Let Go

With standout performances, an innately human story, and a few beautiful moments of unexpected poignancy, this is an indie film that you’ve probably never heard of and that you really, absolutely need to see.

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2 Fast 2 Furious

I was halfway through a lengthy point-by-point review of what makes this movie so bad before I realized that A) I have enormous respect for the writers (for their other works) and don’t want to hurt their feelings, and B) it’s just not worth that much review.

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Shutter Island

“It was a dark and stormy night.” That’s basically how “Shutter Island” opens. But director Martin Scorsese and screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis (adapting Dennis Lehane’s novel) use this formulaic premise to spin a far more arresting, emotional, and thought-provoking story than most films of any genre.

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Robin Hood (Director’s Cut)

Director Ridley Scott and screenwriter Brian Helgeland’s version of Robin Hood certainly has all the elements of a dick flick: the rugged hero, his (merry) men, one or two or even three villains on his tail, and the girl he falls in love with. And if you were unfortunate enough to witness the theatrical release, you were slapped in the face with a fairly characterless “Braveheart” replica and a full-on dick flick to boot.

The Director’s Cut, however – and massive props to both Scott and Helgeland for this – simultaneously catapults Maid Marion to an essential leading role and restores the much beloved flavor unique to the Robin Hood legend.

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Rachel Getting Married

The plot could be that of a farce or romantic comedy: a drug addict with a knack for destruction is released temporarily from rehab to take part in her sister’s wedding extravaganza. Jenny Lumet, in her first produced screenplay, chooses instead to investigate the deeper truths beneath family relationships with a poignant realism that may strike too close to home for many.

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“Conviction” sounds far too familiar, chronicling the true journey of a bartender and mother who puts herself through law school for the sole purpose of exonerating her imprisoned brother. But with writer Pamela Gray and director Tony Goldwyn at the helm, the same team who crafted the undervalued but beautifully realistic “A Walk on the Moon,” “Conviction” should certainly rise above its Lifetime-esque aura. Throw in Academy Award winner Hilary Swank as heroine Betty Anne Waters, and it can’t go wrong.

And yet, it does.

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The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

With Denzel Washington and John Travolta headlining, I expected a solid action romp bursting with fireworks. But “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3” takes it a few steps farther, thanks to screenwriter Brian Helgeland’s insightful adaptation of John Godey’s novel.

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Morning Glory

Ten minutes in, and the similarities to McKenna’s more famous film are flourishing already: a feisty, adorable young woman, career-driven but a bit clueless when it comes to love, fighting her way up the ladder in a cutthroat industry. Throw in the bitter growling hard-ass boss, and it’s “The Devil Wears Prada” all over again. But surprise, surprise: I liked this one better. A lot better.

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The Quick and the Dead

A tiny, terrified western town called Redemption. A stranger storms in unannounced. Dark. Fierce. Swilling whiskey like water. Packing an arsenal of firepower and the balls to challenge ruthless killers. Only this deadly stranger is a girl.

This is our kind of movie.

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Swing Vote

Comedies can make you roar with laughter. Political farce can make you roar with laughter while simultaneously turning your stomach. But comedy is a thousand times more effective when it has something to say, a point that sticks in your brain long after the laughter has faded away. “Swing Vote,” so obviously geared toward grins and satire, sneaks up on you while you’re still snickering and knocks you off your feet.

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