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Movie Reviews

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    REVIEW | How "The Trip" Puts Steve Coogan in Close-Up

    The incredible thing about "The Trip," Michael Winterbottom's road trip comedy featuring the comedic stylings of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, is that it gets away with a lot by doing very little. Reprising the semi-fictionalized versions of themselves they played in Winterbottom's 2006 "Tristam Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story," Coogan and Brydon endlessly reveal their finest impressions, trade barbs and yammer on about the highs and lows of show business. The entire movie rests on the comic potential of their chemistry and whether they can use it for the greater purpose of investigating Coogan's sense of personal and professional alienation. Bu...

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    REVIEW | The Affecting "One Lucky Elephant" isn't a Nature Story; it's a Family Crisis

    "I guess I'm not 100% rational about all this," says David Balding, the affable circus owner at the center of Lisa Leeman's affecting documentary "One Lucky Elephant." It's a statement that positions him on the same instinctual level as his exotic pet, Flora, an orphaned African elephant that the Mi...

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    REVIEW | "The Troll Hunter" is a Monster of a Mock Doc

    Riffing on the DIY monster-movie approach of "Cloverfield" and the absurd supernatural premise of "Ghostbusters," Norwegian mockumentary "The Troll Hunter" offers high-caliber entertainment despite a low-budget production. The shaky camera suggests "The Blair Witch Project," but writer-director Andr...

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    What to See, What to Skip: New Reviews This Week

    From the quirky indie romance "Beginners," to hopeful summer blockbuster "X-Men: First Class," a slew of new releases are vying for your top dollar this weekend. Need help in deciding what to catch? Below, check out new reviews posted this week on indieWIRE and our blog netw...

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    REVIEW | "Film Socialism" Reminds Us Why Godard Still Matters

    Jean-Luc Godard's entire career can seem like an endless attempt to top himself. "Film Socialism," which finally receives a U.S. theatrical release this week, has much in common with the 80-year-old French director's other essay films, including the sprawling "Histoire(s) du cinéma" and "Notre Musiq...

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    REVIEW | A Gay Dad and a Mid-Life Crisis: Mike Mills's "Beginners"

    The delicate blend of playful drama in "Beginners," the second narrative feature by California-based filmmaker and graphic designer Mike Mills ("Thumbsucker"), is a small wonder to behold. Mills fashions the set-up for an overwrought, thoroughly depressing character study into an oddly charming come...

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    REVIEW | "Submarine" Does "Bridesmaids" One Better, With Style to Spare

    In "Submarine," the directorial debut of British comedian Richard Ayoade, newcomer Craig Roberts turns intense discomfort into fine art. Playing the 15-year-old Oliver Tate, Roberts holds his deer-caught-in-headlights stare from start to finish. Equally intent on landing a girlfriend and saving his ...

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    Critical Consensus: "Submarine" Leads Strong Batch of Indie Openers (Not To Mention "X-Men")

    After two consecutive weekends of some of Cannes 2011's biggest guns debuting Stateside as essentially the sole specialty options (Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" and Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life"), the indie release calendar gets quite a bit more expansive this weekend. With three releases hailing from last year's Toronto Film Festival and one holdover from Cannes 2010, this Friday sees everything from Richard Ayoade's British coming-of-age comedy "Submarine," Mike Mills' whimsical romantic drama "Beginners," Shawn Ku's take on a high school shooting, "Beautiful Boy," and Cannes 2010's "Film Socialisme," the latest from legendary Fr...

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    REVIEW | Grief Cycle: Shawn Ku's "Beautiful Boy"

    "Beautiful Boy" tests the extent to which one can wallow in another person's grief before it becomes unbearable. The focused story of two parents dealing with their son's decision to kill several students and then off himself during his freshman year of college, the movie dwells in discomfort. Peeking behind the curtain of a national tragedy, it functions as the cinematic corollary to Gus Van Sant's "Elephant," exploring the ripple effect rather than the cause. Unlike "Elephant," "Beautiful Boy" lingers in familiar dramatic territory, with a limited perspective that borders on the theatrical. The situation is extraordinary, but the fallout tu...

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