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Film Reviews

  • Leonard Maltin
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    film review: Burlesque

    The people behind Burlesque did at least a few things right. First, Cher has an amazing screen presence, and a way with dialogue that seems absolutely effortless. (I’ll admit, it takes some adjustment to accept her now-frozen face, but one either accepts Cher as it or not at all.) Then they hired Stanley Tucci to play her gay best friend and right-hand man, essentially reprising the role he essayed so well in The Devil Wears Prada. No matter—he brightens every scene he’s in, and delivers his lines with the panache of a true master. But these old pros have to swim up-tide against a screenplay that’s so hokey and weather-beaten you have to wond...

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    film review: Made In Dagenham

    When a film is based on a fascinating true story, and marshals grade-A talent on both sides of the camera, it automatically gets my attention. Made in Dagenham is inspired by a real-life labor struggle—apparently little remembered, even in England—that is both timely and relevant today. There is no reason on earth the results shouldn’t have been stronger. The raw material has all the makings of great drama: in 1968, female workers at the vast Ford Motor Co. factory in a suburb of London went on strike after being reclassified as unskilled laborers, with a commensurate reduction in salary. Women weren’t taken seriously in the workforce, and t...

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    film review: HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART ONE

    In the old days of Saturday matinee serials, audiences faced with cliffhanger endings took comfort in knowing that the story would be resumed one week later. The same can’t be said for the latest Harry Potter picture, which offers much incident but no resolution: for that, we all have to wait until next year. If you’re a dedicated Potter fan, you’ll have to take what you can from this one—mainly, the pleasure of spending time with its leading characters and the young actors who play them. Following J.K. Rowling’s narrative, there are no scenes at Hogwarts’ Academy. This denies us the opportunity to revel...

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    film review: Tiny Furniture

    film review: Tiny Furniture

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    film review: Morning Glory

    What a pleasure it is to watch a well-cast, well-written comedy for grownups. Morning Glory has a smart premise and just the right people to carry it out: Rachel McAdams, as an overeager TV producer who locks horns with her new host, a once-respected news anchor played by Harrison Ford, as well as his co-host, a prima donna played by Diane Keaton. The parts might have been written with these actors in mind; that’s how perfectly they inhabit them and play off one another. McAdams is delightful in an all-too-rare comedy role, and works well opposite the men she encounters: her boss, Jeff Goldblum, her colleague and possible lover, Patrick Wilso...

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    film review: FAIR GAME

    My conversion is now complete: I am a card-carrying Naomi Watts fan. I don’t know why I wasn’t her biggest booster before; I’ve liked her work in films as diverse as King Kong and The Painted Veil, but after seeing her this year in Rodrigo Garcia’s Mother and Child, Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tal...

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    film review: Boxing Gym

    The grand old man of cinema vérité-style documentaries, Frederick Wiseman, shows no signs of slowing down, nor has he lost his keen ability to capture the sights, sounds, and overall milieu of his chosen subject. Last year he took us behind the scenes of the Paris Opera’s ballet troupe in La Danse; ...

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    film review: 127 Hours

    Directors like to test themselves, especially when they’re riding a wave of success. Having enjoyed worldwide acclaim for the emotional and immersive Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle has chosen an entirely different kind of story for his next project that presents a unique series of filmmaking chall...

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    film review: Due Date

    film review: Due Date

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    film review: Nora's Will

    Indie and foreign films have a tougher time than ever in today’s marketplace, which is why I want to call your attention to an import that’s truly worth seeing—even though you may not have heard much about it. Nora’s Will has won a number of film festival awards, which got my attention. I also put considerable stock in Menemsha Films, the small, dedicated distributor that has taken on its U.S. release. They tell me that business actually increased after its first week at the Paris Theater in Manhattan because of strong word-of-mouth; now it’s opening at a number of Laemmle Theaters in Los Angeles, with other cities to follow in the weeks and ...

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