A good year for women on film, as exemplified in new releases The Eyes of My Mother, Miss Sloane, and more
Matthew Lickona 5 p.m., Dec. 9
A tough Detroit cop (Joel Kinnaman) gets blown to bits, and the best of those bits get stuck inside a heavily armed robot. Personal crises and ethical complications ensue, as do some remarkably intense (for a PG-13 film) gun battles. Director Jose Padilha (Elite Squad: The Enemy Within) brings his talent for smart, complicated actioners to Hollywood, and puts on a hell of a show. He slips from media to marketing to militarism to mechanical miracles with ease, because, of course, they're all strands of the same web, with a poisonous CEO (a casual, amoral Michael Keaton) and his terrifying art collection at its center. The not-so-secret star here is Gary Oldman, perfect as a scientist who wants to do great things, who understands that he needs massive corporate funding to do them, and who tries to preserve humanity (his own and his creation's) even as he fiddles with it. With a game Samuel L. Jackson. 2014.