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Reviews

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    REVIEW | Business or Pleasure: Mia Hansen-Love’s "The Father of My Children" Twists the Dark

    In "The Father of My Children" French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Love makes something oddly beautiful and complex from a basic comic template. A story of a workaholic dad who has an immensely difficult time juggling business and family, the film nevertheless takes its conventions in a unexpected direction...

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    REVIEW | Faith No More: Bruno Dumont’s “Hadewijch”

    Following in the grand tradition of austere European filmmakers, Bruno Dumont gives religious faith quite a workout in his new film, "Hadewijch." Not that this should come as a surprise to anyone who's followed Dumont's career. One of French cinema’s most illustrious provocateurs, Dumont has moved r...

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    REVIEW | Drifting Through Layoffs: Clooney Plays his Trumpcard in Reitman's "Up in the Air"

    George Clooney may not possess tremendous range, but he sure knows his sweet spot. In "Up in the Air," the highly anticipated third feature from "Juno" director Jason Reitman, Clooney plays a man who likes to control his enviornment. As the corporate downsizing expert Ryan Bingham, he portrays the s...

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    REVIEW | For the Love of Trash, Korine's "Humpers" Fetes the Freak

    If "Mister Lonely" suggested that Harmony Korine had developed a sentimental streak, "Trash Humpers" proves that his original subversiveness was merely in hibernation. The movie, a succession of incomplete scenes shot on lo-fi video, plays like a first person version of "The Devil's Rejects." A psyc...

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    REVIEW | The Coens Get Personal With Oddly Compelling "Serious Man"

    If Joel and Ethan Coen's "A Serious Man" were classifiable in familiar movie terms, one might consider this oddly compelling period piece as "The Chosen" meets "American Beauty." But, as usual, there's nothing familiar about the Coen brothers except their own quixotic ways. While their latest black ...

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    REVIEW | Authenticity Takes on Absurdity - and the "Goats" Lose

    Grant Heslov's "The Men Who Stare at Goats" opens with a patronizing title card that, in retrospect, sounds more like a plea: "More of this is true than you believe," we're told, as though excusing the subsequent incredulousness on the grounds of its nonfictional content. That's not a good sign for ...

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    REVIEW | Missing Pieces: Amiel's "Creation" Lacks Sense of Awe

    The legacy of Charles Darwin — not unlike those of Jesus, Moses, or Abraham Lincoln — presents a daunting challenge for storytellers: When a nonfictional character carries such widespread familiarity, audiences automatically prejudge the results. "Creation," the rare non-Canadian movie to open the T...

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    REVIEW | A Long and Dreary Path: John Hillcoat's "The Road"

    With its drearily brief paragraphs and poetic emphasis on imagery over dialogue, Cormac McCarthy's 2006 post-apocalyptic novel "The Road" practically reads like a screenplay. Not unreasonably, John Hillcoat's tense, discomfiting big screen adaptation remains almost entirely faithful to the book's di...

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    Watch Your Step: Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein's "No Impact Man"

    Intriguingly high concept yet visually and structurally artless in the way of so many modern documentaries, Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein's "No Impact Man" chronicles Colin Beavan's yearlong experiment to reduce his carbon footprint as much as possible while living in New York City. Necessarily pa...

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    Small Wonder: Shane Acker's "9"

    The release of Shane Acker's "9," an expansion of his compelling Academy Award-nominated short of the same name, adds another to 2009's slate of intelligent, distinctive animated features. "Coraline," "Up," "9.99," and "Ponyo" all represent antidotes to increasingly homogenized studio animation via...

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