Scott Marks 3:30 p.m., Dec. 24
The Place Beyond the Pines
A rare exception to the old line about the book being better than a movie, The Place Beyond the Pines is a small-scale epic that might have been better as a novel. In a novel, we might not have minded the sudden loss of major characters, the 15-years-later epilogue that turns out to be an entire extra act, or the fact that it's not about any of the characters so much as it is about the sprawling story they help to tell. And in a novel, we would certainly have been spared the Major Revelation Via Google Search. But in a novel, we wouldn't have gotten to see Ryan Gosling as a tattooed stunt biker-outlaw, Eva Mendes as his long-suffering lover, Bradley Cooper as a lawman-lawyer, Ray Liotta as a dirty so-and-so, Dane DeHaan as a damaged teen, and best of all, Ben Mendelsohn as another hard-case lowlife. 2013.