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Movie Reviews

  • Caryn James
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    'Beautiful Creatures': Smarter, Wittier, Better Than 'Twilight'

    Beautiful Creatures, the story of high-school students in love – only one of them with supernatural powers – is bound to be compared to the Twilight movies, but that’s just wrong. Richard LaGravanese’s sumptuous-looking film is crisply directed, wonderfully cast and far ...

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  • Indiewire
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    Berlin Review: Danis Tanovic's Neorealist 'An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker' Is a Cry For Help From the Bosnian Lower Class

    Danis Tanovic's "An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker" has plenty to say, but as tragic observations go it's curiously dry. A dramatically compelling social realist parable about the underprivileged Bosnian and Herzegovinian lower class, it's closer to conventional cinema v...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: It's Ad Men vs. Bad Men In Pablo Larrain's Exciting, Funny, Moving 'No' Starring Gael Garcia Bernal

    "No" is exactly the kind of film you hope to stumble across -- a film that hadn't been on your radar until buzz from too many quarters too diverse to be ignored made you seek it out, discovering a film that's extraordinarily well-made, superbly acted, funny, human, warm, principled and, yes, as enth...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: Korean Action Flick 'The Berlin File' is Mostly Fun, Always Silly & Rather Inconsequential

    To paraphrase Mugatu from "Zoolander," Berlin, the setting for the enjoyable sub-“Bourne” Korean action flick “The Berlin File,” is so hot right now. No less than David Bowie has returned to the city in his seemingly dropped-from-the-sky comeback single, “Where Are We Now?” Shortly thereafter came t...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: John McClane Becomes A Non-Entity In The Faceless & Tedious McActioner 'A Good Day To Die Hard'

    If you were to tell the even the average civilian who frequented movies that the script for "A Good Day To Die Hard" was actually just another generic actioner found in a studio pile and then subsequently retrofitted to fit the "Die Hard" brand, said average schmoe would have no reason to doubt you....

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  • Shadow and Act
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    PAFF 2013 Review - Alí Allié's & Ruben Reyes' Thoughtful, Enlightening 'Garifuna In Peril'

    Screening at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, now in the latter half of this year's run, the film's title Garifuna in Peril is suggestive enough, and should clue you in to what the the film's focus is - in short, the fight for the preservation of a culture (by those w...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Review: Noah Baumbach's 'Frances Ha,' Starring Muse Greta Gerwig (VIDEO)

    Noah Baumbach's "Frances Ha" (May 17) follows a young woman drifting through the generous definition of "coming of age" that has become en vogue with the advent of Mumblecore and American indie films over the past decade. Frances Halliday (Greta Gerwig, who co-wrote the film and also starred in Baum...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'Beautiful Creatures' A Stylish Southern Gothic Riff On 'Twilight' That Gets Tangled In Its Own Mythology

    Just as the "Harry Potter" franchise begat a number of costly imitators that failed to catch on (just think: "Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events," "The Spiderwick Chronicles," "Cirque du Freak"), so too will the unstoppable "Twilight" franchise breed countless would-be successors, each wi...

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  • Shadow and Act
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    PAFF 2013 Review: 'Nairobi Half Life' Offers Engaging Spin on Big City Tale

    I didn't really know what to expect when I sat down in the theater to watch Nairobi Half Life at this year's Pan African Film Festival. I heard about the film in passing, but not much beyond that. The storyline is familiar, a young man from a small town ventures to the big city in hopes of pursuing ...

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  • The Playlist
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    Berlin Review: 'Interior. Leather Bar' Is A Surprisingly Successful James Franco Experiment On Male Sexuality & Filmic Process

    So let's clear up a few misconceptions about this film -- and of course there are misconceptions, it's a James Franco project. In fact it's the third title to boast his involvement at this Berlin Film Festival (after "Lovelace" and "Maladies"), but here he is pulling double duty as co-director with ...

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