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  • The Lost Boys
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  • Matt Dentler's Blog
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    Five New Albums Worth Your Dime

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  • iW NOW
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    IFC Brings "Brothers" to VOD

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  • REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog
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    Best of the Decade #10

    At the time of its release in December 2007, Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood received a wave of critical kudos, praising its formal control, bravura central performance, and idiosyncratic take on the Upton Sinclair novel from which it is loosely based. Among the multiple lines of critical and cultural discourse surrounding the film, however, one particularly stands out: the notion of There Will Be Blood—with its central conflict between cutthroat oil prospector Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) and zealous small-town preacher Eli Sunday (Paul Dano) in 1911 California— as a kind of demonic origin tale for the state of contemporary American political culture, with narrow-minded religious fervor and bald-faced capitalistic excesses forming two sides of the same tarnished coin. There’s validity to the amount of ink spilled on this issue. Certainly There Will Be Blood’s historical setting and employment of easily definable archetypes—the minister, the oilman—invite us to consider the social forces these characters represent and the influence these forces had, and continue to have, within American culture.

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  • REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog
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    Down with the People: Jason Reitman's "Up in the Air"

    Up in the Air wants to tell us a lot about America. About our priorities, our lost dreams, our pasts and futures, our blind spots, and, as any award-hungry movie does, it wants to diagnose how We live now. Just how confused the film is about who that We might be, and how much filmmaker Jason Reitman and his co-screenwriter Sheldon Turner (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning) evidently care about those “little people” who make up most of that We, should be more of a topic of discussion in the film’s rapturous reception. Instead, Up in the Air has been accepted basically at face value—fitting for such a superficial film.

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  • iW NOW
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    Florida Critics Head "Up In The Air"

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  • REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog
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    The Royal Treatment: Jean-Marc Valée's "The Young Victoria"

    How much you like The Young Victoria can be measured in direct proportion to the level of enjoyment you get from the following: parliamentary intrigue; impeccably dressed men and women with knowing looks in their eyes, whispering to one another at long dinner tables; gliding tracking shots of young lovers dancing at lavish balls, complete with full-bodied orchestral accompaniment. For some, The Young Victoria will be yet another one of those pieces of middlebrow piffle that measures seriousness by the number of high-toned speeches it can jam into its (usually too long) running time. Personally, I have a weakness for this stuff. I like the sly exchange of palace gossip amongst those oh-so-world-weary members of the royal court, gazing out over a sumptuous ballroom as they whisper scandalous rumors to one another in low voices. I dig the blustery words about power and loyalty that are often hollow at their center but sound full of gravitas when trumpeted from whatever aging British actor happens to be on screen. And I love a good ball sequence, with carnal yearning channeled into choreographed pageantry. Sure, it can grow tiresome to watch these tropes dragged out and dusted off year after year, decorating yet another slice of holiday Oscar bait like faded decorations on an emaciated Christmas tree. But there’s still a pulse to be discovered within them, when one bothers to reconnect to their lively theatricality. Read Matt Connolly's review of The Young Victoria.

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  • Matt Dentler's Blog
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    Fred & Kristen are Garth & Kat

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  • The Lost Boys
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    The 25 Best Songs of 2009

    Dubai seriously messed with my December listomania madness plan, so here's my first attempt at getting back on track. Today & tomorrow I'll offer my best-of-2009 lists for music & film, take a break for the holiday (where I hope to be internet free for at least 4 days), and then come back strong with the rest of the best of 2000s lists (I like the idea of actually waiting for the decade to be over to finish those off anyway).

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  • The Lost Boys
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    The Biggest Cast of All-Time

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