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Movie Reviews

  • Leonard Maltin
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    A Lost ‘Pharaoh’—Found

    The archeologists who extracted artifacts from King Tut’s Tomb couldn’t have been any more excited than the movie lovers who witnessed the rebirth of Ernst Lubitsch’s The Loves of Pharaoh Tuesday night at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, on the exact date of the movie palace’s 89th anniversary. Piecing this 1922 silent film epic back together has been a formidable project for German film preservationist Thomas Bakels of Alpha-Omega, who told me it was even more difficult than restoring Metropolis! It took five years to complete the digital reconstruction and clean-up, even after the Munich Filmmuseum had gone...

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    REVIEW | "Oranges & Sunshine" Underwhelms, But Puts Jim Loach on the Map

    The true story that inspired "Oranges & Sunshine," the directorial debut of Jim Loach, begs for dramatic interpretation. Set in 1986 Nottingham, it follows social worker Margaret Humphreys (Emily Watson) as she uncovers a hidden multi-decade history in which the United Kingdom deported children to A...

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    Martha Marcy May Marlene—movie review

    Even if it had nothing else to offer, Martha Marcy May Marlene would be worth seeing to witness the debut of an extraordinary young actress, Elizabeth Olsen. But writer-director Sean Durkin’s feature, which earned him a Best Director prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, h...

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    Oranges And Sunshine—movie review

    In telling the story of a true-life unsung hero a filmmaker faces many pitfalls. How often have we seen well-intentioned movies become sanctimonious and lose their dramatic edge? No such accusations can be leveled at Jim Loach’s Oranges and Sunshine, an impressive film that documents a...

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    Le Havre—movie review

    Le Havre is Finland’s official entry for this year’s Foreign Language Oscar, as it is the work of celebrated Finnish writer-director Aki Kaurismäki—yet it takes place in France, where it was shot with a nearly all-French cast. Let us agree, then, not to get caught up...

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    What to See, What to Skip: New Reviews This Week

    Lots of high-profile indie releases opening in theaters this week, including Sean Durkin's deeply disquieting "Martha Marcy May Marlene," Aki Kaurismaki’s endearing “Le Havre” and the lovable documentary "Being Elmo: A Puppeteers Journey."

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    Margin Call—movie review

    Margin Call manages to put a human face on the current economic crisis—but I wish it was as good as its trailer, which is forceful, well-edited, and dramatically scored. The film itself has many good qualities, and an exceedingly strong cast, but it’s a bit dry.

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    REVIEW | "Elevate," A Sincere Portrait of African NBA Aspirants, Amounts to "Hoop Dreams"-Lite

    "The rest of the world views us as lazy," says a coach to teen basketball aspirants at the SEEDS Academy, a boarding school in Dakar, Senegal. "You have to be our ambassadors." The pressure is on, but none of the young subjects followed by first-time documentarian Anne Buford in "Elevate" know if th...

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    REVIEW | Todd Rohal Takes a Goofy Priest to the Woods in "The Catechism Cataclysm"

    "The Catechism Cataclysm" marks the sophomore feature of writer-director Todd Rohal, whose peculiar ensemble piece "The Guatemalan Handshake" made the festival rounds in 2006. Whereas "Guatemalan" took a wide view of Americana through Rohal's cast of offbeat characters, "Catechism" plays like a sing...

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    Critical Consensus: "Martha Marcy May Marlene" Is The Pick of the Week

    One of the most anticipated American indie releases of the year, Sean Durkin's "Martha Marcy May Marlene" is the pick of the week for opening specialty films, according to the folks polled on criticWIRE.

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