December 20, 2012 Christian Petzold's Barbara tells the story of a doctor in '80s East Germany who's assigned to work in a rural town. Critic Stephanie Zacharek says the film and its star, Nina Hoss, deliver an understated tale of life under tyranny and the hope for a better future. (Recommended)
December 20, 2012 In This Is 40, Judd Apatow returns to Pete and Debbie, two supporting characters from his 2007 hit, Knocked Up. Critic Scott Tobias says that while the film bears Apatow's comic signature, the characters' general lack of purpose causes it to lose steam.
December 20, 2012 The Impossible is based on a Spanish family's traumatic fight for survival after 2004's deadly Indian Ocean tsunami. While performances from Naomi Watts and young star Tom Holland ground the film, critic Jeannette Catsoulis says it's difficult to ignore the film's narrow focus.
December 20, 2012 Sopranos creator David Chase takes a shot at the big screen with Not Fade Away, which follows a young musician who dreams of breaking into the '60s rock scene. Critic Mark Jenkins says the plot is overstuffed and unfocused, and the staid sensibility is wrong for the material.
December 20, 2012 Tom Cruise stars as the titular character in the action flick Jack Reacher, which was adapted from Lee Child's One Shot. Critic Stephanie Zacharek says the film takes itself and its star too seriously — meaning it feels joyless and perfunctory.
December 20, 2012 It's a Wonderful Life has cemented itself as a staple of the American Christmas season. However, if you listen closely, you can also hear traces of the Italian-American singers whose smooth voices defined a generation of Christmas carols.
December 19, 2012 Zero Dark Thirty tells a story most Americans know all too well, detailing the search for Osama bin Laden from Sept. 11, 2001, to the SEAL strike on his compound in 2011. NPR's Bob Mondello says the film brings a degree of complexity to a story with a very dark side. (Recommended)
December 19, 2012 The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami touched people in all corners of the globe. In The Impossible, Naomi Watts plays a tourist whose family is torn apart when the disaster strikes. She speaks with NPR's Melissa Block about waterborne work, and about her own fear of the sea.
December 19, 2012 In his new film, Sopranos creator David Chase tells a coming-of-age story about Jersey boys in the 1960s who dream of riding the wave of the British invasion all the way to stardom. Chase teams up with Steven Van Zandt — of the E Street Band and The Sopranos — to make the movie's music rock.
December 18, 2012 Michael Haneke's Amour follows an elderly couple as the wife's (Emmanuelle Riva) health deteriorates. Critic Ella Taylor says the film gives candid, heart-wrenching insight into a struggle that many if not most of us will face: watching someone you love fade away in front of you. (Recommended)
December 18, 2012 Austrian actor Christoph Waltz won an Oscar for his portrayal of Nazi Jew hunter Hans Landa in Quentin Tarantino's 2009 film Inglourious Basterds. Teamed up with Tarantino again in Django Unchained, he says Tarantino's writing and the rhythm of the language speaks to him as a performer.
December 17, 2012 This year brought plenty of blockbusters and plenty of small-ish art-house films. But it also brought gems that you might have to go way out of your way to see. From a charming documentary about skateboarding kids to an agonizing story of a family stressed to its limits, here are ten worth finding.