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Movie Reviews

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    Reverse Shot's Best of 2009: "Summer Hours" and 9 More

    In the coming months, moviegoers will continue to be inundated by prestige piffle: films conceived with awards in mind and primped and preened by their studios and distributors for maximum Oscar impact. In the past decade, more Academy hopefuls have been squeezed into the final weeks of the year than ever before--more often than not films that will be forgotten mere months after the annual gold statuettes are passed out (when's the last time anyone discussed "Finding Neverland," "Ray," "Atonement," "A Beautiful Mind," et al with a straight face?). Perhaps that's why the end of the year is indeed a good moment to remind viewers of the very bes...

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    REVIEW | "Superbad" Meets "Fight Club": "Revolt" Hints At Cera's Versatility

    "Youth in Revolt" stars Michael Cera as a hyper-intelligent 16-year-old virgin desperate to escape his bubble of a boring life. If that description sounds familiar, it's because the "Arrested Development" star has done this routine before. But he does it well, and this charming romantic comedy offer...

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    REVIEW | Back to Tennessee: Jodie Markell's "The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond"

    First-time filmmaker Jodie Markell's "The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond," is based on a never-produced Tennessee Williams screenplay completed during his late 1950s heyday. Yet, surprisingly, the film's pedigree and source material isn't the sole reason to recommend this decades-late cinematic rendering. Far from perfect, "Teardrop" is at its best when it approximates Terence Davies territory: that is to say in those instances when it abandons the forward march of events in favor of mood and reverie. The film's wordless prologue, in which a group of men dynamite a levy for mysterious reasons late at night, fades into a lit-from-above introduct...

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    REVIEW | Does It Take This Village? Haneke's Artful "Ribbon"

    Despair haunts every moment of Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon." The director's dour, Bergmanesque black-and-white portrait of enigmas and familial discord in a Protestant German village at the beginning of the twentieth century peddles in the art of downbeat expressionism. Pairing visual master...

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    REVIEW | Lingua Romania: "Police, Adjective" Makes for Arresting Tour-De-Force

    While the pay-off in this anti-police procedural comes very late, it caps a minimalist and sardonic tour-de-force from Corneliu Porumboiu, whose "12:08 East of Bucharest" won the award for best first film at Cannes in 2006. This worthy follow-up shows an even more discerning and confident eye from t...

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    REVIEW | Low on Luster, Gilliam's "Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" Winds up a Sideshow

    Marred by shoddy special effects and half-formed fantastical conceits, Terry Gilliam's "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" has the feeling of a comic fantasia desperately seeking to find its rhythm. Nearly abandoned after the sudden death of leading man Heath Ledger prior to completing production ...

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    REVIEW | Flight of Fancy: François Ozon’s “Ricky”

    “Ricky,” the latest film by François Ozon to receive release in the United States, is so chock full of tonal and generic shifts that it makes for a handy little guide to its French director’s scattershot career. Opening with a punishing long-take close-up of young mother Katie (Alexandra Lamy) crying to an off-screen police officer that she and her child have been abandoned by her husband, the film is introduced as domestic melodrama, not unexpected territory for the once upstart Ozon (as seen in his “5x2,” “Under the Sand”). Soon, through many temporal elisions, we’re watching Katie living alone with her now seven-year-old daughter, Lisa (Mé...

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    REVIEW | Figurines in a Landscape: Stephane Aubier and Vincent Patar’s “A Town Called Panic”

    The joy of watching “A Town Called Panic” lies in its uncanny evocation of adolescent invention. It’s an overturned toy box of a movie, complete with mismatched action figures, improvisatory effects, and stream-of-consciousness storytelling. It invites you to plop down on the shag carpet, ignore you...

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    criticWIRE This Week: "Nine," "Heart" and "Victoria" Hit Screens

    This week, Rob Marshall's "Nine," Scott Cooper's "Crazy Heart," and Jean-Marc Vallée's "The Young Victoria" will each open in limited release in an attempt to prove a viable alternative to the wide opener "Avatar." To make your decision as to which option might be your best bet (that is, if you fi...

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    criticWIRE This Week: "A Single Man" Leads Anticipated Field of Debuts

    A super low budget entry from Werner Herzog, a not-so-low budget Alice Sebold adaptation care of Peter Jackson, the directorial debut of Tom Ford, and Clint Eastwood taking on Nelson Mandela. Only in December would we get all of these films coming at us on a single Friday. And to make your decisio...

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