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Movie Reviews

  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    SXSW Review UPDATE: Christopher Abbott of 'Girls' and Gaby Hoffmann Lead Jury Award-Winning Ensemble Cast in 'Burma'

    “Burma,” made by first-time feature filmmaker Carlos Puga and winner of the Grand Jury Award for Ensemble Cast at SXSW, looks at a family in crisis. They aren't falling apart, but instead put together, suddenly, awkwardly, and the building blocks hurt. What starts as a generic and even patience-test...

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    SXSW Review: In Lovely and Devastating Narrative Spotlight Entry 'Good Night,' No One Goes Gently

    One of the best films I’ve seen at SXSW is “Good Night" by Sean H.A. Gallagher, a striking ensemble piece that looks at one night in the lives of a group of thirtysomethings as they unwittingly assemble for an announcement from their friend Leigh (Adriene Mischler): Her leukemia, which has been i...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: Intimate & Devastating ‘Ginger & Rosa’ Features A Transformative Elle Fanning Performance

    Lovely and devastating, challenging yet worthwhile, Sally Potter's "Ginger & Rosa" may be the English filmmaker's best since "Orlando," and perhaps her most accessible to date. The intimate and sensual picture also features yet another terrific performance by 14-year-old Elle Fanning, who is quickly...

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  • Indiewire
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    SXSW Review: 'GO FOR SISTERS' Illustrates the Best and Worst of John Sayles

    For decades now, John Sayles has written and directed movies rooted first and foremost in sharply conceived characters. More recently, even as his scrappy, self-financed productions have varied in quality, this central aspect has remained in place. "GO FOR SISTERS," like the filmmaker's previous fea...

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  • Indiewire
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    SXSW Review: 'The Punk Singer' Demonstrates the Lasting Vitality of Feminist Rocker Kathleen Hanna

    For some 15 years, feminist punk rocker Kathleen Hanna carried the torch of a movement seemingly defined by her furious investment in the cause and the artistry that brought it to national attention. As the energetic frontwoman for Bikini Kill throughout the nineties, followed by the hugely popular ...

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  • The Playlist
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    DVD Review: Missing ‘House Of Cards’? Excellent ‘Borgen’ Season 1 Will Keep You Satisfied

    If it isn’t already happening, Danish television is about to have a moment. AMC’s remake of the “The Killing” was canceled, swiftly brought back, and is now shooting its third season. HBO is in the midst of remaking the popular series “The Bridge” and NBC already snagged the rights to the political...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    SXSW 2013: ‘Bates Motel’ Preview a Few Cuts Under Its Pre-‘Psycho’ Potential

    “Who’s gonna rent a room in the rape/murder hotel?” smokin’ hot Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga) rhetorically asks her introverted son Norman (Freddie Highmore) after a grizzly scene has just unfolded in their creaky house. Based on the first episode of “Bates Motel,” which was unveiled March 11 at SXSW, ...

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  • Indiewire
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    SXSW Review: 'White Reindeer' Is a Sad, Subversive Christmas Tale, But Not Devoid of Warmth

    Filmmaker Zach Clark's first two features, the scrappy nurse-turned-dominatrix comedy "Modern Love Is Automatic" and the wicked beach party noir "Vacation!," paired restless formalism with Clark's penchant for deadpan humor. By contrast, his touching Christmas tale "White Reindeer" funnels Clark's d...

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  • The Playlist
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    SXSW Review: 'Kiss Of The Damned' Is An Intoxicatingly Lusty Homage To Old School Horror

    Xan Cassavetes, the daughter of John Cassavetes and the director of the wonderful film world documentary "Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession," wrote and directed "Kiss of the Damned" with a wink and a nod so overt that, from the opening credit sequence, which closely mimics the similarly-titled Hamm...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'Upside Down' Envisions A Lifeless 'Romeo and Juliet' Tale With Sporadic Sci-Fi Escapism & Visual Thrills

    In Juan Juan Solanas.' fantasy romance "Upside Down," twin planets exist with opposite gravities and social restrictions of Dickensian thematic heft. "Up Top" boasts gleaming skyscrapers, well-dressed citizens, and the majority of wealth, while "Down Below" struggles in poverty and mud-stained exist...

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