David Oyelowo in SelmaSELMA

Movie violence is so prevalent - be it in horror films or action franchises (see Taken 3, if you must) or the PG-13 pummelings of every Marvel entertainment ever - that it's shocking to see one whose brutal acts have the power to make you cry. But within the first minutes of the extraordinary Selma, director Ava DuVernay stages a literal explosion of historical violence so frightening, repellent, and emotionally overwhelming that, in the awestruck moments of silence that followed, it was absolutely no surprise to hear viewers sniffling.

Om Puri, Manish Dayal, and Helen Mirren in The Hundred-Foot JourneyFriday, August 8, 10 a.m.-ish: I'm at The Hundred-Foot Journey, and five minutes into this lighthearted foodie dramedy, I'm already regretting my decision to only have yogurt for breakfast. With director Lasse Hallström's camera slavering over the creation of steaming, succulent pots and grills of Indian cuisine, all of it enhanced by spices and oils whose aromas are practically wafting off the screen, this is not the movie to see if you're hungry. Considering screenwriter Steven Knight's T-shirt-ready dialogue - which features such pithy bromides as "Life has its own flavor," "We cook to make ghosts," and the grammatically vexing "Food is memories" - it's not really the movie to see if your brain is hungry, either.

Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker in Lee Daniels' The ButlerLEE DANIELS' THE BUTLER

While raving to him about Lee Daniels' The Butler - the glorious, heart-rending, hugely entertaining Civil Rights saga that may showcase the finest performance yet by star Forest Whitaker - a friend asked if it was the sort of movie that needed to be seen at the movies, or if it was something that could wait until home video. I replied that, as much as I think great films should always be seen first in as grandly scaled a format as possible, it was probably a work that wouldn't lose much in the transition from big to smaller screen. Although director Daniels' effort covers some 75 years of American history, with Whitaker portraying an eight-term White House servant over more than 50 of them, it's still a rather intimate epic boasting a mostly understated visual style, and will no doubt play just fine in home-theater settings. (Actually, after the film's "For Your Consideration" screeners are eventually sent out, I think it's going to play awfully fine in the home-theater settings of Oscar voters. My first thought on the drive home was that even though it's only August, this year's Best Picture, Director, and Actor races were already all sewn up.)

Naomi Snieckus in Saw 3DSAW 3D

In the first 10 minutes of Saw 3D, a grim-faced cop enters an interrogation room and addresses his visitor with a curt "Let's get this over with." I couldn't agree more!

Jim Caviezel in FrequencyFREQUENCY

All tearjerkers, in one way or another, focus on death. Tearjerkers for Guys, however, focus on the death (or impending death) of one's father. For my money, the crème de la crème of this genre is Field of Dreams, where Kevin Costner's love of baseball (another Tearjerkers-for-Guys staple) leads to the resurrection of his long-deceased dad, and which is so shamelessly manipulative and contrived and romantic about its supernatural and spiritual possibilities that it's irresistible.