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Movie Reviews

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    Off The Edge: The Primal Power of Von Trier's "Antichrist"

    With "Antichrist," Lars Von Trier fully lives up to his reputation as an outrageous provocateur and master image-maker. Love it or hate it, boo it or applaud it-as audiences did both simultaneously after the world premiere here in Cannes-the film is the most shocking of the festival so far, with cri...

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    Amenabar's "Agora" Rings Hollow Despite Visual Shock and Awe

    Alejandro Amenabar's "Agora" contains a dense plot littered with historical details of Egyptian society during the Roman Empire, but none of them can save the movie from having the fleeting qualities of a high school science class.

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    "Prophet" Portends Success: Audiard's Arty Mob Film

    If James Toback's petty-criminal tale "Fingers" inspired Jacques Audiard's previous "The Beat That My Heart Skipped," it's Martin Scorsese's "Goodfellas" that looms over his latest "A Prophet." Successfully balancing art-film portraiture with a gangster picture's plot, the film may be one of the mor...

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    No Sense or Sensibility: Lee's "Woodstock" Undercooked

    Considering the iconic event at its center, the most surprising aspect of "Taking Woodstock" lies with the decision to make it into a rather flat comedy. Even with the ever-versatile Ang Lee behind the camera, this messy historical fiction plays like a two hour "Saturday Night Live" sketch, and not ...

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    Campion's Prudish "Star" Needs More Sizzle

    This might sound horribly simplistic, but Jane Campion's "Bright Star" desperately needs a sex scene. The movie puts such prominent focus on the romantic attraction shared by two characters -- early nineteenth century poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and his neighbor, budding fashion designer Fanny Bra...

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    Neither Misfire Nor Return To Form: Coppola's Competent "Tetro"

    Neither complete misfire nor triumphant return to form, Francis Ford Coppola's "Tetro" works as a competent family drama right up until the messy final act. If a first-time filmmaker had directed this stylish black-and-white-and-sometimes-color melodrama, it might gain some notice for suggesting gre...

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    Variety Reviews "Up"

    Variety Reviews "Up"

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    Of Time and the Country: Olivier Assayas's "Summer Hours"

    Early in Olivier Assayas's elegant and elegiac "Summer Hours," grown siblings sit at a table with their aging mother outside their family's country home. Paging through a book of their late great-uncle's art, they notice a picture from generations ago of people sitting at the very same table, in the very same place. The people are dead, but the table, the object, endures. Later, one of these siblings, Frederic (Charles Berling), opens the drawer of an armoire that belongs to his mother but is basically a museum piece, and pulls out a toy plane that someone, perhaps he as a child, left there. The furniture is a work of art, but it's also a par...

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    Kicking and Screaming: Carlos Cuaron's "Rudo y Cursi"

    "Rudo y Cursi," the debut film by Carlos Cuaron, has a bit of everything. Comedy, drama, satire, nostalgia, sports, music, city, country, tits, ass -- all you could ever want, really. The first film produced under the Cha Cha Cha shingle -- the union of Mexico's cuddly auteurist trinity Alfonso Cuar...

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    Unholy Redeemer: Erick Zonca's "Julia"

    "Julia" is your typical tale of redemption, even as it thrashes against the sentimentality such a designation implies. As fearlessly played by Tilda Swinton -- so often cast in roles for her androgynous appeal or otherworldly, reptilian bloodlessness, but here afforded leeway to get down and dirty -- the titular protagonist is a full-blooded human yet completely unsympathetic at first. Self-destructive Julia sees herself as mere victim of a shitty world, refusing to take responsibility for her woes. Everything about the woman is abrasive, from her garish red hair and purple coat to her inebriated come-ons and morning-after put-offs. At the s...

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