" I wish there was some hip way of telling you this baby, but you’re one with, and part of, an ever-expanding, loving, joyful, glorious and harmonious universe "
— Dennis Hopper, The Trip

MRQE Top Critic

Sponsored links

Pic of the Week

Each week we pick a recommended "Pic" from our archives. Below are our most recent picks.

Wreck-It Ralph

***1/2

Wreck-It Ralph earns a high score for giving video games the Roger Rabbit treatment.

Wreck-It Ralph earns a high score for giving video games the Roger Rabbit treatment.

Nude Area

***

Wordless, sensual film overcomes a few awkward pauses

Nude Area is a wordless film about a flirtation between two women that nearly becomes a romance.

The Dark Knight

****2008, Christopher Nolan

The Dark Knight returns and turns the genre on its head

Is Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker really worthy of an Oscar? Yes.

But The Dark Knight’s success doesn’t begin and end with the Joker. In Batman Begins, Christian Bale and director Christopher Nolan mined reality in order to create a solid base for their take on Gotham’s most famous son. In The Dark Knight, they dig deeper and the result is one rock-solid, intense action-drama that batapults onto this year’s short list of the very best.

The Battle of Algiers

***1/21965, Gillo Pontecorvo

The Battle of Algiers is one of those movies that turns up on “essential cinema” lists, and rightly so, although it is not without its faults. Its treatment of its subject matter is so definitive that it would be hard for any future remake to top it.

Jaffa

***1/2

Jaffa views the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through the lens of young love.

Jaffa is an effective drama that views the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through the lens of young love.

The Big Animal

***2000, Jerzy Stuhr

The crux of the problem is that Zygmunt is now camel-guy and everyone else isn’t

I suppose we’ve all wondered at one time or another what would happen if one morning a camel suddenly appeared in our front yard... well OK, maybe not. But after seeing Jerzy Stuhr’s delightful The Big Animal, I have now given the matter some thought and have concluded that I’d fare no better (and probably worse) than the Polish couple depicted in this film. They gamely adopt the camel and then try to get on with their lives. It’s their neighbors who’ve got a problem with the big animal, and everyone’s life becomes way too complicated... except perhaps for the camel’s.

Despicable Me 2

***1/2

The spy-spoofing mayhem continues in Despicable Me 2.

The spy-spoofing mayhem continues in Despicable Me 2, a sequel that also offers some decent character development for a PG-rated family-oriented animated movie.

Through the Fire

***2005, Jonathan Hock

Sebastian has the nice-guy charisma of Derek Luke and he’s easy to root for

Winning isn’t everything. But when you set out to make Mad Hot Ballroom, Murderball, or Spellbound, you hope that the subject of your documentary will turn out to be a champion. When Steve James set out to make Hoop Dreams, he probably hoped his movie would look something like Through the Fire. With the fall in the price of good-quality video cameras and the rise of the documentary, it was only a matter of time before someone finally scored.

The Rum Diary

***1/22011, Bruce Robinson

The Rum Diary is a sweet spirit with subtle flavors.

Like its intoxicating namesake, The Rum Diary is a sweet spirit with subtle flavors. It has also aged remarkably well.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

***2015, Joss Whedon

Ultimate enjoyment is reserved the obsessive Marvel-watchers

Avengers: Age of Ultron wins more on its charms than its muscles.

The Twilight Samurai

***2004, Yoji Yamada

If ever a samurai film could be called a chick flick, this is the one

The Artist

***1/22011, Michel Hazanavicius

Superb and featuring an incandescent – albeit silent – cast, The Artist works its magic

The Artist is old school in every sense. It’s presented in the old-fashioned aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It’s shot in black & white, on film stock. And, aside from a classically-styled film score, it’s almost entirely silent. It doesn’t get much more old school than that.