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Rene Rodriguez

Rene Rodriguez has been The Herald's movie critic since 1995. He studied film criticism and filmmaking at the University of Miami. Before being named movie critic, he was an arts writer for The Herald and also worked on the city desk.



Oculus (R)

Mirrors have been as much of a fixture in horror movies as knives and cats that suddenly jump from the shadows. But they’re best in cameos, as in the ending of Dressed to Kill or the bathroom scene in The Shining. Oculus revolves entirely around an ornate mirror that is, what, a gateway to hell? A summoning force for evil spirits? A really ugly piece of furniture from a medieval Pottery Barn?

Iko Uwais and Cecep Arif Rahman square off in a scene from ‘The Raid 2.’

    The Raid 2 (R)

    Every time you think The Raid 2 can’t possibly top itself, writer-director Gareth Evans goes “Oh, yeah? Watch this.” Most of 2011’s The Raid: Redemption took place inside a tenement raided by a SWAT team to apprehend a mobster and his squad of killers holed up inside. Practically no one survived the movie — the violence was astonishing — but the contained setting and the idea of having events grow hairier for the good guys the higher they went in the building gave the tight 101-minute movie a sense of compressed, relentless action. Now comes The Raid 2 (known as The Raid 2: Bernadal in its native Indonesia), which is far more expansive and complicated, and runs almost 2 ½ hours. Miraculously, the new picture makes the old one feel like Evans was just warming up.

A sexual addict (Charlotte Gainsbourg) visits a therapist (Jamie Bell) with unorthodox methods to try to help get over her compulsion in ‘Nymphomaniac: Vol. 2’

    NYMPHOMANIAC VOL. 2 (unrated)

    Nymphomaniac Vol. 2 (unrated)

    Things get really kinky in Nymphomaniac Vol. 2, the second chapter in director Lars von Trier’ epic-length saga about a woman who can’t get enough. If you saw Vol. 1, which ended with our perpetually horny heroine Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) losing all feeling in her sexual organs, you might be wondering, “How could this movie outdo the first one?” To quote the great Bachman-Turner Overdrive, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Rosie (Nina Arianda) and Tommy (Michael Pitt) are amateur criminals reading about their exploits in a scene from ‘Rob the Mob.’

    Rob the Mob (R)

    “Robbing hoods” is how the news media took to calling Thomas and Rosemarie Uva (Michael Pitt and Nina Arianda), a pair of small-time criminals who started attending the John Gotti trial in New York in 1992. They would jot down the addresses of the mob’s secret “social clubs” (or gambling parlors) during witness testimonies, then stride in and clean all the wiseguys out of their loot — the pot, their wallets, watches, everything.

Lupita Nyong'o poses in the press room with the award for best actress in a supporting role for "12 Years a Slave" during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday, March 2, 2014, in Los Angeles.

    ‘12 Years a Slave,’ Cate Blanchett, Matthew McConaughey take top honors at Academy Awards

    12 Years a Slave, director Steve McQueen’s unblinking look at slavery in America in the late 19th century, won three Oscars Sunday, including Best Picture.

  • POMPEII (PG-13)

    Pompeii (PG-13)

    In his first starring role since becoming famous as Jon Snow on Game of Thrones, Kit Harington proves he’s much better as an ensemble player than as a leading man in Pompeii.

 <span class="cutline_leadin">Young lovers:</span> Omar (Adam Bakri) is in a dangerous relationship with Nadia (Leem Lubany).

    OMAR (unrated)

    Omar (unrated)

    In the Oscar-nominated Omar, writer-director Hany Abu-Assad, who previously explored the phenomena of suicide bombers in Paradise Now, returns to the West Bank for another story about the heartbreaking toll of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The tall and handsome Omar (Adam Bakri) works as a baker and regularly climbs the separation wall, dodging bullets by Israeli guards, in order to hang out with his buddies Amjad (Samer Bisharat) and Tarek (Eyad Hourani) and secretly woo the latter’s sister Nadia (Leem Lubany), who is still in high school.

 <span class="cutline_leadin">‘The Lego Movie’: </span>Movie has more imagination and creativity than all the ‘Transformers’ pictures combined.

    The Lego Movie (PG)

    The Lego Movie (PG)

    Instead of capitalizing on a beloved toy, The Lego Movie uses the popular children’s building blocks and miniature figures for something far more ambitious: A manic and at times surprising comedy that has more imagination and creativity than all the Transformers pictures combined.

 <span class="cutline_leadin">Stealth romance: </span>Reinier Diaz and Milton Garcia try to keep their love affair secret in modern-day Cuba.

    La Partida (The Last Match) (unrated)

    La partida (The Last Match) is the story of two boys in love in a culture where homosexuality is taboo — unless you’re getting paid for it, in which case it’s OK. The handsome Reinier (Reinier Diaz) makes a living by having sex with gay tourists and provides for his wife and mother-in-law, who are totally comfortable with his work, because he’s only doing it for the money.

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