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Movie Reviews

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    Review: Barry Levinson's 'The Bay' Is A Frightening Eco-Horror 'Jaws' Riff

    Primarily known for his talky, small-scale comedic dramas, exemplified by his beloved "Diner," Vanity Fair recently made a compelling argument for this seminal Barry Levinson film influencing everything from "Seinfeld" and "Swingers" to Judd Apatow's comedy factory ...

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    Review: 'A Late Quartet' Is A Soap Opera Symphony That Hits All The Wrong Notes

    Certainly, if a film pulls together a cast that includes Philip Seymour Hoffmam, Christopher Walken and Catherine Keener, there's going to be something worth enjoying. And indeed, the trio give top shelf performances as we've always come to expect from them in "A Late Quartet." But...

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    Review: Promising Alcoholism Drama ‘Flight’ Often Hits Rock Bottom

    After 12 years immersed (lost?) in the world of motion capture, Robert Zemeckis re-emerges into live-action filmmaking for “Flight,” an engaging and initially very promising drama about alcoholism, redemption and forgiveness that grows uneven and long-winded as it progresses, eventually clocking in ...

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    Review: Rambling, Ragged 'This Must Be The Place' Isn't Nearly As Bad As You Feared

    The initial first glimpses for "This Must Be the Place" promised disaster, with a pitch of Sean Penn playing a burned-out post-punk rocker on the hunt for Nazis, and advance photos where Penn's jet-black corona of hair and dour made-up jowls made him look less like someone who had imit...

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    Out This Week: 9 Reviews of New Releases, From 'A Late Quartet' to 'Vamps'

    This weekly column is intended to provide reviews of nearly every new release, including films on VOD (and in certain cases some studio releases). Specifics release dates and locations follow each review.

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    Review: 'The Man With The Iron Fists' A Noble, But Overstuffed First Effort From RZA

    “I’m the baddest man alive,” goes the chorus for one of the many hip hop songs in “The Man With The Iron Fists,” the directorial debut of RZA. The director is actually the subject of the song, as he plays the title character, a blacksmith seeking revenge for being wrong...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    SFFS French Cinema Now 2012: 'Camille Rewinds,''Sister,' 'Louise Wimmer'

    The San Francisco Film Society steps up to a radically reduced reality of foreign film distribution by programming a number of focused mini-fests, including Hong Kong Cinema, Taiwan Film Days, and the upcoming New Italian Cinema. While contemplating the ten-film line-up of French Cinema Now, I asked...

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    AFI FEST 2012: The World's Best Cinema - From 'Hitchcock' to 'Rust and Bone,' Foreign Oscar Hopefuls & AFM

    While the American Film Market takes Santa Monica, the 26th annual AFI Fest brings diverse cinematic life to Hollywood Thursday night with the world premiere of "Hitchcock." The Sacha Gervasi film starring Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren and Scarlett Johansson is one of only two world premie...

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    Why Scott Foundas Ditched Lincoln Center Programming to Go Back Where He Belongs UPDATED

    Three years ago, when Scott Foundas left the Village Voice Media's LA Weekly to join the Film Society of Lincoln Center as associate programmer, I was disheartened. Why? Because he is one of the most gifted critics of his generation. I took Foundas leaving his clear avocation as a sign of the contin...

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    The Trailer Test: Why the New 'Die Hard' Trailer Is Probably Better Than the Movie and 'Hansel and Gretel' Is Better Than Both

    In the process of teasing the bigger picture, a trailer should also tell a story, whether or not that story correlates with the movie in question. For the excessive genre movie with strengths that relate more to movement, violent, attitude and sudden noises rather than pithy tools of the trade like ...

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