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Movie Reviews

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    Idle Worship: Greg Whiteley's "New York Doll"

    "Rock history," as we know it, fueled by the obsessiveness and stunted adolescent Romanticism of its worse (and more numerous) chroniclers, basically consists of a heap of cliches so rancid that even calling them out for their rottenness has become a bit hackneyed. The druggy, self-important musicia...

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    Growing Pains: Lucile Hadzihalilovic's "Innocence"

    In Lucile Hadzihalilovic's "Innocence" nostalgia and dread become one--and it's a perfectly welcome symbiosis. A remarkable sustained allegory, "Innocence" luxuriates in the kind of symbolic imagery one would associate mostly with the fantastic worlds of children's fiction, but with the wherewithal ...

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    White Trash: Atom Egoyan's "Where the Truth Lies"

    Since "Where the Truth Lies" debuted at Cannes this past May, it has been beset by a censorship controversy that, like "Basic Instinct" and "Showgirls" before it, might just be its only saving grace, financially speaking. Because Atom Egoyan's latest effort is a pretty wretched film, formulaic, conf...

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    Noah's Arc: Noah Baumbach's "The Squid and the Whale"

    Barely cracking the 80-minute mark and covering well-trod ground, "The Squid and the Whale" is the kind of movie that courts underappreciation. Noah Baumbach's fourth feature is of a familiar genre, the broken-family "bildungsroman," and its denizens are known to us as well -- this is the urbane, in...

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    Tell Laura We Love Her: Ira Sachs' "Forty Shades of Blue"

    It feels like precious little happens in “Forty Shades of Blue” -- surprising for a film so fraught with disintegrating relationships and more than its fair share of infidelity. This isn’t meant to be an indictment, but praise: Ira Sachs’ ostensibly sensational narrative is m...

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    Foul Play: Thomas Vinterberg's "Dear Wendy"

    Putting the nature and quality of his films aside for the moment, Lars von Trier, the jolly sadist Danish director and writer, is simply useful to have around. Like a brash, needling party guest, he starts conversations. Less committed interrogator than pathological provocateur, his films demand r...

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    For the Boys: Paul Etheridge-Ouzts' "HellBent"

    Though it's far from the "first gay slasher film," as it has been momentously touted (hello? "A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge" anyone?), Paul Etheridge-Ouzts's "HellBent" might be the first horror movie that's quite so unapologetically gay-friendly. Serial killer films have been chocka...

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    Meet Me in St. Tropez: Olivier Ducastel & Jacques Martineau's "Cote d'Azur"

    To include Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau among France's best-unsung contemporary filmmakers would probably be a bit of a hyperbolic stretch. Yet in the interest of making someone sit up and take note, I'll dare to do just that. Wearing their big-hearted generosity perhaps a bit too much on ...

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    What Reverse Shot Learned During Summer Vacation: 13 Lessons

    We'd prefer not to have to once again go over the corrosive specifics of the summer's oft puzzled-over "summer slump." But with its projected "whopping" 9% drop from 2004's box-office totals and 11.5% decline in attendance, what are we supposed to do in response? Suddenly decry the paucity of strong...

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    Brothers' Peepers: Gaël Morel's "Three Dancing Slaves"

    Andre Techiné's "Wild Reeds," still as urgently humane now as when it was released in 1995, has bestowed quite a legacy upon the new generation of French filmmaking. That film's psychosexual and political tangles have slowly but surely created tendrils that have reached all the way through an...

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