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Timothy Spall inhabits the artist in Mr. Turner

Artists pour out their souls on canvas and other media, yet it's always difficult to capture that process in reverse. How does one create a film about a painter when the subject's work should already speak for itself? Dramatic events like slicing off an ear or running away to Tahiti make it easier to create narrative arcs in a biopic. But what of the painter J.M.W. Turner, whose life appears to have been more of an arc than a bridge? >More
 Bradley Cooper is a revelation in Clint Eastwood's American Sniper

Clint Eastwood's second film of 2014 (Jersey Boys was released in June) is also his best film since at least 2008's Gran Torino. With it, the filmmaker revisits his long preoccupation with guns and their capabilities, although the recoil of American Sniper doesn't have the same moral reverb of Eastwood's finest work. Still, the action sequences are packed with zealous clarity and tense dynamism. >More
 The Homesman upends the traditional Western

Tommy Lee Jones' second movie as a director is no conventional Western. Look no further than the direction traveled by the film's characters -- west to east -- for confirmation. >More
 Jon Stewart illustrates a jailed journalist's plight in Rosewater

Jon Stewart's big-screen acting work has been spotty, but The Daily Show host's debut as a film director is a much more auspicious occasion. As the writer, director and producer of the film adaptation of Maziar Bahari's book Then They Came for Me, the comedian proves his dramatic chops. >More
 Bill Murray bares the soul of a boozing, gambling grump in St. Vincent

Although playing the unabashed curmudgeon next door is the kind of thing Bill Murray could do in his sleep, the treasured actor brings everything he has to the role of Vincent MacKenna in St. Vincent. >More
 An odd couple explore Iceland's wonders in Land Ho!

It seems that the road movie has entered a new era, one in which the destination and the progression of the characters don't matter very much. I'm thinking of movies like The Trip to Italy, which features English funnymen Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. Their colorful personalities drive the film, not their adventures. Land Ho! is a similar type of movie. >More
 A teen receives all of civilization's memories in The Giver

Teen dystopias are as hot as can be at the cineplex these days, as demonstrated by the massive popularity of the Twilight and Hunger Games franchises. The Giver certainly fits into the trend, but it's no latecomer to the party. The material on which it's based, Lois Lowry's Newbery Award-winning young-adult novel, has been celebrated and reviled since its release in 1993. >More
 Filmed over a 12-year period, Boyhood examines the small but essential details of growing up

With Boyhood, Richard Linklater has created the ultimate coming-of-age film. Many other movies in this genre present one big event as the kick-in-the-rear that propels a character toward maturation or a greater sense of the world beyond oneself. >More
 In The Rover, Australia is a wasteland filled with bloodshed and mystery

A guy walks into a bar. Everything else that occurs in The Rover flows from this one happenstance. The guy is Eric (Guy Pearce) and the "everything else" is his bloody and protracted chase through the Australian Outback to retrieve his car, which was stolen while he was inside the bar having a drink. >More
 Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche steam up the screen as damaged prep-school instructors in Words and Pictures

Words and Pictures has a pretty creaky storyline, but who cares when actors Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche are so sublime together? Even though the film creates an artificial construct that rings hollow, the two central characters generate great heat and interest. Their presence is enough to keep the film's nattering foolishness at bay. >More
 In A Million Ways to Die in the West, Seth MacFarlane unbridles irreverent jokes on the frontier

Seth MacFarlane, creator of the anarchic cartoon comedy Family Guy, is Hollywood's barbarian at the gate. Right now he's kicking down the barriers that have trapped him in television animation. In addition to directing, producing and cowriting the live-action feature A Million Ways to Die in the West, he cast himself in the lead role. It's the first of many overindulgences, but somehow, none of these missteps are grievous enough to scuttle the film. >More
 In Chef, an unemployed cook finds his calling in a food cart

A man goes back to the basics to rediscover his passion, reclaim his soul and reconnect with his 10-year-old son. This storyline may not be particularly fresh, but it works in Chef thanks to up-to-date elements like a food truck and Twitter. More importantly, the tale is served up with warmth and verve. >More
 Seeking to punish a murderer, an unkempt loner cleans up his act in Blue Ruin

It's clear from the outset of Blue Ruin that the protagonist, Dwight (Macon Blair), is a wreck, but we have to observe him for a while before the film discloses what caused this predicament. Thoroughly disheveled, he is a loner who sleeps in the backseat of a bullet-riddled car parked somewhere in the Delaware dunes. >More
 The Lunchbox glimpses a charming mealtime tradition in modern Mumbai

The last place one might expect to find the Lubitsch touch would be in The Lunchbox, Indian writer-director Ritesh Batra's debut film. Yet if you disregard the sights and sounds of modern Mumbai for just a moment while the story unfolds, you might imagine yourself in Manhattan during another era, watching as James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan exchange notes in The Shop Around the Corner. >More
 The Armstrong Lie examines a champion cyclist's elaborate scheme to hide his drug use

Oscar-winning documentary maker Alex Gibney is best known for films built on the assumption that truth can be separated from spin (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Taxi to the Dark Side, We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks). For his latest project, The Armstrong Lie, he turns to Tour de France medalist Lance Armstrong, who was stripped of his titles after admitting to doping. >More
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