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  • The Expendables 2

    The Expendables 2

    ★★

    I wasn't expecting the pre-entertainment full of '80s action clips the Alamo Drafthouse played before the film to be better than the actual film, and yet that was the case. I reeeeeeeeally wanted to love this film but its clunky script and constant hit-or-miss jokes were just too much. Not enough Van Damme, not enough Statham, and not enough "meta" moments, which the film could've really exploited to great effect if it weren't stumbling over itself trying to tell its lunkhead story.

  • The Raid

    The Raid

    ★★★★

    The incessant Internet Hype on this film was borderline annoying, but I gotta say THE RAID didn't disappoint. GREATEST ACTION FILM EVER MADE? Maybe, maybe not. Let's give this one time to mature before making such rash declarations. While I don't care much for the shaky-cam style that's all the rage these days, I do love when an action director uses it as deftly as Gareth Evans does here. Oh, and I think the hero's kill count rivals that of John Matrix's in COMMANDO ('85)!

  • The Grey

    The Grey

    ★★★

    Joe Carnahan channels the gut-punch type of storytelling he used in NARC ('02) for this grim, harrowing, thrilling meditation on Death. While Liam Neeson continues his somewhat surprising ascent to the top of the Tough Guy Pantheon, the film's realism is, well, REAL as the story never strays far from its stark survival narrative. Oh, and that trailer might be one of the more misleading trailers in recent memory.

  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

    ★★★★

    An anti-spy spy thriller that thankfully deviates from the Classical Hollywood paradigm. Yes, Alfredson's languid pacing and nonlinear narrative style make you work as a viewer, but you'll enjoy every minute of it. And when you're done, go over to David Bordwell's blog for some further enlightenment about the film: www.davidbordwell.net/blog/2012/01/23/tinker-tailor-a-guide-for-the-perplexed/