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    "Pearl Jam Twenty" is an Engaging Music Doc That Has Appropriate Trouble Finding Its True Identity

    Before seeing Cameron Crowe's "Pearl Jam Twenty," I was all set on naming "Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest" the best music documentary of 2011. But how do I weigh these two films against each other? My first thought for comparison has to do with something I read (and of course can no longer locate) of "Beats" director Michael Rapaport saying that he made the film about ATCQ, not for them. Sure he loves that group and didn't want to (nor did he) produce a negative portrait of them, but it features enough objective balance (including some unfavorable elements) to have brought it a controversial (initial) lack of suppor...

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    "Prayer for a Perfect Season" is a Fast-Paced and Immensely Satisfying Doc on High School Basketball

    Here's the second high school basketball documentary I've seen in a week. "Prayer for a Perfect Season," which debuts on HBO tonight (totally fittingly as part of HBO Sports not HBO Documentaries), is very different than "Elevate," however, and definitely nothing like "Hoop Dreams," the standard for this subject matter. It's fast, literal, incredibly current and obviously prophetic. Rather than following some NBA hopefuls who aren't certainly going to make it, here we have some of the greatest teens presently playing the sport, and at least one or two will definitely be pro in the coming years. It's the best-edited and most satisfying sports ...

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    On DVD: "Attack the Block" Has More Fun By Dismissing Subtext and Keeping True Villainy Vague

    Don't wait for the American remake of Joe Cornish's "Attack the Block," even if -- or especially if -- Hollywood listens to me and gets that right, "Let Me In" style, combined with a more sideways sort of rehash. Now that the sci-fi festival favorite is on home video, I suspect it will become the kind of "cult" hit that actually has too many fans to be considered a "cult" hit. Just like "Shaun of the Dead," which is directed by "ATB"'s producer, Edgar Wright. People really love this movie, and even cynics like myself are properly entertained. You might be curious enough to see this in anticipation of Cornish's two upcoming co-writing efforts,...

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    "Bad Teacher" is Bad, but Not Necessarily Bad for Women

    This review was originally published on June 24, 2011. It is being reposted for the home video release. It’s hard to watch a movie like “Bad Teacher” without evaluating where it falls in the debate over women in Hollywood, especially in this summer of heightened sensitivity to the problem. “Bridesmaids” was essentially appointed the representative of women at the box office, which would seem entirely ridiculous if there were even one more film on the docket for the next few months led by or geared towards women. But as Manohla Dargis pointed out recently, this is a summer without much of a female presence on the big screen. “Bridesmaids,” des...

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    "Red State" is Actually the Most Interesting Kevin Smith Film Since "Clerks"

    This review was originally published September 6, 2011. It is being reposted for the film's home video release.

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    Guest Review: A Bride-to-Be Praises "Bridesmaids" for Equal Parts Hilarity and Relatabilty

    The following guest review (from my now-wife) was originally published on May 10, 2011. It is being reposted for the film's home video release.

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    "Make Believe" is a Magical Competition Documentary That Believes in Its Characters

    This review was originally published on May 12, 2011. It is being reposted for the doc's home video release.

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