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Movie Reviews

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    REVIEW | An American Conspiracy: "The Tillman Story"

    The opening shot of "The Tillman Story" states its intentions in visual terms. Tillman, a former NFL star-turned-soldier who died in Afghanistan in 2004, stares blankly into the camera as he waits for an interview to begin. Seconds pass. He takes a deep breath. Sitting in silence, free from scrutiny...

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    REVIEW | Manipulating the Past: "A Film Unfinished"

    The popular sentiment about Holocaust grief at the movies reached a breaking point in 2008, when backlash against "The Reader" suggested that audiences had grown tired of the predetermined gravitas that seemed to infuse such stories with an immediate sense of purpose. Last year, Yoav Shamir's perceptive documentary "Defamation" put an additional focus on the problem by following school children on a guilt-inducing field trip to Auschwitz. The kids are meant to accept the morbidity and cry for the dead rather than try to understand the forces behind their fate. Shamir rose a boldly progressive question: Does acknowledging a dark patch of histo...

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    Big Screen | "Tillman" and "Unfinished" Bring Best of Festival Docs To Cinemas

    Two of the best reviewed documentaries off this year's festival circuit, Amir Bar-Lev's "The Tillman Story" and Yael Hersonski's "A Film Unfinished" both hit theaters this Friday. The films also share the distinction of arriving with controversial R-ratings by the MPAA (of which both "Tillman"'s Wei...

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    Locarno Review | Singing Serbian Depression: "White White World"

    In the Serbian drama "White White World: The Miner's Opera" ("Beli Beli Svet"), the characters sing, but never dance. Formulated as a modern day Greek tragedy set in the decrepit southeastern mining town Bor, the movie follows a close group of alienated locals through misguided love affairs and othe...

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    Daniel Cockburn's Enigmatic "You Are Here" Is "Inception" With More Puzzles

    A man trapped in a room answers questions in Chinese without comprehending the language. Confused pedestrians wander the city streets, taking meaningless orders from a control center that guides their movements. A child tells the story of a mad scientist whose ubiquitous computer-eye threatens ...

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    Big Screen | Sundance Hit "Kingdom" Comes To America

    Set in the underground of Melbourne, Australia, David Michôd's "Animal Kingdom" received considerable approval at this year's Sundance Film Festival, winning the Grand Jury Prize in the festival's World Narrative Competition. Sony Pictures Classics picked up the film shortly thereafter, and is relea...

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    Locarno Review | A Man Copied: Benedek Fliegauf's "Womb"

    The prospects of human cloning have provided fodder for decades of science fiction stories because they always contain a kernel of truth. Unlike the far-fetched conceits of alien invasions and deep space travel, cloning is tangible to the point where it doesn't demand extreme suspension of disbelief...

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    Silent Stars Still Mesmerize

    At the recent San Francisco Silent Film Festival I acquired several recently-published books I hadn’t seen before. Now that I’ve spent time with them I feel duty-bound to spread the word.

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    Locarno Review | Diary of a Filmmaker: Christophe Honoré's "Man At Bath"

    Christophe Honoré has cranked out a series of critical favorites over the last few years, garnering enough praise to place him among the giants of contemporary French cinema. Popularity often gives artists room to play around, a freedom reflected in the relative smallness of his latest feature, "Man...

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