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Movie Reviews

  • Indiewire
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    Feuds and Film: Midway Through Fantastic Fest, the Punches Fly

    The 2010 edition of Fantastic Fest has no greater defining image than that of festival founder and Alamo Drafthouse owner Tim League, decked out in a pink mohawk, dodging punches from a sprightly Michelle Rodriguez. The farcical duel marked the climax of "The Fantastic Debates," an annual tradition ...

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    Review | Taming the Man-Child: "Barry Munday"

    The story of an aging man-child has been told and retold so many times that it has evolved into a kind of narrative ritual. Witness the phenomena of Seth Rogen and his ilk, a brand exclusively defined for their dopey charm in the face of adult responsibilities, or the series of stubborn lackadaisical men throughout Mike Judge's oeuvre: The character type often works because he remains likable in spite of his archetypical trainwreck routine. Chris D'Arienzo's "Barry Munday" runs this playful stereotype into the ground with its titular crude ladies' man (Patrick Wilson), whose rough wake-up call arrives when he loses both testicles and looks be...

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    Review | Movies Within a Movie: The Anthology Documentary "Freakonomics"

    Equal parts journalistic exposé and targeted anthropological dissection, the slick anthology production "Freakonomics" makes heavy ideas go down easy. That's the point, of course: Based on Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner's bestselling 2005 tome, the movie explores "the hidden side of everything" -- meaning the interpersonal rituals dictating when societal decisions get made, or should get made, or should not get made. It's a broad topic, which justifies the mini-movie format for probing the book's central concepts. Directed by a documentarian "dream team" composed of established non-fiction storytellers with divergent approaches, "Freakon...

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    Fantastic Fest | Unfunny Games: Miguel Angel Vivas's "Kidnapped"

    The first shot of "Kidnapped" (Secuestrados) shows an anonymous man struggling to breathe inside the plastic bag crudely wrapped around his head. It's no stretch to view this harrowing close-up as a physical representation of the impressively nerve-wracking experience that follows. Spanish director ...

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    film review—Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

    I’m not a fan of sequels, by and large, but I suppose events of the past few years made it inevitable that someone would devise a followup to Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, which became a touchstone of its era. The new movie isn’t likely to have the same effect, as so many document...

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    criticWIRE @ Toronto: Grading All The Films (UPDATED)

    The 2010 Toronto International Film Festival has come to a close. As critics and bloggers file the last of their TIFF coverage, indieWIRE has asked them to submit their thoughts to our "criticWIRE poll," which compiles grades and review links from every single film that is screening in Toronto.

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    REVIEW | Generation in Action: The Social Mores of "The Social Network"

    The persona of Mark Zuckerberg depicted by Jesse Eisenberg in David Fincher's "The Social Network" is equal parts parts Ferris Bueller and Sammy Glick. Like Bueller, Zuckerberg lives his life free from any rules except his own. He replaces Bueller's charisma with pure stamina, however, reflecting Gl...

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    REVIEW | Counterculture Fetishization With Familiar Faces: "HOWL"

    This review was originally published as part of this year's Sundance Film Festival coverage. "HOWL" opens in theaters this Friday.

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    Music Worth Hearing—And Seeing

    I love music almost as much as I love movies. That’s why I start every morning with a visit to Tin Pan Alley at www.youtube.com/user/petermintunmusic, where the gifted pianist, singer and musicologist Peter Mintun offers “A Different Tune Each Day.” I’ve also had some wonderful experiences in recent months watching DVDs that celebrate a wide variety of music I happen to like. These documentaries and performance videos don’t have marketing muscle behind them, so they depend on loyal followers and word-of-mouth. That’s why I’m happy to recommend them here, in the hope that I can expand that audience ...

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    Toronto Fest in Rewind: The Highs, the Lows and the Overlooked

    "We don't talk much about faith at film festivals," said Cameron Bailey, co-director of the Toronto International Film Festival, from a podium last week. The assertion was a neat segue into his introduction for "The Way," Emilio Estevez's semi-spiritual drama about a father coping with the loss of h...

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