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Movie Reviews

  • 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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    Critical Consensus: Stuart Klawans and Eric Snider Debate 'Beyond the Hills' -- Masterpiece or Borefest?

    Critics debate whether the latest Romanian film to hit U.S. theaters is really great or a total chore. Who has the better argument? Read on.

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    Risk-Taking James Franco In Risk-Free 'Oz the Great and Powerful'

    Flying moneys, good. Flying baboons, bad. That's one difference between the classic, 1939 'Wizard of Oz' and 'Oz the Great and Powerful,' Disney's pricey new extravaganza with James Franco as the pre-wizard carnival con man. More important: don’t go on comparing them. The new 'Oz' is loaded ...

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    Review: Likable 'Oz the Great and Powerful' Is Overstuffed With Digital Wizardry

    Disney’s “Oz the Great and Powerful” is a $190-million prequel to the turn-of-the-century L. Frank Baum 14-book series. Directed by Sam Raimi, the film is bloated in length and overstuffed with digital 3-D wizardry, yet somehow manages to be a horse of a pleasing -- if not particularly different -- ...

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    Review: Tommy Lee Jones Shines In Otherwise Serviceable, Flawed 'Emperor'

    "We must be seen as liberators, not conquerors," Tommy Lee Jones' crusty General MacArthur says in the opening moments of "Emperor," and that line of dialogue is about as thematically rich as the film gets. A modestly budgeted, respectfully executed post-WWII drama, the film is also entirely edgeles...

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    Review: 'The ABCs Of Death' Won't Win Over Non-Horror Fans, But That's OK

    Horror anthologies have been on the rise of late, with movies like "Trick 'r Treat," "Chillerama" and the found footage anthology "V/H/S" keeping the tradition alive. The latest anthology is "The ABCs of Death," which combines 26 shorts in what is less of an interwoven narrative like "Trick 'r Treat...

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