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Movie Reviews

  • Indiewire
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    Why 'To the Wonder' Is Terrence Malick's Most Accessible Work in Years

    "The Tree of Life" was the epitome of Malick's cosmic fixations, but the comparatively muted "To the Wonder" delivers a similar collage of memories and desires in more easily digestible fragments.

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  • The Playlist
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    TIFF 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 it's just too bad...

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    TIFF Capsule Review: 'What Maisie Knew'

    The latest by the directorial team of Scott McGehee and David Siegel is a modernized take on Henry James’ novel about a sweet little girl who’s saddled with two of the world’s worst parents. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine a pair less deserving of six-year-old Maisie (Onata Aprile) than Susanne (Julianne Moore), a temperamental rock singer, and Beale (Steve Coogan), an art dealer who’s even more self-involved. Since their selfishness is made perfectly clear in the opening scenes depicting the couple’s breakup, it’s a shame that McGehee and Siegel feel the need to reiterate the point so often as Maisie...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    TIFF Brody Diary Day Four: The Delightful 'Silver Linings Playbook,' Sexual and Stylized 'Passion' & 'Secret Disco'

    Today I choose David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook,” to be released in November, over Joss Whedon’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” which does not yet have a distributor. (And over a number of other screenings which either don’t grab me, or don’t grab me enough, or which I’ve already seen elsewher...

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  • The Playlist
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    TIFF Review: Unnerving ‘Lords of Salem’ Is Rob Zombie’s Best Film Yet

    “The Lords of Salem” is probably goth rocker-turned-filmmaker Rob Zombie’s best film, though it does often prove that the cinephile writer/director is a gifted tyro. At the same time, as his most formally mannered and tonally tempered film, Zombie’s latest also proves his ver...

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Now and Then: NBC's Big Miss, 'The New Normal,' Could Learn a Thing or Two from 'Sleepwalk With Me'

    I look forward to each fall's slate of network comedies with roughly the same relish as I do a dental procedure. There are exceptions — "Modern Family" and "30 Rock," though they've struggled to stay fresh, started strong — but episodic comedy is hard to get right. Which is why I was surprised to fi...

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    TIFF Capsule Review: 'The Secret Disco Revolution'

    Dead as disco – the term is a statement that a trend was over, and deserved to be. Yet disco memories are alive enough to inspire “The Secret Disco Revolution,” which exhumes the music and style from dance records of the 1970’s and follows the genre’s short life up to the “Disco Sucks” gathering at Comiskey Park in Chicago in 1979 that blew up disco records. The archival vault is huge, full of music and footage. Now there’s also plenty of academic research on the phenomenon. It’s all there in Jamie Kastner’s documentary. Disco is traced to the Swing Kids, who were Germans expressi...

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  • The Playlist
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    TIFF Review: 'Mr. Pip' Features A Fine Hugh Laurie Performance, But Fails On Most Other Levels

    From Andrew Adamson, the director who brought us the first two "Shrek" and "Narnia" movies, "Mr. Pip" is a rather feeble attempt at more serious subject matter than talking lions and animated ogres. A literary adaptation of a coming-of-age story, with links to Charles Dickens’ classic "Great Expecta...

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    TIFF Capsule Review: 'Arthur Newman'

    It takes some doing to make the only interesting thing about a character the fact that he has faked his own disappearance and assumed a new identity. Nevertheless, the title character in “Arthur Newman” – played by Colin Firth at his dourest – proves to be such a bore that it’s downright miraculous he finds the gumption to pull off this piece of “Passenger”-like subterfuge in the early scenes of this relentlessly drab and thoroughly enervating debut feature by Dante Ariola. The script by Becky Johnston (“The Prince of Tides,” “Seven Years in Tibet”) is a hefty serving of Mid...

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