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Film Reviews

  • Leonard Maltin
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    The Three Stooges—movie review

    First, the good news: this is a heartfelt homage to The Three Stooges of yore, and its leading actors do a remarkable job of channeling Moe, Larry and Curly. Kids who have never seen the Stooges, and adults who haven’t revisited them lately, may have a good time, as the audience did when I saw...

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    Monsieur Lazhar—movie review

    The hype-meisters of moviedom have made it difficult to use words like “heartwarming” and “inspiring” without sounding like a huckster…but when you see a film as moving and well-wrought as 'Monsieur Lazhar', it’s hard to resist. Yet what I admire most about the picture, which was an Oscar nominee th...

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    We Have A Pope—movie review

    Given Nanni Moretti’s track record as writer, director, and actor, there is every reason to have high hopes for his latest effort, 'We Have a Pope'. One would presume that a behind-the-scenes look at the process of naming a new Pontiff would provide ample fodder for observational humor. Instead, the...

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    Damsels In Distress—movie review

    It’s difficult to know what to make of Whit Stillman’s 'Damsels in Distress'. When I screened it for my class at USC my students’ reaction was all over the map. One young woman said it was possibly the worst movie she’d ever seen, while a young man raised his hand to say that he loved it; many other...

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    Wrath Of The Titans—movie review

    I remember feeling a certain amount of wrath over the ham-handed 3-D effects in 2010’s 'Clash of the Titans', but the film itself wasn’t bad: uneven, to be sure, but strengthened by adhering to the story template of the 1981 movie of the same name, written by Beverley Cross. If I were 12 years old I...

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    The Hunger Games—movie review

    As someone who hasn’t read Suzanne Collins’ trilogy of novels, going to see 'The Hunger Games' “cold,” I felt comforted by the presence of two young actors I admire, Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson. Given the downbeat nature of the story, set in a bleak future world, having warm-blooded actors...

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    21 Jump Street—movie review

    Following in the hallowed footsteps of 'The Brady Bunch Movie', '21 Jump Street' revives a vintage TV series and subverts it at the same time. Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who have written and directed TV and theatrical animation such as 'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs', resist the...

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    Jeff, Who Lives At Home—movie review

    When micro-indie filmmakers Jay and Mark Duplass spun their success with movies like 'The Puffy Chair' into an opportunity to work with full-scale crews and name actors, there were doubts that they could maintain their spontaneous approach and indie credibility. 'Cyrus' dispelled those feelings, and...

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    The Kid with a Bike—movie review

    I became enamored of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s work when I saw their devastating film 'La Promesse' in 1996. I’ve followed their careers ever since, and while I don’t love everything they do, when they hit the mark they create understated but deeply moving dramas that are uniquely their own. 'T...

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    John Carter—movie review

    John Carter is far from the disaster it’s been made out to be in some circles…nor is it an unqualified success. It has enough visual effects and production values for three movies, and almost as much story material, which is one of its problems. But it does provide vigorous,  eye-f...

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