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Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times

  1. The Berlin File 2013 There is something sharp, exciting and more original tucked within "The Berlin File" - and it is in moments a sleek, crackling film - but it all feels somehow misshapen. full review
  2. Big Words 2013 Drumming is able to swing from lighter comedic moments to dramatic insights while making it seem effortless. full review
  3. Broken 2013 Solidly done if somewhat unremarkable, there is nothing particularly wrong with "Broken," nothing that needs fixing exactly, and yet it never fully comes together. full review
  4. Family Weekend 2013 What keeps the film afloat is the buoyant young cast, with Rulin especially watchable as the tightly wound lead and Joey King as her younger sister, who's an aspiring actress. full review
  5. The Family 2013 The thing that saves the movie time and again is Besson's uncanny ability to shift tone, sometimes even within a single sequence, from light comedy to serious action, to genuine emotion and even romance. full review
  6. A Haunted House 2013 There are vague hints that the story is "really" about the difficulties and anxiety of commitment, but then one of many variations on a fart joke distracts from any actual idea. full review
  7. If I Were You 2013 Harden is a wonderful actress but struggles to find the complexity in so strained a situation. full review
  8. The Jeffrey Dahmer Files 2013 Mesmerizing and haunting, "The Jeffrey Dahmer Files" is an inside-out serial killer movie, lacking in gore or cheap psychology and made in part for those who think they never want to see another serial killer movie. full review
  9. The Last Stand 2013 "The Last Stand" may not herald a full-scale reemergence for Arnold the Action Star, but it's clearly a step in that direction. full review
  10. My Brother The Devil 2013 "My Brother the Devil" is a promising debut that marks El Hosaini as a filmmaker to watch, but one still very much in the developmental stages. full review
  11. Paradise: Love 2013 The whole affair curdles into a feeling of unearned, defensive superiority. full review
  12. Peeples 2013 An infectious, warm comedy of family and communication and a promising debut as writer-director for Chism. These "Peeples" are people one should be happy to meet. full review
  13. Phantom 2013 A modest thriller propelled by a strong cast and straightforward storytelling. full review
  14. The Secret Disco Revolution 2013 The movie feels like a flakey, off-the-cuff blog post that somehow transmogrified itself into a feature-length documentary. full review
  15. Somebody Up There Likes Me 2013 Words such as offbeat, charming or, Lord help us, quirky are wildly overused and yet this is exactly the kind of film to which they best apply. full review
  16. Texas Chainsaw 2013 The original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" leaves audiences feeling hollowed out, dispirited and dissolute. "Texas Chainsaw 3D" is simply a bummer for being a big nothing. full review
  17. We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks 2013 A sprawling, ambitious, major work -- a gripping exploration of power, personality, technology and the crushing weight that can come to bear on those who find themselves in its combined path. full review
  18. Wrong 2013 Dupieux's absurdism is simply muddled, masking the fact he doesn't really have much to say. full review
  19. 30 Beats 2012 Despite the presence of such actors as Lee Pace, Jennifer Tilly, Justin Kirk, Thomas Sadoski and Paz de la Huerta, there is no character insight allowed by the bumper-car storytelling. full review
  20. 96 Minutes 2012 The feature debut of writer-director Aimee Lagos, the film feels overstuffed and overcooked, as if the filmmaker were trying to get too much out all in one go. full review
  21. Alps 2012 The film takes some deciphering, but once a viewer cracks its code "Alps" opens up into something expansive and rich. full review
  22. The Babymakers 2012 When a movie resorts to scenes of a grown man rolling around on a floor slick with spilled semen samples, something plainly has gone wrong. full review
  23. Bad Ass 2012 It's often difficult to tell what's bad on purpose or just badly handled. The cargo shorts and fanny pack? Purposely funny. The slack pacing? Probably not. full review
  24. Beneath The Darkness 2012 At times it seems the simple ineptitude of "Beneath the Darkness" surely must mask some undercurrent of deeper sophistication and intention on behalf of the filmmakers. Alas, as it turns out, such things never surface. full review
  25. Blood 2012 "Blood" feels perfunctory, needing something besides fussy plotting to jolt it to life. full review
  26. Booker's Place: A Mississippi Story 2012 "Booker's Place: A Mississippi Story" is in equal measure a look at two families, the ongoing legacy of America's recent past and an essay on one man's moment of transformative courage. full review
  27. Buffalo Girls 2012 It's difficult to say if Kellstein's approach to these difficult cultural dilemmas is meant to leave the audience to decide for themselves or if he can't figure it out either. full review
  28. California Solo 2012 In some sense, "California Solo" is like meeting an engaging stranger: At first there's a certain air of enigmatic mystery that makes you want to spend time with them, but eventually things turn awkward and you just want to get away. full review
  29. Chasing Ice 2012 Though the filmmaker's point of view on the matter seems quite clear, Orlowski does smartly acknowledge counterarguments against climate change without dwelling on them. full review
  30. Cheerful Weather For The Wedding 2012 Rice does a fine job of juggling so many characters and moving smoothly among flashbacks without losing sight of the main story. full review
  31. Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away 2012 "Worlds Away" functions solely as some sort of bargain sampler platter appetizer, never proving it has a real reason of its own to exist. full review
  32. Citadel 2012 "Citadel" attempts to transform mundane anxieties into the stuff of a horror film. But the initial tension of the premise dissipates like a slow leak. full review
  33. The Collection 2012 Melton and Dunstan have created little more than a hollow shell for an empty box. full review
  34. Dangerous Ishhq 2012 The idea of the past's effect on the present is handled in such a direct "ah-ha!" manner - scars that unmask character identity, spells that span time - as to feel ham-fisted rather than mystical. full review
  35. Decoding Deepak 2012 There is precious little table-turning or real insight in "Decoding Deepak" - unless uncovering a passion for Starbucks and a preference for upscale hotels counts as takedown material. full review
  36. The Devil Inside 2012 People of the world: If you find some footage, leave it be. You will likely be doing the rest of us a huge favor. full review
  37. Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey 2012 Pineda's ebullience is infectious, and "Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey" is a pleasant story of dreams coming true. full review
  38. Dredd 2012 Smartly cast and with a sharp team behind the scenes, there is no good reason why "Dredd 3D" is such a clunk-headed action picture. full review
  39. Elles 2012 As an essay on women's roles in society and cross-generational female desire, the film provides many questions with no easy answers. full review
  40. Fat Kid Rules the World 2012 Endearingly uneven. full review
  41. Fred Won't Move Out 2012 There is recognizable pain throughout Ledes' film. Yet it never pushes through to anything beyond a surface portrait. full review
  42. Fun Size 2012 "Fun Size" lives up to the candy correlation of its title. It's pleasurable enough in the moment, but the buzz fades quickly. full review
  43. Funeral Kings 2012 A surprisingly sweet story about a pair of Rhode Island Catholic schoolboys, played with knockabout charm by Alex Maizus and Dylan Hartigan. full review
  44. Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai 2012 Miike brings a formal, elegant restraint to his usual flair for wild theatrics. full review
  45. Hick 2012 Mostly plays like some creepy-perv fantasia looking for mileage from the mature-beyond-her-years presence of young star Chloe Grace Moretz. full review
  46. Hold Your Breath 2012 Everything about "#HoldYourBreath" is aggressively mediocre, shoddy and undistinguished... full review
  47. The Hole 2012 No one understands that giddy rush of sugar buzz cinema better than director Joe Dante. full review
  48. House at the End of the Street 2012 What could be so bad about a new Jennifer Lawrence movie that its distributor opts to keep it away from critics and release it with minimal ad support? Please, allow "House at the End of the Street" to answer that question. full review
  49. Jab Tak Hai Jaan 2012 "Jab Tak Hai Jaan" serves as a fitting tribute to the career of Chopra. full review
  50. Jesus Henry Christ 2012 Pleasant without being revelatory, underwhelming but not obnoxiously so, the film explores how we become who we are, whether by genetics or environment or some combination of the two. full review
  51. Like Water 2012 "Like Water"feels wildly incomplete, a let-down for fans and initiates to the sport alike. full review
  52. Lovely Molly 2012 Common sense and basic logic are left are the door; there's a brief creature effect that is laughably, outlandishly awful. full review
  53. Madea's Witness Protection 2012 A spectacularly slapdash and wearingly half-hearted effort from the prolific writer-director-actor, lacking energy, structure or common sense. full review
  54. The Magic of Belle Isle 2012 It has some heartfelt performances and a nice, nondescript vibe, but it's largely unmemorable. full review
  55. Nature Calls 2012 It almost seems like harder work somehow to get this many comedians together and then turn out a movie that is only so fitfully funny. full review
  56. The Pact 2012 The explanations for what has been going on are weird, fantastical and sort of reasonable, within the context of the story, maintaining the film's sense of grounded directness up to the very end. full review
  57. The Possession 2012 A better-than-most fright-time tale ... full review
  58. Pusher 2012 The remake undercuts most everything that made the original distinctive, its tangy, pungent sense of low-lifes and their environment swept away for a glam, stylized world. full review
  59. Red Dawn 2012 A movie in search of its moment. full review
  60. Red Lights 2012 It's not so much the narrative sleight-of-hand that is irksome, as the implication that there may have been a better movie lurking in there the whole time. full review
  61. Side by Side 2012 "Side by Side" is a handy overview of recent seismic changes occurring within the industry and unexpectedly essential viewing. full review
  62. Silent Hill: Revelation 2012 It's never a good sign when the trailers playing before a film have richer, more complete narratives than the feature you've paid to see. full review
  63. Silent House 2012 Sometimes you don't want to know what is lurking in the dark because the answer is just too obvious and dumb. full review
  64. Solomon Kane 2012 "Solomon Kane" succeeds by embracing its identity as a straightforward genre exercise, complete with bone-crunching and blood-spurting action. By not aiming for more, it hits its target. full review
  65. Struck by Lightning 2012 If only "Struck by Lightning" had a sharper, stronger perspective, it might have made more of its conceit. full review
  66. Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning 2012 The movie creates something of the sensation of huffing industrial solvents - in a good way! - a waking-sleep zombification that can't exactly be described as pleasurable but definitely has an odd, distinct power. full review
  67. Waiting For Lightning 2012 Little more than an extended piece of lifestyle merchandising, a long montage for monitors in sporting-goods shops. full review
  68. Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day 2012 "Woman" is in essence an earnestly competent, slightly overcooked B-movie potboiler, with ideas of faith occasionally added to frame the story as parable. full review
  69. Apollo 18 2011 The film takes a startlingly long time to rev up, and even at less than 90 minutes feels thin and at moments like it is playing for time. full review
  70. The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu 2011 With its hefty running time, the film builds an unexpected emotional resonance, though never exactly sympathy... full review
  71. Born and Bred 2011 As he tells the story of a pair of teenage brothers looking to qualify for the Olympic boxing team and an even younger fighter trying to overcome a troubled childhood, Frimmer in essence loses the forest for the trees. full review
  72. Cat Run 2011 It's easy to feel sucked into some kind of time warp back to the heyday of late-'90s post-Tarantino crime thrillers, cut-rate knockoffs filled with casually cartoonish violence, quippy patter, overtly flash filmmaking and incongruous pop tunes. full review
  73. Don 2 2011 Director Farhan Akhtar shoots and cuts the action awkwardly, not quite knowing where to place the camera, so the film never gets the slam-bang momentum it might want. full review
  74. Guns, Girls and Gambling 2011 A movie first and foremost about other movies, a derivative of derivatives, "Guns, Girls and Gambling" is like a losing hand at cards: It could have been a winner, but just isn't. full review
  75. Magic Trip 2011 Gibney and Ellwood struggle to create context for or make much sense of the vibrant hodge-podge of material that they excavated from the archives of Kesey, who died in 2001. full review
  76. The Other F Word 2011 "The Other F Word" winds up feeling scattershot and unfocused. full review
  77. Paranormal Activity 3 2011 Far and away the sharpest, most wildly aware film in the series. full review
  78. True Legend 2011 A hodgepodge of styles, "True Legend" works best as a freewheeling showcase for Yuen's dazzling fight sequences above any sort of cogent storytelling. full review
  79. Wrecked 2011 Asked to convey a wide spectrum of emotional tones like confusion, shock, sadness, anger and oh, look out for the mountain lion, Brody does all he can to hold the screen. full review
  80. I Saw the Devil 2010 Even at its most chaotic, the film never loses sight of the human toll of the increasingly over-the-top events it portrays. full review
  81. The Perfect Game 2009 The heart of both the story and its telling do help in smoothing over other deficiencies, sweet and disarming in its belief that something like a baseball game can make a bigger difference. full review
  82. Chocolate 2008 It boils down to this: Thai girl fighting. Is that enough of a movie for you? full review
  83. Deal 2008 Reynolds doesn't convey any of the lightning bolt insouciance that made him arguably the greatest movie star of the '70s and '80s (really) but rather just stands there. full review
  84. Gardens of the Night 2008 Do these heartbreaking stories exist in the real world? Yes, yes, they do. Does dramatizing these stories with nothing to add except a certain cruel wallowing in the existence of unspeakable human depravity serve any real purpose? No, no, it does not. full review
  85. A Good Day to Be Black & Sexy 2008 A Good Day certainly shows Dortch as a talent to watch. Whether he does anything more with that talent will be up to him. full review
  86. Pathology 2008 Gleefully brimming with body parts and bad behavior, Pathology is a fun piece of flamboyant tastelessness. full review
  87. Sex Drive 2008 Occasionally sharp but never quite as smartly formed as it could be, this Sex Drive is only partly worth the trip. full review
  88. The Babysitters 2007 The film remains engaging in no small part because of the beguiling and enigmatic performance of [Katherine] Waterston, daughter of Law & Order star Sam Waterston. full review

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