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  • Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy

    Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy

    ★★

    Pixie dust: The cause of—and solution to—all of life's problems.

  • The Wolf of Wall Street

    The Wolf of Wall Street

    ★★★★½

    Second viewing plays like gangbusters. Maybe DiCaprio's best performance, especially when he's in front of the wolf pit—that Steve Madden IPO speech is a wow.

  • Rocky III

    Rocky III

    ★★★½

    Matt Singer had it right, after all: This is the best of the Rocky sequels, a satisfying blend of superhero cartoonishness (Clubber Lang, Thunderlips, etc.) and residual "authentic" feeling from the first film. Great montages, greater short shorts.

  • Dallas Buyers Club

    Dallas Buyers Club

    ★★★½

    Confirmed: No better actor out there than McConaughey, whose weight loss reads here less as frail (though yes, he's on death's door) than wiry and scrappy and spoiling for a fight. And I liked the film as long as it was about that fight; at its best, it's like a feature analog to How To Survive A Plague, telling a story about the active role someone HIV/AIDS takes in his own recovery, in defiance of the carelessness and insidious bureaucracy of pharmaceutical companies and regulatory agencies. Then it goes Hollywood in the closing stretch, with more of an emphasis on victimhood and self-congratulation.

  • Stories We Tell

    Stories We Tell

    ★★★

    Completely riveted by Polley's reconstruction of a family secret from multiple angles until the degree to which she was aestheticizing her life became clear. At a certain point, she comes out and tells us the themes of the documentary—in that respect, the last 20 minutes of the film are like the psychiatrist scene in Psycho.

  • Short Term 12

    Short Term 12

    ★★★

    An extremely frustrating movie, deeply moving and deeply contrived in equal measure. Cretton has a wonderful sense of the fragile ecosystem of the group home, where the fortunes and feelings of kids and staff alike can rise and fall together. And there are moments that are absolutely shattering in getting to the heart of these sad, angry, vulnerable children. Yet the script has been Sundance-labbed to death, with one honking revelation about Brie Larson's character that's teased out with thudding obviousness. The ending, too, is a complete wash.

  • Dracula 3D

    Dracula 3D

    Dario Argento enters the digital age by making the worst possible argument for it.

  • Fargo

    Fargo

    ★★★★★

    "I don't have to talk to you either, man. See how you like it. Just total fucking silence. Two can play at that game, smart guy. We'll just see how you like it. Total silence."

  • Wreck-It Ralph

    Wreck-It Ralph

    ★★★

    Movie night at my kid's elementary school. Sunk a bit on second viewing; for a movie in love with 30-year-old arcade games, it could really stand to be simpler and less noisy.

  • Blue Jasmine

    Blue Jasmine

    ★★★

    Gets better as it goes along, but begins terribly, with a lot of the sloppy, careless writing that has characterized the Woodman's more recent output. Given how frequently Allen flashes back to Jasmine's life before her husband became a Bernie Madoff-like disgrace, the amount of exposition he stuffs into the first 10 or 15 minutes is curious and unnecessary. And as with Whatever Works and Cassandra's Dream, the humble class is treated broadly and inauthentically: Does Allen not realize that…

  • Ain't Them Bodies Saints

    Ain't Them Bodies Saints

    ★★★

    Lots of admire here: The way '70s Texas is made to look decades—or even a century—older (the presence of cars were the only thing that snapped me back to the proper period); the performances, particularly Ben Foster as a cop on dovetailing pursuits; and the score is lovely (which is good, because it's wall-to-wall). But I found the movie arch and dull, so committed to evoking its New Hollywood influences that it doesn't have a life of its own. I can see why some are over-the-moon for it, but it left me cold.

  • All the Boys Love Mandy Lane

    All the Boys Love Mandy Lane

    New rating still TK, but I liked it a touch better than when I saw it in TIFF 2006. Also, somebody has a flip phone in this movie. LOL 2006.