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Movie Reviews

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    REVIEW | Romanian Redemption: Strong Debut in Prison Drama "If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle"

    A minor entry from the Romanian New Wave, the dreary prison drama "If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle" nevertheless exhibits many of the stronger aspects of social observation present in the films that have emerged from the region. Set in a barren juvenile detention center, the movie works as a gruelin...

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    Small Screen | 2011's First DVD Releases Include "Catfish," "Howl," and "Machete"

    This week marks the at-home release of several of this year's most buzzy titles: the "Is it really real?" documentary "Catfish," the still-relevant obscenity drama of "Howl," and one of HBO's most intriguing comedies, all come home via DVD and other various forms. Here are this week's Small Screen...

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    This Year, Next Year: Viewing 2010 Through the 2011 Release Calendar

    Imposing expectations of existing movies on those that haven't yet been released is unabashedly superficial, but fun. With that in mind, here's some anticipated 2011 releases that call to mind cinematic experiences from 2010. Of course, I offer this list with the caveat that it's only intended as a ...

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    Updated indieWIRE Top 10s: "Swan" & "Last Train Home" Take Lead Narrative & Doc

    While "The Social Network" by David Fincher took the top spot in indieWIRE's recent 2010 Critics Poll from 125 ballots compiled by mostly, well, critics; this much smaller grouping of indieWIRE editors, contributors, freelancers as well as a smattering of industry friends, picked Darren Aronofsky's ...

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    REVIEW | Oliveira's Romantic Oddity: "The Strange Case of Angelica"

    Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira has generated plenty of press simply because of his age—at 102, he is recognized as the oldest working filmmaker alive today—but his latest works appear to exist outside of time. "The Strange Case of Angelica," the Portuguese director's latest feature, falls in step with other recent outings like "Christopher Columbus, the Enigma" and "Eccentricities of a Blonde Girl" by drawing attention to its abnormalities in every scene. The story of a young photographer romantically drawn to the snapshot of a dead woman, "Angelica" features an extraordinarily patient exposition familiar from his other projects but d...

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    Eric Kohn: The "Biutiful" Conspiracy

    No amount of profound sadness registering across Javier Bardem's dejected face can save "Biutiful" from its numerous flaws. Seven months after first encountering Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu's lethargic melodrama at the Cannes Film Festival, I remain convinced of ...

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    Small Screen | Clooney, Oprah, "Handsome Harry," 50 Cent all Rush to the Tube

    Taking in the Small Screen this week, a trip to Europe with a gun-slinging George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey's new cable network, an Australian outback love story, a rehashing of Vietnam, and Joel Schumacher's Upper West Side mess are this week's top picks on indieWIRE's column looking at entertainment ...

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    REVIEW | Cinema of Attraction: Derek Cianfrance's "Blue Valentine"

    Light on plot and heavy on expression, Derek Cianfrance's "Blue Valentine" is a study in extremes. Essentially the anatomy of a break-up, it places exclusive focus on a young couple (Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams) as their marriage disintegrates. Cianfrance, whose directorial debut "Brother Tie...

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    REVIEW | No Country for Old Men: Mike Leigh's "Another Year"

    Stories of aging, loneliness and despair typically don't translate into crowdpleasers, but there's nothing typical about a Mike Leigh movie. With "Another Year," a skillfully understated character study from the master of subtext, Leigh magnifies the existential reflections of his middle-aged subjec...

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    REVIEW | Korean Conflict: "The Red Chapel"

    In 2006, Danish journalist and filmmaker Mads Brügger journeyed to North Korea with two performers, Simon Jul and Jacob Nossell, to reveal the corruption of the country's censorship up close. The ruse was an elaborate combination of documentary exposé, performance art and advocacy: Jul, a noted Danish actor, and Nossell, a "spastic" stand-up comic whose speech impairments make his words difficult to decipher in any language, would perform a play for Korean locals approved by the government. Through covert messages, they would reveal a dangerous culture of repression. The result, assembled into the feature-length documentary "The Red Chapel," ...

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