Mr. Turner

Most biopics try to penetrate the mystery of what makes a great artist, but 'Mr. Turner' deliberately preserves that mystery, and seals it into our hearts and minds.

'American Sniper'

Clint Eastwood's 'American Sniper' has provoked criticism from both right and left. It's awash in patriotic spirit, it glorifies war. It's also a pretty bad movie.


'Selma' dramatizes one moment in the civil-rights movement when Martin Luther King, wracked by doubts and intimations of mortality, could have put his goals on hold.

'Unbroken' & 'The Imitation Game'

One movie too obviously geared to celebrate a Triumph of the Human Spirit; another whose writing and acting skillfully adduce the nature of the hero's character.

'The Babadook'

Jennifer Kent’s "The Babadook" is a horror film that abjures cheap thrills and builds its terrors securely atop a base of all-too-familiar human pain.


Alejandro González Iñárritu has made something that looks and feels unique, with a cast that works with such ensemble perfection I hesitate to single anyone out.

'Rosewater' & 'Nightcrawler'

"Rosewater"—set in an Iranian prison—is painful, poignant, at times funny and humanizing. "Nightcrawler"—a monster movie that wants to be a social indictment—isn't.

'Listen Up Philip'

The reduction of character and motive to diagrammable banalities seems of a piece with this film’s lack of interest in creating anything resembling human emotion.

'Gone Girl'

A mystery story, a portrait of marriage, and—more than anything else—a satire on big American expectations.

'Love Is Strange'

What’s quietly revelatory about 'Love Is Strange' is that its creators didn’t feel the need to turn it into a social-protest document.

'The Trip to Italy' & 'Land Ho!'

Both 'buddy' films chart the male temperament as mortality heaves into view, and protagonists live in a world where religion seems to have vanished.


'Calvary' belongs in a select company of films that deal powerfully with the plight of a priest who finds himself at odds with his community.
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