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Movie Reviews

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    REVIEW | With "Into Eternity," Michael Madsen Ponders the Future of Nuclear Waste

    A haunting nonfiction elegy about the threat of the apocalypse, Michael Madsen’s “Into Eternity” explores the horrors of anticipating an unpredictable future. Madsen delves into the perilous crevices of Onkalo (which translates as “hiding place”), an ominous cave in Finland tasked with the permanent storage of nuclear waste. Since Onkalo must last 100,000 years, so too must the warnings that its contents are left undisturbed. Madsen focuses on the challenges of the latter task by continually addressing an imaginary audience watching the movie several centuries from now. He delivers the threatening dispatch in an unlikely hybrid of science-fic...

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    Small Screen (DVD/Blu-ray): "Monsters," "Tillman," "Rileys" and More

    This week on DVD and Blu-ray an indie monster picture slays the competition, Kristen Stewart comes of age and a Kazuo Ishiguro gets the screen treatment.

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    Sundance Wrap | A Good Year and a Commercial One

    This was considered a good year for the Sundance Film Festival, both artistically and commercially. Program aspects that received a positive response also found distribution, and hopefully will continue to make headlines when they hit theaters. If Sundance provides a window into the near future, thi...

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    Critics Notebook | At Slamdance, "Superheroes" and "Silver Tongues" Impress

    "The more the merrier," Robert Redford told a roomful of journalists at the beginning of the Sundance Film Festival this year. He was responding to a question about the Slamdance Film Festival, as he often must. Started in 1995 in response to Sundance's ultra-competitive submission pile, Slamdance i...

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    Sundance Review | Fighting Gang Violence in Steve James's "The Interrupters"

    Steve James's "The Interrupters" runs long, but earns its heft. Nearly two decades after "Hoop Dreams," the director returns to Chicago's lower-class strife with a broader canvas. In this frequently alarming project, he trains his camera on the efforts of CeaseFire, an organization predominantly com...

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    Sundance Review | "Son of No One" Marks a Career Low for Director Dito Montiel

    It's strange to think that just a few years ago, Dito Montiel was a Sundance darling whose sharp 2006 debut "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints" announced his transition from former punk rocker to refined filmmaker. Instead of following up that deeply personal adaptation of his ow...

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    Sundance Review | Voluntary Death Takes the Spotlight in "How to Die in Oregon"

    Movies about terminal illnesses are ready-made for emotional manipulation, a fact that director Peter Richardson exploits to the fullest extent in "How to Die in Oregon," his devastating portrait of Oregonians taking advantage of the state's Death with Dignity Act. Despite assuming a one-sided persp...

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    Sundance Review | Joshua Leonard's "The Lie" Suffers From Uneven Tone

    Editor's note: This review was originally published at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. "The Lie" opens Friday.

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    Sundance Review | "Being Elmo" Studies Master of Puppets Kevin Clash

    As the simplest member of the "Sesame Street" legacy, Elmo also has the greatest lasting appeal. His childlike naivete and untroubled worldview catapulted the furry red muppet to instant fame in the 1980s, when upstart puppeteer Kevin Clash gave the character his defining traits. The subject of "Bei...

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    Sundance Review | A Wacky Roadtrip in Calvin Lee Reeder's "The Oregonian"

    Calvin Lee Reeder has been churning out intensely psychedelic short films for several years, borrowing liberally from vintage grindhouse movies while turning the genre on its head. In concise wonders like "The Farm" and "The Rambler," Reeder places his elaborate, unsettling audio-visual design on pa...

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