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opening this weekend [Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA)]

September 20, 2013

YellowBrix

"Rush,"

Rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for sexual content, nudity, language, some disturbing images and brief drug use. 123 minutes. HHH

Maybe, just maybe, Ron Howard and screenwriter Peter Morgan are perfect opposites: one a swinging playboy, the other a cold calculator.

They have twice now collaborated on what you might call coin- flip films: movies about dueling, diametrically opposed forces. Their latest, the Formula One thriller "Rush," is a lot like their "Frost/Nixon," only on wheels.

Chris Hemsworth plays the English bounder James Hunt, a dashing head of blond hair whose daring-do and high-class accent turn women into mush. Daniel Bruhl plays Niki Lauda, an analytical Austrian with pointy front teeth and a complete dearth of what you might call people skills.

It's not only one of the better racing films, it's one of Howard's best. For Morgan, who also penned another distinct sports film, 2009's "The Damned United," it's yet another example of his great talent for taking seemingly minor true stories and expanding them operatically.

"Thanks for Sharing"

Rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for "language and some strong sexual content." 112 minutes. HH

With a subject as specific as sex addiction, comparisons to 2011's "Shame" are inevitable. That dark drama was a deep-probe character study, intensely focused on a man consumed by his cravings.

By contrast, "Thanks for Sharing" is an ensemble piece juggling humor with sober observation of three men intent on overcoming their dependence on the pleasures of the flesh. Making a technically polished directing debut, screenwriter Stuart Blumberg ("The Kids Are All Right") has in essence crafted the date-night version of the sexaholic's confessional.

"Prisoners"

Rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for "disturbing violent content including torture, and language throughout." 153 minutes. HHH

Parenting involves countless mundane decisions - dozens a day. But as any parent knows, the potential for tragedy stemming from a wrong decision is never far from the surface of the mind. What if they go out and get hit by a car? What if I look away and they drown in the current? What if they get kidnapped?

No wonder the movies get so much mileage out of missing-children tales. But few - very few - handle it with the skill that director Denis Villeneuve and a terrific cast led by Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal bring to "Prisoners," a suspense thriller that will stay with you long after the credits roll.

And kudos to cinematographer Roger Deakins, whose evocation of a chilly late fall in Pennsylvania will leave you instinctively searching for a blanket.

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