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Film Reviews

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    film review - Edge of Darkness

    Let’s deal with the elephant in the room right away: I wasn’t sure how I would respond to seeing Mel Gibson on screen for the first time since his public embarrassments and utterances. Like many of you, I have felt ever since queasy about the man. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to like his new starr...

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    The Young Victoria

    The challenge of any historical drama is to engage us so that we’re not passively observing a pageant of events but actively involved in the characters and their story. Screenwriter Julian Fellowes has drawn on many sources to create a witty, often gripping screenplay that tells a story many pe...

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    The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

    Over the years, Terry Gilliam has become something of a brand name, leading moviegoers to expect a generous display of visual razzle-dazzle and an offbeat sensibility; the problem often lies in his story or screenplay. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, written by Gilliam and his frequent coll...

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    Crazy Heart

    Crazy Heart is the movie equivalent of comfort food; reassuring, familiar, and easy to digest. It’s Jeff Bridges performance that makes it special...but then, he’s reason enough to see almost any movie. (He’s the best thing about the season’s most disappointing movie, The Men Who Stare At Goats.) He...

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    The Messenger

    Simply put, The Messenger is about the soldiers whose job it is to notify next of kin when a member of the armed forces is killed in action. That sounds intriguing enough on the surface, but screenwriters Oren Moverman (who also makes his directing debut here) and Alessandro Camon manage to gen...

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    It's Complicated

    If you love watching Meryl Streep, are enjoying the renaissance of Alec Baldwin as a comedic actor, and like Steve Martin playing it straight, you’re a candidate to enjoy It’s Complicated as much as I did. With Nancy Meyers (Something’s Gotta Give, The Holiday) at the helm as...

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    Avatar

    Avatar is at once a fascinating and a frustrating movie. I found much of it captivating, and while I resist the hype-driven phrase “immersive experience,” I did find myself drawn into its 3-D world, an extraordinarily rich cinematic environment created, in breathtaking detail, by artists and computers. I didn’t think I could care about odd-looking humanoid characters, but I did. I didn’t think I would relate to the interaction between humans and aliens, but I did. Writer-director James Cameron has delivered on his promise to take filmmaking to another level by fully realizing his imaginative visual concepts of character and design......

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    NINE

    As someone who had major problems with Rob Marshall’s Chicago—which robbed the Broadway show of all its humor and rendered its dance numbers unwatchable through egg-beater editing—I did not expect to like Nine, Marshall’s ambitious adaptation of the 1982 stage musical inspired by Federico Fellini’s 8½. Imagine my surprise, then, as I tell you I loved it. I’ve already heard complaints about the picture from other quarters, which I won’t enumerate here, but I bought into it one hundred percent. It begins with accepting—or embracing—Daniel Day-Lewis as 1960s Italian film director Guido Contini. He makes the transformation so...

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    Invictus

    Invictus doesn’t have the element of surprise in its favor, but the story it tells is solid, interesting, and (yes) inspiring. Would that the world had more leaders as wise as Nelson Mandela, who recognized that despite his election to the Presidency of South Africa in 1995, there was still dissensi...

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    Red Cliff

    John Woo built his reputation by creating visceral Hong Kong action films that made their Hollywood counterparts seem tame and old-fashioned. In Red Cliff he emulates epic historical dramas like Spartacus and once again reveals his mastery of cinematic storytelling, while raising the bar for...

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