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Movie Reviews

  • Indiewire
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    Toronto Review: Neil Jordan's Vampire Drama 'Byzantium' Is an Elegant Alternative to 'Twilight'

    Contemporary cinema has featured a fair share of young, attractive vampires in recent years, but Neil Jordan's "Byzantium" stands out for exploring that subject with a mixture of intelligence and gravitas.

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    TIFF Capsule Review: 'The Attack'

    "The Attack," by the Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri (West Beirut), a former assistant cameraman on films by Quentin Tarantino, tells an unsettling story about Israel and Palestine. As it opens, an Arab surgeon Amin Jafaari (Ali Suliman) receives an Israeli prize for his life’s work. The same surgeon treats victims of a bombing that kills Jewish children, and the prime suspect turns out to be the surgeon’s wife. Amins is ostracized from most of his Jewish colleagues. After initial denial, Amin accepts that that hard evidence that his wife was the bomber, and travels to the Occupied Territories to find the sheik who tau...

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    TIFF Capsule Review: 'A Liar's Autobiography -- The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman'

    Even dedicated Monty Python fans might be surprised to learn some of the details revealed about the private exploits of the late Graham Chapman in this innovative take on the non-fiction biopic form. Largely consisting of animation created by 14 different studios and 17 varying styles, "A Liar's Autobiography" uses audio recordings Chapman made for his memoir prior to his death in 1989 for an ongoing voiceover track. As Chapman tracks his progress from an uninspiring adolescence to his burgeoning homosexuality and alcoholism, the wildly schizophrenic narrative gives the impression that it stems directly from the dead Python&#...

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    TIFF Capsule Review: 'Laurence Anyways'

    Montreal-based actor-turned-filmmaker prodigy Xavier Dolan's third feature is a terrific character study for its first two hours -- and then there's the third one. That's starting to be a routine for the young director: Dolan's gently affecting debut, "I Killed My Mother," was a remarkably insightful portrait of a young gay man's relationship to his mother, but his two follow-ups have suffered from an overindulgence in style in spite of their many strengths. In the case of "Laurence, Anyways," Melvil Poupaud delivers a stirring performance in the title role as a high school teacher who confesses to h...

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    TIFF Capsule Review: 'Aftershock'

    Eli Roth basically wrote the modern book on the horror subgenre of hedonistic tourists receiving their comeuppance, so it comes as no surprise that his stamp is all over "Aftershock," a routine shock-fest about a couple of travelers led through a series of misfortunes when their vacation in Chile is interrupted by an earthquake. Roth produced the movie and stars as the sole American of the group, naturally nicknamed Gringo. While bar-hopping with Chilean friends Ariel (Ariel Levy) and Pollo (Nicolás Martinez), Gringo and his fellow pleasure-seekers pick up a trio of likeminded Russian women (Natasha Yarovenko, Lorenza Izz...

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    TIFF Capsule Review: 'End of Watch'

    The prospects of a gritty cop movie in the context of the found footage genre makes sense when one considers that the reality series "COPS" helped solidify the vernacular associated with the format. But "End of Watch" only uses the first person approach to frame the familiar dramas of two hackneyed characters, cocksure young officers Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Zavala (Michael Peña), as they uncover the dark underbelly of the drug trade in south central L.A. Taylor's obsession with filming their exploits provides a handy excuse for the constant shaky cam, but director David Ayer often abandons the device for...

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  • The Playlist
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    TIFF Review: 'Free Angela & All Political Prisoners' A Fascinating Chronicle Of Justice & Strength

    "Black power means dignity," is a phrase that lingers from Shola Lynch's documentary about activist and scholar Angela Davis. And dignity is just one of the many qualities that one can attach to Davis, a bold and powerful figure whose own battle for justice and freedom is chronicled in "Free Angela ...

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  • Criticwire
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    Criticwire Picks: After the Obvious, It's 'Liberal Arts'

    Criticwire Picks: After the Obvious, It's 'Liberal Arts'

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'Finding Nemo 3D' Is A Freshly Dimensionalized Take On A Certifiable Pixar Classic

    Last fall's surprise smash rerelease of Disney's "The Lion King," a gimmicky two-week promotional stunt designed sell the movie's Blu-ray release that turned into an extended, nearly $100-million-grossing juggernaut, opened the floodgates for 3D animated rereleases. There are two planned for the bac...

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    Criticwire at the Toronto International Film Festival: At the Halfway Point What's a Hit and What's a Miss?

    As grade averages from the first half of TIFF 2012 have coming in, we gather some of the notables, complete with excerpts from reviews from Criticwire members.

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