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Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times

  1. Omar 2014 It is difficult to figure out which is the film's more pressing theme - the power of love to change the course of a life, or the political and social realities of living in occupied territory. full review
  2. Stranger by the Lake 2014 French filmmaker Alain Guiraudie's tantalizingly erotic fable of love, passion and death. full review
  3. Adore 2013 It's a challenging film, but maybe not as challenging as it should be. full review
  4. The Angels' Share 2013 "The Angels' Share" leaves a warm glow. full review
  5. Arthur Newman 2013 The promise it begins with doesn't pay off. And while "Arthur Newman" is not a complete disaster, it does leave you wishing the romance and the ride had been a whole lot smoother. full review
  6. The Big Wedding 2013 Like many big weddings - a lot of things go wrong and not much goes right. full review
  7. Call Me Kuchu 2013 Both Senyonjo and Kato light up the screen. full review
  8. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 2013 Honestly, anyone who can pull off a running joke about leeks that does not make you gag, and is in fact a silly delight, deserves props. full review
  9. Computer Chess 2013 You need no particular knowledge or affection for the game of kings to appreciate the whimsy of "Computer Chess." full review
  10. The Croods 2013 Like the continents, it's a little too easy to drift away. full review
  11. Crystal Fairy 2013 Scenic, short and slight, the film manages to avoid the tendency to make these sort of big-screen excursions more tedious than actual road trips. full review
  12. Cutie And The Boxer 2013 Working as director and cinematographer, Heinzerling earned the couple's trust before turning his camera on their days and nights. But once that camera was running, there was no blinking, no turning away. full review
  13. Dead Man Down 2013 A moody twist of hyper-violent vengeance and heartache where death is hand-delivered, mercy is hard to come by and love is never easy. full review
  14. Don Jon 2013 Who would have thought one of the most amusing and oddly insightful romantic comedies would be built around the power and the potent pull of porn? full review
  15. Drug War 2013 To has a great mastery of timing; he knows just how long to let a look linger before cutting away, how little he can reveal without losing us. full review
  16. Emperor 2013 Regrettably, "Emperor" does not match MacArthur's vigor, or mine his legacy. Instead, the movie is Fellers' tale and dryly told. full review
  17. The English Teacher 2013 "The English Teacher" is a tragedy masquerading as a comedy and doing a disservice to both. full review
  18. G.I. Joe: Retaliation 2013 To borrow from Jack in the Box, "G. I. Joe: Retaliation" is one hot mess. full review
  19. Home Run 2013 Almost from the beginning the message overwhelms the medium. full review
  20. The Host 2013 Pick up the book. It does a far better job of breathing life into this monochromatic new world than the film. full review
  21. The Iceman 2013 "The Iceman's" problem rests instead with the script, which the director wrote with Morgan Land, his collaborator on the "Rx" screenplay. It never gets underneath Kuklinski's skin in a way that illuminates the psychosis. full review
  22. In the Fog 2013 Intimate in the telling, sweeping in the implications, Loznitsa has created an unusually incisive film. full review
  23. In the House 2013 The final scene is so open-ended that like Germain, you won't want the story to end. full review
  24. The Iran Job 2013 "The Iran Job" is one of those documentaries that is sad and hopeful in equal measure and exceptional in its storytelling. full review
  25. Mother Of George 2013 An unexpected gem about true love, infertility and a meddling mother-in-law. full review
  26. Mud 2013 One of the most creatively rich and emotionally rewarding movies to come along this year. full review
  27. Paradise: Hope 2013 The most hopeful - and the best - of this solid and unsettling series. full review
  28. Paranoia 2013 Did Harrison Ford hope the shorn look would give his high-tech mogul Jock Goddard some edge? He certainly needed something to. full review
  29. Parker 2013 Screenwriter John J. McLaughlin has rendered a faithful adaptation of "Flashfire," one of the 24 novels filled with Parker's meticulous schemes and personal machinations. full review
  30. Prince Avalanche 2013 The film ultimately plays like an unfinished thought. It's a good thought, mind you, but like the road, it seems to go nowhere. full review
  31. Safe Haven 2013 Long on beauty shots, short on depth and seriously intent on tugging your heartstrings. Indeed, it demands you reach for those tissues. Sob. full review
  32. Sightseers 2013 If you are in the mood for a bizarre tale of how to rid the British countryside of some of society's modern ills - litterbugs beware - "Sightseers" should do the trick. full review
  33. Simon Killer 2013 It is brutally raw and difficult watching. full review
  34. Something in the Air 2013 In creating a mashup of a Paris rocked by political storms and a young man in just as much turmoil, the director has given us a glimpse of an imperfect moment and an imperfect life in a slightly imperfect but wonderful film. full review
  35. Star Trek Into Darkness 2013 It's a great deal of brash fun, and it should satisfy all those basic Trekkie cravings. full review
  36. Turbo 2013 Honestly, they pretty much had me at "racing snails." full review
  37. We Are What We Are 2013 Mickle never seems in a hurry, so there is time to take note of the detail. "We Are" is rich in that regard. full review
  38. What Maisie Knew 2013 Without losing the 19th century author's sensibility, screenwriters Carroll Cartwright and Nancy Doyne have brought into the modern age James' unforgiving examination of the effect of a messy divorce on a child. full review
  39. Any Day Now 2012 Cumming is the linchpin, and the actor does an exceptional job of moving across the vast galaxy of universal emotions about partners and parenthood. He takes us to the heart of the matter in ways that matter most. full review
  40. Arbitrage 2012 A tense and chilling horror story for financially fraught times. full review
  41. Bachelorette 2012 Even in this dreary, going nowhere role, Dunst is fascinating to watch. full review
  42. The Cabin in the Woods 2012 All the actors do a decent job with whatever is thrown at them - usually sharp objects. full review
  43. Cosmopolis 2012 DeLillo's brilliant analysis of the destructive power of wealth that took such seductive hold on page has a tough time gaining traction on screen. full review
  44. Deadfall 2012 At times it is riveting stuff and at times ridiculous. full review
  45. Defiant Requiem 2012 It is better when it focuses on the two men. The seriously false note is in the reenactments. full review
  46. Detropia 2012 City services are shutting down, schools are closing, houses are being demo'd by the thousands - like lights being turned out one by one, "Detropia" powerfully captures a city fighting not to go dark. full review
  47. The Dictator 2012 By turns hysterical, heretical, guilty, innocent, silly, sophisticated, teasing and tedious. full review
  48. End of Watch 2012 A visceral story of beat cops that is rare in its sensitivity, rash in its violence and raw in its humor. full review
  49. The Expendables 2 2012 What gives "Expendables 2" its charm is the film's unabashed nostalgia for the genre's best B-movie moments. full review
  50. The Forgiveness of Blood 2012 More a story of whispers when cries are what's called for with lives, livelihoods and family honor on the line. full review
  51. God Bless America 2012 This funny, sick twist of social satire is certainly locked and loaded, even if its aim is sometimes off. full review
  52. I Wish 2012 There is a lot of hope in the air in "I Wish," but the film never feels sappy. full review
  53. Katy Perry: Part of Me 2012 As one record executive put it, for too long the industry tried to make Katy Perry into something or someone else. The secret, which "Part of Me" captures quite nicely, was to just let her be. full review
  54. Kill List 2012 The camera is unflinching, and so is Wheatley, as the story moves toward the unthinkable. It's left to you when and whether to look away. full review
  55. Lay the Favorite 2012 What has happened to director Stephen Frears? full review
  56. Little Birds 2012 Though the plotting is problematic and at times as lost as the kids, there are bursts of brilliance and moments of aching vulnerability in "Little Birds" that make you wonder what the filmmaker might do next. full review
  57. The Loneliest Planet 2012 Shot on location by cinematographer Inti Briones, "Planet" is a piece of art even without Bernal and Furstenberg, who are like moving portraits of themselves in this film. full review
  58. Nobody Walks 2012 If you allow yourself to drift with it, rather than get frustrated by all the non sequiturs, "Nobody Walks" becomes a more enjoyable film. full review
  59. Nuit #1 2012 Returning to some of the same themes she explored in her short films, Emond continues her smart contemplation of youth and the difficulties of making meaningful emotional connections in these times. full review
  60. ParaNorman 2012 It may be the most fun you'll have with ghosts and zombies all year. full review
  61. Playing for Keeps 2012 At some point you hope [Butler] will find a movie that will give him the right material to make hearts truly beat faster. full review
  62. The Raven 2012 It's neither grand nor grisly enough to seriously satisfy Poe-ish cravings for murder, mystery and literary allusions. full review
  63. Red Hook Summer 2012 In truth, the film fizzles as much as it fumes. There is a kind of lassitude that sets in, even as it builds toward some kind of reckoning. full review
  64. Sleepwalk With Me 2012 "Sleepwalk With Me's" transition from stage to screen primarily works because Birbiglia continues to carry the weight. full review
  65. Take This Waltz 2012 Somehow it is the waiting - for the fall that you expect is coming, for the marriage you figure will fall apart - that makes "Take This Waltz" one to make room for on your dance card. full review
  66. What to Expect When You're Expecting 2012 Cute couple Kendrick and Crawford are completely lost at sea. But the guys in the Dudes Group have the worst of it - they are a whiny, unappealing bunch through and through. full review
  67. Bones Brigade: An Autobiography 2011 Like a high school reunion, filled with affectionate memories of an earlier, more innocent, time. full review
  68. Buck 2011 What a relief in times saturated with news of the worst of humanity to see something of the best. full review
  69. Into The Abyss 2011 What is missing is something new - clarity, insight, outrage. Instead, its understatement is ultimately its undoing. full review
  70. The Kid with a Bike 2011 A wonderfully human and humane story about one of those lost-and-found children who tend to slip through society's not-so-safe safety nets. full review
  71. Knuckle 2011 Though you will wish for more polish and insight, its unruly action is hard to resist. full review
  72. Our Idiot Brother 2011 The comedy isn't always as crisp as it should be, but Peretz has the perfect partner in crime in Rudd. full review
  73. Sarah Palin: You Betcha! 2011 The barbs feel stale at best, squandered at worst, and the ominous music that accompanies each sounds as if it has been lifted from the silent movie era. full review
  74. All Good Things 2010 Gosling is given the barest blueprint of a life gone terribly wrong and the actor struggles to make something out of nothing, though he does manage to give the older David an aura of weirdness that is downright creepy. full review
  75. Casino Jack 2010 Though the film is peppered with one-liners tailor-made for Spacey to sling with stinging effect, it doesn't so much leave you laughing as just weary, and wishing this weren't a true story at all. full review
  76. Centurion 2010 By turns heroic, fearsome, funny, fateful and, oh, so brutal, with swords hacking off heads at every turn. full review
  77. Cool It 2010 By bringing in a diverse group of big thinkers to take part in a very animated, sometimes agitated, discussion, the filmmaker has succeeded in bringing what could have been a very dry mountain of data, theories and experimental research to vibrant life. full review
  78. Heartbeats 2010 Dolan is proving to be adept at and unafraid of teasing out the flaws of his characters, seemingly more concerned with whether they are interesting than whether an audience will like them. full review
  79. Restrepo 2010 Just how close the filmmakers were to the action, and the risks they took with the project, filter into virtually every scene. We hear the bullets whizzing past, breaking branches in nearby trees. full review
  80. The Switch 2010 More his journey than hers, more satire than slapstick, the film is that rare example of rom-com about men, which turns out to be a nice switch indeed. full review
  81. Vanishing On 7th Street 2010 Anderson spends most of his energy creating a mood - making "Vanishing" more cerebral than white-knuckle, though a few more shrieks (mine) might have been nice. full review
  82. The Proposal 2009 The Proposal is just a good old-fashioned romance, one in which people actually bring out the best in one another rather than the worst. How novel is that? full review
  83. An American Affair 2009 There are scenes that work here and there, but regrettably not nearly enough to hold the film together. In the end, this affair is definitely not one to remember. full review
  84. The Boys Are Back 2009 The Boys Are Back is a bit like the parenting it portrays -- at times there is pain, mistakes will be made, but if you can get beyond that, there is pleasure to be found. full review
  85. Bruno 2009 Baron Cohen's instincts for outrage are spot on. It's not insight we need at all right now, but a very sharp bonk on the head. full review
  86. Extract 2009 While Extract is mildly amusing and a slice of a mostly working-class world that doesn't make it into comedy that much anymore, it's not completely convincing as a movie. full review
  87. Fish Tank 2009 The brilliant power of the film comes from the gritty reality Arnold creates. full review
  88. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest 2009 An extremely satisfying ending to the story of Lisbeth Salander, the tough Swedish cyber punk that actress Noomi Rapace has turned into an iconic New Age heroine. full review
  89. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 2009 Everyone has secrets in the The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, a mind-bending and mesmerizing thriller that takes its time unlocking one mystery only to uncover another, all to chilling and immensely satisfying effect. full review
  90. The Limits of Control 2009 Instead the film is like a series of sun-saturated French impressionist paintings, so beautifully is it shot by cinematographer Christopher Doyle and so soft-focus is its narrative. full review
  91. Ondine 2009 There is enough saving grace on these craggy shores to let the mists and the legends roll in and envelop you for a while. full review
  92. Serious Moonlight 2009 Serious Moonlight has its flaws, but then what marriage doesn't? full review
  93. Management 2008 Though it doesn't always work, it's an idea with its heart in the right place and, paired with nonshock comedy, it's a nice change of pace. full review
  94. New York, I Love You 2008 Even the more predictable prove pleasurable. full review
  95. Tristana 1970 You can almost sense the director's pleasure in taking apart the duplicities of a patriarchal Spanish society, the long-standing sexual double standard for men and one young woman's revolt against convention. full review
  96. /titles/197053 "Alan Partridge" plays to all of Coogan's strengths and all of the character's foibles. full review
  97. /titles/197403 "Blue Ruin" is an uneven film, and there are slip-ups along the way, but the tension that settles in slowly like a low-grade fever keeps you with it. full review
  98. /titles/197636 "The Moment" is a psychological thriller more muddled than the mind and the maze it is caught up in. full review
  99. /titles/197685 As so often happens with love, what you hope for is not even close to what you get, and in this case we are left with a heartbreaking disappointment of a film. full review
  100. /titles/197118 It's not "On Golden Pond" by any stretch, but it is nice to have Fonda back in the fractious family way. full review

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