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Movie Reviews

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    REVIEW | The Other Side of the Fence: Mark Herman's "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas"

    For a little, promising while, "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" seems to be a welcome, if belated, response to "Life Is Beautiful." Whereas Roberto Benigni's self-deifying exercise in Holocaust schmaltz--one of the most repugnant and false movies ever made--sincerely believes obliviousness (not imag...

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    REVIEW | Out of the Past: Amos Gitai's "One Day You'll Understand"

    Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai doesn't seem to have a career so much these days as a mission. It would be difficult for this ambassador of his nation's cinema to break away from Capital-t Topics at this point, but his lugubriousness as a filmmaker indicates that he believes in his own cause as much as...

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    REVIEW | Running Wild: Christina Clausen's "The Universe of Keith Haring"

    The best compliment that can be paid "The Universe of Keith Haring," a straightforward, fast-moving documentary about the Pennsylvania phenom who made his way from New York City bohemia to the art world and transcended all to become one of the most recognizable names in popular graphics in the late ...

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    REVIEW | A Matter of Taste: Philippe Claudel's "I've Loved You So Long"

    Juliette, a middle-aged woman, waits alone, gray and taciturn -- two words that pretty well describe "I've Loved You So Long." She stands to haltingly greet her rendez-vous, her sister, Lea. We gather they've been apart a long time. Juliette's been "away," her past a talked-around negative space tha...

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    REVIEW | Winter Kills: Tomas Alfredson's "Let the Right One In"

    With its calm, wintry rural setting, Tomas Alfredson's adaptation of novelist John Ajvide Lindqvist's Swedish best-seller "Let the Right One In" depicts slaughter, death, and dismemberment as though sprung from the stanzas of Robert Frost. This is hardly the first film to drench teen angst and burge...

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    REVIEW | A Self-Made Man: Charlie Kaufman's "Synecdoche, New York"

    Staring into the abyss through a kaleidoscope, Charlie Kaufman's "Synecdoche, New York" sees ecstatic, innumerable facets in the depths. Another of Kaufman's Alice in Wonderland narratives, his first directorial effort is more gnarled and coiled than his scripts for Spike Jonze ("Being John Malkovic...

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    REVIEW | Army of Shadows: Fear(s) of the Dark

    Like any omnibus film, the Christophe Jankovic and Valerie Schermann-produced French collection of creepy, crawly cartoon shorts, "Fear(s) of the Dark," succeeds on the strength of its best components. Though it seems that in animation it's easier to convey an "idea" of fear to an audience than impa...

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    REVIEW | Crash Landing: Gonzalo Arijon's "Stranded: I Have Come From a Plane That Crashed on the Mou

    In his 1993 review of "Alive," a film based on the infamous 1972 true story of the survivors of a Uruguay rugby team that crashed in the Andes on their plane ride to a tournament, Roger Ebert wrote, "We care about the characters while we watch the movie. But at the end it all seems elusive. The movi...

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    REVIEW | Like a Virgin Redux: Madonna's "Filth and Wisdom"

    The filmmaker of "Filth and Wisdom" has a lot to say. She's got big ideas and some clever ones too, and she's letting it fly. She's repulsed and fascinated by hypocrisy in the world, and wants people to just get over themselves, to abandon fear, pride, and learn to fly their freak flag high. She fou...

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    REVIEW | Electoral High School: Caroline Suh's "Frontrunners"

    This year's race comes down to a clear choice between vitality and experience. On the one hand, you have a young outsider running on a ticket of change; on the other, an older, more experienced candidate who nonetheless wants to "raise the bar." The former is accused of being all style and no substa...

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