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Movie Reviews

  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    This Weekend: Hannah Fidell's Must-See 'A Teacher,' Plus 'Salinger' Doc, Lynn Shelton's 'Touchy Feely' and More

    Very few new-release films are sitting positively with critics this weekend. But -- Tomatometer be damned -- Hannah Fidell's indie "A Teacher" is nonetheless a must-see, anchored by a startlingly complex performance from Lindsay Burdge as a high school teacher whose illicit affair with one of her st...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: Diablo Cody’s Directorial Debut ‘Paradise’ Is A Cloying After School Special

    ​The prestigious fall film festival season is in full swing and anyone who remotely matters in cinema (or Hollywood) is represented in some shape or form—especially at the celeb-friendly Toronto International Film Festival which accepts over 250 films. But one name, an Academy Award-winner with a br...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'Hell Baby' Starring Rob Corddry & Leslie Bibb

    There’s barely a movie inside of “Hell Baby,” the directorial debut of Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant. In some ways, this feels like a relief: the two comedians, best known for “Reno 911,” have developed a reputation at the studios as script doctors for hire, though one look at the final pr...

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  • The Playlist
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    TIFF Review: Suspense Thriller 'Blue Ruin' Is Terrifying, And Excitingly Singular

    Dwight (Macon Blair), the lead character of “Blue Ruin,” is a haggard, defeated, middle-aged man. His clothing clings to him, as if to avoid callously slipping to the ground. His beard seems to have formed on his face the way weeds gather on undernourished lawns. One of our first glimpses of his eye...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: Hannah Fidell's 'A Teacher' Is A Flawed But Striking Drama Nonetheless

    There’s a Rorschach-like appeal to “A Teacher,” Hannah Fidell’s penetrating new drama that could be about any single one of a number of contemporary neuroses. Yesterday’s troubled heroines, often played by gorgeous legends of silver screen, took one look up at a demanding camera and you immediat...

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  • The Playlist
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    Venice Review: Errol Morris’ Donald Rumsfeld Documentary ‘The Unknown Known’

    As we inch towards another potential war in the Middle East, the last couple are still being pored over by filmmakers. We’re still likely some time away from the definitive takes on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we have seen a few solid films telling those stories in the last decade or so al...

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  • The Playlist
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    Venice Review: Patrice Leconte’s ‘A Promise’ Starring Rebecca Hall, Richard Madden & Alan Rickman

    He’s fallen out of favor a bit in the last few years, but there was a time when Patrice Leconte was one of the most popular foreign filmmakers in the U.S. While he was never a favorite with the hipper critics, over the 1990s and early 2000s, films like “Ridicule,” “ The Girl On The Bridge,” “The Man...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'I Am Breathing' Is A Genuinely Inspirational Documentary On One Man’s Last Days

    Actor Josh Gad recently called the Ashton Kutcher-starring Steve Jobs biopic “inspirational,” and why wouldn’t he? There is no doubt Steve Jobs the man continues to inspire, but that word—“inspirational”—is thrown around by actors, filmmakers, and even critics with reckless abandon. (My favorite cam...

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  • Shadow and Act
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    Black Harvest Fest Review - Whoopi Goldberg’s Moms Mabley Doc, 'I Got Something to Tell You'

    I had a pretty amazing comedy-themed Labor Day Weekend. Setting the table was the closing night of the Black Harvest film festival, featuring a preview of Whoopi Goldberg’s Kickstarted Moms Mabley documentary, I Got Something to Tell You, which will be on HBO November 14.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    TV IS THE NEW CINEMA - Meat & Potatoes

    The satisfying contemporary Western procedural "Longmire" (A&E), from the novels of Craig Johnson, managed to squeeze a second season-ending cliffhanger out of the very same underlying mystery it turned to last year, the questions surrounding the death of the title character's beloved wife. If 'hang...

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