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Movie Reviews

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    SXSW Review: 'GO FOR SISTERS' Illustrates the Best and Worst of John Sayles

    For decades now, John Sayles has written and directed movies rooted first and foremost in sharply conceived characters. More recently, even as his scrappy, self-financed productions have varied in quality, this central aspect has remained in place. "GO FOR SISTERS," like the filmmaker's previous fea...

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    SXSW Review: 'The Punk Singer' Demonstrates the Lasting Vitality of Feminist Rocker Kathleen Hanna

    For some 15 years, feminist punk rocker Kathleen Hanna carried the torch of a movement seemingly defined by her furious investment in the cause and the artistry that brought it to national attention. As the energetic frontwoman for Bikini Kill throughout the nineties, followed by the hugely popular ...

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  • The Playlist
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    DVD Review: Missing ‘House Of Cards’? Excellent ‘Borgen’ Season 1 Will Keep You Satisfied

    If it isn’t already happening, Danish television is about to have a moment. AMC’s remake of the “The Killing” was canceled, swiftly brought back, and is now shooting its third season. HBO is in the midst of remaking the popular series “The Bridge” and NBC already snagged the rights to the political...

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    SXSW 2013: ‘Bates Motel’ Preview a Few Cuts Under Its Pre-‘Psycho’ Potential

    “Who’s gonna rent a room in the rape/murder hotel?” smokin’ hot Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga) rhetorically asks her introverted son Norman (Freddie Highmore) after a grizzly scene has just unfolded in their creaky house. Based on the first episode of “Bates Motel,” which was unveiled March 11 at SXSW, ...

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    SXSW Review: 'White Reindeer' Is a Sad, Subversive Christmas Tale, But Not Devoid of Warmth

    Filmmaker Zach Clark's first two features, the scrappy nurse-turned-dominatrix comedy "Modern Love Is Automatic" and the wicked beach party noir "Vacation!," paired restless formalism with Clark's penchant for deadpan humor. By contrast, his touching Christmas tale "White Reindeer" funnels Clark's d...

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  • The Playlist
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    SXSW Review: 'Kiss Of The Damned' Is An Intoxicatingly Lusty Homage To Old School Horror

    Xan Cassavetes, the daughter of John Cassavetes and the director of the wonderful film world documentary "Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession," wrote and directed "Kiss of the Damned" with a wink and a nod so overt that, from the opening credit sequence, which closely mimics the similarly-titled Hamm...

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    Review: 'Upside Down' Envisions A Lifeless 'Romeo and Juliet' Tale With Sporadic Sci-Fi Escapism & Visual Thrills

    In Juan Juan Solanas.' fantasy romance "Upside Down," twin planets exist with opposite gravities and social restrictions of Dickensian thematic heft. "Up Top" boasts gleaming skyscrapers, well-dressed citizens, and the majority of wealth, while "Down Below" struggles in poverty and mud-stained exist...

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  • The Playlist
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    SXSW Review: Olivia Wilde & Jake Johnson Have Crazy Chemistry In Joe Swanberg's 'Drinking Buddies'

    With the rise of digital filmmaking in the last decade, a new wave of DIY "mumblecore" filmmakers have risen up through the ranks. While initially many of these films were loose and unpolished, they are now are becoming more refined with many of these directors and actors now having basically integr...

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    SXSW Review: Cheap Stab at Sibling Rivalry 'Awful Nice' Mostly Stumbles in Search of Laughs

    Director Todd Sklar's short film, brazenly titled "'92 Skybox Alonso Mourning Rookie Card," followed a pair of estranged brothers drawn together by the untimely passing of their father. At less than 13 minutes, it managed to economically set up two aimless characters and let them run wild to comic e...

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