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Movie Reviews

  • Indiewire
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    CANNES REVIEW | "Restless" is a Good Actors' Showcase, But Nothing Special for Gus Van Sant

    A flimsy teenage romance with dashes of bittersweet inspiration, Gus Van Sant's "Restless" is little more than a whimsical exercise. Neither unwatchable nor particularly memorable, it mainly succeeds as a showcase for Van Sant's younger collaborators. The director's first feature since 2008's "Milk"...

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    CANNES REVIEW | "We Need to Talk About Kevin" Puts a Brilliant Spotlight on the Problem Child

    "Ratcatcher," Lynne Ramsay's affecting 1999 directorial debut, focused on the tribulations of a lonely child surrounded by bad examples. "We Need to Talk About Kevin," Ramsay's long-awaited third feature, deals with a similar character from the perspective of a concerned parent. Adapted from Lionel ...

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    CANNES REVIEW | "Sleeping Beauty" Puts Emily Browning in a Sexually Unnerving Position

    In an early scene of Julia Leigh's "Sleeping Beauty," the proprietor of a high-end prostitution operation orders Lucy (Emily Browning) to strip down to her underpants, at which point the mistress and her assistant aggressively fondle nearly every inch of the young college student's body. Their hands...

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    Critical Consensus: Delayed "City of Life and Death" Tops Very Busy Week on criticWIRE

    As Cannes kicks off in the south of France, a whopping 11 new films are opening in limited release Stateside. There's Dan Rush's Will Ferrell dramedy "Everything Must Go," Joseph Gordon-Levitt starrer "Hesher," and Justin Chadwick's film festival favorite "The First Grader," as well as the long del...

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    CANNES REVIEW | "Midnight in Paris" is Enjoyable, but Another Typical Woody Allen Story

    When Woody Allen left his treasured New York setting and took his movies abroad, he brought his characters with him. With "Midnight In Paris," his second feature shot in Europe since his brief return home for 2009's "Whatever Works," Allen assembles a familiar cast of troubled people with a slight, ...

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    Small Screens: indieWIRE's Top 5 Releases This Week

    DVD/Blu-ray Top Pick:Title: "Blue Valentine"Director: Derek Cianfrance

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    REVIEW | "Louder Than a Bomb" Offers Moving Poetry, But So Do the Online Clips

    "The point is not the point," goes the slogan of "Louder than a Bomb," the world's largest high-school poetry slam. "The point is the poetry." In the documentary directed by Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel, also called "Louder than a Bomb," the filmmakers tussle with that optimistic assertion by surveying various teen competitors, many of whom come from troubled homes. Although initially assuming the format of a sports story, with several high school teams gearing up for the annual city-wide competition, the narrative eventually pulls back to celebrate the impact of poetry on their lives. As a result, the slogan doubles as a tagline, although the ...

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    REVIEW | The Horrors of Bearing Witness: Lu Chuan's "City of Life and Death"

    War movies produced by commercial film industries have a tendency to show any given conflict not as it is or was, but as the side footing the bill for the film would like for it have been. The essential moral irony of war — that acts that would be considered revoltingly inhumane if committed in the name of the individual are not only sanctioned but celebrated when committed in the name of country –– has rarely been reflected on screen as honestly as in "City of Life and Death," Lu Chuan’s stunning dramatic take on the 1937 Japanese invasion of Nanking, China. Unafraid to depict the blurring of moral boundaries on either side of the conflict,...

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    REVIEW | Will Ferrell Acts Below His Potential in Middling "Everything Must Go"

    Will Ferrell's face is built for comedy. His stern, preternaturally distant gaze and burly physique take on an ironic quality when pitted against the clumsy characters he does best. As a result, he always looks poised to deliver a joke. Over the years, he has channeled those intrinsic comic features...

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    movie review: The Beaver

    I didn’t want to read a word about The Beaver before seeing it, and I’m glad I went in “cold.” It’s a purposefully odd little film about mental illness and a broken family, made with care and obvious passion by Jodie Foster from a screenplay by Kyle Killen. There ent...

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