Barbara VanDenburgh, Arizona Republic

  1. 20 Feet From Stardom 2013 Music documentarian Morgan Neville uses a mix of live interviews and archival footage to let the singers, and their music, tell their stories of vocal triumph and thwarted ambition. full review
  2. Bad Milo! 2013 This movie is about a monster that crawls out of a man's butt and starts killing people. full review
  3. Computer Chess 2013 It approaches its subjects not with the gleeful, madcap hilarity of a Christopher Guest mockumentary ("Best in Show," "A Mighty Wind"), but with the calculated precision of lines of code. full review
  4. Insidious: Chapter 2 2013 All the standard spooks pop up: creepy baby toys, a piano that plays itself, a lady in white roaming the house, predictable jump-scares galore. full review
  5. Man of Tai Chi 2013 Like Reeves' wooden dialogue, it's fun despite not being very good. full review
  6. Metallica Through the Never 2013 The 3-D concert footage is unassailably cool. Less assured is the occasional storyline threaded through the film. full review
  7. Mother Of George 2013 It's a powerfully sensual movie, gorgeously lensed colors and textures conveying its characters emotional states while thoughtfully exploring the range of human sexuality through Adenike's experience. full review
  8. Nicky's Family 2013 The story is good enough to tell itself, and the filmmakers should have let it. full review
  9. Olympus Has Fallen 2013 "Olympus" has a strictly director-for-hire vibe; anyone with access to a Roland Emmerich movie or two (namely "Independence Day") and a mad-libbed action script could have churned out something similar. full review
  10. Paranoia 2013 "Paranoia" is ostensibly a thriller, but there's nothing remotely thrilling about it. The slick, plodding bore is as exciting as watching somebody else tap out text messages. full review
  11. Populaire 2013 "Populaire" is catnip for a certain breed of twee Francophile. full review
  12. Prince Avalanche 2013 The movie feels like there wasn't a script. Like Green just handed Rudd and Hirsche two pairs of overalls, a few bottles of grain alcohol and set the cameras rolling as they bromanced it out over a weekend in the woods. full review
  13. Rushlights 2013 They say it isn't nice to kick a dog when it's down. But man, there are a lot of dogs in "Rushlights"... full review
  14. Short Term 12 2013 An authentic drama couched in character that never stoops to manipulation. full review
  15. Sweetwater 2013 It bludgeons with intent, even dabbling in some "Deadwood"-level verbal shock-and-awe; without wit or intelligence, it's merely baroque affectation playacting at depth. full review
  16. Unfinished Song 2013 Terence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave would be captivating reading the nutrition label on a bag of crisps, so it's no surprise that they elevate "Unfinished Song"... full review
  17. What Maisie Knew 2013 A raw, uncomfortable examination of a family torn apart by two parents who love their daughter only half as much as they love themselves. full review
  18. The Babymakers 2012 Even those with the lowest enjoyment threshold for knuckle-dragging comedies will be hard-pressed to find joy in this impotent misfire from director Jay Chandrasekhar. full review
  19. Detropia 2012 A fascinating portrait of a 21st-century post-industrial hellscape. full review
  20. General Education 2012 Defiantly humorless, the comedy is little more than a grab-bag of familiar high school-film cliches populated with bland characters played by barely-there actors. It was clearly a labor of love for no one. full review
  21. Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai 2012 A quiet, narratively layered period drama with a focus squarely on character. full review
  22. Last Ounce of Courage 2012 Bookended by a pair of Ronald Reagan quotes, "Last Ounce of Courage" is pure preaching-to-the-choir poppycock. full review
  23. Little Red Wagon 2012 Even the cheesiest inspirational flicks have to be populated with characters who have something at stake. Conflict is the heart of good storytelling, and "Little Red Wagon" is conflict-free to the point of catatonia. full review
  24. /titles/200138 "Barefoot" plays its romance straight and glossy, trying to pass off serious mental illness as a cutesy character quirk that needs only the balm of true love to resolve itself. full review
  25. /titles/197403 "Blue Ruin" is a movie about revenge, but it reaches far past the bottom-shelf titillations of fantasy to tell a richer, character-driven story with a protagonist who's less avenging angel than ghost. full review
  26. /titles/199567 The film flits from one subplot to another and not in that delightfully freewheeling European kind of way. full review
  27. /titles/197351 Director Mike Newell approaches the sprawling bildungsroman with a stiff formalism, sacrificing all cinematic excitement for the sake of exalting great performances. full review
  28. /titles/198046 Tackles the topic of life-ending despair with all the delicacy and grace of a Hallmark greeting card. full review
  29. /titles/197090 Even the most math-averse viewer will be on pins and needs to know the results. full review
  30. /titles/198208 Yes, her capacity for such deeply wretched feelings is necessary to her art; the film succeeds at convincing us of that. But it doesn't inspire a lot of sympathy for a woman who is so clearly the author of her own misery. full review