Toward the end of “10 Cloverfield Lane,” a disciplined thriller about three people sheltered in a furnished bunker from an unknown disaster outside, the main character, Michelle, finds herself in a kill-or-be-killed situation. She is unarmed, and things are starting to look pretty grim, until a nearby bottle of single malt scotch catches her eye. Rather than taking one last invigorating swig before the end — which, given what she’s been through, would have been a perfectly acceptable way to go — she instead fashions herself a molotov cocktail.

I can think of no better metaphor for the movie. Directed with surprising self-assurance by newcomer Dan Trachtenberg, “10 Cloverfield Lane” is a finely-brewed concoction waiting to explode, a burst of light at the end of a dark tunnel.

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“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” can’t quite figure out what kind of movie it wants to be. So it goes with the protagonist, Kim Baker, a TV newscaster stationed in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2006. The movie’s title, when reduced to its essential elements, signifies the absurdity and perils of war reporting. But it also suggests an identity crisis: WTF am I doing here? W(ho)TF am I supposed to be?

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There is a radical silence at the heart of “Brooklyn,” a deeply affecting film which reveals the inner life of a young Irish immigrant even as it keeps the audience at a discreet distance. Set in the early 1950s, and spanning two continents, the film takes the cinematic close-up, rather than dialogue, as its main mode of expression.

The predominant face, lucky for us, is that of the 21-year-old actress Saoirse Ronan, who can shift, effortlessly, from crippling vulnerability to fierce resolve. Her performance, as the homesick Eilis Lacey, is at once intimate and remote, a series of glances and gestures amid a cultural divide that amount to a universal longing — for love, joy, freedom and home.

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There is much talk of being eaten in “Crimson Peak.” The mysterious aristocrat Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) speaks achingly of an all-consuming love. His sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain), recognizes the food chain as the organizing principle of the universe. She says as much in a scene that depicts, in close-up, a colony of ants feasting on the corpse of a butterfly. The symbolism comes early and its meaning, that we are slaves to our carnal urges, should be obvious even to the nascent moviegoer. This invigorating Gothic romance, set in a haunted mansion full of sensuous horrors and eye-gouging delights, requires very little thought. It is meant to be devoured.

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Early into “Sicario,” director Denis Villeneuve’s grisly thriller about the American government’s response to Mexican drug cartels, a convoy of black SUVs cross the U.S.-Mexico border into the city of Juárez. It is unclear at first, to the audience and to FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt), who’s been recruited by another agency for seemingly extrajudicial operations, whether this one is a rescue mission or a kidnapping. What is certain, though, is the sense of dread. The sequence, paying special attention to the synchronized movements of the vehicles, evokes a funeral procession, and soon the bodies begin piling up. All that is missing is the hearse.

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