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Top 10 of 2012

Sleepless Night Review

Sleepless Night Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Better than Bond, better than Bourne, better than Bauer, the new French thriller Sleepless Night sets a new bar for white-knuckle action movies. Taking place over a 24-hour period and primarily in one giant nightclub, the film is intense in ways no other has been in years. Vincent (Tomer Sisley) and his […]

Silver Linings Playbook Review

Silver Linings Playbook Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Silver Linings Playbook is a bright rainbow of a film, but you wouldn’t know it from the way it starts. It’s hard to imagine that a film that opens in a mental hospital with a clearly disturbed Bradley Cooper could, in two hours, convincingly make the leap to a larger-than-life dance competition […]

Zero Dark Thirty Review

Zero Dark Thirty Review

RATING: (4 STARS) There’s a moment in Kathryn Bigelow’s dense but lightning-quick procedural, Zero Dark Thirty, when Jessica Chastain’s Maya is actually laughed at for trying to pursue Osama bin Laden. “Protect the homeland” is the motto her superiors pound into her like she’s a canine undergoing obedience training. But she’s a real pit bull. […]

Django Unchained Review

Django Unchained Review

RATING: (4 STARS) With Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino has turned wholly satisfying filmmaking into a science. Sure, this film might not be as emotionally affecting as Jackie Brown. It might not be as novel as Reservoir Dogs, as ambitious as Pulp Fiction, as playful as Kill Bill, or as bold and audacious as Inglourious Basterds. […]

Sleepwalk with Me Review

Sleepwalk with Me Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) Mike Birbiglia’s unique voice in his semi-autobiographical film, Sleepwalk with Me, is one of 2012’s sweetest, most satisfying cinematic treats. He wears three hats here—actor, writer, and director—and he’s extremely successful on each front. His on-screen persona is one best described as affably insecure. His writing bites and stings. And his aesthetic […]

Beasts of the Southern Wild Review

Beasts of the Southern Wild Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild works on so many levels that it’s hard to pinpoint just one or two particular reasons why it’s the best directorial debut in years and easily one of 2012’s finest films. The firecracker performance of young Quvenzhané Wallis is certainly one. Ditto Dwight Henry’s explosive […]

Looper Review

Looper Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Looper represents a quantum leap forward for Rian Johnson as a filmmaker. Brick and The Brothers Bloom have their admirers, but these films are child’s play compared to what Johnson achieves with this trippy time-travel tale. It’s a genuine masterclass in storytelling, as not a single element in this sprawling story feels […]

Seven Psychopaths Review

Seven Psychopaths Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) In what’s turning out to be a banner year for uber-clever, original scripts, Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths has one of the very best. McDonagh’s In Bruges was merely a warm-up act for the violent zaniness that is his sophomore directorial effort. If you were a fan of that film, you’ll love this […]

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Review

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) The Perks of Being a Wallflower is, at its worst, the best episode of Glee ever. No, there aren’t any musical numbers—though music itself does play an important part throughout the film—but the boyfriend/girlfriend (and boyfriend/boyfriend) drama is a little much. And the film’s message of acceptance is so sweet and gooey […]

Take This Waltz Review

Take This Waltz Review

RATING: (3.5 STARS) If 2012 turns out a female performance better than Michelle Williams’ in Sarah Polley’s new film, Take This Waltz, it’ll be a pretty stellar year. As if we needed another reminder that Williams is one of her generation’s most luminous—and talented—actresses, she goes and outshines even her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in […]