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Movie Reviews

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    REVIEW | Bad Education: Emmanuel Bordieu's "Poison Friends"

    "Poison Friends" revives a rare pleasure of moviegoing: articulacy. Ten years ago Phillip Lopate diagnosed a "Dumbing Down of American Movies," and the disproportionate praise given to reactionary "realism" in recent indies suggests that, as expectations shrivel, things have gotten stupider across t...

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    TRIBECA '07 | Critics Notebook 2: A Crossroads of Marriage and Nature

    Is it possible that the geographical sources of the best Tribeca films that touch on nature and the overall concept of beauty reveal some major lack in the West? By default? Perhaps the sterility of much of our consumer-friendly culture has pulled us away from the natural world and the realm of genu...

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    TRIBECA '07 | Critics Notebook 1: Breaking Down a Carnival of Art and Politics

    Art and politics: two poles rightfully addressed by many of the selections in a film festival located (more and more virtually) near the festering hole that was the World Trade Center. The Tribeca Film Festival is so large (157 features) that this article covers those that most neatly fit into the "...

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    REVIEW | The Gift Horse: Robinson Devor's "Zoo"

    In gentler times, a film that sets out to seriously tackle taboo zoophilia might have elicited a bump on the cause celebre Richter scale, but in these post-everything days, when images and ideas far more controversial and chilling are readily available to any who care to look for them, there's littl...

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    REVIEW | Light It Up: Francis Veber's "The Valet"

    Francis Veber has been an industrious source of chipper, very lucrative French screen farces for well over 30 years, working first as a screenwriter, then as a director, amassing credits on such popular titles as "La Cage aux Folles" and "The Dinner Game," as well as a smattering of American remakes...

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    REVIEW | Rent-a-Cop: Edgar Wright's "Hot Fuzz"

    "Hot Fuzz" is the fulfillment of most any movie-glutted provincial adolescent's study-hall daydreams - basically, to turn their town into the set of an action movie smash-up. Filming in his hometown hamlet, Somerset, Wells, director Edgar Wright must be realizing set pieces that he mentally storyboa...

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    REVIEW | Lovely and Amazing: Apichatpong Weerasethakul's "Syndromes and a Century"

    Though it's riding a wave of critical exultation, "Syndromes and a Century" will surely still baffle and unsettle much of its audience---a necessity in our film culture. The gently swaying provocations of Apichatpong Weerasethakul's latest experiment in narrative palpate the edges of what today's ma...

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    REVIEW | Come and See: Andrea Arnold's "Red Road"

    Two paths cross in British director Andrea Arnold's debut feature "Red Road" - not in the story, but in the story mechanics. There's a tale of a woman, Jackie (Kate Dickie), confronted with the appearance of a harbinger of destruction from her past, Clyde (Tony Curran). And there's the manner in which this potentially combustive situation unfolds: Jackie is a CCTV security operator who spots Clyde on her monitors and then proceeds to spy on him with the advantage of the technology at her disposal. At once universal and unmistakably modern, "Red Road" combines elements of both no-nonsense realism and Foucaultian paranoia to produce a unique, n...

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    REVIEW | Stranger in Paradise: Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam's "Dreaming Lhasa"

    Few films promise as enticing a glimpse into such an iconic but unknown reality as "Dreaming Lhasa" does; the title itself evokes a descriptive yearning. Seeking to explore the dynamics of Tibetan cultural identity in the absence of a homeland denied independence, Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam's feat...

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    REVIEW | Flame Out: Mary Jordan's "Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis"

    From the inventor of the wheel to the Ramones, originators repeatedly get the short end of the stick: unrefined and unfamiliar, their innovations usually fly over the heads of unappreciative audiences until someone shrewder comes along and renders them accessible. Thus goes the ecstatic yet tragic s...

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