You’ve had your Valentine’s Day dinner, shared some chocolate-dipped delights, and exchanged presents. Now you’re home with your significant other, and you’re looking for something to watch while you cuddle, whisper sweet nothings in each other’s ears, and gradually slip into the mood for more intimate activities (like Scrabble). Look no further, you beautiful, darling lovebirds, for we have compiled a list of 50 Certified Fresh and Fresh movies and TV series perfect for the occasion, whether you’re in need of something silly, steamy, sad, or sweet. See below for some excellent Valentine’s Day choices on Netflix.


1. 45 Years (2015) 97%

(Photo by Sundance Selects)

Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay star in Andrew Haigh’s drama about a married couple dealing with long-simmering tensions on the cusp of their 45th wedding anniversary.

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2. The African Queen (1951) 96%

Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn star in John Huston’s classic, Oscar-winning romantic adventure film about a WWI steam ship captain operating in Eas Africa who falls in love with the missionary’s daughter he’s agreed to transport back to civilization.

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3. Ain't Them Bodies Saints (2013) 77%

(Photo by Steve Dietl/IFC Films)

Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck star in this Certified Fresh drama about an imprisoned bank robber and the woman and child he left behind.

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4. Atonement (2007) 83%

(Photo by Focus Features)

James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, and Saoirse Ronan star in Joe Wright’s Oscar-winning adaptation of the Ian McEwan novel about a young girl who sabotages the relationship between her older sister and the man she loves.

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5. Beauty and the Beast (2017) 71%

(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)

Emma Watson and Dan Stevens star in Bill Condon’s live-action Disney adaptation of the studio’s own take on the classic tale of a young woman held captive by an angry beast who was once a prince.

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6. Before Midnight (2013) 98%

(Photo by Despina Spyrou/Sony Classics)

In the third installment of Richard Linklater’s enduring love story, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) are married and hoping to recapture the spark that first brought them together.

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7. Begin Again (2013) 83%

(Photo by Andrew Schwartz/Weinstein Company)

John Carney’s second musical romance stars Keira Knightley as a newly single songwriter who begins an unlikely friendship with the record exec (Mark Ruffalo) who volunteers to help record her album independently.

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8. Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013) 89%

(Photo by Sundance Selects)

Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos star in this Certified Fresh, Palme d’Or winning coming-of-age drama about a teenager who falls in love with an older art student.

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9. Blue Jay (2016) 91%

(Photo by The Orchard)

Mark Duplass and Sarah Paulson star in this romantic drama about a long-separated couple who reconnect after a chance encounter.

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10. Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) 89%

Arguably the most celebrated — surely the most widely recognized — Audrey Hepburn film. We just prefer to pretend all the Mickey Rooney stuff doesn’t exist.

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11. Bridget Jones's Baby (2016) 78%

(Photo by Giles Keyte/Universal Pictures)

Renée Zellweger reprises her role as the titular singleton, who must figure out who the father of her child is after a pair of trysts results in a pregnancy.

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12. Bridget Jones's Diary (2001) 79%

(Photo by Universal Pictures)

Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, and Hugh Grant star in this comedy about a brash thirtysomething woman who decides to shape up and meets a couple of eligible bachelors.

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13. Bright Star (2009) 83%

(Photo by Apparition)

Ben Whishaw and Abbie Cornish star in Jane Campion’s biopic focusing on the romance between poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne during the last years of Keats’ life.

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14. Carol (2015) 94%

(Photo by Wilson Webb/Weinstein Company)

Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara star in Todd Haynes’ period drama about an illicit affair between a lonely housewife and a younger woman.

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15. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 98%

(Photo by Tyler Golden/The CW)

Rachel Bloom stars in this Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning CW musical comedy series about a career woman who leaves her job and Manhattan lifestyle to find love in California. Watch seasons 1 and 2.

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16. Definitely, Maybe (2008) 70%

(Photo by Universal Pictures)

In this romantic comedy that essentially inspired How I Met Your Mother, Ryan Reynolds stars as a man who recounts his past conquests (played by Elizabeth Banks, Isla Fisher, and Rachel Weisz) to his daughter when his impending divorce makes her insufferably inquisitive.

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17. Drinking Buddies (2013) 84%

(Photo by Magnolia Pictures)

Olivia Wilde, Anna Kendrick, Jason Sudeikis, Jake Johnson, and Ron Livingston star in this comedy about two co-workers at a brewery who share an attraction despite being in relationships with other people.

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18. Emma (1996) 85%

Gwyneth Paltrow stars in this adaptation of the Jane Austen novel about a well-meaning woman who takes it upon herself to play matchmaker to those in her life, unaware that she has an admirer of her own.

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19. Holding the Man (2015) 81%

(Photo by Strand Releasing)

Based on Timothy Conigrave’s memoir of the same name, this independent drama from Australia centers on two men whose romance becomes the foundation of their gay rights activist work.

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20. The Incredible Jessica James (2017) 89%

(Photo by Netflix)

Jessica Williams and Chris O’Dowd star in this Netflix original comedy about an aspiring playwright who bonds with a man as they both attempt to deal with painful breakups.

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21. Jane The Virgin 100%

(Photo by )

Twenty-something virgin Jane has her life turned upside-down when she is accidentally inseminated with her boss’s sperm in this Certified Fresh dramedy with telenovela twists and a strong ensemble cast. Seasons 1 to 3 are available.

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22. Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001) 95%

Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan leads a village cricket squad in a match against their ruthless British occupiers in this beloved 2001 Oscar-nominated epic.

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 23. Leap Year (2010) 93%

(Photo by Strand Releasing)

This drama from Mexico centers on a promiscuous but lonely journalist who engages in a steamy, complicated affair with a sadist.

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24. Like Water for Chocolate (1992) 87%

(Photo by Miramax)

Based on the novel of the same name by Laura Esquival, Alfonso Arau’s magical romantic tale centers on the forbidden love between a man and a young woman who can make others feel what she feels through the food that she cooks.

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25. Margarita, With a Straw (2014) 83%

(Photo by Wolfe Releasing)

Kalki Koechlin stars in this Indian drama about a woman struggling with both cerebral palsy and matters of the heart.

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26. Master of None 93%

(Photo by Netflix)

In this Certified Fresh Netflix original comedy, Aziz Ansari (who also writes and directs) stars as a 30-year-old actor navigating life and love in New York City.

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27. Meet the Patels (2014) 87%

(Photo by Independent Television Service)

Ravi Patel’s Certified Fresh documentary chronicles his family’s persistent attempts to find him a spouse.

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28. Middle of Nowhere (2012) 88%

(Photo by AFFRM)

David Oyelowo stars in this drama about a med student whose life is upended when her husband is incarcerated, from Selma director Ava DuVernay.

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29. Midnight in Paris (2011) 93%

(Photo by Roger Arpajou/Sony Pictures Classics)

Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, and a slew of stars breathe life into Woody Allen’s dreamy romantic comedy about an aspiring novelist who, on a trip to Paris with his fiancée, is transported back to an idealized version of the city in the 1920s.

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30. Moonrise Kingdom (2012) 93%

(Photo by Niko Tavernise/Focus Features)

Wes Anderson’s coming-of-age film stars Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward as a couple of pre-teens who fall in love and run away from home together.

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31. My Golden Days (2015) 90%

(Photo by Magnolia Pictures)

This coming-of-age drama follows a French teenager’s troubled family life and misadventures in the Soviet Union.

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32. No Tomorrow 88%

(Photo by Bettina Strauss/The CW)

Tori Anderson and Joshua Sasse star in this CW series about a Seattle woman who gets involved with a man who believes the end of the world is near, and decides to join him in completing their bucket lists together.

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33. Nymphomaniac: Volume I (2014) 76%

(Photo by Magnolia Pictures)

Charlotte Gainsbourg and Stellan Skarsgård star in Lars von Trier’s provocative tale of a woman who recounts her violently sexual past to a man nursing her back to health after saving her from a brutal attack in an alley.

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34. Omar (2013) 90%

(Photo by Adopt Films)

This drama from Palestine follows a baker and moonlighting freedom fighter who’s coerced into informing on a friend when he’s wrongly arrested for the murder of an Israeli soldier.

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35. On Body and Soul (2017) 90%

(Photo by Netflix)

Netflix picked up this Certified Fresh drama from Hungary about two people who discover they share the same dream every night and attempt to recreate the emotions of that dream in reality.

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36. Our Souls at Night (2017) 89%

(Photo by Netflix)

Robert Redford and Jane Fonda star in this romantic drama about a widow and a widower living next door to each other who fin a connection as they enter their twilight years.

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37. Palm Trees in the Snow (2015) 86%

This Spanish period drama follows a woman who discovers a letter that reveals details about her father’s journey from his island home to Spanish Guinea.

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38. The Reader (2008) 63%

(Photo by Weinstein Company)

Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes star in Stephen Daldry’s drama about a young man who falls for an older woman who turns out to be a former Nazi prison guard.

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39. A Royal Night Out (2015) 74%

(Photo by Nick Wall/Atlas Distribution)

Sarah Gadon and Emily Watson star in this period dramedy about Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret’s adventures out on the town during V Day festivities in 1945.

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40. Rust and Bone (2012) 82%

(Photo by Sony Pictures Classics)

Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts star in Jacques Audiard’s drama about a single father who falls in love with a whale trainer after she suffers a tragic accident.

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41. Sense8 86%

(Photo by Netflix)

This Emmy-nominated Netflix original series follows eight strangers from around the world who discover they can psychically travel between each other’s bodies, allowing them to experience each other’s lives. Watch seasons 1 and 2.

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42. She's Gotta Have It 78%

(Photo by David Lee/Netflix)

Based on Spike Lee’s acclaimed 1986 debut feature film of the same name (which is also available to stream), this Netflix original series centers on a single woman navigating a trio of tricky romances and attempting to balance it with the rest of her personal and professional life.

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43.Sing Street (2016) 95%

(Photo by Weinstein Company)

John Carney’s Golden Globe-nominated Certified Fresh musical drama centers on a Dublin teen in 1985 who starts a band to impress the girl he has a crush on.

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44. Southside With You (2016) 92%

(Photo by Roadside Attractions)

Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter star as the young Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson in a romantic drama that follows the couple around Chicago on their first date.

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45. Suite Française (2014) 76%

(Photo by Bruno Calvo/Weinstein Company)

Michelle Williams and Matthias Schoenaerts star in this period romance about a French woman who falls in love with a German soldier when his regiment takes over her town during WWII.

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46. Two Lovers and a Bear (2016) 84%

(Photo by Philippe Bosse/Netflix)

Tatiana Maslany and Dane DeHaan star in this unique drama about a couple living in the icy wilderness of Canada who embark on a perilous journey south when a stalker threatens their lives.

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47. The Way He Looks (2014) 93%

(Photo by Strand Releasing)

This Brazilian coming-of-age drama revolves around a blind teenager struggling for independence who slowly falls in love with a new classmate.

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48. Wedding Crashers (2005) 76%

(Photo by New Line Cinema)

Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn star in this romantic comedy about a pair of cynical divorce attorneys who spend their time crashing weddings until they both meet their match in two very different women.

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49. While You Were Sleeping (1995) 81%

Sandra Bullock stars in this romantic comedy about a lonely tollbooth operator who falls in love with one of her customers and is mistaken for his fiancée when she intervenes in a tragic accident that leaves him comatose.

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50. And Your Mother Too (2001) 92%

Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, and Maribel Verdu star in this coming-of-age road trip drama about a pair of friends who take off on an adventure with a cousin’s estranged wife after their girlfriends leave town.

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(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

In the action thriller Sleepless, which opened earlier this year, versatile character actor Scoot McNairy (Halt and Catch Fire, 12 Years a Slave, Aftermath, the new season of Fargo, and the upcoming Godless on Netflix) starred opposite Jamie Foxx as a villainous mobster who orchestrates a kidnapping when he’s robbed of a shipment of his cocaine. The film hits DVD, Blu-ray, and On Demand this week, and that gave us a great opportunity to talk to McNairy about his Five Favorite Films. Read on for his eclectic list.

Rust and Bone (2012) 82%

I just thought the tone and the feel of that movie — the way it sort of characterized small people in such small ways — it gave you so much information about them. It was so brilliantly done. As well as the struggle and the performance from the characters was incredible. Marion Cotillard, I thought, was robbed from an Academy Award. I thought she was just amazing in that. The story was so different and interesting. I just thought everything about it was really good. It just tapped into every single emotion that you had, went through the whole wheelhouse. I just loved it.

Chinatown (1974) 99%

Chinatown sort of has this classic Hollywood vibe to it, or — not vibe — feel to it. I was always fascinated with sort of the old Hollywood, old architecture, the way Hollywood was back in the ’20s and the way that it captured all that, as well as the story and the acting. It’s just one of those films that I find myself watching over and over and over. I love seeing Jack Nicholson when he’s young — and his voice. All that stuff about him is so interesting to watch.

It’s amazing how riveting a movie about water can be.

Yeah, but it’s so cool to see how much Los Angeles has changed based on what you could see they were shooting then. Now, I know that that obviously wasn’t the old orange orchards, but you just get this idea of this vast sort of country land that is now a sprawling metropolitan city. Which is just incredible to me, in how fast it has grown. That’s always interesting, sort of looking at locations and then seeing those locations when you are driving around town.

Sling Blade (1996) 96%

Sling Blade. I loved it. It was a southern story and it was such a simple story, but the character work was just some of the best that I’d ever seen. I was fortunate enough to work with Billy Bob [Thornton] recently and — just looking back at that movie and what he did and knowing him as a person — it was just one of the most interesting, well-designed characters. It’s always fascinating to watch.

 

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) 76%

I grew up watching western films, and for someone to slow down the pacing to a sort of a western drama — I just thought was so incredibly well done. The acting in it was absolutely phenomenal. The cinematography of it was beautiful. The tone, the production — just everything about it. Go down the list of everything about all the departments of a film and I feel like everybody nailed it on that one — just knocked it out of the park. It’s just such a beautiful piece of film to watch. Sometimes I like to just play it in the background with the volume off — just to be looking at the imagery of it. Oh, man. Watch it with the lights off. It’s awesome.

()

Alone in the Wilderness is weird. Somebody gave me this documentary years ago, and I put it in and I watched it about four times in a row. Nothing is really happening in it. This guy is just building a cabin in the woods and sort of narrating it. It’s a true story. It’s actual live footage, 16mm footage of him. I gave it to a buddy of mine and he said the same thing — he was like, “Yeah, I watched it like two or three times in a row.” Another buddy said the same thing. I don’t know what it is. It’s just this guy building this cabin in the woods. I feel like it’s this sort of dream that every guy — or man — has. to go out into the woods and build a cabin and live in the woods. This guy does it, and does it for 40 years, and finally comes down when he’s 80, in Alaska. He just makes it look so feasible or accomplishable that — I don’t know, you just kind of watch it and start dreaming that you could do it too, you know? I think that is what a lot of my buddies felt when I sent them the film. It’s just something I’ve been toying around with — making a movie about it — sort of similar to the events that took place in the documentary, but not.


Sleepless is now available on Digital HD and will be released on Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand on Tuesday, Apr. 18.

This week in streaming, we’ve got a couple of Oscar winners (Zero Dark Thirty, Les Misérables), a few Certified Fresh imports from France (including Rust and Bone and The Big Picture), and a thoughtful documentary (Bestiaire). In addition, you can catch up on Japanese master Akira Kurosawa’s films, as the Criterion Collection are making all of his films in their lineup available for free this weekend. Read on to find out what’s available to watch right now.


Zero Dark Thirty
91%

Jessica Chastain stars as a young CIA operative who relentlessly pursues leads into the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, which eventually result in a raid on the terrorist mastermind’s secret compound in Pakistan.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu


Les Misérables
70%

Hugh Jackman stars as Jean Valjean, an ex-con turned factory owner who takes care of his ex-employee Fantine (Anne Hathaway) and her daughter while avoiding the ruthless Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe).

Available now on: Amazon, Vudu


Rust and Bone
82%

The Certified Fresh Rust and Bone stars Marion Cotillard in a drama about a romance between a single father and a woman who has recently suffered from a tragic accident.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu


The Big Picture
86%

The Big Picture is a Certified Fresh French thriller about a successful man who assumes a new identity to escape his existence.

Available now on: Vudu


The Other Son
79%

The Other Son is a poignant drama about an Israeli and a Palestinian child switched at birth.

Available now on: iTunes, Vudu


Bestiaire
86%

Bestiaire is a reflective documentary portrait of animals in captivity.

Available now on: Amazon, Fandor, iTunes, Vudu


Cosmopolis
66%

David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis stars Robert Pattinson as a young billionaire who takes a wild trek across Manhattan.

Available now on: Netflix


Silent Souls
96%

A drama about a man who journey across Russia with his best friend in order to bury his deceased wife, Silent Souls is Certified Fresh.

Available now on: Netflix


The Films of Akira Kurosawa, presented by The Criterion Collection
100%

Lastly, in celebration of the late Akira Kurosawa’s birthday, the Criterion Collection is making all of the iconic Japanese director’s films available to watch for free on Hulu until midnight on Sunday night. It’s the perfect chance to catch up on any you may have missed, including his masterpiece Seven Samurai!

Available now on: Hulu

Three of this week’s new releases on home video were recognized by the Academy with Oscar nominations this year, so that’s already a pretty good start. The other three selections include two comedies that earned mixed reactions and one French import featuring some impressive performances, and those are followed by a number of notable rereleases. See below for the full list!



The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

64%

After the success of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings adaptations, it was impossible not to approach his interpretation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit with high anticipation. When Jackson announced that The Hobbit — a single volume much shorter than the LOTR saga — would also be stretched into a trilogy, however, some fans expressed a bit of concern, and Jackson’s use of the higher frame rate was also met with mixed reactions. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey chronicles the first portion of the tale of young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who is swept up in a journey alongside thirteen dwarves to recapture their kingdom, which has been usurped by a fearsome dragon named Smaug. With Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen, reprising his role from the Rings series) in tow, their quest leads them into perilous encounters with all sorts of creatures, including Gollum (Andy Serkis), whose fate is intimately tied to Bilbo’s. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was an “event movie,” if ever there was one, and while most critics found it both visually spectacular and evident of Jackson’s earnest affection, some also found that its pace was too deliberate and that it ultimately failed to meet the same standard for majesty and wonder that was set so high in Jackson’s previous trilogy. At 65% on the Tomatometer, this is probably still a trip worth taking.



Zero Dark Thirty

91%

Kathryn Bigelow took home a few Oscars for 2008’s The Hurt Locker, and she’s always had a knack for action flicks (“The FBI’s going to pay me to learn to surf?”), so it’s not entirely surprising that her gritty action/procedural about the search for Osama bin Laden, Zero Dark Thirty, garnered five Oscar nods (including Best Picture and Best Actress) of its own. The story follows fledgling CIA operative Maya (Jessica Chastain) over the course of her entire career — which is dedicated to the capture of Osama bin Laden — as she collects intelligence, pursues leads, participates in classified interrogations, and ultimately oversees the mission to raid bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. There was some controversy over the kinds of access that Bigelow and writer Mark Boal (who also wrote The Hurt Locker) were allegedly given to classified records, as well as some grumbling over whether or not the film condoned torture, but the vast majority of critics simply saw a gripping, intelligently crafted film with an eye for detail. Certified Fresh at 93%, it was one of last year’s highest rated wide releases, so if you’re looking for a solid thriller, this one comes highly recommended.



Les Misérables

70%

Victor Hugo’s classic novel of redemption has been adapted several times before on both stage and screen, so it’s tempting to ask, “Is this a story worth revisiting again?” Most critics say yes, as did the Academy when it honored the film with eight Oscar nominations (it won three of them). Anyone who’s taken high school English will be familiar with the tale: Ex-convict Frenchman Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is released from prison in 1815 at the end of a 19-year sentence, and after benefiting from an act of kindness by a local bishop, he vows to live an honest life. Thus begins a sprawling historical narrative that follows several characters in Valjean’s life and culminates in the June Rebellion of France in 1832. Directed by Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech), Les Misérables received some attention for its actors singing live on set (some better than others), and though its story was familiar, its accomplished cast (including Best Supporting Actress winner Anne Hathaway) helped to elevate the film.



This Is 40

51%

Judd Apatow’s been wearing his Producer hat more often lately, but he decided to jump back behind the camera again for This Is 40, the “sort-of sequel to Knocked Up,” as its poster so proudly proclaims. Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann (Apatow’s wife) reprise their roles from that previous film as upper-middle-class married couple Pete and Debbie, who both celebrate their 40th birthdays. In the week between Debbie’s actual birthday and Pete’s party, audiences bear witness to the conversations, the arguments, the intimate moments, the public meltdowns, and everything in between that the couple experience with each other and their children (played by Maude and Iris Apatow, they of Judd and Leslie’s loins). Unfortunately, there were a lot of critics who just didn’t find This Is 40 to be a winning effort; while many conceded the film successfully made light of some hard truths, most also felt the story was unfocused and muddled, and that it appealed to too specific an audience.



Rust and Bone

82%

We last heard from French filmmaker Jacques Audiard back in 2010, when his acclaimed film A Prophet was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards. Though his latest effort, Rust and Bone, failed to make it onto the Oscar list this year, it’s received a number of accolades, particularly for its acting. The film stars Matthias Schoenaerts as unemployed single father and aspiring kickboxer Alain, who moves to Antibes to live with his sister and look for work. After securing a job as a bouncer at a night club, Alain meets Stephanie (Marion Cotillard), a whale trainer at the local marine park who forms a close relationship with Alain when she suffers a tragic accident that results in the amputation of her lower legs. A handful of critics felt Rust and Bone‘s third act could have been a little stronger, but most agreed that both Schoenaerts and Cotillard put in powerful performances here, and that Audiard’s script succeeds in being sensitive without veering into melodrama. Certified Fresh at 81%, it’s an unconventional love story that may move you if you give it a chance.



Bachelorette

57%

Much to the chagrin of its producers, Bachelorette was just about to start shooting when Bridesmaids hit theaters back in 2011, thereby snatching up the “female answer to The Hangover” crown. When it finally opened back in September of last year, however, its makers decided to take a chance and release it on Video On Demand a month ahead of time. The story centers around a group of friends who reunite when one of them (Rebel Wilson) announces she’s getting married. What ensues is a series of mishaps as the bridesmaids (Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan, and Isla Fisher) accidentally ruin the wedding dress and attempt to fix the situation, all after having insulted the bride and ingested copious amounts of booze and drugs. Critics were relatively split on Bachelorette; some thought it was funny and well-written by Leslye Headland (who also directed), but others felt the film’s leads were a bit too unlikeable to fully earn the sentimental ending. It might be a risk at 55%, but the cast — which includes Adam Scott, James Marsden, and Ann Dowd — may win you over.

Also available this week:

  • Two choices from the Criterion Collection: Terence Malick’s Badlands (98%) and Powell and Pressburger’s The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (95%), now both available on DVD and Blu-ray.
  • The HBO original film The Girl, which explores Alfred Hitchcock’s relationship with Tippi Hedren.
  • The 1981 cult favorite sex comedy Porky’s (30%) on Blu-ray.

Happy Thanksgiving! This week at the movies, we’ve got a furry castaway (Ang Lee‘s Life of Pi starring Suraj Sharma); folkloric fighters (Rise of the Guardians, with voice work from Chris Pine and Alec Baldwin); teen guerillas (Red Dawn, starring Chris Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson); and unhappy singles (Silver Linings Playbook, starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence). What do the critics have to say?



Life of Pi

86%

On paper, Life of Pi shouldn’t work — it’s a 3D adaptation of a supposedly “unfilmable” magic realist novel. But critics say director Ang Lee’s film achieves the near impossible — it’s a phantasmagoric technical achievement that’s emotionally rewarding as well. Newcomer Suraj Sharma stars as a young man who survives a shipwreck only to be set adrift in a lifeboat — with a Bengal tiger. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Life of Pie is so visually sumptuous, and newcomer Sharma is so strong, that occasional moments of so-so dialogue are easily forgiven. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Lee’s best-reviewed films.)



Rise of the Guardians

75%

A sort of Avengers for the elementary school set, critics say Rise of the Guardians is stylish and briskly paced, but it’s only so-so in the storytelling department. When a nightmare king named Pitch attempts to spread darkness all over the world, it’s up to such unlikely heroes as Santa Claus, Jack Frost, and the Easter Bunny to save the children from misery and despair. The pundits say Rise of the Guardians should please small children with its whirl colorful action, and adults will find it to be a decent, if not groundbreaking, animated romp.



Red Dawn

15%

The original Red Dawn may have strained credibility, but at least there was a Communist Bloc to fear in 1984. Critics say a lack of topicality is only one of the problems with this new Red Dawn, which features some decent action sequences but gives a short shrift to character development and general logic. A foreign enemy has invaded a small town in Washington, and a group of teens that includes Chris Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson wage guerilla warfare in order to save their community — and America itself. The pundits say Red Dawn makes precious little sense most of the time, and a solid cast of up-and-comers can do little with its generic dialogue. (Check out our 24 Frames gallery of the stars of Red Dawn.)



Silver Linings Playbook

92%

In the movies, characters fall in love all the time, but critics say they’re rarely as interesting as the folks in Silver Linings Playbook, a sharply written, terrifically acted film about fascinating people in dark situations. Bradley Cooper stars as a down-on-his-luck guy living with his parents after his release from a mental institution. He gets an unexpected boost when he meets a mysterious young woman (Jennifer Lawrence) who seems to offer a solution to his troubles. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Silver Linings Playbook represents another triumph for director David O. Russell, who makes difficult material work splendidly with help from strong performances and witty dialogue.

Also opening this week in limited release:

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