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Movie Reviews

  • Indiewire
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    With 'Promised Land,' Gus Van Sant Channels Old-Fashioned Message-Mongering With Mixed Results

    At its best, Gus Van Sant's "Promised Land" channels environmental politics into an agreeable drama about small town America facing down the forces of capitalist greed. In lesser moments it trumpets that tension with a complete disregard for the powers of subtlety. Co-written and starring Matt Damon...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'Deadfall' Starring Eric Bana & Olivia Wilde Is Trapped In A Blizzard of Coincidence & Two-Dimensional Characters

    "Deadfall" starts off strong enough – three criminals, led by Addison (Eric Bana) and his sexy sister Liza (Olivia Wilde) speed away from some unspecified job (it's later revealed to be a casino heist). It's icy out and their driver (the only black character in the whole movie) overcompensates, avoi...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: Lightweight '30s British Romance 'Cheerful Weather For The Wedding' Mostly Wastes Its Young Stars

    There's nothing more frustrating than wasting talent. Seeing a promising young filmmaker turn in a movie that just doesn't work is as disappointing as seeing a good cast squandered by lesser material. Unfortunately, both are common but unavoidable side effects of attending film festivals and the lat...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Now and Then: In Harmony, 'Life of Pi' and 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' Are the Best Films of the Year

    One is a grand, sea-borne spectacle, a master's first glorious foray into 3-D. The other, like its breakout star, is a furious miniature whose impact far outweighs its size. But both "Life of Pi" and "Beasts of the Southern Wild" are fervently alive to the world of nature, of spirit — two halves of ...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    DVD Review: 'Dark Crimes' from Chandler, Hammett & Woolrich in Tantalizing TCM Noir Box Set

    On December 3, the TCM Vault Collection released a tantalizing box set of three film noirs, “The Glass Key,” “Phantom Lady” and “The Blue Dahlia,” all previously unavailable on Region 1 DVD. The connecting thread is crime fiction -- the first two films are based on novels by Dashiell Hammett and Cor...

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  • Shadow and Act
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    ADIFF 2012 Review: Stylish War Vet Action Drama 'The Kill Hole' Anchored By Gripping Performances

    Screening at the ongoing African Diaspora International Film Festival here in NYC (the film's New York premiere) is the indie action drama The Kill Hole - a film we’ve been covering since it made its premiere at the Santa Barbara Film Fest back in January (it won the best feature...

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  • Caryn James
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    'The Hobbit' Review: Bilbo Lives! Everyone Else, Not So Much.

    I have never been a Lord of the Rings fanatic, so take that into account, but The Hobbit made me miss Voldemort. I spent a fair amount of time during Peter Jackson’s latest installment in his Tolkien franchise comparing it to the Harry Potter movies, thinking how savvy J.K. Rowling’...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ Rallies From A Goofy Opening To Become Another Thrilling, If Familiar, Action-Adventure Epic

    At almost three hours, Peter Jackson’s fourth foray into the world of J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is initially worrisome and typically self-indulgent. An extremely jarring 48 fps look -- which looks like an odd "Masterpiece Theater" in HD -- is unsettling, and the opening is ...

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  • Indiewire
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    Review: Is 'The Hobbit' Less a Movie Than Theme Park Ride? If So, It's a Fun One

    More than a decade has passed since Peter Jackson and company first ventured to Middle Earth with "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring." At this point, audiences pretty much know what to expect from "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," despite the title's insistence to the contrary. Th...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Peter Jackson's 'The Hobbit': Review and Reaction Roundup UPDATED

    Finally, the last films of the year are being screened, just in time for early critics voting. While early reactions to this weekend's "Django Unchained" were upbeat, reviews so far are mixed on Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." Reactions came in from both the New Zealand premiere...

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