Mama is a horror movie that is not a "splatter" movie, which means it does not rely on blood and pain and sadism for its effects, and that's all to its credit. How often do you see a horror movie rated PG-13?
Those who protest the violence and brutality of the torture scenes in Zero Dark Thirty are apparently not familiar with the standards set by current splatter movies like the Saw series. Those who object to the subject itself may not be considering that the government does not deny using torture so much as it denies that it worked.
Promised Land, startting Matt Damon as the agent of the energy company and John Krasinski as the environmentalist, is a fairly good introduction to the "fracking" process of getting natural gas out of the ground, but it falls a bit into the stereotypes of entertainment movies, and seriously dilutes its message about the pros and cons of the fracking process.
The biggest problem with Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchainedis that it is made up largely of two pretty ordinary short bits and then a main story that is interesting but stretches the movie out to two-and-a-half hours plus.
The Paperboy is the latest of a series of movies about a class of people lower economically, culturally and sometimes morally. Winter's Bone and Beasts of the Southern Wild included people we could admire, but Killing Them Softly, Killer Joe, and now The Paperboy feature characters we would not care to spend time with in real life.
The really great thing about Life of Pi is the most incredible job of computer generation you’ve ever seen, a tiger you simply will not believe is not the genuine furry article; after all, do the end credits not say that the Humane Society saw to it that no animals were harmed during the making of this picture? Well, maybe the Humane Society looked after the hyena and the orangutan and the big fish. But the tiger, improbably named Richard Parker, was computer generated, and so astonishingly well generated that I tremble that the day is at hand when human actors will be replaced by machines and we may not even notice.
Killer Joe is one of those movies about a family so dysfunctional that it makes you feel satisfied with your own. Emile Hirsch, the central character and the son, is probably as normal as any son who has ever hired a professional to kill his mother, and Juno Temple is doing not badly for a girl whose mother tried to suffocate her. The father, Thomas Haden Church, is extremely unintelligent, and Gina Gershon, his second wife, is a bit of a tramp, if I may revive a term pretty much abandoned now. And none of them has what I would regard as anything like a normal moral sense.