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 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 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 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 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 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 14, 2012 A new documentary on PBS about the making of the Beatles' 1967 film Magical Mystery Tour features outtakes from the original and new interviews with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. TV critic David Bianculli calls the film "wonderfully thorough."
December 14, 2012 Kathryn Bigelow's film tells the story of the U.S. hunt for the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks. Critic David Edelstein says the film presents itself as a work of journalism, but that that there's no doubting its perspective: It's the story of America's "brilliant, righteous revenge."
December 13, 2012 Writer-director Victoria Mahoney marries her experiences as a biracial woman to the drama of an unstable family in Yelling to the Sky. Critic Mark Jenkins says the film, which stars Zoe Kravtiz as a troubled teen, struggles to build convincing relationships among its disadvantaged characters.
December 13, 2012 A documentary from Liz Garbus, Love, Marilyn is a love letter to the legacy of Marilyn Monroe. Critic Stephanie Zacharek says the film's heartfelt message and the performers reading the icon's words take a back seat to her ever-present specter.
December 13, 2012 Any Day Now, set against the backdrop of the 1970s, tells the story of a gay couple's fight to adopt a neglected boy with Down syndrome. Director Travis Fine's film lacks technical polish, but critic Ella Taylor says the story's heart makes up for most of its faults.
December 13, 2012 Lizzy Caplan stars in the romantic comedy Save the Date, which despite a solid supporting performance from Alison Brie, is too dull to be a star vehicle for an outstanding actress whose body of work hasn't brought her the limelight she deserves.
December 13, 2012 In The Girl, a troubled single mother must care for a young Mexican girl — despite her inability to care for her own child. Critic Jeannette Catsoulis says the lead performances from Abbie Cornish and newcomer Maritza Santiago Hernandez carry a rare and touching emotional weight. (Recommended)
December 13, 2012 Peter Jackson takes his audience back to Middle-earth in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, set in a time before the Lord of the Rings films. NPR's Bob Mondello says that where the Rings films struggled with what to omit, The Hobbit labors to justify its three-hour running time.