Thriller/Suspense

[7] A London man gives refuge to a female spy, but after she’s knifed in the back he’s accused of her murder. The only way to clear his name is to piece together the clues she left behind and prevent top secret information from being smuggled out of the country. The 39 Steps is an taut espionage-thriller from Alfred Hitchcock that exemplifies the director’s fascination …

[7] Gerard Butler (300) and Morena Maccarin (Firefly) star in this end-times thriller about a family trying to find shelter before a comet smashes into Earth. We’ve seen this plot play out in movies like Armageddon and Deep Impact, but Greenland distinguishes itself by its psychological focus on the two main characters. There are, of course, visual effects depicting destruction and devastation, and harrowing crowd …

[7] Humphrey Bogart escapes from San Quentin to try and prove he’s innocent of killing his wife. Lauren Bacall plays the woman who believes him and gives him shelter. He resorts to plastic surgery to hide his identity from the police and extortionists, but will he be able to discover who the real killer is? Or will he be forced to flee the country? Dark …

[5] Chris Pine, Lou Taylor Pucci (Thumbsucker), Piper Perabo (Coyote Ugly), and Emily VanCamp (Everwood) roam the empty western United States after a plague has killed most of the population. They do their best to avoid desperate stragglers, but have a harder time not turning on each other when the disease finally catches up with them. Carriers is well acted and captures a compelling post-apocalyptic …

[6] British men and women are held captive in segregated prison camps under the rule of a sadistic Japanese commander who vows to kill them all if Japan loses World War II. When the Brits secretly learn of the war’s end, they have to keep their Japanese torturers from finding out. They sabotage radio equipment and attempt to delay the mail. But when an American …

[7] Fredric March plays a 1950s Czechoslovakian circus owner trying to lead his troupe in a daring escape from the Iron Curtain. The plan is to obtain a permit to perform for communist soldiers in the border territories — then create a distraction and make a run for freedom over a narrow bridge into American occupation. At the same time, March’s character is dealing with …

[7] Guillermo del Toro presents this creepy tale about a little girl (Bailee Madison) who discovers evil creatures live in the ash pit beneath her father’s newly acquired mansion. While the creatures try to persuade the girl to join them, they frame her for destructive deeds, turning her dad (Guy Pearce) and his girlfriend (Katie Holmes) against her. As the girl falls into despair trying …

[5.0] After his little brother discovers a dead dog and a scary old man on a wooded shortcut, a new-teen-in-town (Drew Seeley) invites his friends to investigate the trail and the legend behind the mysterious old man who patrols it. The opening act of The Shortcut fails to generate any excitement for the story that lies ahead, one that’s a little less obvious than big …

[6] Liam Neeson stars as an ex-CIA operative who pursues sex traffickers in Paris to rescue his kidnapped daughter. Taken opens with twenty minutes of clunky, expository screenwriting before Neeson is allowed to kick things into high gear. He single-handedly rescues this formula potboiler with a performance of fierce determination. Not since the likes of Clint Eastwood has an actor threatened to find and kill …

[7.0] Writer/director Neil Burger (Divergent, The Illusionist) presents a futuristic story about children genetically engineered and sent into space on an 86-year mission to colonize a distant planet. Once they’re teenagers, however, the kids become too smart for their own good. When they realize their impulse control and libidos have been held at bay through medicated meals, they quit cold turkey. The once docile crew …

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