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Movie Reviews

  • Indiewire
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    SXSW REVIEW: 'Sinister' Is a Familiar Haunted House Movie, But That's What Makes It Work

    A dark and stormy horror movie of the Stephen King variety, "Sinister" steps carefully through familiar territory. Anchored by a moody Ethan Hawke performance and classically unsettling scare tactics, this icy supernatural thriller from director Scott Derrickson ("The Exorcism of Emil...

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  • The Playlist
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    SXSW '12 Review: 'Sinister' Starring Ethan Hawke Is A Satisfying Old-School Horror, But Lacks Resonance

    As a horror movie that’s incredibly effective and yet evaporates pretty quickly once it’s over, Scott Derrickson’s “Sinister” defines the difference between "scary" and "haunting." Truthfully it’s a balance of a lot of things – ghost stor...

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  • Shadow and Act
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    SXSW 2012 Review - "In Our Nature" (Strong Performances & Camera Work, But Ultimately Too Familiar)

    Not a lot I was particularly moved by here; and, to be frank, my sole reason for seeing the film was due to Gabrielle Union's (though mostly supporting) presence in it, so I'll make this one short and sweet.

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  • The Playlist
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    SXSW '12 Review: 'Killer Joe' A Terrific Texan Tale With A Revelatory Matthew McConaughey Turn

    In recent years, film translations of stage hits haven't been as prevalent as they once were. You might get the occasional "Doubt" or "Rabbit Hole," for instance, but compared to the early days of the talkies, when a large proportion of movies were based on Broadway hits, it's been slim pickings; au...

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  • The Playlist
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    SXSW '12 Review: Director Jay Chandrasekhar's Tentative Sincerity Steps Undermined In Uneven, Sophomoric 'Babymakers'

    If you thought that “Knocked Up” was too mature a take on impending fatherhood, then “Babymakers” just might be the movie for you. Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar, it follows the comical misadventures of a husband who is reluctant to discover whether or not his sperm is “...

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  • The Playlist
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    SXSW '12 Review: Todd Rohal's Third Feature 'Nature Calls' Is A Dull, Droning Wrong Number

    Curiously squandering an immensely talented cast, Todd Rohal's "Nature Calls," written when the writer-director lived in Austin, had more humor and humanity and life in its 10-minute post-screening talk here at SXSW than it showed in its previous 98-minute running time. Starring Patton...

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  • The Playlist
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    SXSW '12 Review: 'Safety Not Guaranteed' A Grounded, Genuine, Oddly Effective Charmer

    Although at this point there are way too many stories about quirky man-children and the women who love them, “Safety Not Guaranteed” is an oddly effective little charmer. A film that harkens back to the magical-realism adventures of the 1980s rather than the twee dollhouse making of the last decade,...

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    SXSW REVIEW: Caveh Zahedi Puts Lives in Danger and Faces a Fatwa for 'The Sheik & I.' Immoral or Essential? Try Both.

    Caveh Zahedi built a reputation as a naughty provocateur with surreal docu-comedies like "A Little Stiff" and "I Am a Sex Addict," but his latest effort rises above self-interest and takes a stab at instigating change.

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    SXSW REVIEW: Matthew Lillard's Directorial Debut, 'Fat Kid Rules the World,' Owes Much to Jacob Wysocki

    Matthew Lillard's directorial debut, "Fat Kid Rules the World," is a standard coming-of-age movie; it never does anything surprising or adventurous. But if you accept it on those terms, it's an entirely serviceable ode to punk rock as the ultimate panacea for teen angst.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    The Many Deaths and Nine Lives of Movie Criticism

    Like the movies themselves, criticism has moved from analog to digital, a move that is not universally beloved. Reports of the death of criticism are greatly exaggerated. Countless times during my career criticism has been declared dead only to pop up its furry groundhog head to say, “I’...

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