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Movie Reviews

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    Locarno Review | Santa Gone Wild: Jalmari Helander's "Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale"

    In 2003, Finnish director Jalmari Helander made a zany short film about smugglers in the business of hunting Santa Claus and inadvertently created a viral sensation. The short, "Rare Exports Inc.," and its 2005 follow-up, "Rare Exports: The Official Safety Instructions," con...

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    Review | There Will Be a Crime: David Michod's "Animal Kingdom"

    Equal parts crime thriller, neo-western and coming-of-age story, the Australian drama "Animal Kingdom" puts its moral compass into a tailspin. Initially, first time writer-director David Michod introduces a basic sense of right and wrong adopted by the most casual entries in good-versus-evil sagas, but he later endows his cruel world with a fittingly tilted vision of justice. Our sympathies lie with alienated teen Josh (James Frecheville), a Melbourne youth whose innocence gets challenged by his older gangster relatives. Michod situates Josh as the moral center, then sneaks in a finale suggesting nothing is sacred. Josh grows up when he grow...

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    Locarno Review | Undead Porn: Bruce LaBruce's "L.A. Zombie"

    Unless I'm missing something, the miraculous potential of a giant undead penis in Bruce LaBruce's "L.A. Zombie" is a definite first for film history. Banned from the Melbourne Film Festival and bound to inspire heated debate wherever it plays next, the wordless, hour-long portrait of a walking corps...

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    Locarno Review | Savage Grace: Benoit Jacquot's "Deep in the Woods"

    In the recent period of Benoit Jacquot's more than thirty years of filmmaking, with movies like "Seventh Heaven," he has often embraced a sharp psychoanalytic perspective. "Deep in the Woods" ("Au Fond Des Bois"), the French director's seventeenth feature and the opening night Piazza screening at th...

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    Big Screen | Schumacher's (Mostly) Ravaged "Twelve" Hits Theaters

    Future cult classic or simply a terrible film? That may or may not be the question for the future of Joel Schumacher's "Twelve," which, after closing the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, arrives in theaters this Friday.

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    REVIEW | "Smash His Camera": Capturing the Phantom of Twentieth-Century Show Business

    This review was originally published as part of indieWIRE’s coverage of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. "Smash His Camera" opens in select theaters July 30th.

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    Big Screen | Duvall Gets High Marks For "Get Low"

    After picking up the film at last year's Toronto International Film Festival, Sony Pictures Classics held back Aaron Schneider's "Get Low" so as to not let it get lost in a late 2009 awards slate that was already quite stacked for the distributor. Ten months later, the alternative plan - a late sum...

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    REVIEW | Lost in the Woods: "Get Low"

    The stars are quite literally aligned for widespread critical approval of "Get Low," but the movie's aura of prestige hardly reflects the subpar reality. Since its triumphant premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2009, this dainty feel-good movie about death has picked up tremendous...

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    Big Screen | Solondz's "Wartime" Comes To America

    Nearly a year after its festival debut, Todd Solondz's "Happiness" quasi-sequel "Life During Wartime" is coming to U.S. theaters via IFC Films. Featuring a cast including Ciaran Hinds, Allison Janney, Paul Reubens, Charlotte Rampling, Ally Sheedy, Michael Lerner, Shirley Henderson and Michael Kennet...

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    REVIEW | Todd Intact: "Life During Wartime" Maintains Solondz' Droll Satiric Aura

    This review was originally published as part of indieWIRE’s coverage of the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. “Life During Wartime” opens this Friday, July 23rd at the IFC Center in New York.

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