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Movie Reviews

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    REVIEW | Early Thaw: Mark Fergus's "First Snow"

    A classic cocky bastard, set up as such to better offset the impending humbling, Jimmy Starks (played to smooth and oily perfection by Guy Pearce) immediately reveals his nature alongside his broken down car on a deserted road: Holding up his cell phone to check reception, taking long drags off a c...

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    REVIEW | Off-key: Denis Dercourt's "The Page Turner"

    Any director working from as thin a premise as that which tries to undergird the nominal thriller "The Page Turner" better have style to burn, or at least the good sense to get the film over with as quickly as possible. Denis Dercourt's sadly lacking in the former department, though, having managed...

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    REVIEW | This Sporting Life: Jafar Panahi's "Offside"

    Not to overstate the obvious, or necessarily promote criticism that only contends in meaningless dialectics between high and low art, but, to put it bluntly, if given the choice between Jafar Panahi's eloquent, invigorating, tightly paced, and endlessly enjoyable "Offside" and the current box office...

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    REVIEW | Blood Brothers: "The Wind that Shakes the Barley"

    Ken Loach's camera pans and tilts its way through "The Wind that Shakes the Barley," as though its wandering gaze is in search of a fixed center, adrift in a world of shifting allegiances and gruesome violence. The off-the-cuff naturalism of Loach's technique proves something of a blessing here, blu...

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    REVIEW | Pleasure Island : Jean-Claude Brisseau's "The Exterminating Angels"

    "One step above the sublime makes the ridiculous, and one step above the ridiculous makes the sublime again." -Thomas Paine

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    REVIEW | Louder Than Bombs: Phillip Groning's "Into Great Silence"

    Much of the discussion surrounding "Into Great Silence," detailing the daily rituals of the monks inhabiting the Grand Chartreuse monastery in the French Alps, is sure to focus on how Phillip Groning's nearly three-hour documentary provides a window into a rarely seen spiritual world. It does perfo...

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    REVIEW | The Song Remains the Same: Michael Apted's "Amazing Grace"

    Contrary to what its title suggests, "Amazing Grace" isn't really about the origins of the immortal Christian hymn. Neither is it, directly, about the British slave trade. Instead it's about the tireless campaign of William Wilberforce, Member of Parliament, to abolish the slave trade in the late 18...

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    REVIEW | Britplop: Tom Vaughan's "Starter for 10"

    Though bolstered considerably by the fully engaged star performance of James McAvoy (whose magnetism was trammeled by the hideous racial politicking of "The Last King of Scotland"), Tom Vaughan's Brit college comedy "Starter for 10" is weighed down by something of an identity crisis. An Eighties thr...

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    REVIEW | Law & Order: Abderrahmane Sissako's "Bamako"

    When Hollywood's response to the myriad crises plaguing the African continent is to churn out well-meaning issue pictures that are little more than low-rent action narratives grafted onto exoticized, strife-ridden African settings (see: "Catch a Fire," "Blood Diamond"), films like "Bamako" become al...

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    REVIEW | In the Middle: Dalia Hager and Vidi Bilu's "Close to Home"

    A barely perceptible atmosphere of dread hangs over the Israeli film "Close to Home." Co-written and directed by Dalia Hager and Vidi Bilu, the film has an intimate, almost slight feel to it, and features two young protagonists who are mostly concerned with the rather banal business of early adultho...

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