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Movie Reviews

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    REVIEW | Norton's Dual Role Salvages Nelson's "Leaves of Grass"

    2009 is starting to look like The Year of the Dual Role, with the stars of three major festival films acting opposite themselves as Patty Duke-esque physical copies with polar opposite personalities. In "Leaves of Grass," Edward Norton plays classically dissimilar twin brothers –– Brady is id, Bill is superego –– who come together after a long stretch of estrangement. Norton’s dual characterization and Tim Blake Nelson’s slight-of-hand staging is more seamless and convincing than the similar tricks employed by actor Michael Cera and director Miguel Arteta in Toronto premiere "Youth in Revolt," but even with scads of overwritten philosophicall...

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    REVIEW | Jeunet Continues His Magical Realism With "Micmacs"

    Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s signature films, including "Amelie" and "City of Lost Children," have functioned as gateway drugs, getting the previously uninitiated hooked on the habit of foreign film. Romantic enough to please what we now think of as the "Twilight" se...

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    REVIEW | Object Desire: Claire Denis’s “35 Shots of Rum”

    In the simple steadfast training of the camera lens, cinema has the ability to give seemingly mundane objects or actions an almost supernatural provenance; in so doing, it can change how we see the world. It sounds like a lofty notion, but it’s actually a literal truth. Chantal Akerman&rs...

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    REVIEW | Todd Intact: "Life During Wartime" Maintains Solondz' Droll Satiric Aura

    This review was originally published as part of indieWIRE’s coverage of the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. “Life During Wartime” opens this Friday, July 23rd at the IFC Center in New York.

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    REVIEW | From The Heart: Rodrigo Garcia's "Mother and Child"

    In his 2005 film “Nine Lives,” Rodrigo Garcia did something cinematically unexpected. Bringing to the women’s picture a rigorous aesthetic design, “Nine Lives,” made up of nine disparate segments about different female characters shot in elaborate single takes, successfully translated the structure of a short story anthology to the screen, and without denying film’s unique properties. The narratives themselves, surveying women from different classes and pasts and at different life thresholds, may not have been equally gripping, but together the film had a cumulative power, while certain segments (especially Robin Wright Penn’s supermarket enc...

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    REVIEW | Interpersonal Lyricism: An Exciting Filmmaker Is Born With "Mother"

    Xavier Dolan's "I Killed My Mother" marks the emergence of an exciting new filmmaking talent. The Montreal actor, a mere 20 years old, displays a startlingly mature perspective on human behavior in his triple threat position as writer-director-star. He plays Hubert, a gay teen constantly at odds wit...

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    REVIEW | Running Scared: Claire Denis's "White Material"

    At one point in Claire Denis's ravaging new film, "White Material," Isabelle Huppert's Maria, a coffee plantation owner in an African country increasingly torn apart by escalating civil war violence, is driving her grown son, Manuel, on a tractor to bring him medical attention for a minor injury to ...

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    REVIEW | Mindlessness Over Matter: Jaco van Dormael's "Mr. Nobody"

    Quick, what do string theory, the butterfly effect, 21st-century dystopia, the possibility of quasi-immortality, the unquantifiablity of time, the impermanence of memory, death, love, second sight, the heartache of divorce, missions to Mars, and Jared Leto's baby blues have in common? After seeing "...

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    REVIEW | "Superbad" Meets "Fight Club": "Revolt" Hints At Cera's Versatility

    "Youth in Revolt" stars Michael Cera as a hyper-intelligent 16-year-old virgin desperate to escape his bubble of a boring life. If that description sounds familiar, it's because the "Arrested Development" star has done this routine before. But he does it well, and this charming romantic comedy offer...

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    REVIEW | Simplistically Charming "Capitalism" Doesn't Quite Add Up

    Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story" delivers the documentarian's standard mix of historical survey and stunt activism with a simplistic charm. Focusing on mortgage foreclosure sales and other beasts of the recession, Moore aims for a universal rallying call to action. He strings police tape around Wall Street buildings and jokingly attempts to make citizen arrests of financial top dogs. These stunts are counteracted by Moore's attention to dramatic personal stories and basically compelling overviews of the current economic climate. As a result, "Capitalism" alternates between comedic playfulness and one-dimensional investigative journa...

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