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The Joneses

“The Joneses” contains an impressively timely premise that drills right into the heart of today’s financial crisis.

It’s almost too sharp of a script, which is carried a surprising distance by writer/director Derrick Borte before it falls completely apart, but what works here works wonderfully, providing a painfully accurate depiction of materialism run amok.

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Rating: B
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Harry Brown

We have the Jason Stathams and Channing Tatums of the screen world, but is there a more menacing image than Michael Caine bearing down on the baddies filled with bloodlust and brandishing a firearm?

“Harry Brown” is the actor’s “Death Wish” fantasy, pitting the screen legend against England’s dreaded hoodie generation for control of the community underpasses.

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Rating: B-
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Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky

“Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky” commences with a moment of sensorial confusion.

The picture greets the viewer with a series of kaleidoscopic patterns scored to a roll of orchestral waves, building what appears to be something of an overture to ease the film into a reflective mood, not necessarily a dramatic one. Sensual and lush, the feature has an unusual combination of heavy sexuality and creative obstruction, shaping something that’s not exactly reality, but far from fiction.

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Rating: B+
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I Am Love

Detached acts of tragedy don’t come more excruciatingly glacial than the Italian melodrama “I Am Love.”

While the lavish attention to every last detail is valued, the tortoise pace of the picture is difficult to embrace, especially when director Luca Guadagnino seems more invested in his abstract visual fetishes than he is triumphantly communicating a thunderstruck tale of forbidden love. It’s undeniably gorgeous and perhaps the folds of the picture demand a thorough examination through years of study, but enduring the protracted pulse of this film is a grueling effort that doesn’t reward the concentration.

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Rating: C
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The Perfect Game

As much as I wanted “The Perfect Game” to be a fearless Mexican version of “The Bad News Bears,” the picture just wasn’t in a wish-granting mood.

More of an inspirational tale compounded with a true story, “Game” is a feature of sheer earnestness, which tends to grate and persuade with equal determination. However, it’s easy to praise the film’s gushing heart, which might be enough to satisfy less demanding audience members in the mood for a few smiles and cheers; a sparkling tale of baseball triumph ideally issued for the first week of the season.

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Rating: B-
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Date Night

Tina Fey and Steve Carell are two extremely formidable comedians, and thank heavens someone, somewhere had the good sense to pair them up for a feature film.

While wobbly at times, “Date Night” is a perfectly pleasant, often uproarious action comedy that makes good use of their gifts and their surprising chemistry as an exhausted married couple. Even with Shawn Levy directing, “Date Night” is a consistent delight.

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Rating: B+
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