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When in doubt, add more blood

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GREEN. Portrays strong, vivid and dominant role in “300: Rise of an Empire.”

The current film, “300: Rise of an Empire,” benefits from the striking visual treatment that made the images in the first “300” film memorable.

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A really good try

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VICE Ganda’s most successful characterizations are as a man and woman.
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When we first heard last year that Vice Ganda was planning to star in a film that would require him to play a set of quadruplets made up of four genders (boy, girl, gay, tomboy) we thought it was a brilliant but risky move on his part.

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Review: Streep holds nothing back in brutal drama

This image released by The Weinstein Company shows, from left, Meryl Streep, Julianne Nicholson and Juliette Lewis in a scene from "August: Osage County." AP

Planning some extended family dinners over the holidays? Worried that folks might not get along, that festering tensions might surface, that people might get tipsy and say too much?   Well, here’s an idea: First, go see “August: Osage County,” the blistering film adaptation of the Pulitzer-winning Tracy Letts play starring Meryl Streep and Julia [...]

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Review: ‘Populaire’ is a love letter to ’50s films

This film image released by The Weinstein Company shows Deborah Francois in a scene from "Populaire." AP

“Mad Men” meets “The Artist” in “Populaire,” a superbly crafted, finely acted but somewhat shallow retro rom-com about a young French secretary who, with the help of her highly persuasive boss, hammers her way to becoming one of the fastest typists on the planet.

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Review: The laden ‘Man of Steel’ doesn’t soar

This film publicity image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Henry Cavill as Superman in "Man of Steel." AP Photo

It has been a black eye to Hollywood that throughout this, the unending and increasingly repetitive age of the superhero blockbuster, the comics’ most iconic son has eluded its grasp like a bird or, if you will, a plane.

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Review: ‘See Me’ isn’t magical despite great cast

This film image released by Summit Entertainment shows Mark Ruffalo, left, and Melanie Laurent in a scene from "Now You See Me." AP photo

Come to think of it, Hollywood films and magic shows have something in common: You pay your money, and you want to believe. Even if it’s exceedingly hard to do.

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‘The Hobbit…’: Much more than expected

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Ian McKellen and the dwarves in “The Hobbit”

You would think that, after the “The Lord of the Rings” film franchise, filmmakers would give the Hobbits and their fantasticating adventures a good, long rest. But, viewers’ interest in the frisky, pint-sized charmers remains high, so why not (profitably) give them more and more of what they want?

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Review: ‘Chainsaw’ loving homage to ’74 original

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This undated publicity film image from Lionsgate shows Alexandra Daddario, as Heather Miller in a scene from "Texas Chainsaw 3-D," releasing in theaters on Friday, January 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Lionsgate, Justin Lubin)

Watching “Texas Chainsaw 3-D,” the latest screen incarnation of the iconic chainsaw-wielding maniac Leatherface, the mind fairly reels. This purported direct sequel to Tobe Hooper’s 1974 horror classic cheerfully ignores that director’s own 1986 follow-up, the 1997 and 2003 remakes, the 2006 prequel and even its basic timeline. It scores points for sheer brazenness.

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AP critics pick the year’s best movies

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This image released by Warner Bros shows Alan Arkin, left, and actor-director Ben Affleck on the set of "Argo." Affleck was nominated Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 for a Golden Globe for best director for the film. The 70th annual Golden Globe Awards will be held on Jan. 13. AP Photo/Warner Bros., Claire Folger

“Argo” — Directing just his third feature, Ben Affleck has come up with a seamless blend of detailed international drama and breathtaking suspense, with just the right amount of dry humor to provide context and levity. He shows a deft handling of tone, especially in making difficult transitions between scenes in Tehran, Washington and Hollywood, but also gives one of his strongest performances yet in front of the camera. The story of a rescue during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis sounds like eat-your-vegetables cinema, and mixing it with an inside-Hollywood comedy sounds impossible, but Affleck and screenwriter Chris Terrio pull it all off.

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Storytelling in ‘The Mistress’ snarled up to achieve desired plot twists

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RONALDO Valdez and Bea Alonzo as the lovers

Olive Lamasan’s “The Mistress” is turning out to be the top mainstream film hit of 2012 to date. What accounts for its phenomenal success? There’s nothing like watching the movie to find out.

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Textured portrayals buoy up latest John Lloyd-Bea starrer

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ALONZO AND CRUZ. Time-honed chemistry.

WATCHING John Lloyd Cruz, Bea Alonzo, Ronaldo Valdez and Hilda Koronel strut their thespic stuff in Olivia Lamasan’s “The Mistress” is instructive: They deliver the goods, but their contrasting acting styles effectively convey their characters’ emotions and motivations—from raging bluster to fleeting moments of calm.

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Truly ‘Impossible’

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The Mission: Impossible” film franchise has further revved up its improbable thriller-spy-caper-chiller action in its latest and most truly “impossible” installment, “Ghost Protocol.”

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