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Jordan Hoffman

‘Thor: The Dark World’ Review

Thor 2 review
Marvel

Is it a Quantum Field Generator or a a Soul Forge? It's both, and that's why 'Thor: The Dark World,' like 'Thor' before it, is one of the best films that blends sci-fi and fantasy. Add the humor, star charisma and nods to the wider Marvel Movie Universe and you've got 120 minutes of straight-up nerdy glee. If dorky blood flows through your veins, you will love this movie.

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‘Ender’s Game’ Review

Ender's Game Review
Summit Entertainment

The kids today and their video games! Well, if Gavin Hood's adaptation of Orson Scott Card's beloved sci-fi novel, 'Ender's Game,' is any indicator, the fragging youngsters of today may become the saviors of tomorrow. Whether they want to or not.

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‘Mr. Nobody’ Review

Mr. Nobody Review Jared Leto
Magnolia Pictures

At the 44-minute mark (I checked) of 'Mr. Nobody,' I loudly sighed and asked, “Good God, when the hell is this movie going to START!”

Featuring various narrators, time-loops and narrative branches emblematic of the “multiple worlds theory,” Jaco Van Dormael's 'Mr. Nobody' -- starring Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, Diane Kruger, Juno Temple and a whole mess of special effects shots -- is the type of far-out science-fiction that usually inspires in me an enthusiastic response. But as with last year's similar 'Cloud Atlas,' (similar in that both films are defiantly different) this is a movie that ultimately collapses under its own weight. Its relentless cinematic tricksterism soon becomes unbearable, and its themes, while thought-provoking, are so unsubtle you'll exit this near two-and-a-half-hour film in need of a nap.

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‘The Counselor’ Review

The Counselor review
20th Century Fox

Everyone is going to hate 'The Counselor.'

Ridley Scott's adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's original screenplay starring Michael Fassbender, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, et. al. is one frustrating movie. At its very best – if you buckle down and really work to piece together the nearly inscrutable plot – you aren't going to come away with much. “Crime doesn't pay,” is the gist of it.

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‘Carrie’ Review

Carrie review
Screen Gems

For a gal named Carrie White, she's sure got a lot of red on her.

Watching Kimberly Peirce's 'Carrie' is an odd experience. If you've seen Brian De Palma's version from 1976, this new version is - and there's really no point in denying this - like watching a cover band. There's a tweaked scene here and there (including a new, creepy-as-heck opening) plus the addition of cell phones and references to 'Dancing With The Stars.' This remake, more than most, really feels like hitting the same marks. It may be a peculiarity specific to 'Carrie,' because, let's face it, not a whole heck of a lot happens in this story. Considering most moviegoers' familiarity, there's plenty of room to stew and think, "Why is this considered such a classic?"

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‘Gravity’ Review

Gravity review
Warner Bros.

“Film as dream, film as music. No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul.” - Ingmar Bergman.

Is it appropriate to open a review for a sci-fi film, a Sandra Bullock movie, with a quote as heavy-handed as this one? Since I did it, obviously I think so, because the only other phrase I could think of that would tersely sum up my feelings toward 'Gravity' goes something like, “Aggghghghghghhhdhhghhhh! *droool *drool *drool” and that makes me look like an idiot.

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‘Captain Phillips’ Review

Captain Phillips review
Sony Pictures

With piracy drama 'Captain Phillips,' Paul Greengrass ('Bloody Sunday,' 'United 93') has defended his ground as the go-to man for tragic, reality-based pressure-cooker films. The dude really knows how to get your palms sweaty, even when you kinda-sorta know how things are going to end up. Note to self: don't take your cargo ship through the Somali Basin if you don't have to.

Greengrass is also the director of the best two 'Bourne' movies ('Supremacy' and 'Ultimatum') and just as Matt Damon glided through those films as the steely, mixed-martial killing machine, Tom Hanks' center-seat performance here is a master class in keeping it cool.

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‘Don Jon’ Review

Don Jon's Addiction Scarlett Johansson Joseph Gordon Levitt

Before I write anything else about 'Don Jon': yes, there are some guys in Northern New Jersey who really do act this way. Some of the particulars are exaggerated, but not really. Whether the interior life of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's protagonist gym rat, club denizen, muscle car driver is accurate is something I'll never know, and considering the emotional dysfunction on display, I think I'm okay with it.

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‘Labor Day’ Review

Labor Day review
Paramount Pictures

Jason Reitman's new film 'Labor Day' is adapted from a Joyce Maynard novel, and while her literary pedigree holds some water, what ends up represented here leads me to think it's one of those books with Fabio on the cover.

It's New England, it's the 80s and Hank (Gattlin Griffith) is the emo-ist kid in the world. He's got a reason to be. He lives alone with his clinically depressed mother (Kate Winslet). While still new to adolescence, he's basically taking care of her. His father (Clark Gregg) couldn't hack it anymore, but lives in the same town with a new wife and new kids.

Stagnancy has hit the (large, old) house but one Labor Day weekend Winslet's longing for an adult connection will be met. Josh Brolin enters her life and he is the dreamiest of dreamboats every to emerge from a dream. He's handsome, he's attentive and he fixes things around the house. He teaches Hank how to swing a baseball bat and he bakes his own pie crust from scratch, for heaven's sake. There's only one problem - he's just escaped from prison and he's wanted for murder.

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‘The Family’ Review

The Family review
Relativity Media

It is no easier for me to report this than it is for you to hear it, but we're all adults and let's get real: Robert De Niro's name on a film project is now more a red flag of warning than a sign of quality. For every 'Silver Linings Playbook' there's a 'Big Wedding' or 'Righteous Kill' or a slapped-together piece of tone-deaf dross like 'The Family.'

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