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'We Own the Night'

Brooklyn brothers Bobby (Joaquin Phoenix) and Joseph (Mark Wahlberg) Grusinsky are reasonably comfortable being on opposite sides of the law.

Bobby runs a nightclub where drug deals go down about as frequently as mojitos; Joseph followed their dad (Robert Duvall) into law enforcement. Their paths don't cross much until Joseph is made head of the drug enforcement division, and starts going after a couple of the Russian mobsters who frequent Bobby's bar.

A conventional but smartly acted policier from James (The Yards) Gray, the film chronicles a black sheep's return to the fold. It's not surprising, but it's engaging enough that most patrons will likely cut the director some slack for the out-of-period details and convoluted plot contrivances that make the film seem at once sloppy and too neat.

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Bob Mondello
Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.