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Movie Reviews

  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Review: Cusack and McTeigue's 'The Raven' Does Not Live Up to Literary Promise

    Since his ‘90s heyday, John Cusack has seemed plagued by a never-ending struggle to find roles that fit his watchable talents with anything resembling snugness. Where he once made funky-weird blockbusters like "Con Air," bringing his patented brand of wry, whip-smart detachment to the outlandishness...

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  • The Playlist
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    5

    Tribeca Review: 'Supporting Characters' Is A Middling Movie, But A Decent Would-Be Pilot Episode For A Show We Might Watch

    What fascinates about “Supporting Characters,” the new relationship comedy premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival, is that it’s greatest strength also registers as its most notable weakness. This decidedly Noo Yawk tale of an editing team in New York City and their satellite frien...

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  • The Playlist
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    Tribeca Review: 'Graceland' Mashes Together Suspense Thriller With Sobering Child Trafficking Drama, With Mixed Results

    Mild-mannered husband and father Marlon Villar is just having one of those days. The boss is on his case. His wife is being needy. His daughter is acting up. The cops are bugging him. “Graceland” begins as a compendium of what some adults would call a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Wah w...

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  • Shadow and Act
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    Tribeca 2012 Review - "Broke" Paints An Incomplete Picture Of The Many Forces Draining Athletes' Bank Accounts

    NOTE: This was a work-in-progress screening of the film I attended.

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  • The Playlist
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    Tribeca Review: 'Beyond The Hill' A Slow Burn Without The Burn

    Initially a proficient micro-budget character study with promises of suspense, "Beyond The Hill" squanders its tension by hitting repetitive notes and devolving into a heavy-handed parable. Emin Alper's little bag of tricks can't sustain an entire film and no amount of beautifully-...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: Dim-Witted Edgar Allan Poe Thriller 'The Raven' Is Too Boring To Be A Guilty Pleasure

    About ten minutes into James McTeigue's "The Raven," a large, hairy man -- a writer and a critic, as it turns out -- is strapped to a table by a mysterious figure. A mighty blade, inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's "The Pit And The Pendulum," hangs forbodingly above him. And to his unseen captor, he scre...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: Restrained Werner Herzog Still Shines In Gripping 'Death Row' Series

    The prologue of each of the four episodes of “Death Row” is the same: a restless camera prowls through the dismal ante-room, holding cell and injection chamber of an unnamed execution facility, while director Werner Herzog tells us in his familiar teutonic monotone that, as a German and a guest of t...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: Nasty Nordic Thriller 'Headhunters' Doesn't Have The Courage Of Its Convictions

    For fans of the crime genre, both on the page and on the screen, Scandinavia has been the hottest source of new material in recent years (although obviously not literally). Steig Larsson's Millennium trilogy was a huge bestseller worldwide, and has already provided three Swedish films and David Finc...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: Richard Linklater's 'Bernie' Starring Jack Black Is A Harmless, But Charming & Funny Effort

    Employing a laid-back, jovial and amiable mien, Richard Linklater's latest effort, the East Texas-set black comedy "Bernie," is not unlike the Austin-based filmmaker himself: affable, eager to please without pandering, and highly likeable. In fact, "Bernie," starring Jack Bla...

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  • The Playlist
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    Tribeca Review: 'As Luck Would Have It' Is The Jewel Of The Fest

    Alex de la Iglesia’s “As Luck Would Have It” features, in supporting roles, Salma Hayek and Carolina Bang, two of the most ravishing and talented Spanish language actresses to ever grace the screen. Most viewers are well aware of Ms. Hayek, who has aged gracefully into Hollywood’s demeaning mother-g...

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