Mary F. Pols, TIME Magazine

  1. Don Jon 2013 At least 80% of it is snappy, droll fluff, while the other 20% is what you get when you persuade Julianne Moore to be in your movie: in a word, better. full review
  2. Frances Ha 2013 Frances Ha is sharply focused on a genuine life issue that doesn't get much play in movies: the challenges of platonic love and of the complicated passions of friendship. full review
  3. Jobs 2013 Not that the real man's career wasn't marked by conflict, but does Jobs have to be such a drag? full review
  4. A Place at the Table 2013 It specifically addresses our country's hunger crisis. But it also speaks to larger hungers. Hungers for independence, a dignified life, a better chance for ones children-in short, the American dream. See it and weep. full review
  5. Stand Up Guys 2013 There is a sense that everyone, this treasure trove of talent included, is waiting for something to happen, some bit of alchemy that will make the story coalesce into a whole and take it beyond the jokes about Viagra, hookers and regrets. full review
  6. What Maisie Knew 2013 Some moviegoers may opt for an easier cinematic pleasure than this carefully crafted, discomforting look at familial misery in hyper drive, but it is the most provocative movie about parenting I've seen since The Kids Are All Right. full review
  7. 2 Days in New York 2012 At least we'll always have 2 Days in Paris. full review
  8. Casa de mi padre 2012 About five minutes of its mercifully short 84 minutes would make a nice sketch on Ferrell's Funny or Die. full review
  9. Detachment 2012 Everywhere you turn in Detachment, someone is trying to make you feel like hell. full review
  10. The Fitzgerald Family Christmas 2012 So little action takes place that really, the setting could just be adjoining couches, with characters shouting affectionate quips and insults at each other. full review
  11. The Guilt Trip 2012 The Guilt Trip works because we all know and like a Joyce Brewster (or dozens of them). full review
  12. Jiro Dreams of Sushi 2012 It's beautifully photographed and explained at every stage from market to table, a foodie's dream night at the movies. The gentle shaping of the fish and sushi could lull you into a trance. A hungry trance. full review
  13. The Queen of Versailles 2012 I feel contempt for my contempt for these people. Whether that's my problem or the film's, I'm not entirely sure, but I'm leaning toward blaming Greenfield. full review
  14. Red Dawn 2012 It's Friday Night Lights territory, but without good writing or acting. full review
  15. Red Lights 2012 Red Lights reaches for a The Sixth Sense-style twist and whiffs it completely. full review
  16. Silent House 2012 Sarah does any number of silly things while scurrying through this not-so-silent house, but keeps the audience on her side; you want her to get out of the house immediately but you don't get annoyed with her when she can't. full review
  17. Albert Nobbs 2011 With its unpredictable sexual politics and quirky little hero/heroine Albert Nobbs has the edge of quinine, a peculiar taste that won't entice everyone but worked for me. full review
  18. Buck 2011 Buck has the air of a beautiful little mystery; even knowing the uplifting outcome, you wonder at the strength that brought him to this place. full review
  19. First Position 2011 At least half of these young dynamos and their families, all vying for coveted scholarships and spots in ballet companies, could brighten the most forlorn perspective on the state of the American dream. full review
  20. Friends With Benefits 2011 It is elevated by energetic dialogue, the sexual chemistry between the leads and the fact that the miscommunication that keeps bliss at bay - there's always one in a rom-com, and usually it is annoyingly unbelievable - is plausible. full review
  21. I Don't Know How She Does It 2011 It's not that I Don't Know How She Does It tells actual lies about working motherhood - many of its observations and jokes are on point - it's just that it omits the edge, the desperation of a woman on the verge. full review
  22. Undefeated 2011 I wanted it blow my mind, to flatten me. Demanding, I know. full review
  23. Extract 2009 Judge's gifts parallel those of his leading man. His plotting is full of funny, unpredictable moments but lacks the grating hysteria of the comic genre. full review
  24. Ondine 2009 Intoxicatingly beautiful... full review
  25. /titles/200418 Save the Date is romantic comedy with aspirations to do something new. That's admirable but it isn't enough. full review
  26. /titles/197346 The overall metaphor Weir was aiming for - this idea of enemies so powerful and a war so menacing and confusingly big that no place seems safe except a place absurdly far away - comes through clearly and stays with you. full review

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