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Movie Reviews

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    REVIEW | Son of God: Paulo Morelli's "City of Men"

    2000's art-house megahit "City of God" has officially attained franchise status -- after spawning a made-for-television series, "City of Men," it's now passing a licensed spin-off of the same title along to theaters. Director Paulo Morelli, who had a hand in the TV show, looks at the favelas of Rio ...

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    REVIEW | Malignant Growth: Laura Dunn's "The Unforeseen"

    Due to the onslaught of environmental documentaries that prioritize urgency over intelligence, Laura Dunn's "The Unforeseen," an inquisitive, elegant rendering of the battle between land development and dwindling natural resources in Austin, might get lost in the shuffle. And what a shame that would...

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    REVIEW | Street Poetry: Ramin Bahrani's "Chop Shop"

    Scraping for a living in the shadow of that holy of professional baseball holies, Shea Stadium, twelve year-old Alejandro (Alejandro Polanco) does everything an impoverished, parentless, out-of-school 12-year-old can do to survive in the lowest depths of one of New York City's strangest and direst a...

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    REVIEW | Holding Court: Jacques Rivette's "The Duchess of Langeais"

    A chamber piece for two tragic almost-lovers, a coquettish Duchess and a noble French General. A chance flirtation at a Fauborg St-Germain party initiates an arduous campaign of romantic outflankings, accomplished through feigned illnesses, epistolary sallies, evocations of God, and threats of force...

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    REVIEW | Money for Nothing: Stefan Ruzowitzky's "The Counterfeiters"

    Let's get it out of the way first: Stefan Ruzowitzky's "The Counterfeiters" was nominated for a Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar, controversially at the exclusion of a handful of borderline masterpieces, from Cristian Mungiu's "4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days" to the upcoming "Silent Light" and "Secre...

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    REVIEW | Prep Rally: Jon Poll's "Charlie Bartlett"

    Who is Charlie Bartlett? A quirky know-it-all, a likeable dweeb, a guileless Ferris Bueller for our overmedicated age. Director Jon Poll and writer Gustin Nash's movie is about a teenager who gets kicked out of prep school, joins the hoi polloi, makes a name for himself as the student body's residen...

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    REVIEW | Shooting the Messenger: George A. Romero's "Diary of the Dead"

    There's a tendency in some high and low circles to instantly enshrine any new work from classic horror-meister George A. Romero, good-natured, jocular guy that he is, as a way of validating not only his formidable zombie oeuvre but also the seventies horror movie canon itself. Always the most overt ...

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    REVIEW | Soldier Boy: Newton I. Aduaka's "Ezra"

    No sugarcoating it: "Ezra" is a difficult film to watch. It isn't particularly graphic or gory, but its dramatization of children being kidnapped and forced into fighting--or, really, raping and pillaging--by rebel armies in Sierra Leone is extremely upsetting, and all the more terrifying for alludi...

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    REVIEW | Grace Notes: Eran Kolirin's "The Band's Visit"

    Though it's both a predictable culture-clash comedy and a gentle plea for people of different political backgrounds to "just get along," "The Band's Visit" nevertheless manages to use its central contrivances and inevitable cliches to its favor, and becomes something ethereal and winning. This debut...

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    REVIEW | Remote Lands: Nacer Khemir's "Bab'Aziz"

    It drops by the local art house every few months without fail--the "challenging" exotic import, too maddeningly slow and nonlinear for the "Pan's Labyrinth" crowd to cross it over to mainstream success, yet too naively earnest and moppet-dependent to impress a critical community taken with the more ...

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