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Ian Buckwalter, NPR

  1. 24 Exposures 2014 Improvised dialogue can work wonderfully if the actors have a solid feel for their characters, but everyone here seems rushed and uncomfortable. full review
  2. Big Bad Wolves 2014 Big Bad Wolves uses child abduction as tinder to spark both characters' and viewers' emotions, before asking us to examine the extremities of the reactions. full review
  3. Berberian Sound Studio 2013 It accomplishes the tricky task of paying homage to one type of scary movie while indulging in an entirely different style itself. full review
  4. Dear Mr. Watterson 2013 If nothing else, it's a pleasant reminder that if you haven't taken those Calvin & Hobbes anthologies off the shelf in a while, maybe it's time to go exploring again. full review
  5. Evidence 2013 Moyer plays scenes as if he'd rolled out of bed at noon after a long night of shooting in Bon Temps and had his script pages shoved into his hands five minutes before the director called "Action." full review
  6. Grabbers 2013 Wright checks off the expected genre boxes with the gleeful mischief of a gremlin trashing a plane engine. full review
  7. Machete Kills 2013 Where the first film reflected its simple roots by not reaching for too much, here it too often feels like Rodriguez is trying too hard to impress. full review
  8. Maniac 2013 A remake that, rather than trying to fix the deep flaws of its source, just covers them in a shinier coat of paint. full review
  9. Olympus Has Fallen 2013 It has to be a joke, right? full review
  10. Red Flag 2013 Karpovsky's anxiety-ridden shtick here combines the crippling doubt and self-loathing of many Woody Allen protagonists with the obnoxious solipsism of Larry David. full review
  11. Resolution 2013 A smart and chilling indie horror from co-directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead ... full review
  12. Rubberneck 2013 Both the mystery and the character piece wind up feeling incomplete. full review
  13. Shadow Dancer 2013 Shadow Dancer feels like a thriller, but Marsh is wisely more interested in the tension than in the release. What thrills exist here are carefully tempered by the considered pacing. full review
  14. We Are What We Are 2013 At 72, Parks turns in one of the most tender performances of his career - before reminding us, in the end, that he's still a guy who can sit across a table and make you tremble in fear with a stony gaze. full review
  15. What Maisie Knew 2013 The film raises more uncomfortable questions about Maisie's uncertain future than it ever answers, but that's in keeping with the emotional honesty the filmmakers are striving for. full review
  16. The ABCs of Death 2012 There are just too many stories to fit into two hours - and even with fewer weak links, The ABCs of Death might have fallen short all the same. full review
  17. The Cabin in the Woods 2012 For all of its many intellectual pleasures, and smart commentary, Cabin in the Woods is a visceral roller coaster of a movie at heart. And like the best thrill rides, when it's over, you just want to get back on and go again. full review
  18. Cheerful Weather For The Wedding 2012 The dominance of the madcap side of the film's split personality lays an airy veneer over Dolly and Joseph's woes, making them seem inconsequential - as unsubstantial as an observation about wedding-day weather. full review
  19. The Collection 2012 Genre aficionados are likely to revel in every crunched bone, gratuitous decapitation and slow-motion iron-maiden impaling. full review
  20. Dark Horse 2012 Despite its flaws, Dark Horse largely succeeds as yet another installment in Todd Solondz's career-long examination of the lust for love and security among the deeply damaged. full review
  21. A Fantastic Fear of Everything 2012 The effect eventually becomes that of about a dozen story pitches all strung together. Any one of them might have the potential for greatness in isolation. Try to mash them up into one movie, though, and much like Jack, they fall to pieces. full review
  22. Funeral Kings 2012 That headlong hormonal rush toward what boys perceive as the benefits of adulthood is what the brothers McManus capture here with candor and occasional hilarity. full review
  23. The Grey 2012 The Grey has a certain muscular pull: It's a tough-as-nails study of hardened men struggling with the ostensibly conflicting pulls of stoic masculinity on one hand and love, faith and fear of death on the other. full review
  24. High Ground 2012 Brown takes advantage of the opportunity to present a broad array of feelings, less on the nature of these conflicts in particular and more on the mindset of the soldier in war - and the difficulties faced when no longer in the midst of the conflict. full review
  25. Marley 2012 Stylistically unremarkable, playing it safe with structure, the film is still quietly revelatory. full review
  26. Nobody Walks 2012 Russo-Young's characters simply feel like complex, confused people trying desperately to be happy without also destroying their lives with their poor impulse control. full review
  27. Red Hook Summer 2012 From a storytelling perspective, Red Hook Summer is an absolute mess. full review
  28. Sassy Pants 2012 Sweet and well-intentioned, Sassy Pants is difficult to dislike, despite its missteps. full review
  29. Shut Up and Play the Hits 2012 Shut Up and Play the Hits manages to effectively display the power of that final concert while putting the band's leader into thoughtful cultural perspective. full review
  30. Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie 2012 Even with a measly $3 million dollar price tag, Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie feels like the work of comedic outlaws getting away with something. full review
  31. Burke and Hare 2011 To call it a black comedy is probably misleading: It's grey at best, and apart from a few scattered chuckles, it dies as quickly and gracelessly as Burke and Hare's victims. full review
  32. The Perfect Host 2011 Around every corner is a new twist, a strategically placed misdirection or another switch of predator and prey. But while the gamesmanship is satisfying in moderation, it becomes a little monotonous in excess. full review
  33. Trishna 2011 Something in Hardy's tragic inclinations obviously appeals to Winterbottom; this is the third time he's adapted one of the author's novels, with the liberties he takes with the source material increasing each time. full review
  34. All Good Things 2010 There's plenty of information on what (might have) happened, but not much thought given to why. full review
  35. And Everything Is Going Fine 2010 Soderbergh imposes a shape until the film begins to feel less like puzzle pieces in search of their place and more like one seamless picture: with this collage of the artist's past work, he's created an entirely new final monologue for Gray. full review
  36. Bill Cunningham New York 2010 The equal billing in the title is no accident: Cunningham's story is the story of New York itself, about the ways it has changed through the decades and how that history was captured on all those miles of film passing through Cunningham's camera. full review
  37. Black Death 2010 "Going medieval" on your enemies isn't just a figure of speech in Christopher Smith's stylish spatter-horror exercise, which uses desperation-fueled religious fervor to interrogate the intersection of fear and faith. full review
  38. Casino Jack And The United States Of Money 2010 The narrative trots all over the globe, including stops for labor exploitation in the Marianas Islands, dealings with Russian mobsters,ripping off Indian tribes in the desert southwest, and jetting to Scotland to golf with impressionable politicians. full review
  39. Rubber 2010 Either of the film's sides - the horror comedy or the post-modernist commentary - probably wouldn't be enough to sustain the movie on its own. But with both facets taken together, writer/director Quentin Dupieux can have his cake and deconstruct it too. full review
  40. Fish Tank 2009 A bold new entry in the long-standing British tradition of disquieting social realism. full review
  41. The Fourth Kind 2009 When the director divides the screen into quadrants for his big finish, the effect is just laughable -- but then by that point, the movie is too. full review
  42. Great Directors 2009 The film jumps around in dizzying disorganization, illustrating the fact that part of what a director provides to a film is not just vision and leadership, but also, as the word suggests, a narrative direction. full review
  43. /titles/197403 Blue Ruin succeeds on the strength of Saulnier's skill at slowly escalating the tension, even with a would-be action protagonist who is almost comically inept. full review
  44. /titles/197743 If The Double never fully succeeds, it's still exactly the sort of challenge and risk one wants out of a filmmaker as promising as Ayoade. full review

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