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Film Reviews

  • Leonard Maltin
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    Alice in Wonderland

    How you react to this film will have a lot to do with your expectations. I didn’t expect a work of genius. In fact, I approached it with trepidation, worried that Tim Burton’s weird sensibility layered on top of Lewis Carroll’s already-surreal material would create a kind of overkill. I’m happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised. First things first: with no disrespect to Burton, this struck me more as Linda Woolverton’s Alice. As the principal screenwriter of the Disney features Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Mulan, she has solid experience creating strong female characters. Here, she has reinvented Alice as a willful 19-year...

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    film review - A Prophet (Un Prophète)

    I like movies that take me on an emotional journey. The central character of A Prophet is Malik, a 19-year-old petty criminal (Tahar Rahim) who’s being sent to prison. We don’t know what he’s done, or very much else about him; he’s quiet and keeps to himself. Then he is targeted by one of the prison...

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    Film Review—The Wolfman

    The good news is, despite long production delays and rumors of disaster, the new remake of The Wolfman isn’t bad…not bad at all. Handsome production design by Rick Heinrichs and great makeup effects by Rick Baker (who also makes a brief appearance on camera) are among its strongest assets. There are...

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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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