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Capsule reviews of feature films

AMERICAN SNIPER 3 stars. Bradley Cooper delivers a powerful turn as Chris Kyle, the real-life Navy SEAL credited with the most kills of any sniper in U.S. military history. Clint Eastwood directs this taut Iraq War-era drama, although the sequences with Kyle returning stateside are diminished by ... Read more

'Against the Sun' tells an overly familiar survival tale without fuss

Three downed Navy airmen stuck on a raft in the middle of the Pacific in World War II for weeks on end. It's a familiar movie narrative, at least in part, because it happened more than once, even happened to a future president (George H.W. Bush) and happened to the hero of "Unbroken." Read more

Family guide to new movie releases

"American Sniper" Read more

Aniston dazzles, even if she won't get an Oscar for 'Cake'

A comedy that barely flirts with funny and a grim weeper that never quite raises a tear, "Cake" has one thing going for it - Jennifer Aniston. And if she didn't get the Oscar nomination that might have seemed certain when she took on playing this physically, emotionally scarred and suicidal pill-... Read more

Scottish director dives deep into genre for his latest film, 'Black Sea'

Kevin Macdonald has done his Roman Legion thriller ("The Eagle"), his sci-fi apocalypse ("How I Live Now") and his political journalism thriller ("State of Play"). But what the Oscar-winning documentarian ("One Day in September") really had a hankering to try was a submarine movie. Read more

Sprightly 'Song of the Sea' could be the animated Oscar dark horse

Every scene is magical, every image a work of art in "Song of the Sea," the latest Oscar-nominated feature from the folks who gave us "The Secret of Kells." "Sea" is an Irish folk tale, a modern day account of selkies, fairies and elves in Ireland, full of adult concerns and sadness, childhood wo... Read more

Is 'American Sniper' a litmus test for patriotism?

"Selma" didn't stand a chance. On the long weekend celebrating the defiantly nonviolent legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., American moviegoers championed a very different and extraordinarily deadly warrior - the phenomenon of the moment and, of the year. Read more

'Song One' is a melancholy meander through New York's indie acoustic music scene

It's common Hollywood practice to follow an Oscar win with a trip to big budget land, where the paychecks, the trailers and the impact on the culture are potentially huge. So Sandra Bullock did "Gravity" right after "Blind Side," and Anne Hathaway did "Interstellar" not long after picking up an O... Read more

'Red Army' entertainingly reminds us of Russian Hockey's unbeatable era

For a few moments, it feels like a mistake, a director's miscalculation. Read more

Law can't manage to keep 'Black Sea' afloat

His hair is thinning and his features are thickening, and Jude Law is evolving into a more interesting actor as this happens. He's more at home in tough guy roles such as "Dom Hemingway," and the gritty submarine thriller "Black Sea" is his latest one of those. But in this case, it's a salty perf... Read more

Hathaway sings again in 'Song One'

Anne Hathaway didn't sing in "Interstellar," but she does croon a tune in her latest. When the movie's titled "Song One" and is set in the lively indie music scene of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, it's to be expected. But it's not like she's dying to cut a record or tackle more musicals. Read more

Hathaway sings again in 'Song One'

Anne Hathaway didn't sing in "Interstellar," but she does croon a tune in her latest. When the movie's titled "Song One" and is set in the lively indie music scene of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, it's to be expected. But it's not like she's dying to cut a record or tackle more musicals. Read more

'Humbling' gives Pacino one last chance to roar

We have forgotten how subtle Al Pacino could be, pre "Hoo Hah!" Something about his Oscar winning turn in "Scent of a Woman" unleashed the beast, a performer as big, broad and puffed up as that mountain of hair he keeps teased about his head. Read more

Talking Oscar

In "A Most Violent Year," Oscar Isaac plays Abel Morales, a driven, Colombia-born businessman - he runs a heating oil company - struggling to stay honest in an environment rife with corruption. It is New York City, 1981, and the place is a nightmare: graffiti on the subways, crime in the streets,... Read more

Bradley Cooper takes dead aim on 'American Sniper'

Bradley Cooper has established himself over the past few years as a competent and engaging dramatic actor with roles in "Silver Linings Playbook" and "American Hustle." Before those films, he got away with banking on his natural charm and dry sense of humor. Read more

'Most Violent Year' a study of angst, anxiety and paranoia

Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) wants to be a real American man. When we meet him, he's striving to fulfill the dreams of many immigrant Latinos, speaking his New York City English with flawless intelligence and emotional restraint, trying hard to outpace anyone he regards as a business rival to his p... Read more

'Wedding Ringer' is a winner

"The Wedding Ringer" is "Wedding Crashers Redux," a "Hangover Lite" that softens manic funnyman Kevin Hart's persona into someone almost as funny, but more sentimental than abrasive. That helps "Ringer" work as a bromantic comedy that feels like a romantic comedy. Read more

'American Sniper' screenwriter Jason Hall: His aim was truth

Jason Hall's screenplay for "American Sniper" earned him an Oscar nomination Thursday. It's not simply a look at the experiences of Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL considered the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, he said in a recent phone call. It's an attempt to describe war "in a way that ... Read more

Not even Michael Mann can save 'Blackhat'

January has a reputation as the tar pit of movie months, where bad films go to sink and die, leaving barely a ripple. Read more

'American Sniper' a rich study of war's impact

Clint Eastwood carried guns for generations onscreen. As a filmmaker he sees male heroism as a question, not an answer. Behind the camera he makes stories that focus on painful, alienated men. There were blue-collar Bostonians scarred by an abusive past in "Mystic River," and views of war punishi... Read more

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