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  • Criticwire
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    Weekend Reel Reads: Money, Festivals and (Yes) Star Wars

    Longer pieces about the significance and logistics of "Star Wars" may persist far beyond 2015, but this week we have additional stories about festivals, finance and the man who made Bond look better than ever.

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  • Criticwire
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    This Week on Criticwire: The Pre-Skyfall Finishing Touches

    As stateside moviegoers get a chance to catch up with the newest Bond film, we have multiple look backs at some of the best installments, the curious global translations and the different reactions to those less enamored.

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  • Caryn James
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    Anne Hathaway and SNL Do Homeland

    Someone at SNL really likes Homeland (don’t we all?) Last week, in their hurricane press-conference sketch, Mayor Michael Bloomberg explained to Spanish-speaking New Yorkers that white people were cranky because they were missing Homeland. This week, Anne Hathaway was at the center of a sketch that perfectly captured the actors’ quirks, with Hathaway recreating Claire Danes’ constantly quivering chin and Taram Killam capturing Damian Lewis’ teeny tiny mouth. And when you think about it, as Saul (Bill Hader) says about Carrie, why wouldn’t you trust a CIA agent who swills wine while popping pills, and is sexually obsessed with her source?

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  • The Playlist
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    AFI Fest Review: Kim Nguyen's 'War Witch' a Haunting, Brutal Surrealist Fable Matched by Powerful Lead Performances

    Before any political or societal context enters the brutal cinematic depictions seen in “Come and See” and “City of God,” each effort can first speak clearly enough from the image of a child holding a firearm. Gawky, nervous, and with an expression of terrified power, the isolated sight holds many questions to a decayed rationality and natural order, but as Canadian director Kim Nguyen's shows within his searing look at African child soldiers, “War Witch," those two aspects are the first to be excised in warfare. Blending a surrealist perspective of battle-tinged faith with the harrowing tale of one girl's resilience, the film is a laser-focused fable threatened occasionally by its drifts into character shorthand, but equaled by a wrenching lead performance by Rachel Mwanza that results in one of the finest of the year.

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  • The Playlist
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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    'Skyfall' Dominates Weekend Box Office

    "Skyfall" scored $30.8 million Friday, shooting a needed adrenaline injection into the fall box office after a disappointing summer. And Bond 23 has already earned some $350 million in its first two weeks internationally. Judging from Friday numbers, the US/Canada gross continues a consistent trend for the Bond series going back to "GoldenEye" in 1995: each new entry outperforms the previous one.

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  • Shadow and Act
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    'Scott Joplin' The Movie (How Not To Make A Film About A Black Composer)

    With all our recent articles of late regarding films about black classical composers such as Julius Eastman (HERE) and George Bridgetower (HERE), it immediately got me thinking about that Scott Joplin film starring Bille Dee Williams with Margaret Avery, Clifton Davis and Art Carney.

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  • Peter Bogdanovich
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    THE HAWKS FILE - PART 4

    Again, here are the next ten cards on Howard Hawks films that I saw 1952-1970. He remains one of my five favorite directors, and he is, as Orson Welles said, perhaps “the most talented American picturemaker.”  Certainly the most versatile, having done every genre to perfection: drama, comedy, gangster, detective, foreign intrigue, western, war, even the musical.

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  • The Playlist
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    Rome Review: 'Mental' With Toni Collette Is A Watchable Farce That Could Do With Going A Bit More Nuts

    Showing today Out of Competition at the Rome Film Festival, “Mental” marks director P.J. Hogan’s (“My Best Friend’s Wedding,” “Confessions of a Shopaholic”) reunion with his “Muriel’s Wedding” star Toni Collette. The intervening years may have made them both older, but not necessarily wiser, as “Mental” seems content to rework the “Muriel’s Wedding” formula but with greater resources, like a now-established star and a supporting cast of notable Aussie actors (many of whom we had kind of forgotten were Australian) at its disposal. Both films take small-town Australia as their settings, both feature female characters marked by unpopularity and social inadequacy, and both are inspired by, and constantly reference, particular kitschy elements of pop culture -- ‘Muriel’ had Abba, while ‘Mental’ has “The Sound of Music.”

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  • The Playlist
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    Rome Review: Amos Poe’s ‘A Walk In The Park’ A Confused, Discordant And Ultimately Empty Ordeal

    By the end of “A Walk in the Park” ’s 96 minutes, you will know a lot about Brian Fass. You will know of his various ailments, his depression, his relationship with his mother, the medication he is on, the mountain he nearly climbed, his electroshock therapy and the titular walk in the park that marked some sort of turning point in his life. What you will not know, however, is why on God’s green earth you should care. “A Walk in the Park,” from New York indie director Amos Poe premiered today In Competition at the XXI sidebar of the Rome Film Festival, which is a section dedicated to films of all lengths that “reflect the continuous reinvention of cinema in the contemporary audiovisual landscape.” Sad to report, this film reinvents the documentary portrait tradition into a thoroughly confounding and tiresome experience.

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