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Movie Reviews

  • Indiewire
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    Critical Consensus: Delayed "City of Life and Death" Tops Very Busy Week on criticWIRE

    As Cannes kicks off in the south of France, a whopping 11 new films are opening in limited release Stateside. There's Dan Rush's Will Ferrell dramedy "Everything Must Go," Joseph Gordon-Levitt starrer "Hesher," and Justin Chadwick's film festival favorite "The First Grader," as well as the long del...

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    CANNES REVIEW | "Midnight in Paris" is Enjoyable, but Another Typical Woody Allen Story

    When Woody Allen left his treasured New York setting and took his movies abroad, he brought his characters with him. With "Midnight In Paris," his second feature shot in Europe since his brief return home for 2009's "Whatever Works," Allen assembles a familiar cast of troubled people with a slight, ...

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    Small Screens: indieWIRE's Top 5 Releases This Week

    DVD/Blu-ray Top Pick:Title: "Blue Valentine"Director: Derek Cianfrance

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    REVIEW | "Louder Than a Bomb" Offers Moving Poetry, But So Do the Online Clips

    "The point is not the point," goes the slogan of "Louder than a Bomb," the world's largest high-school poetry slam. "The point is the poetry." In the documentary directed by Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel, also called "Louder than a Bomb," the filmmakers tussle with that optimistic assertion by surveying various teen competitors, many of whom come from troubled homes. Although initially assuming the format of a sports story, with several high school teams gearing up for the annual city-wide competition, the narrative eventually pulls back to celebrate the impact of poetry on their lives. As a result, the slogan doubles as a tagline, although the ...

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    11

    REVIEW | The Horrors of Bearing Witness: Lu Chuan's "City of Life and Death"

    War movies produced by commercial film industries have a tendency to show any given conflict not as it is or was, but as the side footing the bill for the film would like for it have been. The essential moral irony of war — that acts that would be considered revoltingly inhumane if committed in the name of the individual are not only sanctioned but celebrated when committed in the name of country –– has rarely been reflected on screen as honestly as in "City of Life and Death," Lu Chuan’s stunning dramatic take on the 1937 Japanese invasion of Nanking, China. Unafraid to depict the blurring of moral boundaries on either side of the conflict,...

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    REVIEW | Will Ferrell Acts Below His Potential in Middling "Everything Must Go"

    Will Ferrell's face is built for comedy. His stern, preternaturally distant gaze and burly physique take on an ironic quality when pitted against the clumsy characters he does best. As a result, he always looks poised to deliver a joke. Over the years, he has channeled those intrinsic comic features...

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    movie review: The Beaver

    I didn’t want to read a word about The Beaver before seeing it, and I’m glad I went in “cold.” It’s a purposefully odd little film about mental illness and a broken family, made with care and obvious passion by Jodie Foster from a screenplay by Kyle Killen. There ent...

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    movie review: THOR

    Thor is a comic-book superhero movie with a split personality. There is weighty drama in the Kingdom of Asgard, while the tone of the film becomes flippant and funny when it lands on Earth. The end result is fairly enjoyable but easily forgettable, because neither aspect of the story completely t...

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    REVIEW | "Caterpillar" Makes Horror Out of Wartime Propaganda

    Acclaimed Japanese director Koji Wakamatsu's latest feature, "Caterpillar," breaks down the notion of wartime bravery by disabling it. Working from a short story (one that was banned in 1939 by Japanese censors) by Edogawa Rampo, Wakamatsu achieves this with a haunting physical manifestation: an inj...

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    REVIEW | "Beautiful Darling" Recalls the Distinct Allure of a Warhol Superstar

    Candy Darling, the transexual bombshell featured in several Andy Warhol movies, two Velvet Underground songs and one Tennessee Williams play, inhabited the precise fantasy she created for herself. That's argument put forth by director James Rasin in "Beautiful Darling," a straightforward biographical survey of the Warhol superstar's unique appeal, which only faded with her premature death from lymphoma at the age of 29. With a mixture of talking heads and diary entries, Rasin tracks Darling from her early childhood as James Slattery in Queens to her presence at the center of New York counterculture in the late sixties and early seventies. Amo...

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