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Movie Reviews

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    REVIEW | Chinese Fantasy Epic "Detective Dee" Delivers A Better Ride Than Most U.S. Alternatives

    A giant, hollow Buddha that dwarfs a city, spontaneous combustion, uneasy shapeshifting and gravity-defying martial arts: These are the far-reaching pleasures of "Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame," the energetic period fantasy epic from stalwart Chinese director Tsui Hark.

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    Critic's Notebook | How the West Memphis 3 Release Transformed The "Paradise Lost" Documentaries

    When the trio of Arkansas men convicted of crimes they may not have committed 18 years ago suddenly found themselves free on August 19, a significant chapter in the saga of the "West Memphis 3" came to a dramatic close. However, for viewers familiar with their struggles, the story had already ended ...

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    REVIEW | "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" Remakes the Original, Minus Most of the Frights

    John Newland's 1973 made-for-TV drama "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" is widely considered a high water mark for feature-length broadcast productions. Produced as an ABC movie of the week, it belonged to a series that also included Steven Spielberg's "Duel" and the early Michael Douglas vehicle "Shatt...

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    Brighton Rock—movie review

    Sometimes one can admire a film without truly liking it; that’s how I feel about the ambitious British remake of Brighton Rock. Graham Greene’s 1938 novel, first filmed in the late 1940s, has been cleverly reworked to take place in 1964, at the time of the “mods and rockers...

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

    If you're on the East Coast, it may not be the best weekend to make a trip to the cinema, but everyone else can surely take their pick from this week's slate of releases. Our reviewers saw no overwhelming successes among this weekend's headlining films, but it seems there's one ...

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    Dont Be Afraid Of The Dark—movie review

    As you may already know, that modern master of Grand Guignol, Guillermo del Toro, saw the 1973 TV movie Don’t be Afraid of the Dark when he was a boy, and it scared the daylights out of him. He’s wanted to remake it ever since, and wrote a script with Matthew Robbins around the time he made his first American feature, Mimic (1997). Years went by, and when the pieces finally fell in place to put it into production he was busy with The Hobbit, so he selected newcomer Troy Nixey to fill his shoes after seeing an impressive short-subject he made. (The picture was finished two years ago but went into distributor limbo, from whi...

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    Critic's Notebook | How "Colombiana" Illustrates the Good and Bad of Chaos Cinema

    Zoe Saldana is a vengeful force in "Colombiana," where she plays a fearless assassin named Cataleya, although she's really just pure energy. The movie follows her on an incessant journey to knock off the men responsible for her parents' untimely demise. With a nimbleness matched only by her perfect ...

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    Critical Consensus: Iran-Set Drama "Circumstance" Is The Pick of the Week

    "Circumstance" - which won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival - is also the pick of the week, according to the folks polled on criticWIRE.

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    So Taboo: Four Upcoming Films That Promise to Offend

    Plenty of provocative and disturbing films pass through the festival circuit. But of those that really tug at societal taboos, it's a select few that make it to theaters.

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    REVIEW | Vera Farmiga Searches For Answers In "Higher Ground," But Her Filmmaking Is More Precise

    There's a single cut in "Higher Ground," actress Vera Farmiga's directorial debut about a crisis of faith, that proves the Oscar-nominated actress also knows how to direct. While 1960's-era bohemian couple Corinne (Farmiga) and Ethan (Joshua Leonard) are on the road touring with Ethan's band, their van suddenly careens off the road and begins sinking into a swamp. The couple escapes just in time to realize their newborn child remains inside the vehicle; Ethan dashes back into the half-submerged wreck, and the camera remains on his distraught face as he suddenly finds what he's looking for. Farmiga, however, withholds the details of his discov...

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