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Movie Reviews

  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    'Venus Vs.' Review: Venus Williams Fights for Gender Equality at Wimbledon in Ava DuVernay's Rousing Sports Doc

    Ava DuVernay’s skilled documentary “Venus Vs.,” which debuts on ESPN July 2, charts Venus Williams’ two-year battle from 2005 to 2007 for equal prize money among genders at Wimbledon. In the film, sports journalist Howard Bryant explains that it takes a certain collision of factors for someone to be...

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  • Shadow and Act
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    Review: Ava DuVernay Highlights Tennis Star's Activism in Exciting Doc 'Venus Vs.' (Airs Tonight)

    I remember the first time I saw Venus Williams on television- tall, lean, with a tennis racquet in her hand, and multicolored beads in her braids. I didn’t grow up playing or watching tennis, but there was something about her and those beads that spoke to me.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    'Ray Donovan': The Next Big Thing? Debuts to Record Ratings

    The terrific new series "Ray Donovan" is premiering on Showtime Sunday night -- and you should be watching it rather than reading this. If the show fulfills the promise of its pilot episode it could turn out to be one of the great ones, an ideal anecdote for those of us who expect to be suffering f...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Amy Nicholson Lands Karina Longworth Slot at LA Weekly

    Film critic Amy Nicholson, who left her film editor gig during cutbacks at Boxoffice Magazine last year, has signed on as full-time staff film critic at LA Weekly, effectively replacing Karina Longworth, who ankled the paper in 2012 to write books on Meryl Streep and Al Pacino.

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'Gideon's Army' Is An Eye-Opening Look At The Unsung Work Of Public Defenders

    While the Sixth Amendment guarantees the "assistance of counsel" for a criminal defendant, it may surprise you to learn that it wasn't until the 1963 case of Gideon v. Wainwright, where the concept of a public defender became solidified. Prior to the ruling, uneducated, poor or defendants who were o...

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    Movie Master Classes On DVD

    It’s understandable when someone doesn’t want to re-purchase a film he already owns on DVD, but the Criterion Collection makes it hard to resist by adding such outstanding bonus material.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Can Runaway Western 'The Lone Ranger' Make Its Money Back? Review and Round-Up

    The scuttle from the set of the prodigiously expensive "The Lone Ranger," the latest movie from the producer, writers and director behind the lucrative "Pirates of the Caribbean" series, was that Gore Verbinski was yet another runaway director run amok, not unlike Michael Cimino on "Heaven's Gate," ...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Review: Sensational True-Crime Doc 'The Cheshire Murders' Asks All the Right Questions

    “The Cheshire Murders,” airing on HBO July 22, is, in part, a blow-by-blow account of the unspeakable 2007 Connecticut home invasion that left a mother and her two daughters dead, and made Dr. William Petit his state’s leading advocate for the death penalty (which was abolished there nonetheless).

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  • Shadow and Act
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    Review: 'Gideon's Army' Is A Necessary Look At The Work Done By The Unsung (HBO Tonight)

    Director Dawn Porter's Gideon's Army, which will premiere tonight, July 1, on HBO, can be summarized as follows: 3 young, idealistic public defenders in the Deep South - Travis Williams, Brandy Alexander and June Hardwick - struggle against long hours, low pay and staggering caseloads to ensure...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'The Lone Ranger' Starring Johnny Depp & Armie Hammer

    "What's with the mask?" is a question frequently asked throughout "The Lone Ranger," both as a running gag and a reminder it seems, that the film will give you everything you ever wanted to know about masked hero, and then some. Walt Disney's high-priced potential franchise has a lot riding on it, a...

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