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Gyllenhaal at His Best in Creepy Nightcrawler

Actor gives a 'brilliant' performance alongside Rene Russo

(Newser) - Just about everyone is raving about Nightcrawler, a dark thriller from first-time director Dan Gilroy that currently has a 95% and 92% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes from critics and audiences, respectively. Jake Gyllenhaal shines as Lou Bloom, a freelance TV cameraman who finds himself immersed in crime journalism in... More »

Taken 2: Unintentional Parody of Original

But Liam Neeson still shines, say critics

(Newser) - Taken 2 doesn't hold up to its predecessor: While Liam Neeson is as impressive as usual in this kidnapping thriller, the plot is totally absurd. What critics are saying:
  • "There’s no need to wait for the MAD magazine parody of Taken 2. It’s already hilariously up
... More »

Woman in Black Offers Old-School Thrills

Daniel Radcliffe makes post-Hogwarts debut

(Newser) - The boy wizard is back—but this time, he's a 19th-century gentleman. Daniel Radcliffe is generally successful playing a spooked lawyer in The Woman in Black, a throwback haunted house thriller. What the critics are saying:
  • The film "makes the most of its old-fashioned virtues," writes Manohla
... More »

Hitchcock's Birds Mystery Solved

Kamikaze California seabirds were poisoned, researchers say

(Newser) - The real-life mystery that inspired Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 thriller The Birds has been solved, researchers say. Hitchcock is said to have largely based the film on a bizarre incident in 1961, when flocks of crazed seabirds slammed into homes in California's Monterey Bay. Researchers now believe that, rather... More »

Brazenly Plagiarized Spy Novel Pulled

Author's debut was 'collage of others' work'

(Newser) - Bookseller Quentin Rowan appears to have forged a writing career entirely by raiding the contents of his shelves. Publisher Little, Brown & Co. recalled every single copy of his debut spy thriller, Assassin of Secrets—written under the pseudonym QR Markham—after discovering that passages had been lifted from more... More »

Hollywood Wants You for Its First 'Social Movie'

Crowdsourced thriller 'Inside' issues online casting call

(Newser) - Social media meets Hollywood thriller in online movie project Inside, billed as the first "social film." Star Emmy Rossum wakes up in a locked room with no way to communicate with the outside world except a laptop, which she uses to communicate with her social network—played by... More »

Critics Love Ben Affleck's Heist Flick The Town

Director-star excels in Boston thriller

(Newser) - Boston bank robber drama The Town is the heist movie of the year and Ben Affleck, who co-wrote, directed, and stars, has never been better, say critics.
  • Ben Affleck, directing his second movie, proves that 2007's excellent Gone Baby Gone was no fluke, writes Rick Bentley at the State . Affleck
... More »

American to Pen Next 007 Thriller

Thriller writes Jeffery Deaver working on Project X

(Newser) - The next adventure of Britain's most famous spy will be put to the page by an American best known for his psychological thrillers and graphic violence. The estate of late author Ian Fleming has chosen Jeffery Deaver, creator of the popular quadriplegic detective Lincoln Rhyme, to continue the James Bond... More »

Bourne Team Hunts WMD, Gets Political in Green Zone

WMD thriller may be most box-office friendly Iraq movie yet

(Newser) - Matt Damon reunites with director Paul Greengrass in Green Zone, and critics say the thriller, set in the early days of the Iraq war, packs all the punch of the Bourne films, though some felt its politics were a little heavy-handed.
  • Green Zone "is somewhere between a blockbuster and
... More »

Scorsese Goes Gothic in Shattering Shutter Island

Director's mastery on display in finely crafted B-movie

(Newser) - Martin Scorsese has crafted a gripping '50s-era thrill ride in Shutter Island, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo as federal marshals probing a disappearance at a hospital for the criminally insane, say critics.
  • The movie is a "nerve-twisting, tension-jammed exercise in pure paranoia—and possibly Scorsese's most commercial
... More »

Writers Pick Best Books of '09

Nick Hornby, Judy Blume, and more weigh in

(Newser) - What was the best book of the year? Salon asked Nick Hornby, Junot Diaz, Curtis Sittenfeld, and other people with better literary credentials than ours what they enjoyed in 2009. Their responses are in the photo gallery. More »

Inside The Box, a Muddled Surprise

Film is wayward, most critics agree, but for some it's interesting

(Newser) - Critics are split on The Box, the new film from writer-director Richard Kelly, known for the much-loved Donnie Darko and the reviled Southland Tales. Some takes on the flick about a box with a mysterious, life-changing button:
  • Pass, writes writes Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News. Don't "
... More »

Whiteout Leaves Critics Cold

Antarctic murder mystery a snowy wipeout for Beckinsale

(Newser) - Antarctica's a great setting for a thriller, say critics, but the new Kate Beckinsale movie Whiteout is too mundane to bear much resemblance to a great thriller.
  • Joe Neumaier, Daily News: Whiteout, based on a graphic novel, has the makings of an enjoyable, cheesy thriller, but then "wimps out,
... More »

Pelham 1 2 3 Remake: Stick With the Original

Slick remake of '70s thriller has its pluses, but fans of the original should stay away

(Newser) - The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 is a slick and solid thriller, though most critics say it pales in comparison to the '70s original—even with the energy of Denzel Washington and John Travolta.
  • Liam Lacey, Toronto Globe & Mail: The New York subway heist movie is an
... More »

It's No Lie: Duplicity Scores

Spy film gets wide, warm reception

(Newser) - Critics aren’t hiding their love for the twists and turns of Duplicity, a combination “caper movie,” “love story,” and “extra-dry corporate satire,” AO Scott notes in the New York Times. The buzz on the Julia Roberts-Clive Owen flick:
  • "Attempts—and to a
... More »

Clive Owen+Stubble=Everyman

(Newser) - Clive Owen may be good-looking, but his success in recent years depends squarely on his ability to inhabit scruffy Everyman characters that connect with audiences, New York reports. His new film, The International, heightens the illusion, as Owen’s everyday character is thrust into the middle of a shadowy financial... More »

Doubt Overcomes Misgivings

Top-notch performances make prize-winning play work as a movie

(Newser) - Doubt erases any qualms over whether the claustrophobic, Pulitzer Prize-winning play would work on the big screen, say critics. A "frighteningly good" Meryl Streep stars as the hardline principal of a Bronx Catholic school in 1964, Lou Lumenick writes in the New York Post. A game of cat-and-mouse begins... More »

No Glory, Plenty of Cliches

Cop thriller a little too much like every other cop thriller to be a classic

(Newser) - Pride and Glory has all the ingredients of a great cop thriller, critics say, but they're ingredients that have been recycled a few too many times. Edward Norton, Colin Farrell, Noah Emmerich, and Jon Voight turn in fine performances as a family of New York cops, Bill Goodykoontz writes in... More »

Body of Lies Too Conventional

Film has atmosphere but 'flawed' story

(Newser) - The CIA thriller Body of Lies is “always crisp and watchable,” but “it ends up too unconvincing and conventional to consistently hold our attention,” writes Kenneth Turan in the LA Times. The story of an anti-terror mission played out on the ground but guided from the... More »

Lakeview Bullies Box Office

Samuel L. Jackson thriller beats Coen brothers for top spot

(Newser) - Samuel L. Jackson thriller Lakeview Terrace debuted at number one over a soft box office weekend, Variety reports. Banking $15.6 million, it ousted Burn After Reading ($11.3 million) and outpaced My Best Friend’s Girl ($8.3 million), Igor ($8 million), and Righteous Kill ($7.7 million). Ricky... More »

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