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Movie Reviews

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    CANNES REVIEW | Oh God(ard): Is "Film Socialisme" the Scandale au Festival?

    On the eve of Cannes, I sat with some colleagues around a dinner table overlooking the sea and the hulking Palais des Festivals beside it. The topic was the upcoming program and its potential for controversy. When movies screen under these grandiose conditions, they tend to meet wildly polarize...

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    CANNES REVIEW | Spirituality and Goats: "Le Quattro Volte"

    A story of anarchic goats, lively spiritual celebrations and reincarnation, Michaelangelo Frammartino's "Le Quattro Volte" (which won the Europa Cinemas Label in Cannes's Directors' Fortnight) has a heavy philosophical load. Nevertheless, this painstakingly constructed, quasi-documentary about a she...

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    film review: Holy Rollers

    A good movie starts with an idea. In the case of Holy Rollers, a news item about a drug bust involving Hasidic Jews from Brooklyn, New York inspired a novice producer to believe that this could be the springboard for a film…and he was right. Holy Rollers is a piece of fiction inspired by t...

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    CANNES REVIEW | Bonnie and Clyde on Drums: The Swedish Musical Comedy "Sound of Noise"

    Light on story but heavy on ingenuity, the Swedish musical comedy "Sound of Noise" portrays musicians as the ultimate outlaws. In truth, the movie only incidentally relates to the musical genre, since everything onscreen is ostensibly diegetic - but magically so. An account of several villainous dru...

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    The Original King of Comedy

    Book Review: MACK SENNETT’S FUN FACTORY by Brent E. Walker (McFarland)

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    Big Screen | "Holy," "Man" Offer Jesse Eisenberg Double Feature

    American indie staple Jesse Eisenberg is the main opening attraction at art houses this weekend - starring in not one but two debuting films: Kevin Asch's Sundance premiere "Holy Rollers" and Brian Koppelman and David Levien's Toronto alum "Solitary Man." Both receiv...

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    CANNES REVIEW | The Drama of Ambiguity: Kiarostami's "Certified Copy"

    If the couple featured in Richard Linklater's "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset" got married, grew old, divorced and reunited, the resulting confrontation would probably look a lot like Abbas Kiarostami's "Certified Copy." Possibly the Iranian director's most accessible work, this elegant, stream-...

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    CANNES REVIEW | Misguided Melodrama: Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu's "Biutiful"

    There's a difference between understanding the tools of melodrama and successfully putting them together. Over the course of his career, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has repeatedly demonstrated ignorance of this distinction. With "21 Grams" and "Babel," Inarritu enforced sentimental hooks by drawing ...

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    CANNES REVIEW | A Non-Linear Labyrinth: Cam Archer's "Shit Year"

    Ellen Barkin puts on a bold, candid performance in Cam Archer's "Shit Year," but the enigmatic movie is composed of too many fragments to sustain her efforts. An experimental account of fictional actress Colleen West, this obsessively non-linear character snapshot never settles down and consequently...

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    CANNES REVIEW | Bad Ideas In Close Up: Quentin Dupieux's "Rubber"

    The selling point of "Rubber" sounds like the whole story: A tire comes to life and goes on a murderous rampage. But Quentin Dupieux's utterly zany slice of narrative subversion transcends that singularly goofy premise to create one of the more bizarre experiments with genre in qu...

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