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" She wouldn’t know a sheik from a prophylactic of the same name. "
— Bruce Willis, The Siege

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.

Creed II

***1/2

It’s all about the importance of character and the ability to face life’s challenges.

Creed II’s strong emotional core makes it a big winner.

They Live

***1988, John Carpenter

The Impostors

***1998, Stanley Tucci

Ride with the Devil

***1999, Ang Lee

Forbidden Games

****1952, René Clément

WWII French drama about 9-year old girl trying to understand death

Monster

***1/22004, Patty Jenkins

Theron’s performance really is amazing, helped by the makeup, hair, and costumes

Roger Ebert calls Monster “the best film of the year” and he says Charlize Theron gives “one of the greatest performances in the history of the cinema.” While Theron’s performance really is good, the movie isn’t best-of-the-year material.

The Patriot

***2000, Roland Emmerich

Violent Night

***2022, Tommy Wirkola

It would’ve been great to get even more of Santa’s dark backstory.

Violent Night’s outlandish premise turns into a counterprogramming gift for the holiday movie season.

The Ladykillers

***2004, Joel and Ethan Coen

The supplements don’t add much, but the movie is better the second time around

The DVD supplements for The Ladykillers are watchably entertaining, but they don’t add much to the mix. Nevertheless, the movie is better the second time around. This time, I wasn’t surprised (or more correctly, taken aback) by the cartoonish style and characters, all of which I’d seen before, but never in these exact proportions.

Happy-Go-Lucky

***2008, Mike Leigh

An anti-miserablist film. A lark, but one with Mike Leigh’s signature well-defined characters.

At Telluride last year, Mike Leigh said he deliberately wanted to make an “anti-miserablist” film. That got a laugh from festival patrons who often complain about the bleak fare common to the festival.

John Carter

***2012

Consider it a $250 million throwback to 1950s pulp sci-fi spectacle.

John Carter’s artistic success isn’t diminished by the movie’s commercial failure; consider it a $250 million throwback to 1950s pulp sci-fi spectacle and give the movie’s excellent Blu-ray presentation a spin.

Washington the Warrior

***2006

By staking out the ‘Warrior’ territory as the topic, THC stays true to its niche

Pity the poor History Channel. They have the unenviable task of making history entertaining. They seem to have succeeded by focusing on the military aspects of history and thereby catching the action-oriented adult male audience. And since much of what we know as history is old war stories, there was already a built-in military bias to their fare.

Mission: Impossible 4

***2011

Team effort makes 4th Mission fun (and not too serious)

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol is escapist entertainment. It’s competently made and very enjoyable.