Tag Archives: Jessica Chastain

The Martian

Brisk, heartwarming, genial, and celebratory, The Martian is a geeky survival yarn with personality, an exciting gem of a science fiction adventure, and an irresistible affirmation of collaboration. It’s an ode to scientific ingenuity, a humane spectacle with a genuine hero, and a robust cinematic take-off that lands on solid ground.

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A Most Violent Year

Agreeably hellish, pleasingly pulpy, and antiseptically tight, A Most Violent Year is a treacherous, exacting anti-thriller with a rich sense of time and place; a nocturnal fantasy that confounds the mobster mould; and a sterling essay in inner strength. Beautifully, almost stubbornly understated and overflowing with a heightened sense of reality, it drifts breezily and never feels rushed.

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Take Shelter

Ingeniously bouncing off current events and the nation’s downbeat mood, Take Shelter is a dark, Gothic tale of misunderstood prophecy and a sobering lesson on the state of mental health care in rural America, suggesting comparisons with the early work of Stanley Kubrick and Terrence Malick.

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The Tree of Life

Nonsectarian, revelatory, and boundlessly poetic, The Tree of Life is an an experiment in insularity, an esoteric religious odyssey, unique, cryptic, and overflowing with wonder. It’s a manic hybrid folly on the level of W.B. Yeats, part puzzle, part coming-of-age tale, part wildlife documentary. The result is unadulterated cinema from writer-director Terrence Malick (BadlandsDays of Heaven), destined for the delectation of adventurous arthouse-goers and partisans.

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Zero Dark Thirty

Precise, meticulous, unsentimental, and electrifying, Zero Dark Thirty is a tough, stark, and superbly conceived procedural docudrama about the longest manhunt in history. It mixes intensity and intellectualism to provoke and disturb, and builds steadily and relentlessly to a potent climax.

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