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Movie Reviews

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    Sundance Review | Paul Rudd Outshines Mediocrity in "My Idiot Brother"

    Hiding behind a shaggy beard and a stoner grin, Paul Rudd plays an amusingly oblivious shrub in "My Idiot Brother," but the movie can't keep up with his comic momentum. Rudd portrays Ned Rochlin, a happy-go-luck organic farmer abruptly busted for selling pot to a police officer. Kicked out of his ho...

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    Sundance Review: Kevin Smith, "Red State" and Selling Out To Himself

    Kevin Smith was wasting everyone's time and loving every minute of it. Standing on the stage of the Eccles Theater after the premiere of his new movie "Red State" on Sunday night, the director unloaded a 33-minute monologue about the progress of the indie business over the course of the 17 years sin...

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    Sundance Review | Todd Rohal Takes a Goofy Priest to the Woods in "The Catechism Cataclysm"

    "The Catechism Cataclysm" marks the sophomore feature of writer-director Todd Rohal, whose peculiar ensemble piece "The Guatemalan Handshake" made the festival rounds in 2006. Whereas "Guatemalan" took a wide view of Americana through Rohal's cast of offbeat characters, "Catechism" plays like a sing...

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    Sundance Review | Growing Pains: Azazel Jacobs Triumphs With Moving Teen Drama "Terri"

    Azazel Jacobs's 2008 drama "Momma's Man" centered on an adult retreating to his parents' house and yearning for the innocence of his teenage years. The director's latest feature, "Terri," centers on a teen fearing adulthood. Jacobs, working from a script by Patrick de Witt, takes a conventional comi...

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    Sundance Review | Moral Ambiguity Lingers in "The Redemption of General Butt Naked"

    "The Redemption of General Butt-Naked" opens with a scene in which the self-appointed Liberian evangelist Joshua Milton Blahyi holds sway over an appreciative crowd that hangs on his every word. A fervent endorser for the power of faith, Blahyi appears as a galvanizing leader readymade for the spotlight. Having established his formidable stage presence, directors Eric Strauss and Daniele Anastasion introduce the contradiction of his past: As the widely feared General Butt Naked, Blahyi led a reign of terror against thousands of Liberians during the country's civil war from 1989 to 1996. Siding with the country's former president against vario...

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    Sundance Review | "Bellflower" Provides Phenomenal Showcase for Newcomer Evan Glodell

    Fandom is an ailment for the two young leads in "Bellflower," the directorial debut of Evan Glodell. A scrappy drama that takes several bizarre turns, the movie revolves around a pair of happy-go-lucky guys obsessed with the post-apocalyptic universe of "Mad Max." Spending their days jacking around,...

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    Sundance Review | An Age-Old Conundrum in Miranda July's "The Future"

    Miranda July returns to her playfully off-beat universe with her second feature, "The Future," the writer-director-video artist's long-awaited follow-up to 2005's "Me and You and Everyone We Know." Like that playful study of human behavior, the new work deals with people feeling isolated by the worl...

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    Sundance Review | Post-Cult Trauma Explored in Haunting "Martha Marcy May Marlene"

    Appearing fragile and terrified from her first scene until her last, Elizabeth Olsen brings an alarming quality to writer-director Sean Durkin's quietly unsettling "Martha Marcy May Marlene." Durkin focuses on alienated young Martha during the immediate aftermath of her decision to escape a cult in...

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    Sundance Review | Peter Mullan Shines as Raging Alcoholic in "Tyrannosaur"

    Editor's note: This review originally ran at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. "Tyrannosaur" opens in New York on Friday.

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    Sundance Review | Vulgar Brendan Gleeson Sustains Uneven Gun Play in "The Guard"

    Brendan Gleeson soars in "The Guard," playing a foul-mouthed Irish cop destined to offend everyone in his path, but the depth of the character overwhelms the quality of the movie about him. As the rambunctious Sergeant Gerry Boyle, Gleeson moves through each scene with a stunning duality, making his...

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