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Movie Reviews

  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Venice Film Festival 2013 Review: Flat 'Parkland' Revisits JFK Assassination

    A seminal event in America's recent past - the assassination of JFK - is reconstructed in writer-director Peter Landesman's competently made but one-dimensional dramatization, using a hefty ensemble cast that includes Zac Efron, Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton and Marcia Gay Harden.

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  • Indiewire
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    Telluride Film Festival Review: 'Starred Up' Is a Moving Father-Son Drama Masquerading as a Brutal Prison Exposé

    Prison dramas tend to invite the expectations of intense, dangerous scenarios filled with violent confrontations and vulgar spats. British director David Mackenzie's gradually affecting "Starred Up" has all those ingredients but uses them for more precise means that merely revealing the harsh nature...

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  • Indiewire
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    Telluride Film Festival Review: Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal Carry Denis Villeneuve's Tense Kidnapping Drama 'Prisoners'

    A first-rate ensemble procedural with weighty themes to spare, Quebecois director Denis Villeneuve's tense kidnapping drama "Prisoners" revolves around a familiar set of genre ingredients but lays them out with expert precision. Similar to Villeneuve's Oscar-nominated "Incendies," the director's fir...

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    Telluride Roundups: Oscar Hopefuls '12 Years a Slave' and 'Prisoners' Score with Critics (TRAILERS)

    Two unannounced big films made a big splash Saturday: Warner Bros. awards hopeful "Prisoners," which nabbed rave reviews for Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal and Fox Searchlight's "12 Years a Slave," directed by Steve McQueen.

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    Telluride XL Day 2: 'Ida,' 'Labor Day,' Coens Music Tribute, 'Natan'

    Here's my recap of a long and rather unbelievably rich festival day at Telluride.

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  • The Playlist
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    Venice Review: Stephen Frears' 'Philomena' Starring Judi Dench & Steve Coogan

    The term "Oscar bait" is one that, unfortunately, gets bandied about a lot this time of year. At worst, it's used to refer to every faintly serious-minded film released between July and December. At best, it describes a very particular kind of middlebrow drama that seems to have been created from th...

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  • The Playlist
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    Venice Review: James Franco's Cormac McCarthy Adaptation 'Child Of God'

    James Franco might not be the first person to debut a film he'd directed at each of the three major European festivals in the same year (Ulrich Seidl recently managed the feat with his 'Paradise' trilogy, albeit not in the same calendar year). But it's an undoubtedly impressive run, especially given...

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  • The Playlist
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    Telluride Review: Steve McQueen's '12 Years A Slave' Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender & More

    Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” instantly establishes itself as the most unflinching of all slave dramas, which is to say, there is plenty of flinching, not to mention cowering and recoiling and passing out, thanks to beatings and whippings that arrive at roughly 10-to-15-minute intervals through...

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  • The Playlist
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    Telluride Review: 'Prisoners' Starring Hugh Jackman & Jake Gyllenhaal

    Director Denis Villeneuve and actor Jake Gyllenhaal are on the precipice of having a tremendous fall film festival season. Arriving in just a few short days is their first collaboration, “Enemy,” a terrific psychological doppelganger thriller that will premiere next week in Toronto. But first up, th...

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