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Life

Life struck me as several cuts above “meh” but never made me jump out of my seat.

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Power Rangers

Trashy, goofy, and surprisingly sincere, this superhero fantasy is better than you expect but not as good as it should be.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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The Great Gatsby

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Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of "The Great Gatsby" isn't a disaster. Every frame is sincere. Its miscalculations come from a wish to avoid embalming a classic novel in "respectfulness" — a worthy goal, in theory. It boasts the third most imaginative use of 3D I've seen recently, after "U2 3D" and "Hugo." It's a technological and aesthetic lab that has four or five experiments cooking in each scene. Even when the movie's not working, its style fascinates. That "not working" part is a deal breaker, though — and it has little to do with Luhrmann's stylistic gambits, and everything to do with his inability to reconcile them with an urge to play things straight.

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Iron Man 3

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Shane Black, who made his bones writing "Lethal Weapon," "The Last Boy Scout" and other crash-and-burn action films, was the perfect person to take on "Iron Man 3," and not just because he worked with the franchise's star Robert Downey, Jr., on 2005's "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang." The new film's not great, but it's consistently involving because the tonal shifts are so abrupt. One minute it seems to care a great deal about what's happening, the next it's sneering at the notion that anyone could care about anything that happens in a movie.

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Everybody Has a Plan

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"Everybody Has a Plan" is a pretty good existential crime thriller set in a snake-infested jungle swampland of Argentina. Its relaxed air of menace, and occasional bursts of violence hold one's attention even when the plot falters, which is often. Its chief virtue is its lead performance, in which twin brothers are played by a promising new Argentinian actor named Viggo Mortensen.

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