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Movie Reviews

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    REVIEW | Such Great Heights: Hou Hsiao-hsien's "The Flight of the Red Balloon"

    Like his 2004 film "Cafe Lumiere," Hou Hsiao-hsien's sublime new movie "The Flight of the Red Balloon" finds the director in a foreign country paying homage to another filmmaker. With "Lumiere," Yasujiro Ozu was Hou's reference point and Tokyo his canvas; here, Hou reimagines Albert Lamorisse's clas...

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    REVIEW | Tuckered Out: David Schwimmer's "Run Fatboy Run"

    Since the "chick flick" moniker continues to stick, it's only fair that male-targeted incarnations of the romantic comedy receive an equally derogatory nickname now that they're all the rage. I nominate "dick flicks" over David Denby's more diplomatic "slacker striver romance" designation -- certai...

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    REVIEW | Wistful Thinking: Morgan Neville's "The Cool School"

    "The Cool School" is one of a subset of documentary biographies that might best be called "Scenes of Yesteryear." Like the recent "Weather Underground," "Commune," and "American Hardcore"--whose respective subjects include radical terrorists, hippie collectives, and indigenous, anticommercial punk r...

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    REVIEW | Family Feud: Jeff Nichols's 'Shotgun Stories"

    The presence of David Gordon Green's name in "Shotgun Stories"' billing block is probably both a blessing and a curse for the reception of Jeff Nichols's feature film debut. On the one hand, it broadcasts what sort of film this is -- an earnest character study with a touch of that neo-Southern Gothi...

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    REVIEW | Gross National Product: Olivier Assayas's "Boarding Gate"

    Olivier Assayas's "Boarding Gate" arrives on these shores like a battered shipment of cheap goods. True, it's only sat moldering for ten months in its film canister since its Cannes premiere -- a relatively short period in these hazy days of distribution -- but it shows a distinct lack of freshness ...

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    REVIEW | Over the Borderline: Patricia Riggen's "Under the Same Moon"

    The main question "Under the Same Moon" poses is whether its story, which follows the basic outline of a separated mother and son fairy tale, befits its subject, the plight of illegal Mexican immigrants. The immigration issue has in the last few years become a hot one in part due to economic angst a...

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    REVIEW | Sweet Nothings: Christophe Honore's "Love Songs"

    As in last year's "Dans Paris," 37-year-old filmmaker Christophe Honore ventures back to that lost Eden known as the French New Wave, this time to punch up a featherweight tale of young love and loss with high-concept tomfoolery. And though "Love Songs" (or, if we could please use its original, more...

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    REVIEW | Dead Again: Michael Haneke's "Funny Games"

    Michael Haneke's 1997 "Funny Games" always seemed more like an instruction manual than a thriller, with the famously dyspeptic Austrian auteur hesitantly going through the genre motions only to teach us something he feels we really ought to learn. Now, as if to put all doubts of his intentional dida...

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    REVIEW | The Road Well Traveled: William Maher's "Sleepwalking"

    When a film opens with shots of a straight and anonymous American highway -- that most overdetermined of American film locations -- as "Sleepwalking" does, one must be braced for a story about emotional journeys. A ribbon of asphalt stretching to the horizon is immediate shorthand for personal growt...

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    REVIEW | A Winning Argument: Loretta Alper and Jeremy Earp's "War Made Easy"

    Though the early to mid-aughts documentary boom has recently died down, it's still difficult to believe there hasn't been a serious nonfiction indictment of the collusion between the government and the media in selling the invasion of Iraq to the American public. This accounts for a somewhat shamefu...

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