Claudia Puig, USA Today

  1. Devil's Knot 2014 A nimble filmmaker, Egoyan wisely underplays the exploitative aspects of the story and never loses sight of the tragic deaths. full review
  2. Aftershock 2013 It's hard to imagine just who would want to sit through this movie, given the sadistic mayhem the audience is subjected to. full review
  3. The Angels' Share 2013 The plot thickens, but the mood grows lighter. full review
  4. Arthur Newman 2013 It's almost its own genre in indie films: Boring middle-aged man tired of his existence meets up with free-spirited but troubled younger woman. Romance and newfound meaning ensue. full review
  5. The Big Wedding 2013 It might take a glass of champagne or two to get through The Big Wedding. full review
  6. The Croods 2013 The pace is brisk and occasionally slapstick, and some amusing situations stem from the cavemen displaying brawn over brains. full review
  7. Dead Man Down 2013 As a gritty thriller, Dead Man Down doesn't stand out among its bullet-riddled brethren. full review
  8. Diana 2013 Lacks any insight into the characters involved, and surely would have the late Princess of Wales rolling in her grave. full review
  9. Don Jon 2013 Writer/director/star Joseph Gordon-Levitt takes an intriguing subject - human attraction - and nimbly probes it with wit, insight and a disarming forthrightness. full review
  10. Drinking Buddies 2013 Director Joe Swanberg and a terrific ensemble cast imbue a simple story with authenticity and shambling charm. full review
  11. Emperor 2013 The subject is intrinsically compelling, yet the central story is padded with an uninvolving love story that functions mostly as obvious symbolism about compassion for the enemy. full review
  12. The English Teacher 2013 This is a brisk comedy, with some formulaic moments made better by a top-notch cast ... full review
  13. Family Weekend 2013 The kind of dark-for-dark's sake, wannabe quirkfest that proves indie films can be just as cliched and vapid as the most soulless Hollywood movies. full review
  14. Filly Brown 2013 Unfortunately, the film is marred by a story, situations and stereotypical characters that strike all-too-familiar chords. full review
  15. Free Birds 2013 Likable and amusing, if slight. full review
  16. Girl Most Likely 2013 A failure from start to finish. full review
  17. The Host 2013 Ronan is better than the material she's given as Melanie/Wanda. The star of Atonement and Hanna conveys more intelligence than her foolish dual roles call for. full review
  18. The Iceman 2013 Shannon is brilliantly unnerving as he callously dispenses with people, then returns home to maintain his facade of a loving husband and father. full review
  19. In the House 2013 With its complex look at storytelling, imagination and the teacher-student dynamic, In the House is an elaborate cinematic fresco. full review
  20. Insidious: Chapter 2 2013 Yes, of course it's the sequel to 2010's Insidious, but it seems cobbled together from outtakes. full review
  21. Jobs 2013 A blandly superficial treatment of a deeply complex man. full review
  22. Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain 2013 His energetic stand-up routine at the Garden can be riotously funny. It also can be frenetic and repetitive. More judicious editing would have showcased his talents better. full review
  23. Lovelace 2013 Epstein and Friedman opt for the most broadly entertaining and salacious details about the 1972 porn film, giving short shrift to Lovelace's complicated contradictions. full review
  24. Much Ado About Nothing 2013 Much Ado About Nothing is a delightfully spirited romp, filled with visual splendor, strong performances and flashes of post-modern absurdity. full review
  25. Olympus Has Fallen 2013 This is for those who like their political thrillers far-fetched, far-reaching and filled with pretty people. full review
  26. Only God Forgives 2013 God may forgive you for seeing this needlessly brutal film. But you won't forgive yourself. full review
  27. Peeples 2013 A predictable domestic comedy with some inspired comic touches. full review
  28. Phantom 2013 As one might expect from a submarine drama, Phantom is claustrophobic and confining. If only it were compelling. full review
  29. Prince Avalanche 2013 Worth seeing for its offbeat character study. full review
  30. Safe Haven 2013 Safe Haven may not be the most dangerous place to spend Valentine's Day - but it's hardly a worthwhile romantic choice. full review
  31. Short Term 12 2013 Don't be put off by its forgettable title. Short Term 12 is a deeply memorable film. full review
  32. The Smurfs 2 2013 This insipid, and sometimes awkward, blend of animation, computer generation and live action wastes a ton of talent and lacks a true sense of whimsy. full review
  33. Stories We Tell 2013 A brilliant, thought-provoking documentary. full review
  34. Turbo 2013 Has some appealing characters, a few laughs and then devolves into a predictable Tortoise and the Hare spinoff. full review
  35. Unfinished Song 2013 The movie works mostly because of the artistry of its stellar cast and heartfelt script by writer-director Paul Andrew Williams. full review
  36. War Witch 2013 A powerful and upsetting portrait of a young girl compelled into unimaginably horrific circumstances. full review
  37. What Maisie Knew 2013 The camera is often at Maisie's eye level, emphasizing how adults are seen by the perceptive Maisie. The sad-eyed Aprile's honest portrayal is heart-wrenching. full review
  38. Winnie Mandela 2013 Winnie Mandela is a simplistic look at a complex figure. full review
  39. Marvel's The Avengers 2012 Audiences have been eagerly anticipating this first all-hero extravaganza for years. The wait was worth it. full review
  40. The Awakening 2012 The cast is anchored by two wonderful actresses: Imelda Staunton and Rebecca Hall, whose talents are squandered on this lackluster horror drama. full review
  41. Bachelorette 2012 Talented actors are wasted in a film that induces more cringes than chuckles as women old enough to know better act like horny sailors on leave, absorb mass quantities of alcohol and drugs, and generally behave horribly. full review
  42. The Cabin in the Woods 2012 Though there are plot holes in the elaborately concocted scenarios, The Cabin in the Woods gets points for the twists and turns that come along with its sly wickedness. full review
  43. Casa de mi padre 2012 This very funny spoof of telenovelas and classic Mexican westerns is decidedly offbeat and absurdly daffy. full review
  44. Cosmopolis 2012 It's all vapid snark, didactic sermonizing and bewildering shock tactics. full review
  45. The Dictator 2012 While tastelessness is rampant and the humor uneven, The Dictator also has its moments of slyly clever satire. full review
  46. Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey 2012 Well-chronicled and fascinating, Don't Stop Believin' is a cinematic journey well worth taking. full review
  47. Dredd 2012 While not for the squeamish, Dredd 3D is an effectively gritty B movie accentuated by stylish visuals and irreverent humor. full review
  48. End of Watch 2012 The shaky camera work -- often a gimmicky stylistic option -- is an effective choice here, both as a story element and a technique. full review
  49. The Expendables 2 2012 The Expendables 2 is corny, barbaric and sometimes visually murky. But humor and self-deprecating macho charm make this male pattern badness crowd-pleasing fun. full review
  50. Flight 2012 The image of the heroic he-man, so entrenched in Hollywood mythology, takes an intriguing detour with Flight. full review
  51. Friends With Kids 2012 It offers the rare combination of romance, humor, an inventive conceit and social relevance, without adhering slavishly to rom-com conventions. full review
  52. Fun Size 2012 There's little fun to be had in this foolish Halloween comedy that generates many more eye rolls than laughs. full review
  53. Girl In Progress 2012 Girl in Progress seems like a work in progress. full review
  54. The Grey 2012 What starts as a tense and moody survival thriller fairly quickly becomes tedious, forced and far-fetched as a septet of men is preyed upon by a wolf pack in the Alaska wilderness. full review
  55. The Guilt Trip 2012 Embarrassing dreck, masquerading as comedy ... full review
  56. The Intouchables 2012 An exuberantly charming French buddy comedy that proves an audience will suspend disbelief and follow an unlikely story as long as it's superbly crafted. full review
  57. Jack Reacher 2012 Reacher is limited by a lack of originality and hampered by thematic cliches and generic action sequences. full review
  58. A Late Quartet 2012 The outstanding ensemble cast keeps the story - and its accompanying emotional heft - from becoming overly baroque. full review
  59. Lawless 2012 The unflinching slicing and dicing is viscerally brutal, but without sufficient character development Lawless simply feels lifeless. full review
  60. Mansome 2012 Mansome's crowning achievement is its title. full review
  61. Not Fade Away 2012 Well-observed but occasionally disjointed, it's a film that's more about thematic tone, sound and images than it is driven by plot. full review
  62. The Paperboy 2012 Daniels' deft adaptation of Pete Dexter's 1996 novel is even more disturbing on screen than on the page. It's a Southern Gothic noir thriller with a terrific ensemble cast. full review
  63. ParaNorman 2012 An entertaining and visually attractive family-friendly story. full review
  64. The Possession 2012 Rather than embellish imaginatively, screenwriter Leslie Gornstein seems to have re-watched The Exorcist, Poltergeist and The Unborn for inspiration. full review
  65. The Queen of Versailles 2012 Director Lauren Greenfield's timing turned out to be extraordinarily fortuitous in its depiction of how the mighty also fall, in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. full review
  66. The Raven 2012 A serial killer/Gothic drama/love story hybrid, it has some nicely mounted atmospheric scenes and strong acting from John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe. full review
  67. Red Dawn 2012 Scenes are rather murkily shot and characters are like cardboard cutouts. full review
  68. Red Hook Summer 2012 Lee's latest film feels like several intriguing ideas in search of an over-arching story. full review
  69. Red Lights 2012 Someone should have stopped Red Lights. full review
  70. A Royal Affair 2012 A Royal Affair covers plenty of stately ground, all in good time. full review
  71. Safe 2012 Yakin's slick direction, marked by quick cuts, unstinting energy and a lack of sentimentality, makes the action scenes satisfying. But he's a better director than writer. full review
  72. The Sapphires 2012 Despite some predictable facets, The Sapphires shines brightly. full review
  73. Skyfall 2012 What a difference 50 years makes. It might sound blasphemous, but in Skyfall Daniel Craig has it all over previous 007s. full review
  74. Sleepwalk With Me 2012 The semi-autobiographical tale is appealingly low-key and alternately funny and melancholy, informed by Birbiglia's casual delivery. full review
  75. Take This Waltz 2012 Take This Waltz and shove it. full review
  76. What to Expect When You're Expecting 2012 What audiences should expect is a tone-deaf, superficial, charmless ensemble rom-com, focused on five attractive, but uninteresting, couples. full review
  77. Brighton Rock 2011 Evocative music and stylish visual flourishes from first-time director Rowan Joffe bring heft to a predictable thriller set during a summer of youthful unrest. full review
  78. Friends With Benefits 2011 Timberlake and Kunis definitely bring sexy back to a tired formula. If only the movie had been worthy of their expertly playful pairing. full review
  79. I Don't Know How She Does It 2011 Though it aims to be a sharply humorous look at the mommy wars, I Don't Know How She Does It has nothing remotely new or comical in its arsenal. full review
  80. Our Idiot Brother 2011 The laughs are consistent and occasionally outlandish, but more often, they arise out of recognizable family situations. full review
  81. Sanctum 2011 Actually being stuck in a remote waterlogged grotto might be more tolerable than enduring this disaster of an adventure movie. full review
  82. Undefeated 2011 Undefeated chronicles a championship season but covers turf that extends miles beyond the football field. full review
  83. Biutiful 2010 Biutiful is a love story about the bonds of parenthood with pinpoints of redemptive light amid the darkness. full review
  84. The Joneses 2010 Crass materialism and ridiculous marketing ploys are skewered by writer/director Derrick Borte in this uneven cautionary tale that starts off incisively funny, then devolves into preachiness. full review
  85. The King's Speech 2010 Let's say it without equivocation: Colin Firth deserves an Oscar for his lead role in The King's Speech as the stammering King George VI. full review
  86. Nowhere Boy 2010 Director Sam Taylor-Wood weaves this tale with elegance, spot-on costumes and production design, and finely tuned casting. full review
  87. The Switch 2010 Didn't Jennifer Lopez play essentially the same role this year in The Back-Up Plan? Only in the movies are glamorous, 40ish single women leaping into single parenthood via sperm donation. full review
  88. The Proposal 2009 Though it falls short of winning our hearts completely, The Proposal is a serviceable and intermittently funny romance made enjoyable by the sparks between Bullock and Reynolds. full review
  89. An American Affair 2009 The title sums up the bland, unimaginative and cliche-laden thriller/coming-of-age tale. full review
  90. The Boys Are Back 2009 This lovely and emotionally resonant film about a family shattered by grief deserves better than a forgettably glib title that conjures up images of beer brawls or gangster affiliations. full review
  91. Fish Tank 2009 Jarvis' debut performance is a bracingly authentic revelation. She was discovered by filmmakers in a train station as she fought with her boyfriend, and brings just the right blend of feisty forcefulness and awkward tenderness to the part. full review
  92. The Fourth Kind 2009 You don't have to believe in far-fetched tales of mysterious beams of light and alien abductions to get caught up in The Fourth Kind. full review
  93. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest 2009 It always is a challenge to convert a dense novel to the screen, but Hornet's Nest starts so slowly that it has a lot to overcome when it finally reveals some surprises in the last third of the film. full review
  94. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 2009 Stieg Larsson's best-selling crime novel has all the makings of a cinematic thriller. As directed by Niels Arden Oplev in Swedish with English subtitles, Tattoo is mesmerizing. full review
  95. The House of the Devil 2009 West avoids cliche and cheesiness with wise casting choices. Donahue's naturalistic performance is as persuasive as the subtly sinister portrayals by Tom Noonan and Mary Woronov. full review
  96. I Hate Valentine's Day 2009 Nia Vardalos wrote, directed and stars in this clunky, unfunny and plodding mess. She doesn't write dialogue, she writes shtick. Her direction seems awkward and amateurish, her acting is more like mugging. full review
  97. The Secret of Kells 2009 The Secret of Kells is a magical adventure unlike anything we've seen on screen before. full review
  98. World's Greatest Dad 2009 Though hampered by an uneven tone and a disturbing conclusion, World's Greatest Dad is a bold, black comedy balanced by an unexpected sense of humanity. full review
  99. Bottle Shock 2008 It's the kind of feel-good movie whose resolution is evident from the start, being based as it is on a true story. But that doesn't make the journey any less interesting. full review
  100. Diminished Capacity 2008 It has moments of sweetness, but not enough poignancy or wit to turn it into the endearing art-house comedy that it aspires to be. full review
  101. Elegy 2008 A spare, meditative and melancholy film. full review
  102. Happy-Go-Lucky 2008 It is a decidedly clear-eyed exploration of the challenges of being happy. And, as such, it's both an enjoyable comedy and a fascinating character study. full review
  103. In Bruges 2008 It is easily one of the best debut feature films in recent memory. The notion of a pair of hit men cooling their heels as they're forced to play tourist in a picture-postcard town is clever enough. But as the story unspools, it grows more intriguing. full review
  104. Management 2008 Though the flimsy romance follows a predictable path, Management has its whimsically offbeat moments, and Zahn is puppy-dog adorable. full review
  105. New York, I Love You 2008 If you're not a stickler for consistency, this is an effective pastiche and tribute to one of the world's most enticing cities. full review
  106. Rachel Getting Married 2008 Rachel Getting Married is at its best in scenes featuring Hathaway's mercurial character. It's a triumphant and darkly nuanced role for her and a departure from the more lighthearted comedic performances she has given. full review
  107. Sex Drive 2008 While it elicits a few laughs, Sex Drive has little to ignite either the comic road-trip genre or the teen-sex romp. full review
  108. Star Wars: The Clone Wars 2008 The story lacks narrative tension. The dialogue is stilted and overblown, a problem also in some of the live-action incarnations. That, combined with visuals that consistently lack punch, leaves little to engage us. full review
  109. The Tale of Despereaux 2008 While the story does not quite come to magical life, the themes of courage, hope and decency are sweetly inspiring. full review
  110. Cidade dos Homens (City of Men) 2007 While Men is not as energetic or bracing as God, it is a disturbing exploration of violent drug culture in Rio's shantytowns. It's also a poignant look at the legacies of fathers who abdicate their responsibilities. full review
  111. Crazy Love 2007 Simultaneously disturbing and luridly entertaining. full review
  112. Hot Rod 2007 If you're looking for plausibility, this is not your movie. If you're looking for laughs, this is not your movie. If you like seeing delusional overgrown adolescents fall down a lot, then this one's for you. full review
  113. The Hunting Party 2007 ...The Hunting Party still is a movie worth chasing down. full review
  114. A Mighty Heart 2007 Emotionally and viscerally compelling and retains a suspenseful, edge-of-the-seat quality. full review
  115. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day 2007 Based on the 1938 novel by Winifred Watson, Miss Pettigrew is a veritable treat. Wisely cast, this handsome production is a delightful farcical fairy tale, bolstered by moments of depth and emotion. full review
  116. Mr. Bean's Holiday 2007 The film, set mostly in France, pays homage to Jacques Tati, but the mostly silent gags feel like watered-down Bean. full review
  117. Phoebe in Wonderland 2007 An uneven, unfocused amalgamation of ideas and moods that is at times deeply moving nonetheless. full review
  118. Reign Over Me 2007 This is not a simple, uplifting tale. It's never clear whether Charlie will fully recover, and that sense of realism is the film's strength. full review
  119. Akeelah and the Bee 2006 ... it's easy to overlook that contrivance, because the movie's heart is so clearly in the right place. full review
  120. Click 2006 This is not a truly awful movie, but it's not worth wasting money on. full review
  121. Curious George 2006 The movie, particularly the endearing George, should appeal to young children, and the humor should elicit a few chuckles among their parents as well. full review
  122. Flyboys 2006 full review
  123. Jesus Camp 2006 full review
  124. Keeping Up With The Steins 2006 Blends humor with heart for a satisfying, if predictable, experience. full review
  125. Penelope 2006 While uneven, this Ugly Duckling redux is hipper and funnier than a Disney movie, and the positive message to young girls can't be discounted. full review
  126. Scoop 2006 Scoop is worthwhile viewing for Allen's quips. Just don't expect much of a story. full review
  127. The Ice Harvest 2005 Given that pedigree, it's all the more disappointing that this movie falls flat. full review
  128. Stoned 2005 Most of the movie is a tired sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll cliche, and many of the performances are so bad as to be laughable. full review
  129. Little Black Book 2004 Textbook chick flick. full review
  130. Without A Paddle 2004 Think Road Trip meets City Slickers. Then dial the humor down a few notches, and you're left Without a Paddle. full review
  131. Beyond Borders 2003 A far-fetched romantic adventure. full review
  132. Daddy Day Care 2003 Murphy is so oddly bland in Daddy Day Care that it seems like he sleepwalked through the making of the film. full review
  133. DysFunKtional Family 2003 Highlights some of the best, and raunchiest, of [Griffin's] humor. full review
  134. Love Actually 2003 Love Actually is irresistible. full review
  135. Mona Lisa Smile 2003 Rather than being a fascinating exploration of a much more constrained time in our social history, the film simply feels anachronistic. full review
  136. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 2003 Pirates will enthrall kids and amuse adults. Its only failing is that at 2 hours and 15 minutes, it's about 20 minutes too long. full review
  137. Radio 2003 Though probably well-intentioned, Radio comes off as manipulative of its audience and exploitative of the mentally challenged. full review
  138. Spy Kids 3-D - Game Over 2003 This third installment follows up on the thrills and dazzling visuals that charmed audiences in the first film. full review
  139. Tears of the Sun 2003 The movie might have gotten a dramatic boost from its topical theme, indirect as it is. Unfortunately, it's not one-tenth as interesting as what you can see at home during a nightly cable surf as U.S. war policy is debated. full review
  140. Equilibrium 2002 A moderately entertaining cautionary tale. full review
  141. The Master of Disguise 2002 Lacking even a hint of humor or a watchable story, Disguise has distinguished itself as the summer's worst movie. full review
  142. Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams 2002 Given the appeal of his first movie, Rodriguez had a big act to follow. Spy Kids ' progeny, though slightly lacking in the warmth of the first, should no doubt please audiences. full review
  143. Treasure Planet 2002 Treasure Planet doesn't have the charm of Disney's last homegrown release, Lilo & Stitch, or the dazzling artistry of Spirited Away. But it's a capable and diverting holiday season adventure for a family audience. full review
  144. Novocaine 2001 With Bonham Carter's been-there, done-that performance and a plot that spins out of control, we end up with a movie that you can't quite sink your teeth into. full review
  145. /titles/197053 It's a silly comedy and Alan's a petty egomaniac, but Coogan is a hoot as he skewers regional British radio and sends up conceited fools. full review
  146. /titles/197134 One of the worst Christmas movies in years. full review
  147. /titles/197180 Freaky Friday pulls off the unexpected and offers one of the best family-friendly comedies in a summer that is rife with family movies. full review
  148. /titles/197351 For those who prefer their classic literary adaptations to be as pure as possible, Great Expectations will be a happy addition to the canon. full review
  149. /titles/197205 It would be nice to be able to report that Kinky Boots is a kick in the pants. But this conventional, manipulative British import feels like a re-soled pair of shoes that unquestionably have seen their day. full review
  150. /titles/197382 Middle of Nowhere explores the contours of loneliness and the boundaries of loyalty in a way that is both artful and emotionally revealing. full review
  151. /titles/197293 For those who don't equate sexual appetite with the intricacies of fly fishing, Nymphomaniac: Vol. 1 is more tiresome than titillating. full review
  152. /titles/197207 Despite gripping chase sequences and a few awe-inspiring fiery explosions, gaping holes in the convoluted plot make Shooter heavier on style than substance. full review
  153. /titles/197192 A clever parlor trick but a dull movie. full review
  154. /titles/197383 Though the film is tonally inconsistent, the overall empathy with which characters are presented, and some topnotch performances, help blunt the story's stumbling moments. full review
  155. /titles/197346 There are exhilarating moments, and there are some undeniably tense scenes. Mixed in, however, is possibly more trudging than you're going to see in any other film. full review

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