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Movie Reviews

  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Mill Valley Film Fest Highlights: 'Life of Pi,' 'Central Park Five,' 'In Another Country,' 'The Sessions,' 'Strutter,' "Rent-a-Cat,' 'Starlet,' 'Quartet'

    Despite the fact that it’s located less than an hour from my house in Berkeley, I have never actually attended the Mill Valley Film Festival in a serious fashion. But this year the Festival seemed unusually festive. Perhaps this was occasioned by its 35th anniversary. Perhaps because film festivals...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: Kids Are King In Winning Chess Doc 'Brooklyn Castle'

    It is often said that soccer is the world's game, because all you need is a ball, and anybody -- of any race or class or social standing -- can play. But if there was a close second, chess could arguably fill that slot. All you need is a board and someone to play with and you're good to go, and ther...

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  • The Playlist
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    LFF Review: Strong Performances Carry An Otherwise Pedestrian 'Zaytoun'

    How affected you are by the closing scenes of "Zaytoun" may depend on your pre-existing knowledge of the Lebanese Civil War and the Israeli incursion in the country. Nothing’s spelled out in "Zaytoun" other than pointing out the date and location -- Beirut, 1982 -- but that...

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  • Shadow and Act
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    Review: 'Brooklyn Castle' (Moving Look At Trials & Triumphs Of A Junior High School's Chess Team)

    Review: 'Brooklyn Castle' (Moving Look At Trials & Triumphs Of A Junior High School's Chess Team)

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  • The Playlist
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    LFF Review: 'My Brother The Devil' A Fresh & Exciting Take On The Familiar Urban Crime Drama

    British urban drama is fast becoming a crowded genre. It seems that every couple of months there’s a movie released depicting issues of drug abuse, violence and poverty in the council estates of one of London’s many recession hit suburbs. Well, in UK cinemas that is. Not many make it out...

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  • Shadow and Act
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    Review: Impeccable Imagery & Visceral, Subtle Performances Anchor Must-See 'Wuthering Heights'

    Andrea Arnold’s latest screen adaptation of Emily Bronte’s classic novel Wuthering Heights rings relevant and significant in its interracial twist of the star-crossed lovers. Seemingly inadvertently perhaps, the film carries with it historical connotation, a legacy of racial discrim...

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  • Indiewire
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    The Trailer Test: Kevin Smith-Produced 'Alter Egos' Unwraps the Superhero Myth (Video)

    While hordes of movie fans were drooling over the fortuitous timing of trailers for remakes of horror classics "Evil Dead" and "Carrie" at New York Comic Con, another example of a mainstream genre surfaced to considerably less exposure though it provides more room for discussion....

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'Alex Cross' Is Cliché, Action Movie Finger Paint

    Apparently the Alex Cross character, originated by best-selling author James Patterson in an unending series of pulp novels, and brought to the screen twice before (in a pair of forgettable, moodily-lit Morgan Freeman thrillers), is a bankable enough property to re-launch a large-ish franchise aroun...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Review: Rory Kennedy's 'Ethel' -- A Tribute to a Mother and Survivor

    Documentarian Rory Kennedy is the youngest of Senator Robert Kennedy and Ethel Skakel Kennedy's 11 children, born seven months after her father's assassination in 1968. Never having known her father, except via the scratchy footage of history, home movies and stories from family members, yet also in...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Now and Then: At NOFF, Indie Comedies 'It's a Disaster' and 'Supporting Characters' Impress

    "It's a Disaster" is something you title your film only if you have a lot of faith in the project. The pun, for a critic disposed to go negative, is almost pathetically easy. Fortunately for writer/director Todd Berger, such confidence is well deserved. "It's a Disaster" is hilarious.

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