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Movie Reviews

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    American Saga: "The Entrepreneur" Rides the Moneymaking Roller Coaster

    Jonathan Bricklin's "The Entrepreneur" is the "Death of a Salesman" of car movies. That's not to say it reveals the depths of character explored in Arthur Miller's classic text, but Bricklin does succeed at showing the precise mayhem of the business and the tragedy of missing the finish line. A port...

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    Shiny Happy People Acting: Jonas Pate’s “Shrink”

    Tilt down to an E.T.-eye-view of Los Angeles at dawn, the back of the Hollywood sign looming in the foreground. Cut to a dog licking a man's hand as he drunkenly sleeps outside on a reclining deck chair. Looking haggard and hairy, Henry Carter (Kevin Spacey) wakes, lights a cigarette, and keeps smoking as he showers and balks at shaving. Cut to a recording studio where Carter is still smoking, still haggard and hairy. A voice comes in from the booth: "Happiness Now, take one." If nothing else, Jonas Pate's "Shrink" wastes no time divulging its methods and level of sophistication. Irony, as conspicuous and clever as a parade float, will front ...

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    Smart Fluff: Marc Webb's "(500) Days of Summer"

    EDITORS NOTE: This review was originally published as part of indieWIRE's coverage of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival

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    Let’s Rumble: Jeffrey Levy-Hinte’s “Soul Power”

    [An indieWIRE review from Reverse Shot.]

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    Beyond Gay: Lynn Shelton's "Humpday"

    This review was originally published as part of indieWIRE's coverage of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival

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    One Good Turn...: Anne Fontaine’s “The Girl from Monaco”

    French romantic comedies are the art-house import equivalent of pimped-out Hollywood blockbusters. Both appeal to a wide and diffuse target audience — moderately cultured bourgeois and pop thrill seekers — and both are basically critic-proof. Where Michael Bay obliterates scrutiny with fireballs and shiny screeching machinery, French comedies gently neutralize through learned banter, exotic settings, and scantily clad gamines. The machine works something like this: an older gentleman clicks into place across from a fresh face, situational laughter is achieved while clothes teasingly peel away, a titillating trailer cuts itself, Denby reviews ...

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    Wave Goodbye: Agnes Varda’s “The Beaches of Agnes”

    Is the 81-year-old Agnes Varda a tireless self-promoter or self-eulogizer? After watching her lyrical, free-associative autobiography “The Beaches of Agnes” it might seem silly to even bother creating a distinction. In the past decade or so, this oft-named “grandmother of the French New Wave,” who h...

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    Miles of Bad Road: Jennifer Lynch's "Surveillance"

    In one of the most spectacular flameouts of recent American film, Jennifer Lynch went from hot-shit prodigy to laughingstock with one wacko, lazily maligned movie: 1993's Razzie-approved "Boxing Helena." It's taken David's daughter 16 years to revive her career, but judging from her follow-up, "Surv...

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    Coming of Age: Stephen Frears's "Cheri"

    Stephen Frears's version of Colette's novel "Cheri," adapted by Christopher Hampton, is ostensibly an examination of an aging Michelle Pfeiffer. A retired, past-her-prime courtesan in belle epoque Paris, Pfeiffer's Lea de Lonval still wears her beauty well, yet the lines on her washed-out visage are difficult to ignore. There's no doubt that Pfeiffer is brilliantly cast as this worn-down yet still vital woman, as her face, despite some unignorable tightness about the cheekbones, is beginning to show its age; her impeccable, carved beauty remains, yet in a stricter, more severe, perhaps even more divine tone. In "Cheri," Pfeiffer, as always, m...

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    The Game Remains The Same: Woody Allen's "Whatever Works"

    Marked by interchangeably trite and witty dialogue, "Whatever Works" is the definition of a minor Woody Allen movie. The director's triumphant return to New York City after several years of European excursions finds him in familiar, if not exemplary, form. Most people on the Allen bandwagon will lik...

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