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MRQE Top Critic

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Pic of the Week

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

Inside Llewyn Davis

***1/22013, Ethan Coen, and Joel Coen

Mythic tale of artistic rejection in the 1960s folk scene

Watching Inside Llewyn Davis is enjoyable enough. The Coen brothers offer humor, music, drama and funny cat videos. But it’s not until after the movie, chewing over its characters, events, and emotions that I began to really be impressed.

The Imitation Game

***1/22014, Morten Tyldum

Intriguing character study and exciting war drama rolled into one

A favorite at Telluride and the People’s Choice winner at Toronto, The Imitation Game stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, the father of modern computing.

Transformers 2

***2009, Michael Bay

A big, noisy, brash summer blockbuster entirely unashamed of those aspirations

A couple decades of human history down the road and this will be looked back on as “classic Bay.” Whatever that might mean is a debate for another time.

The Great Mouse Detective

***1986, Ron Clements, and Burny Mattinson

Basil of Baker Street finds a new DVD release.

Released one year after Disney’s highly-touted The Black Cauldron fizzled and three years before The Little Mermaid reinvigorated theatrical animated features, The Great Mouse Detective is a nice little diversion that holds its own charms and foreshadows the success to come more than recalls the failures of the past.

Juno

****2007, Jason Reitman

Introducing a screenwriter with raw talent and hot new actress

“This is a night of discovery for you,” Jason Reitman beamed proudly after the screening of his new comedy, Juno. The film had its Starz Denver Film Fest “Big Night” audience laughing all the way through, so much so that it was easy to miss subsequent lines in the hubbub. He explained that not only was this audience getting a chance to discover the actress playing the title character, Juno, but we were also getting our first taste of new screenwriter Diablo Cody’s work, whom he said wrote the screenplay in seven weeks at a Starbucks in a Target store and has “the closest thing to raw talent of anyone I have ever worked with.”

Teknolust

***2002, Lynn Hershman- Leeson

A big step ahead of Conceiving Ada

Teknolust is a bright and airy sci-fi comedy. But I wondered while watching it, are we laughing at the right jokes? The obvious attempts at humor are only half clever, yet because there are some amusing moments it seems to be funny in spite of itself. Still, it is a big improvement over Conceiving Ada, director Lynn Hershman Leeson’s first effort at sci-fi with a feminist slant.

The Fifth Estate

****2013, Bill Condon

One of the year’s most exciting movies.

The Fifth Estate is one of the year’s most exciting movies, but the excitement doesn’t stem from car chases, explosions or superheroes in colorful costumes. In this case the excitement is generated by the ideas on tap, the big-picture issues addressed and the relevance to today’s instant-gratification, social-media driven world.

Futurama: Bender’s Game

***2008

Doesn’t reach the comedic heights as the first straight-to-video movie

The team behind Futurama continues to prove that their show deserved to go on. The third of four made-for-DVD movies, Futurama: Bender’s Game meanders its way through an adventure brimming with pop culture references. It’s a fun ride, especially for fans of the fantasy genre. The entertaining bonus features provide a good supplement to the movie.

Jack Goes Boating

***2010, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Hoffman’s directorial debut a decent fall drama

In Philip Seymour Hoffman’s directorial debut, it takes motivation, a plan, and the help of a friend to break you out of your rut.

Rush Hour 2

***2001, Brett Ratner

Chan kicks ass and Tucker talks trash. What more could you want?

Audiences went to see the first Rush Hour because Jackie Chan kicks ass and because Chris Tucker is hilarious. We didn’t particularly care about the specifics of the buddy-picture plot, we just wanted entertainment, and we were not disappointed.

The filmmakers saw that we liked it and decided to give us some more.