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Written by Christy Lemire   
Thursday, 27 December 2012 01:16

"Amour" - Michael Haneke takes a subject you don't often see in movies and probably don't even want to see - the slow, steady deterioration of an elderly woman - and handles it with great grace. Haneke focuses on the intimate moments of their changing lives as the longtime married couple remains holed up in their comfortable Paris apartment, coping day to day, waiting for eventual death. It will surely strike a chord with anyone who's watched a loved one slip away in this manner, whether it's a parent or a spouse. But Haneke's aesthetic can feel too stripped-down, too one-note in its dignified monotony. He will hold a shot, as we know, and once again he avoids the use of a score, so all that's left to focus on is the insular, dreary stillness of quiet descent. Certainly minimalism is preferable to melodrama in telling this kind of story, but Haneke takes this approach to such an extreme that it's often hard to maintain emotional engagement. PG-13 for mature thematic material including a disturbing act, and for brief language. In French with English subtitles. 125 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.


"Jack Reacher" - The idea of watching a movie in which a sniper methodically manufactures his own bullets, practices weekly at a gun range, then waits quietly in an empty parking garage before shooting five people dead may not sound like the most appealing form of entertainment during these tragic days. OK, so maybe Cruise doesn't exactly resemble the Reacher of British novelist Lee Child's books: a 6-foot-5, 250-pound, blond behemoth. If you haven't read them, you probably won't care. Jack Reacher is a former military investigator who's become a bit of a mythic figure since he's gone off the grid. When the deadly shooting occurs at the film's start, authorities believe they've quickly found their man: a sniper who's ex-Army himself. He reveals nothing during his interrogation but manages to scribble the words "Get Jack Reacher" on a notepad before winding up in a coma. But when Reacher arrives and reluctantly agrees to help the defense attorney (Rosamund Pike) investigate, he finds the case isn't nearly as simple as it seems. PG-13 for violence, language and some drug material. 130 minutes. Three stars out of four.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 27 December 2012 01:18