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Movie Reviews

  • The Playlist
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    L.A. Film Fest Review: In 'Teddy Bear,' Bodybuilders Are People Too; Show Them Some Love

    Where the phrase “Teddy Bear” implies a certain squashy cuddliness, the film’s subject is anything but. At least on the outside. But, then again, bears aren’t that cuddly in real life either. Danish Director Mads Matthiesen developed this feature from his acclaimed 2007 short, “Dennis,” which began ...

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    L.A. Film Fest Review: 'The Iran Job' Is A Warm, Winning Tale of One Basketball Player's Experience In Iran

    During the Q&A after the screening of “The Iran Job,” director Till Schauder described how the idea for a documentary about “journeymen” professional basketball players in Iran came to him before he had a subject that could carry his documentary. His wife and producer Sarah Nodjoumi is Iranian-Ameri...

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    L.A. Film Fest Review: 'Pincus' Is An Ambiguously Formatted, Inconclusive Study Of Spirituality And Self-Destruction

    One of the best things about film festivals is that they provide an opportunity for smaller, perhaps lesser-known movies to be shown to a considerable audience, and to receive a certain amount of buzz from publicists, press, and fans. Sometimes, festival planning committees choose these independent ...

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    Review: 'Walk Away Renee' A Manic, Deep Look Into Mother & Son

    Born out of a truck load of home videos, answering machine recordings, and photographs, Jonathan Caouette's 2003 autobiographical "Tarnation" was a dearly personal and often frightening, no holds-barred look into a family torn apart by a tortured past. Cobbled together with iMovie before YouTube was...

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    Soderbergh's 'Magic Mike' Dangles Its Male Strippers With Skill, But To What End? Answer: Several.

    A masterful craftsman even when directing fluff, Steven Soderbergh remains one of the more fascinating American filmmakers working today. "Magic Mike," has much in common with previous Soderbergh efforts in that it glides along at a terrifically entertaining pace.

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    2012 ABFF Review: Conquering 'Otelo Burning' Finds Joy and Freedom Amidst Turmoil

    Sublime in its rich ocean scenery, where you will indulge in for most of the film, the majestically photographed Otelo Burning is actually set in the South African province of Lamontville in the late 1980’s, around the time when Nelson Mandela was released from prison.

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    Review: The South Will Rise, But Not Like You Expected, In The Pagan, Powerful 'Beasts Of The Southern Wild'

    Written and directed by Benh Zeitlin, whose short, "Glory at Sea," was shot through with purpose and promise, "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is as stirring and striking a film as you could wish for. Shot and set in a Louisiana community called The Bathtub, on the wrong side of the levees that stop th...

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    L.A. Film Fest Review: The Well-Acted 'LUV' Suffers From Gaps In Plausibility

    This year’s L.A. Film Fest has showcased a number of coming of age stories that feature very young characters at their centers. Filmmakers are forging stories as seen from the minds of these children, making use of their innocence and unawareness to present deconstructed interpretations of the world...

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    L.A. Film Fest Review: 'It's A Disaster' Is A Darkly Hilarious Apocalyptic Dramedy That's Anything But Disastrous

    Real time, one setting films are a tricky feat to pull off, stumping even some of the most accomplished directors (have you seen “Carnage”?), but Todd Berger does it with panache in his directorial sophomore feature, a clever take on the apocalypse film, “It’s A Disaster.” Assembling a cast of eight...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Now and Then: Hitchcock's First Classic, and an Underrated Modern Descendant

    Alfred Hitchcock had been working as a director for more than a decade when he made "The 39 Steps" (1935), a film that's half trench coats, street lamps, and foreign agents. The other half is English wit, a marriage plot, and a MacGuffin: the first proof, long before his later masterworks, that he w...

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