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Movie Reviews

  • The Playlist
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    Review: Rambling, Ragged 'This Must Be The Place' Isn't Nearly As Bad As You Feared

    The initial first glimpses for "This Must Be the Place" promised disaster, with a pitch of Sean Penn playing a burned-out post-punk rocker on the hunt for Nazis, and advance photos where Penn's jet-black corona of hair and dour made-up jowls made him look less like someone who had imit...

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    Out This Week: 9 Reviews of New Releases, From 'A Late Quartet' to 'Vamps'

    This weekly column is intended to provide reviews of nearly every new release, including films on VOD (and in certain cases some studio releases). Specifics release dates and locations follow each review.

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    Review: 'The Man With The Iron Fists' A Noble, But Overstuffed First Effort From RZA

    “I’m the baddest man alive,” goes the chorus for one of the many hip hop songs in “The Man With The Iron Fists,” the directorial debut of RZA. The director is actually the subject of the song, as he plays the title character, a blacksmith seeking revenge for being wrong...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    SFFS French Cinema Now 2012: 'Camille Rewinds,''Sister,' 'Louise Wimmer'

    The San Francisco Film Society steps up to a radically reduced reality of foreign film distribution by programming a number of focused mini-fests, including Hong Kong Cinema, Taiwan Film Days, and the upcoming New Italian Cinema. While contemplating the ten-film line-up of French Cinema Now, I asked...

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    AFI FEST 2012: The World's Best Cinema - From 'Hitchcock' to 'Rust and Bone,' Foreign Oscar Hopefuls & AFM

    While the American Film Market takes Santa Monica, the 26th annual AFI Fest brings diverse cinematic life to Hollywood Thursday night with the world premiere of "Hitchcock." The Sacha Gervasi film starring Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren and Scarlett Johansson is one of only two world premie...

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    Why Scott Foundas Ditched Lincoln Center Programming to Go Back Where He Belongs UPDATED

    Three years ago, when Scott Foundas left the Village Voice Media's LA Weekly to join the Film Society of Lincoln Center as associate programmer, I was disheartened. Why? Because he is one of the most gifted critics of his generation. I took Foundas leaving his clear avocation as a sign of the contin...

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    The Trailer Test: Why the New 'Die Hard' Trailer Is Probably Better Than the Movie and 'Hansel and Gretel' Is Better Than Both

    In the process of teasing the bigger picture, a trailer should also tell a story, whether or not that story correlates with the movie in question. For the excessive genre movie with strengths that relate more to movement, violent, attitude and sudden noises rather than pithy tools of the trade like ...

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    Review: ‘The Details’ Is An Inconsistent But Entertaining Dark Comedy

    “The Details” is one of those dark comedies where everything that can go wrong does. The sophomore film from Jacob Aaron Estes, whose previous film “Mean Creek” won the John Cassavetes Award at Sundance in 2004, was the biggest sale of the 2011, purchased by The Weinstein Com...

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    Review: Why 'The Details' Signifies the Decline of Suburban Dark Comedies

    It's a familiar mold: the perils of suburban discontent have been so thoroughly explored that "The Details" plays like a hodgepodge of familiar circumstances on an assembly line to disaster.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Now and Then: After the Storm, Portraits of Tenacity in Recovery

    As a resident of a city whose history of storms — and their concomitant unnatural disasters — is troubled at best, I watched Sandy warily but distantly. Thing always look different outside the "cone of uncertainty." The images coming in from the Northeast this morning put me in a more solemn frame o...

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