December 24, 2012 Tom Hooper's adaptation of the musical Les Miserables — itself an adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel — is solidly effective. Critic Ian Buckwalter says performances from Broadway veterans as well as non-singers deliver a range of interest and a breadth of talent.
December 24, 2012 Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained tells the story of a freed slave on a mission to save his wife. Critic Stephanie Zacharek says the dialogue and action — and performances from Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz — give the film an edge that could only come from Tarantino. (Recommended)
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 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.