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  • Unforgettable

    Unforgettable

    ★½

    I’m all for a good, low-rent, should-have-been-direct-to-Lifetime version of the women’s picture—hell, I even gave a rave review to OBSESSED, which this ostensibly rips off—but the problem here is the production value is too good for it to have the requisite amateurish, campy charm. Whether it’s the fact it was directed by a producer who’s just too efficient, or Caleb Deschanel’s you-should-be-off-shooting-more-Mel-Gibson-movies-why-are-you-doing-this-to-yourself overachievement behind the camera, the whole movie feels as consciously manicured as Heigl’s character’s psychotically groomed hair (yes,…

  • The Fate of the Furious

    The Fate of the Furious

    ★★½

    I’m as pro-FURIOUS 7 as you can get. I saw it three times in theaters and countless times since on VUDU. I’m also anti-F. Gary Gray, but I entered with an open mind. I shouldn’t have. The joy of the best FAST movies is they project that they aren’t self-aware, but still reap the rewards of self-aware comedy. This one is *really* proud of its humor, and the action mostly just descends into loud nonsense. There is a pretty great sequence of Jason Statham comically endangering an infant, but I already got that from Bradley Cooper in AMERICAN SNIPER.

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  • Compliance

    Compliance

    ½

    There are two reasons that Craig Zobel could have decided to make Compliance, both equally wrongheaded:

    1) Zobel simply wanted to expose this case (and, by extension, the others like it) to the world, without any sort of greater message. While I don't buy this as the filmmaker's motivation for a second, some people have argued such, so I'll address it...

    Put simply: text-based reporting, as had already been done extensively in this case (meaning, no further examination was really…

  • Take Shelter

    Take Shelter

    ★★★★★

    The best film of 2011 is also the most criminally under-seen. Blue-collar, Midwestern father Curtis LaForche is either developing paranoid schizophrenia or accurately prophesizing the apocalypse — a binary that could have all too easily become fodder for hokey metaphor. But with writer/director Jeff Nichols and actor Michael Shannon at the helm (their second film together, following 2007’s Shotgun Stories), Curtis becomes one of the most authentically human characters in the history of cinema. He may be the symbolic fulcrum…