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Movie Reviews

  • The Playlist
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    Tribeca Review: The Deeply Insufferable 'Giant Mechanical Man' Is Quintessential Indie Film Hell

    There’s a special sort of Hell where films like “The Giant Mechanical Man” play, with the same ideas and tropes repeated around the clock, with the mistaken assumption that they’re endearing or, even worse, adorable. It’s the sort of picture that gives independent films a bad name, the type of film ...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Now and Then: Old-School Horror Is All in Your Head

    The most innovative thing about writer-director Ti West's "The Innkeepers" (on DVD today) is how low-fi it plays. The gore is minimal, the music restrained, the body count limited. Call it the rebirth of the classic American horror picture.

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    Tribeca Review: ESPN Doc ‘Benji’ Is A Tragic Portrait Of Promising Hoop Dreams Unfulfilled

    Something that all hardcore sports fans, but cinephiles may not be fully aware of: ESPN’s “30 For 30” series of documentaries on various touchstone moments in sports history are all by and large, riveting and dramatic pieces of work worth watching regardless if you’re a sports fan are not. While tha...

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    SFIFF Review: 'The Fourth Dimension' A Mostly Humorous Collection Of Shorts With Harmony Korine's Most Comically Focused Effort To Date

    Last Friday night, the San Francisco International Film Festival hosted the world premiere of “The Fourth Dimension,” a production born out of a partnership between Vice Films and Grolsch Film Works.

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    SFIFF Review: World Premiere of Terrorist-Savvy 'Informant'

    "Informant" has timing on its side. The documentary by Jamie Meltzer, told mostly in the voice of Brandon Darby, is an activist’s journey from the post-Katrina ruins of New Orleans, to Venezuela and Colombia, and back the United States, where Darby sours on his former comrades and ends up working fo...

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    Under The Radar: A Kiwi Western And A Jazz Doc

    Some movies open “wide,” on thousands of screens; others play in just a handful of theaters. And some films, lacking promotion or advertising budgets, simply materialize, with the hope that people will discover them On Demand, or cable, or DVD, like a sleeper from New Zealand I was lucky...

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    Tribeca Review: 'Freaky Deaky' Is A 1970s-Set Farce Where The Afros Outnumber The Laughs

    Just when you thought filmmakers had milked every gag possible from setting a movie in the 1970s, along comes writer/director Charles Matthau to prove that theory correct in the moribund Elmore Leonard adaptation “Freaky Deaky.” Though the source material takes place in 1988, Matthau hea...

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    Tribeca Review: 'Francophrenia' A Fascinating Doc/Fiction Profile Of James Franco As James Franco

    James Franco's ongoing experimentation with the limits of his own celebrity are like little else popular culture has produced of late. While his hijinks within academia and beyond are well documented (he's working on a Film MFA at NYU and an English PhD from Yale, while being a movie st...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Premiere at Tribeca, Sell at Cannes – The Israeli Solution?

    In Tribeca 2012 there are three Israeli features, considered by critics who saw them in pre-festival screenings to be among the best in Tribeca’s offerings this year. They are "Yossi," by Eytan Fox; "Room 514," a first film by Sharon Bar-Ziv, shot in one room; and "The Flat," Arnon Goldfinger's docu...

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    Tribeca Review: 'Sleepless Night' A Deceptively Simple Thriller That Packs A Punch

    Containment thrillers can often be limited by the landscape of their locale, but in the French film “Sleepless Night,” the nightclub where corrupt cop Vincent (Tomer Sisley) races to rescue his son is expansive enough to make it seem like a mini-mall. Writer-director Frederic Jardin some...

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