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Reviews

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    REVIEW | A Cannibal Family Dines Together in “We Are What We Are”

    The horror genre has been ruthlessly mined for metaphor, often at the expense of credibility. The tricky balance of the Mexican cannibal drama “We Are What We Are” ("Somos lo que hay") involves its pairing of a conventional family unit with ludicrously grotesque proclivities. At once chilling and pa...

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    Small Screen (DVD/Blu-ray): "Waiting for Superman," Woody Allen's Latest and "Last Tango" in Hi-Def

    This week on DVD and Blu-ray the American public education system is put under a microscope, Woody Allens returns to London and "Last Tango in Paris" dances into Hi-Def.

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    REVIEW | One Death, Many Lives in Matt Porterfield's "Putty Hill"

    The first impression created by Matt Porterfield's "Putty Hill" is that of an abandoned world. Against a silent backdrop, the filmmaker displays the vacant rooms of a creaky house in suburban Maryland, where a young man has recently died. In subsequent scenes, Porterfield builds on that haunting dis...

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    19

    Berlin Critic's Notebook: Swanberg America's One Last Auteur Hope?

    For this first dispatch, I was going to comment more broadly, on the Berlinale entire. The better weather, the lowered expectations, the increasingly blurred identities of the festival's various sections, weirdly appropriate to a festival screening Bergman’s “Persona” as part of a retrospective devo...

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    REVIEW | "For the Love of Movies" and the "Spider-Man" Debacle

    The calamitous tale of the overambitious, uber-costly Broadway spectacle "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" could only have been redeemed if the show wound up a masterpiece that proved all the haters wrong. Instead, the cavalcade of reviews unleashed in several mainstream publications earlier this week...

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    REVIEW | In "Lovers of Hate," Bryan Poyser Explores Sibling Rivalry At Its Worst

    Given a prominent slot at last year's Sundance Film Festival and nominated for the reputable John Cassavetes Award at the upcoming Film Independent Spirit Awards, Bryan Poyser's "Lovers of Hate" is still not fully recognized for its seamless merging of slapstick humor and realistically uneasy situat...

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    REVIEW | Solace in Verse: Lee Chang-dong's "Poetry"

    Korean director Lee Chang-dong generally displays an interest in outspoken characters suffering from irrevocable loss. His latest feature, "Poetry," continues that trend with a moving portrait of creative discovery and the pressures of age. Yung Jungee plays the 66-year-old Mija, a gentle woman copi...

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    40

    Oscar-Nominated Shorts: Our Picks To Win

    Since 2005, to the delight of awards-season junkies around the country, Shorts International and Magnolia Pictures have released the Oscar-nominated short films a few weeks shy of the ceremony. Launched the same year as YouTube, this annual event boasts a growth of interest not unlike the surging ap...

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    REVIEW | Ed Helms is A Blue-Collar Hero in "Cedar Rapids"

    Director Miguel Arteta does penance for his uneven adaptation of "Youth in Revolt" with the serviceable business comedy "Cedar Rapids," but the real star of the show is Ed Helms. Helms plays angelic insurance agent Tim Lippe with gentle nobility and hilarious naivete.

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    Small Screen (DVD/Blu-ray): "Tamara Drewe," "Thelma & Louise" Reunite & More

    This week on DVD and Blu-ray Stephen Frears turns in one of his sexy romps, a crop of the some of the finest working actresses band together and an Italian classic comes back to life.

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