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Movie Reviews

  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'Lay The Favorite' A Comedy That's An Empty Bet

    “You can't blame Stephen Frears for trying” seems to be the mantra for "Lay the Favorite," a mild romp through the T&A world of Las Vegas, gambling and literary adaptation. After all, "High Fidelity" is an iconic film to obsessive nerds (Need proof? See: every...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Review Roundup: Damon & Van Sant Fracking Drama 'Promised Land' Lacks Subtlety

    "Promised Land" is Matt Damon's third teaming with director Gus Van Sant, who jumped into directing the film at the last minute after Damon decided he couldn't direct the film that he wrote with John Krasinski. We know that Van Sant is a capable director--nothing is wrong with his handling of this m...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Review Roundup: Dustin Hoffman's 'Quartet' is Genial Escapist Fun

    Dustin Hoffman's genteel directorial debut "Quartet," starring Maggie Smith and a legion of other notable Brit actors as members of a musicans' retirement community, will play best for music-loving Anglophiles who enjoy the company of wily and entertaining British seniors. Yet again, Dame Smith stea...

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    Review: 'Hyde Park On Hudson' Is A Lightweight & Toothless Crowd-Pleaser

    At 61 years of age, the presumably hard-living Bill Murray conservatively only has two more decades of work left in him. So perhaps we all want him to really dazzle us with some meaty roles and not waste his time with middling fluff like Roger Michell's "Hyde Park on Hudson," a moderately pleasant b...

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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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    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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    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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    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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