In this week’s new releases, Christian Bale and Casey Affleck star as brothers in director Scott Cooper's film based on "Out of This Furnace" by Thomas Bell. "Let the Fire Burn" examines the story behind the "MOVE" organization and the bombing of its headquarters by Philadelphia officials on May 13, 1985; the film receives this week's highest critic rating with four stars.
★★★ “Out of the Furnace” (R) [Scott] Cooper, who directed ‘Crazy Heart’ a few years ago, once again evinces a gift for conveying atmosphere, carefully framing and composing his shots to lend “Out of the Furnace” a reserved, even stately, air of dignity. And he knows how to get the best from his actors (Jeff Bridges, who won an Academy Award for his performance in Crazy Heart,’ might agree). – Ann Hornaday
★★★★ “Let the Fire Burn” (Unrated) “Dispensing with the usual retrospective accounts and analytical chin-scratching, Osder creates both intensity and intimacy, inviting viewers simply to watch and listen as a tragedy — born of unchecked aggression, incoherent ideology and appallingly faulty logic — unfolds.” – Ann Hornaday
★★★ “Narco Cultura” (R) “By the end of this troubling film, the cognitive dissonance that it highlights — between the theoretical glorification of the illegal Mexican drug industry and its actual cost in blood — is jarring. It’s an important film, but ‘Narco Cultura’ is also maddeningly hard to watch.” – Michael O’Sullivan
★★ “Commitment” (Unrated) “A bureaucratic rivalry that turns to war. Pampered high-school brats whose victim turns out to be a trained assassin. A sister and a potential girlfriend with the same name. Any or all of these scenarios might merit an ironic wink, but ‘Commitment’ never cracks a smile. It’s as stern as Choi’s single-expressioned performance.” – Mark Jenkins
★1/2 “Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?” (Unrated) “Directed by Michel Gondry (‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’) from a series of conversations that Gondry audio-recorded — and only partly filmed, on a noisy, antique, wind-up camera — the film is probably of interest only to those viewers who, like Gondry himself apparently, already have an obsession with Chomsky.” – Michael O’Sullivan