Tom Hooper's extravaganza, big-screen telling of the beloved musical "Les Miserables" is as relentlessly driven as the ruthless Inspector Javert himself. It simply will not let up until you've Felt Something -- powerfully and repeatedly -- until you've touched the grime and smelled the squalor and cried a few tears of your own.
They could have called it "The 38-Year-Old Virgin." In January, when Ben Lewin's beautiful, funny film about the quadriplegic poet and journalist Mark O'Brien premiered at the Sundance Film Festival -- winning two big prizes -- it was called "The Surrogate."
"The Impossible," based on the devastating true account of a Spanish family's survival of the 2004 tsunami, is an emotionally draining cinematic onslaught. Director Juan Antonio Bayona, known for his bloodcurdling 2007 physiological thriller "The Orphanage," grips you by the neck and hurls you right into the midst of the calamity.
Even after a relentless, decade-long pursuit that leads to the daring midnight raid of Osama bin Laden's compound, even as she unzips the body bag to verify that the bloody corpse inside is indeed that of the slain al-Qaida leader, Jessica Chastain's CIA officer character is defined primarily by her femininity in this male-dominated world.
David Cronenberg loses himself in the florid soliloquies of Don DeLillo in "Cosmopolis," the filmmaker's creepy, cryptic and ever-so-chatty take on DeLillo's novel of the Wall Street "1 percent."
Here's how surprisingly effective "Hope Spring" is: It will make you want to go home and have sex with your spouse afterward. Or at least share a longer hug or a more passionate kiss.
The Bathtub is a place of myths and wonders, a broken down teardrop of Louisiana marsh and mud in "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and the setting for an extraordinary new drama whose fierceness, like its 6-year-old heroine Hushpuppy, grabs on and won't let go.
Jack Kerouac's stream of consciousness novel "On the Road" comes to the screen more or less intact as a not-altogethersatisfying road trip into the Beat Era. The "Motorcycle Diaries" team of director Walter Salles and screenwriter Jose Rivera have made an "unfilmable book" cinematically coherent, capturing the geographical possibilities, the feel and flavor of this blend of biography and Beatnik history.
For its first half, "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" is as lost and out of sorts as its title. Is it a comic romance set during Earth's final days, a dark lampooning of every If I had a week to live/Party like it's 1999 cliche you've ever heard?
Ang Lee is perhaps the most famous Taiwanese-born film director working today. His films, from martial arts spectacular "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (臥虎藏龍) to cowboy romance masterpiece "Brokeback Mountain," have captivated audiences across the world.