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Movie Reviews

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    No Sense or Sensibility: Lee's "Woodstock" Undercooked

    Considering the iconic event at its center, the most surprising aspect of "Taking Woodstock" lies with the decision to make it into a rather flat comedy. Even with the ever-versatile Ang Lee behind the camera, this messy historical fiction plays like a two hour "Saturday Night Live" sketch, and not ...

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    Campion's Prudish "Star" Needs More Sizzle

    This might sound horribly simplistic, but Jane Campion's "Bright Star" desperately needs a sex scene. The movie puts such prominent focus on the romantic attraction shared by two characters -- early nineteenth century poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and his neighbor, budding fashion designer Fanny Bra...

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    Neither Misfire Nor Return To Form: Coppola's Competent "Tetro"

    Neither complete misfire nor triumphant return to form, Francis Ford Coppola's "Tetro" works as a competent family drama right up until the messy final act. If a first-time filmmaker had directed this stylish black-and-white-and-sometimes-color melodrama, it might gain some notice for suggesting gre...

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    Variety Reviews "Up"

    Variety Reviews "Up"

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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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