkansas town to collect her dear departed father. But she’s more interested in collecting Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin: Jonah Hex), the cur who killed him, and seeing the murderer hanged. By barter, wit and resolve she recruits crusty marshall Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges: Tron: Legacy) and ornamented Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Matt Damon: Hereafter) to her cause.

A hacker heir apparent fights to save the real world from the digital world in this glitzy reboot.

Computer genius Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges; Crazy Heart) has been missing for 20 years. Nobody has a clue where he went off to — at least until his son Sam (Garrett Hedlund; Georgia Rule) is mysteriously paged to his dad’s hidden lab and zapped into the grid, a digital realm where programs are living figures made in the image of their creators. Ends up his pop has been stranded here all those years, trapped when his own program Clu revolted and waged genocide against digital “imperfections.” Now it seems Clu has plotted an escape from the digital world.

Natalie Portman pirouettes to the dark side in this ballet thriller

When watching ballet dancers leap and spin across a stage, it’s hard to remember that these dedicated athletes punish their bodies to create such grace. Director Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler) is happy to remind you. His psychological dance thriller (which may be the best new genre in years) — Black Swan is awash with close-ups of battered toes, bony arms and raw bloody flesh — and that’s just the normal ballerinas.