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What are the top black movies of 2012 so far? That depends on who you ask: the critics or the box office bean counters. Here, we keep it simple and look at five black films that people have been talking about. Are they the best black films of 2012 so far? Let us know what you think.

Safe House

Perennial badass Denzel Washington plays a rogue CIA agent on the run from gunmen in South Africa. In his Los Angeles Times review, Kenneth Turan calls it a “take-no-prisoners action extravaganza that doesn’t stint on either bullets or brutal hand-to-hand combat.”

Good Deeds

Branching out from his typical comedies, actor and director Tyler Perry plays a wealthy CEO who, despite seemingly having it all, falls for a down-on-her-luck janitor. “Arguably Perry’s best film yet,” writes Rob Humanick for Slant, “Good Deeds is a poignant quotidian reflection on those most basic and frequently unanswered, even unasked questions: Who are we, where do we come from, and where we are going?”

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Think Like a Man

What if women had access to a book explaining how men think and why they act the way they do? That’s the premise of this war-of-the-sexes comedy, based on the Steve Harvey book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. Movieline says it’s “rowdy and funny and showcases an immensely likable ensemble cast it uses to delineate its war between the sexes.”

Men In Black 3

A decade after the last MIB installment, Will Smith reprises his role as dapper alien hunter Agent J. This time, his mission takes him back to 1969, where he must save the planet and his partner, Agent K. Sequels are tricky business, but according to Entertainment Weekly critic Lisa Schwarzbaum, the erstwhile Fresh Prince is up to the challenge. “For an African-American Hollywood superstar like Smith, marching his character backwards to 1969 presents unique opportunities for social commentary on changing perceptions of American black men,” Schwarzbaum writes. “Smith makes big statements with the most casual and charming of reactions and line readings.”

Red Tails

Based on the inspirational true story of the Tuskegee Airmen—the first black pilots in the U.S. Army—this World War II flick is “a well-acted, well-directed (by TV veteran Anthony Hemingway) popcorn movie with great aerial battles and solid dramatic scenes that hold your attention for two good hours,” according to the New York Post.

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