Critical Thinking: Armored, Brothers, Fine, Air

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Armored
Rotten Tomatoes: 44% (4.8/10)
Metacritic: 51/100
Films with Comparable Scores: “My Bloody Valentine,” “My Sister’s Keeper,” “Transporter 3”

Analysis: Cited as a streamlined heist thriller, the 88 minute runtime and pace are given good notices. Yet there’s also many complaints about its formulaic predictability and lack of twists or surprises.

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Brothers
Rotten Tomatoes: 56% (6.1/10)
Metacritic: 59/100
Films with Comparable Scores: “Beowulf,” “The Good Shepherd,” “M:I-2,” “Spider-Man 3”

Analysis: A remake that’s more melodramatic than its Danish predecessor, the performances (especially Tobey Maguire) are being singled out as superb and the family tragedy/romance elements handled with deft touch by director Jim Sheridan. Yet the story never clicked with some, and quite a few found it too strained and awkwardly oppressive.

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Everybody’s Fine
Rotten Tomatoes: 46% (5.3/10)
Metacritic: 47/100
Films with Comparable Scores: “27 Dresses,” “Jennifer’s Body,” “The Box,” “The Cell”

Analysis: A bland holiday movie about dysfunctional family that lacks laughs and emotion, but Robert DeNiro and a strong supporting cast make the rather stilted premise and force ending tolerable.

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Up in the Air
Rotten Tomatoes: 89% (8/10)
Metacritic: 82/100
Films with Comparable Scores: “American Beauty,” “Michael Clayton,” “Rachel Getting Married”

Analysis: Cited as director Jason Reitman’s best work yet, the highly praised Oscar front runner is getting great notices for its cast, script, sensibility and timely subject matter fused with populist life lessons. A few cited it as a little condescending and/or falling back on simple sugary cliches.