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New movie reviews: Critics' picks

Force Majeure

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

When a husband on a skiing trip impulsively runs instead of protecting his family during an avalanche, his marriage unravels in this comic dissection of macho posturing.

Citizenfour

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

Filmmaker Laura Poitras was part of the original team with whom Edward Snowden shared his revelations. Her gripping documentary plants us right inside that hotel room.

Vertigo

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice

Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 masterpiece has never looked as crystal-clear as it does in this restoration, a fresh opportunity to get dizzy with Scottie’s doomed love for Madeleine.

Birdman

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice

A washed-up Hollywood celebrity (Michael Keaton, bravely playing off his own iconography) seeks redemption in a backstage Broadway drama that takes glorious flight.

Listen Up Philip

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

The effortlessly self-absorbed Jason Schwartzman portrays a young literary lion, full of himself and close to insufferable in Alex Ross Perry’s smart spin on man-of-letters ambition.

Dear White People

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

On the campus of a prestigious university, African-American students are tested by racial buffoonery: Justin Simien’s feature is actually a vicious comedy—a winning one.

Whiplash

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

Pounding out a fierce beat of personal obsession, Damien Chazelle’s jazz psychodrama is unmissable for Miles Teller’s whirling turn—and J.K. Simmons’s teacher from hell.

Gone Girl

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice

Transformed into the kind of wickedly confident Hollywood thriller you pray to see once in a decade, David Fincher's latest emerges as the stealthiest comedy since American Psycho.

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New movie releases

Low Down

  • Rated as: 3/5

Oscar-nominated character actor John Hawkes plays real-life pianist Joe Albany, a musician addicted to heroin in this uneven bad-dad drama.

White Bird in a Blizzard

  • Rated as: 3/5

Indie survivor Gregg Araki has never made a boring movie, even if his doominess has become something of a crutch.

Laggies

  • Rated as: 3/5

How much you get out of this indie rom-com will depend on where you stand on Keira Knightley doing her goofy "what, me?" thing.

Life of Riley

  • Rated as: 3/5

Shot when the director was 91 and finished just before he died, Alain Resnais’s swang song is a mirthful send-off.

The Best of Me

  • Rated as: 3/5

The latest three-hanky slushfest from the pen of The Notebook author Nicholas Sparks is everything you feared.

Fury

  • Rated as: 3/5

Brad Pitt pulls along this gutsy, old-fashioned WWII epic by the sheer force of his charisma.

St. Vincent

  • Rated as: 3/5

The most lovable curmudgeon in movies gets a valedictory lap in a crowdpleasing yet dangerously sentimental dramedy.

Kill the Messenger

  • Rated as: 3/5

Jeremy Renner is magnificent as a political journalist reduced from cock of the walk to besieged paranoiac.

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