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Movie Reviews

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    Of Time and the Country: Olivier Assayas's "Summer Hours"

    Early in Olivier Assayas's elegant and elegiac "Summer Hours," grown siblings sit at a table with their aging mother outside their family's country home. Paging through a book of their late great-uncle's art, they notice a picture from generations ago of people sitting at the very same table, in the very same place. The people are dead, but the table, the object, endures. Later, one of these siblings, Frederic (Charles Berling), opens the drawer of an armoire that belongs to his mother but is basically a museum piece, and pulls out a toy plane that someone, perhaps he as a child, left there. The furniture is a work of art, but it's also a par...

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    Kicking and Screaming: Carlos Cuaron's "Rudo y Cursi"

    "Rudo y Cursi," the debut film by Carlos Cuaron, has a bit of everything. Comedy, drama, satire, nostalgia, sports, music, city, country, tits, ass -- all you could ever want, really. The first film produced under the Cha Cha Cha shingle -- the union of Mexico's cuddly auteurist trinity Alfonso Cuar...

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    Unholy Redeemer: Erick Zonca's "Julia"

    "Julia" is your typical tale of redemption, even as it thrashes against the sentimentality such a designation implies. As fearlessly played by Tilda Swinton -- so often cast in roles for her androgynous appeal or otherworldly, reptilian bloodlessness, but here afforded leeway to get down and dirty -- the titular protagonist is a full-blooded human yet completely unsympathetic at first. Self-destructive Julia sees herself as mere victim of a shitty world, refusing to take responsibility for her woes. Everything about the woman is abrasive, from her garish red hair and purple coat to her inebriated come-ons and morning-after put-offs. At the s...

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    Burden of Dreams: Atom Egoyan's "Adoration"

    [An indieWIRE review from Reverse Shot.]

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    A Wet Dream For Horror Fans: Ti West's "House of The Devil"

    Ti West's "The House of the Devil" is a wet dream for horror fans, but that should not limit its audience. The classical structure slowly builds tension before erupting into a decisively gory finish, harkening back to a smarter and more nuanced era of spooky storytelling. West's last feature, the hi...

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    Into the Woods: Götz Spielmann's "Revanche"

    As cinematic revenge-seekers go, Johannes Krisch’s Alex, the protagonist of Götz Spielmann's “Revanche,” is something of an anomaly. If the signature gesture of Lee Marvin's character, Walker, in John Boorman's “Point Blank” is his bloody-minded march toward personal satisfaction, and if that of Mic...

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    Tribeca Snapshot: Marshall Curry's "Racing Dreams"

    "If I'm not not racing, I'm not happy," says one of the adolescent drivers in Marshall Curry's "Racing Dreams." Of course, an eleven year old's perception of happiness tends to rely on the whims of the surrounding environment, and the speedy realm of the racetrack can certainly make the the rest of the world look boring. Curry, the Academy Award-nominated director of "Street Fight," inspects the forces behind this obsession by finding the starting point with a handful of North Carolina youth as they compete for the National Championship of the World Karting Association. While many of the young, enthusiastic subjects remain subservient to thei...

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    Show and Tell: Deirdre Allen Timmons's "A Wink and a Smile"

    [An indieWIRE review from Reverse Shot.]

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    Mission Impassable: Jim Jarmusch's "The Limits of Control"

    [An indieWIRE review from Reverse Shot.]

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    Tribeca Snapshot: Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman's "Soundtrack for a Revolution"

    The concept behind "Soundtrack for a Revolution" is both a means and end at once. In this competent survey of African American folk music in the civil rights movement, directors Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman pair reminiscences with recreation, but it's never quite the transcendent aural experience suggested by the two-pronged premise. While interviewees such as Harry Belafonte and John Lewis recall gripping -- and often quite harrowing -- anecdotes from their countless protests at the behest of Martin Luther King, the filmmakers frequently cut to studio performances of classic songs from the period performed by contemporary artists, includin...

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