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Created May 03, 2014 12:57AM PST • Updated May 31, 2014 12:42AM PST

Tom Hardy starts with a storybook name, adds in physicality that Brando would envy and roots his performances deep within his being. He is the most interesting actor in the world, or close to it.

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  • 83 Points
Title Released Trust Weighted Summary Viewable
1st Bronson
2008 Very Good 66 Points
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We Americans are blessedly unfamiliar with the “most violent prisoner in Britain,” a nut called Charles Bronson. I’d of happily gone on that way had Tom Hardy not become an actor whose riveting performances demand that his every great role be viewed. And his feral performance as Charles Bronson is great indeed. Scary great.

Bronson is not for the fainthearted. It’s a bravura movie about a psychopath, from the psychopath’s POV. Obscenely grandiose, hyper-violent, self-justifying and delusional, he’s a real-life monster whose story informs an artistically masterful movie. Not surpr…

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Added May 03, 2014 12:57AM PST • Updated May 31, 2014 12:41AM PST
2nd Inception
2010 Perfect 122 Points
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Deep, exceptionally smart, and profoundly cinematic, Inception is nothing less than the second coming of Citizen Kane. Just as Orson Welles’ masterpiece redefined the conception of silver screen storytelling, so Christopher Nolan’s magnum opus expands the boundaries of cinematic art in ways that service the art without pandering to technique. Contrast this with the over-hyped Avatar, a high-toned B-movie bound to go down in history as little more than technical triumph.

Inception plays like a Mission Impossible

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Added May 03, 2014 12:57AM PST • Updated May 31, 2014 12:41AM PST
3rd Warrior
2011 Great 84 Points
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MMA gets its 15 minutes of movie fame in Warrior, reason enough for mixed-martial arts fans to revere it. For the rest of us? Reason to avoid it. Most movie fans in Silicon Valley apparently fall in the latter camp, judging from the near empty Camera 7 theater on opening night.

Pity, because Warrior is a surprisingly great movie, kind of an ensemble Rocky. Ole’ Sly Stallone himself would appreciate Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton’s athletic performances, especially with Hardy playing a veritable Rocky Tyson, MMA variety. Add in a truly g…

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Added May 03, 2014 12:57AM PST • Updated May 31, 2014 12:41AM PST
4th Lawless
2012 Really Great 83 Points
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Heard of the Bondurant School of Driving? Lawless is the Bondurant school of bootlegging, V8 Fords careening along dirt roads included. Indeed, the story of a legendary family of moonshiners from Western Virginia – the Bondurants – gets a monumental telling in this powerfully assured and entertaining movie.1

Nominally “based on real events,” Lawless soars to fictional heights reached by precious few crime movies. It’s more than enough to induct the Bondurants into the cinematic Valhalla that houses legendary crime families like the Corleones

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Added May 03, 2014 12:57AM PST • Updated May 31, 2014 12:41AM PST
5th The Dark Knight ...
2012 Really Great 92 Points
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The finale of the Dark Knight trilogy rises to the occasion, delivering a compelling and consummately produced big screen experience. Famously long at almost three hours, it does indeed fly by, the rich story and characters well harnessed to Christopher Nolan’s masterful direction, the closure complete… yet open.

That said, DKR’s twists are often grossly manipulative, its double-crosses and dubious motives wearying. Thus The Dark Knight remains the peak of the trilogy, followed by DKR, with Batman Begins

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Added May 03, 2014 12:57AM PST • Updated May 31, 2014 12:41AM PST
6th Locke
2013 Really Great 66 Points
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Locke is an extremely understated title for a totally gripping movie about an extremely understated guy. Ivan Locke spends the whole movie driving away from home and from his life. iDrive Away or Distracted Driving or iPhone Home would give a better sense of the tightly-wound existential journey it portrays.

Tom Hardy is the only person to appear in Locke, though everyone important in Locke’s successful adult life speaks to him – and us – on his BMW’s speakerphone during Steven Knight’s 85 minute film. The Bimmer is almost as much the star of Locke as is the estimable Hard…

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Added May 03, 2014 12:57AM PST • Updated May 31, 2014 12:41AM PST
7th The Drop
2014 Very Good 66 Points
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Dennis Lehane took a short-story set in his characteristic Boston and expanded it into a screenplay set in Brooklyn. This works, great writer that he is, even if the story’s legs don’t so much cohere as cohabitate.

The Drop won’t cohabitate as among his best with Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone, that’s for sure.
It still delivers great satisfaction however, especially featuring two of the greatest actors working today.

Make that working yesterday, as The Drop mar…

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Added Sep 16, 2014 10:13AM PST • Updated Sep 16, 2014 10:13AM PST

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