Zachry and Meronym are only two of the combined 12 characters Tom Hanks and Halle Berry play in Cloud Atlas. It is a challenge that bests both actors, according to David Edelstein. Jay Maidment/Warner Bros. hide caption

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Living most of his life in an iron lung forces Mark O'Brien (John Hawkes) to see the world from a different point of view. Fox Searchlight hide caption

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CIA agents Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) and Jack O'Donnell (Bryan Cranston) plan a risky mission to save six Americans trapped in Iran. Claire Folger/Warner Bros. Pictures hide caption

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Old Joe (Bruce Willis) and his younger self (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), two iterations of the same assassin, play a particularly personal game of cat and mouse in the time-travel thriller Looper. Alan Markfield/Sony Pictures hide caption

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Charlie (Logan Lerman), Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson) navigate the joys and pains of high school in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. John Bramley/Summit Entertainment hide caption

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Joaquin Phoenix stars as Navy veteran Freddie Quell in The Master. Phil Bray/The Weinstein Company hide caption

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Party Animals: Lizzy Caplan (from left), Isla Fisher and Kirsten Dunst play the brazen bridesmaids who make trouble for bride-to-be Becky (Rebel Wilson) in Bachelorette. Radius-TWC hide caption

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In Hope Springs, Kay (Meryl Streep) forces Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) into a week of couples therapy after she gets tired of — among other things — sleeping in separate bedrooms. Barry Wetcher/Sony Pictures hide caption

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A Dallas hard-luck case (Emile Hirsch, left) hires a corrupt cop (Matthew McConaughey) to kill his estranged mother when he hears about her rich insurance policy. Needless to say, the plot of Killer Joe doesn't quite work out as planned. Skip Bolen/LD Entertainment hide caption

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The Dark Knight Rises begins eight years after The Dark Knight, with Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) living a reclusive life at his mansion alongside Alfred (Michael Caine). The movie is the finale of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. Ron Phillips/Warner Bros. Pictures hide caption

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Sarah Steele, Anna Paquin and Matthew Broderick in Margaret. The DVD release of Kenneth Lonergan's long-delayed second film includes the theatrical version and an extended 186-minute cut. Fox Searchlight Pictures hide caption

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In Savages, the love triangle among Chon (Taylor Kitsch), O (Blake Lively) and Ben (Aaron Johnson) is disrupted when O is kidnapped by a Mexican cartel. Francois Duhamel/Universal Studios hide caption

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Hushpuppy, the 6-year-old at the center of Beasts of the Southern Wild, is played by Quvenzhane Wallis, who was found by director Benh Zeitlin in a Louisiana elementary school. Fox Searchlight hide caption

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In Brave, Merida goes in search of a spell to get back at her mother, who wants to force her to marry a suitor. Disney/Pixar hide caption

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