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Movie Reviews

  • The Playlist
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    Berlinale 2012 Review: Try As it Might, 'Cherry' Fails To Convince Us That A Career In Porn Is The Best Idea Ever

    That the film is co-written from the sympathetic point of view of porn actress Lorelei Lee (who also takes a small cameo role) couldn’t be clearer in co-writer/director Stephen Elliott’s debut feature “Cherry.” Ostensibly a fairly familiar tale of a good girl getting slowly pulled into the seamy wor...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Weekend Preview: Brutal & Heartbreaking Oscar Nominee 'Bullhead' Is Must-See

    If you live in New York, Los Angeles or Austin, get yourself to a theater for "Bullhead" (it expands February 24). The Belgian film, nominated for a Best Foreign Language film Oscar, may not take home the big prize on February 26 ("A Separation" and "Monsieur Lazhar" are custom-made to the academy's...

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  • Indiewire
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    BERLIN REVIEW: Melissa Leo is Raw and the Mood is Haunting, but 'Francine' Still Needs a Story

    In the opening minutes of "Francine," Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky's narrative feature debut, Melissa Leo stands naked in a prison shower, more exposed than she has ever looked onscreen. Her fragile, desperate state lingers as the character copes with life post parole. She defi...

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  • Indiewire
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    BERLIN REVIEW: Even With James Franco, Porn Tale 'Cherry' Bombs

    There's much to admire about "Cherry," first-time writer-director Stephen Elliott's portrait of a disgruntled teen whose increasingly seedy interests lead her down a path that culminates in a porn career. Ashley Hinshaw delivers a believably angst-riddled performance as 18-year-old...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'Bullhead' Is Larger Than Life Pulp, Barely Sweetened, Mostly Sour

    It only makes sense that geek-friendly Drafthouse Films would be behind the distribution of Belgium’s Best Foreign Film Oscar nominee “Bullhead.” Sparse and unnerving, this unusual social drama features a central character so pulpy and tragic he might as well be a barmate of Mickey Rourke’s Marv of ...

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    Review: Inspirational Football Documentary 'Undefeated' Scores A Touchdown

    Watching inspirational movies is often like eating ice cream. While you're taking it in, it's sweet and immensely pleasurable, but as soon as you've reached the end, all that's left is an empty carton. Maybe we won't go as far as saying this kind of cinema is empty, but those swooned by "The Blind S...

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    More Woody Allen

    If you missed Robert B. Weide’s two-part American Masters profile of Woody Allen that aired last November on PBS, it’s just been released on DVD—by Docurama—with bonus material that wasn’t seen on TV. Weide, whose earlier documentaries have dealt with W.C. Fields, The M...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'The Secret World Of Arrietty' Is A Beautiful, Whimsical & Heartfelt Fable From Studio Ghibli

    The charmingly simple conceit behind Mary Norton's children's fantasy novel series "The Borrowers" is that there are a race of tiny people, no bigger than a stack of quarters or a human thumb, that live underneath your floorboards, sneaking into your home at night to "borrow" things essential to the...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'Michael' A Provocative, Yet Banal Portrait Of A Monster

    Trace it to the 2006 Natascha Kampusch case or the even more terrible 2008 Elisabeth Fritzl one reverberating through into fiction, but longterm kidnapping is having a moment. Despite apparently opening with a card that claims otherwise, the incidents seem unavoidable inspirations for Fréd&ea...

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    MORE: Review, Michael
  • Press Play
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    SIMON SAYS: Even in 3D, it's still a PHANTOM MENACE II society

    In 1999, "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" was released theatrically. The rest is a blur – for me, at least. I was 12 years old at the time, the ideal age for an uncritical "Star Wars" fan to see the first entry in George Lucas’ then-new prequel trilogy.

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