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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.

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.

House of Flying Daggers

***1/22004, Zhang Yimou

See it in a theater on the biggest screen you can find

The Mirror

***1/21997, Jafar Panahi

A film professor recalled that when he was little, before he knew how movies worked, he assumed they were acted out live. When you saw a movie twice, the actors had to do it all over again.

Achtung Baby: A Classic Album Under Review

***2007

Achtung Baby: A Classic Album Under Review hits a lot of the right notes.

Achtung Baby: A Classic Album Under Review preaches to the choir. It’s a fun, in-depth look at the album which helped reinvent the biggest band in the land.

No Country for Old Men

***1/22007, Joel & Ethan Coen

Better the second time around because you can look at the detail and nuance you might’ve missed

The release of No Country for Old Men on DVD is an opportunity to look at the film anew after all the hype and the Oscar wins and see whether it was really as good as they say.