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Movie Reviews

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    SXSW Review: 'William and the Windmill' Investigates Morality of 'Boy Who Harnessed the Wind' Subject's Fame

    The story of Malawian teenager William Kamkwamba is candy for the Western imagination: In 2001, the 14-year-old Kamkwamba dropped out of school and picked up a library book about harnessing electricity, then built a windmill from scratch, effectively powering his subsistence farmer family and saving...

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    SXSW Review: Emotional Troubled Youth Drama 'Short Term 12' Pulls Off Tricky Balance

    There is undoubtedly a bad version of "Short Term 12" that writer-director Destin Daniel Cretton ("I Am Not a Hipster") fortunately didn't make. The movie, which follows the experiences of staff and patients at the eponymous foster care home for at-risk teens, conveys a series of sentimental hooks w...

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  • The Playlist
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    SXSW Review: 'Short Term 12' A Heartrending, Heartwarming & Authentic Portrait of Life At A Foster Care Facility

    It’s Nate’s (Rami Malek) first day at the adolescent foster care facility Short Term 12, and his new coworker Mason (John Gallagher Jr., scruffy and soulful) is regaling the staff with a silly monologue about an unfortunate sharting incident he suffered in the line of duty. It's a funny tale, but it...

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    'The Clemente Effect' Review: An Iconic Athlete and Humanitarian's Legacy Resonates

    'The Clemente Effect' Review: An Iconic Athlete and Humanitarian's Legacy Resonates

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  • The Playlist
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    SXSW Review: Frighteningly Dull 'Haunter' Missing Vincenzo Natali's Usual Edge & Inventiveness

    Vincenzo Natali is one of those genre filmmakers who has the rare ability to inspire loyalty in his small but vocal fan base by maintaining an aura of utter fearlessness. The director of ingenious, high concept doodles like "Cube," "Cypher," and, most importantly, the envelope pushing, outrageously ...

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    SXSW Review: '12 O'Clock Boys' Captures the Danger and the Beauty of Baltimore's Urban Dirt Bikers

    The first time we see the group of mostly young adult dirt bikers cruising down the streets of lower class Baltimore neighborhoods in "12 O'Clock Boys," the speed and intensity of their risky, unauthorized stunt work has been translated into poetry: Pitching backwards in slo-mo as they point to the ...

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    SXSW Review: Delightful Relationship Comedy 'Drinking Buddies' Marks a Career High for Joe Swanberg

    In eight years of features, Joe Swanberg has developed a substantial body of minor works, but "Drinking Buddies" proves it had a direction. Swanberg's unabashedly scrappy profiles tend to focus on perpetually inelegant people in search of meaning in their lives as they often struggle to find romanti...

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    SXSW Review: Is Beatles Secretary Story 'Good Ol' Freda' Really a Tell-All?

    There are two main ingredients that make "Good Ol' Freda," a documentary about The Beatles secretary Freda Kelly, stand out from countless other takes on the rise of the world's most iconic band: First of all, having worked for the group during its initial decade of existence but remained largely in...

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    SXSW Review: Bryan Poyser's Austin Love Letter 'The Bounceback' A Sweet, Competent Antidote to Studio Romcoms

    Austin-based filmmaker Bryan Poyser's first two features, "Dear Pillow" and "Lovers of Hate," explored relationship problems by dealing in unconventionally frank ways with sex. Working on a microbudget scale, the movies had little in common with larger and considerably tamer comedy-dramas about simi...

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  • The Playlist
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    SXSW Review: 'Evil Dead' Is A Grim, Humorless, Ultraviolent Update Of A Horror Classic

    When the "Evil Dead" remake was first announced, everyone pretty much assumed that it was going to suck. This was something that star/producer Bruce Campbell acknowledged during the Q&A at last night's SXSW World Premiere. But after years of being assaulted with fan questions about a fourth installm...

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