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Movie Reviews

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    Tale of Two First-Time Directors: 'People Like Us' and 'Seeking a Friend for the End of the World' Debut at LAFF

    There are times when writer-directors should be allowed to direct their own material. And there are time when they should not. I would argue that "Star Trek" and "Alias" co-scribe Alex Kurtzman has more than earned his shot at directing his semi-autobiographical relationship drama "People Like Us" (...

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    Now and Then: 'Girls' Was the Season's Best New Series. When Did That Happen?

    The pilot of "Girls" was an ugly, awkward little thing, delivering its one-liners with a nervous titter. Despite its refreshingly frank appraisal of modern sexual mores, its quartet of young women came off largely as archetypes, not characters. But I stuck with the series, and it paid off.

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  • Shadow and Act
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    LAFF 2012 Review: Award-Winning Documentary 'Call Me Kuchu' Captures Humanity Amidst Hysteria

    That feverish pitch, or air of mass belief that I experienced during the missionary rally is the same thread brought out in the documentary, Call Me Kuchu, where co-directors Malika Zouhali-Worrall and Katherine Fairfax Wright examine religious fundamentalist fervor, much of it imported from abroad,...

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  • Shadow and Act
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    Must-Watch: Poignant 'Sugar' Explores Struggles Faced By Dominican Ball Player w/ Subtlety & Realism

    Here’s a film I should’ve watched three years ago upon its limited theatrical release; although it was indeed limited to only NY and LA. Sony Film Classics' 2009’s Indie Sugar is not your average sports flick; it avoids the usual for the love of the game and the glorious c...

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  • The Playlist
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    L.A. Film Fest Review: 'Ruby Sparks' A Delightful Romantic Comedy That Tugs At The Heartstrings & Rings Of An Instant Classic

    It’s been six long years since Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris’ narrative feature debut, the much beloved “Little Miss Sunshine.” But the directing duo is back with a new film, “Ruby Sparks,” and with it, prove that some things are worth the wait. With a script by its 28 year old star, Zoe Kazan, ...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    'The Newsroom' Reaction: Early Reviews Are Tough on Aaron Sorkin

    The mark of a great writer is that you can recognize their voice. There's no other Charlie Kaufman or Woody Allen or Aaron Sorkin. But what happens to a lauded player at the top of Hollywood's writer pyramid after winning the Oscar for "The Social Network" and sharing a nomination for "Moneyball" an...

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  • Indiewire
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    LAFF REVIEW: Jared Moshé's 'Dead Man's Burden' Does Justice To Its Western Roots

    LAFF REVIEW: Jared Moshé's 'Dead Man's Burden' Does Justice To Its Western Roots

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  • The Playlist
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    L.A. Film Fest Review: 'Dead Man's Burden' Is A Stunningly Shot, Slow Burner Of A Classic, Yet Modern Western

    One of the most cinematically gorgeous independent films in a long time, “Dead Man’s Burden” (along with fellow 2012 indie “Beasts of the Southern Wild," shot on Super 16) truly makes the case for celluloid. While watching this meditative Western, one simply wants to drink in the beauty of the image...

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  • The Playlist
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    L.A. Film Fest Review: A Well-Constructed 'People Like Us' Is Marred By Its Sentimental Mawkishness

    Alex Kurtzman’s new film, “People Like Us,” shares the technical prowess of some existential sound and picture classics, employing supreme aural and visual techniques to create subjectivity. However, an increasingly rote storyline and adherence to syrupy sweet romantic comedy tropes leaves a murky ...

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  • Indiewire
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    LAFF REVIEW: Alex Karpovsky's Hilarious Road Trip Comedy 'Red Flag' Makes the Case For His Mainstream Potential

    Whether truly narcissistic or an eloquent portrait of narcissism, Alex Karpovsky's "Red Flag" is an utterly hilarious ode to the modern struggles of the microbudget American filmmaker. While the prolific Karpovsky has starred in Andrew Bujalski's "Beeswax" and Lena Dunham...

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