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Movie Reviews

  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    18

    Penske's Moves: As Daily Variety Prints Last Edition, Adds Critic Foundas, Reduces Movieline

    Variety lovers are feeling mixed emotions. On the one hand, Penske Media Corp CEO Jay Penske is making changes that were long overdue. He has pulled down the firewall, modernized the website, added a troika of editors--LA Times import Claudia Eller (film), and Variety's Cynthia Littleton (TV) and An...

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  • The Playlist
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    SXSW Review: 'Cheap Thrills' Is Like 'The Hangover' Taken To An Absurdly Nihilistic Degree

    It was only a matter of time before the recent hyper-raunchy comedy style exemplified by "The Hangover," would take a dark, seedily indie-movie turn. And that's what "Cheap Thrills," which was one of the few movies to acquire distribution at the South by Southwest Film Festival, really is: it's the ...

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  • The Playlist
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    SXSW Doc Review Recap: Snoop Lion In 'Reincarnated,' Alex Winter's 'Downloaded' & More

    If the South by Southwest Film Festival was burdened by anything this year, it was an abundance of quality documentaries. It seemed that, while the narrative side of things was surprisingly sparse (where was the "21 Jump Street" or "The Raid" of this year?), the documentary selection was stronger th...

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  • The Playlist
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    24

    Review: ‘American Winter’ A Devastating Portrait Of The Erosion Of The Middle Class

    With the nation’s economy continually on a knife’s edge, the past few years has seen the political discourse take a marked shift. Conservative politicians have started to lure voters with an image that they will tighten the wasteful spending in Washington, but for the most part, that has meant targe...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    America Gets the Dystopic Treatment in New Animated Indie 'Silver Circle'

    It's 2019, and runaway inflation has sunk the American economy into a cesspool of sky-high prices and rampant unemployment. A loaf of bread costs $50; bars advertise bargain deals on $90 beer Tuesdays.

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  • The Playlist
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    SXSW Review: 'You're Next' Isn't Exactly A Next-Level Genre Triumph (But It's Still Pretty Fun)

    When low budget horror movie "You're Next" premiered back at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, it received a rapturous response and set off a small scale buying war (Lionsgate, home to the "Hostel" and "Saw" franchises, and savior to Joss Whedon's marooned masterpiece "Cabin in the Woods...

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  • Indiewire
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    58

    What Does This Year's SXSW Film Festival Tell Us About Today's American Indies?

    Film festivals tend to invite descriptions in terms of trends, but they're more accurately described in terms of movies. This year's recently concluded edition may have no greater mascot than Scott Weidemeyer. On the surface, the obstinate role playing game master memorably played by Sam Eidson at t...

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  • The Playlist
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    28

    SXSW Review: 'Milius' Is A Rousing Tribute To The Warrior Poet Of Mainstream Hollywood

    In the opening moments of “Milius,” a hellzapoppin’ new documentary about John Milius, a genius tyrant and warrior poet of '70s and '80s mainstream Hollywood who wrote and directed testosterone-soaked epics like “Conan the Barbarian” and “Red Dawn,” Sam Elliott, in the same laid back butterscotch dr...

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  • The Playlist
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    SXSW Review: VHS Doc 'Rewind This!' Is An Affectionate Tribute To A Bygone Era

    DVDs are filling up bargain bins everywhere, Blu-ray never really took off the way it was supposed to and digital streaming and downloads will soon usurp all physical media for film the way it has for the music industry. And though VHS remained in production as recently as a few years ago, it seems ...

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  • Indiewire
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    48

    Critic's Notebook: Why 'Ginger and Rosa' Is Sally Potter's Best Film

    After a diverse and lengthy early career that encompassed experimental film, dance, theater and music, and following the success of her 1992 arthouse hit "Orlando," Sally Potter settled into a semi-sustained period of more-or-less narrative filmmaking, directing six pictures from "Orlando" through h...

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