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Movie Reviews

  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Weekend Preview: From Artful 'Beyond the Hills' to Mainstream 'Oz'

    Cristian Mungiu's brilliantly slow-to-burn "Beyond the Hills" (which people might start referring to as "the Romanian exorcism movie") opens this weekend, with critics appropriately impressed with the Cannes winner; leads Cristina Flutur and Cosmina Stratan both won Best Actress at the fest last May...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'Somebody Up There Likes Me' A Surprisingly Ambitious Deadpan Charmer

    Bob Byington’s "Somebody Up There Likes Me" is about a guy who doesn’t grow up. In fact, he doesn’t even age over the film’s span of about three decades in his life. It may have something to do with a mysterious briefcase, the origins of which are only ever suggested by animated cloud interludes and...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'The Bitter Buddha' Captures The Brilliant Meta-Comedy & Existential Angst Of Eddie Pepitone

    Eddie Pepitone is a comedian of dualisms. At 52, he's the next big thing. He's a meditating vegan with rage issues. He enjoys swearing at LA drivers as much as he likes to feed squirrels in the park. This duality of character is what Steven Feinartz's documentary "The Bitter Buddha" (the title an ox...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'The Silence' An Effectively Moody Murder Mystery

    A young girl in a summer dress bikes down an empty road, followed by a mysterious red four-door at the start of “The Silence.” It doesn’t take much detective work to know where this is going, the result being the horrific disappearance of young Sinnika. Eventually, her body is found dumped in the ri...

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    Oz The Great And Powerful

    No movie ever can, or will, replace 1939’s "The Wizard Of Oz," but taken on its own terms, this eye-filling fantasy is an entertaining riff on how the Wizard of that immortal film found his way to Oz.

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'The We & The I' Is A Testing, Patronizing Let-Down From Michel Gondry

    Like some Gallic version of Tim Burton, Michel Gondry's initial promise has given way to a series of films whose diminishing returns demonstrate that he's a talented visualist without the capacity for, or worse, any interest in, telling an actual story. Gondry's defenders will, of course, point to t...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'Dead Man Down' Is A Surprisingly Satisfying Revenge Movie That Combines B-Movie Aesthetics With European Artiness

    "Dead Man Down," the new revenge movie that marks the domestic debut of Niels Arden Oplev, the Norwegian director behind the original Swedish version of "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," doesn't have an extended title sequence. There are a couple of names of production companies and then the title and ...

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  • Shadow and Act
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    Mahamat Saleh Haroun's 'Abouna' - African Boys Need Love Too

    One of my favourite African films is Abouna (Our Father), by Mahamat Saleh Haroun, which I first saw about 5 years ago on TV. It came on about an hour before I was due to go out to meet up with a friend... I was about 40 minutes late - having started, I just had to watch the film till the end. Set i...

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: Faith & Love Collide In Cristian Mungiu's Powerful 'Beyond The Hills'

    Can blind, unquestioning devout faith be just as corrupting as sin? Can love be as all consuming as evil? These are the big, broad themes being explored in Cristian Mungiu's deliberate and somewhat cryptic "Beyond The Hills," a very slow burn drama that finds both religious and emotional obsession c...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Review: Cristian Mungiu's 'Beyond the Hills' a Brilliant Slow Burn to Hell

    “Beyond the Hills,” Cristian Mungiu’s shortlisted Oscar entry from Romania, is shot in gorgeous grey-gold widescreen. The film is set in the rural countryside, where a humble monastery dots the top of a sparse hill. When a stranger intrudes the monastery, and wreaks havoc on its order and indirectly...

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