Betsy Sharkey, Film Critic

  • 'Cold in July' turns up the pulp fiction heat with Texas tale

    'Cold in July' turns up the pulp fiction heat with Texas tale

    Only in Texas could the neo-noir of "Cold in July" be so believable. I say that as a fan of both the state and the style. This striking new entry in pulp fiction stars Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard and Don Johnson in a tangled tale of crime and punishment that mines the Lone Star lore of guns and...

  • 'Lullaby' is in desperate need of a respirator. Stat.

    'Lullaby' is in desperate need of a respirator. Stat.

    Richard Jenkins plays a terminally ill man arguing his right to die amid a family feud in the treacly 'Lullaby.' It should make for a tense, tearful film. Instead, it's more wearing than moving.

  • Ruby Dee made her graceful mark on artistic, activist stages

    Ruby Dee made her graceful mark on artistic, activist stages

    Ruby Dee packed a lot of power in a tiny package. Barely topping 5 feet, 2 inches, she nevertheless loomed large. Still, there was a softness alongside the steel, a smile gracing her face more often than a frown. There was a kindness in her eyes, a sense of inclusion she extended to a world that...

  • 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' revives mutants' fighting spirit

    'X-Men: Days of Future Past' revives mutants' fighting spirit

    Time travel, Peter Dinklage and 1970s kitsch top a very long list of what makes "X-Men: Days of Future Past" such a blast. Allowing one of the mutant corps to travel back to save a perilous present paves the way for all of the X-Men to find their better selves. And who wouldn't want a chance to...

  • 'The Fault in Our Stars' elevates sad story by cutting the sap

    'The Fault in Our Stars' elevates sad story by cutting the sap

    Despite the way death and cancer gnaw at "The Fault in Our Stars," the new teenage love story starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort is really about living. Or as Tim McGraw put it in the classic country song, live like you were dying — good advice, since we all are. There's plenty of romance...

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